Music is an entirely personal affair. What some people might stow on a pedestal, others might try and bury alive; it's entirely subjective, relevant to our own memories and feelings. We all have favourite artists, tracks and records that we hold close to our hearts: maybe it was a track that soundtracked a first kiss, or maybe a particular LP got you through some tough times. Maybe a certain band reminds you of a simpler time. We've all got opinions on what's the top album of all time, and 99% of the world is just bound to disagree. But that's fine. There are no right answers.

This weekly feature (though we'll be taking a break in December) will see the 405 staff contribute their opinions and argue the case for what they think is the best music. It's also a handy way to get some recommendations of music you may not have experienced before - perhaps you'll create some new memories thanks to these delicious noises. It's not just the staff we want to hear from though; we want to know what you think. We'll ask around on Twitter and Facebook for suggestions and whack 'em in for the world to see. There might be a playlist or two as well slotted in for good measure. It's going to be a chunky collaborative periodical where we can all discuss how and why our favourite music is our favourite.

In these depressing January days, the best way to beat the blues is by partying as often as your bank balance will allow. For this months edition, our writers bring you the best songs to soothe those pounding hangover heads and settle swirling stomachs.

Intro written by Larry Day and Phoebe Inglis-Holmes.



  • Boards of Canada

    Boards of Canada - 'Dayvan Cowboy'

    [2005]

    When my vision's squiffy, mouth has the texture of pumice and the night before is still ringing through my ears, like a distant unfamiliar alarm screaming a protest through a dense fog, the comfort of a pile of duvet and soothing tunes is the only salvation. With inner ear ringing, as eery as the sound of birdsong on a hazy am walk home, I always reach for Boards of Canada's tunes to dilute the excess from the night before and help evaporate some of the smog. 'Dayvan Cowboy' should be prescribed alongside vit c, copious amounts of water and a decent boxset as part of a foolproof hangover package, no matter how Fear and Loathing the prior evenings' hijinks may have been. It's melodic, familiar and as soothing as somebody (you know) stroking your forehead and whispering, 'everything's going to be alright', as you piece together the flashbacks and cringe between chomping down on cold pizza. No matter how many mistakes you make, this track is always a good decision.

    Kerry Flint

  • Mø

    Mø, Diplo - 'XXX 88'

    [2013]

    You can either tackle it the hard way, or gently walk your way into a really sluggish and lazy day. 'XXX 88' is more like a full English, rather than a quick shot of caffeine. The track builds slowly into punchy pop sonics and lofty vocals that will cradle you like a baby, and help you embrace the inevitable procrastination and sleepiness that a Sunday hangover will lead to.

    Fab Giovanetti

  • Jose James

    Jose James - 'Heaven On The Ground'

    [2013]

    What could be better, when you're lying in a foetal position trying to remember why you thought drinking overproof rum and absinthe from her navel in the bar last night was a good idea, than listening to the satin smooth tones of a Blue Note jazz and hip-hop vocalist to ease you back into life? Backed by the sensual R&B harmonies of Emily King, and with low bass, lush keys and guitar, this is a slow and easy joint to soothe your pains. No sudden moves now.

    Lyle Bignon

  • The Smiths

    The Smiths - 'Half A Person'

    [1987]

    Due to the fact that I often enter a terrifying phase of emotional hangover territory, 'Half A Person' is the perfect track to just lay back and forget all of your many sins from the night before and let Morrissey's dreamy tones distract you from the smell of vomit in the bin at the side of your bed.

    Ryan Cahill

  • Message to Bears

    Message to Bears - 'Moonlight'

    [2013]

    Maybe you're one of those people who nurse a hangover with more intravenously administered spirits and fuck-load of Gabba. Well, I'm not. I'm more of the foetal position in bed, howling for a cup of tea kinda guy. But after a few too many Bath ales on a Saturday night (I've passed the mid-twenty mark, so I'm allowed), I need something to sooth my soul aiming towards some kind of Monday lunchtime recovery, and Message to Bears provides exactly the kind of vital nourishment required. Ambient electronics, pastoral acoustics, and hushed lyrics provide the perfect bedrock for bed-rot.

    Tom Jowett

  • Snakadaktal

    Snakadaktal - 'Ghost'

    [2013]

    After courting infatuation from a number of dribbling blogs since 2011, Snakadaktal finally dropped their debut album, Sleep In The Water upon the baying masses at the end of last summer. Certainly worth the wait and glistening with the groove of intricate, sultry dream pop, there was a track that flickered and pulsed with more potential than the rest, the sumptuous allure of 'Ghost'. If it thrived in the summer haze, it appears better suited when easing you into a hellish day of lethargy and self-indulgent stupor. Try unearthing a more gorgeous soundtrack when clutching your girlfriend's greasy locks between your fingers, as she wretches enthusiastically over the toilet bowl.

    Lee Wakefield

  • Baths

    Baths - 'Rain Smell'

    [2010]

    There is no feeling quite like when the weather matches your mood. Who here doesn't kind of wish it was raining every time they're hungover? Well, it is quite literally raining in 'Rain Smell', a late track off Baths' 2010 Cerulean, which takes you from gentle rainfall through long-distance pining to chirping birds in just over four mellow, undulating minutes. Ethereal keys and a gentle beat act like two fingers on either temple, applying that circular pressure until the ache in your head dissipates. And if the pain doesn't go away, at least now it's raining in your head and your ears.

    Stephanie Vance

  • Jeff Buckley

    Jeff Buckley - 'Live at Sin-é'

    2003

    When I wake up on a desolate morning, my head pounding and my stomach swirling I don't usually think to put on music. My hangover remedy is to crawl back under the covers and try to sleep it out - which never works. So instead I'll try to create a particular atmosphere that I think is conducive to the inebriation healing process. This involves freshly ground coffee brewed in an Aeropress and more often than not playing my copy of Jeff Buckley's Live at Sin-é

    Recorded live at the Sin-é cafe in 1993, where Buckley regularly played stripped back solo shows, the album is a collection of early live versions of material from Grace (recording of which started just a few months later) and covers of tracks by Led Zeppelin, Nina Simone, Bob Dylan and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. In the background is the murmur of the audience and the clatter of cups and saucers. It's a gentle record that is sure to prompt a few sing-alongs, but most importantly it will heal whatever ails ya.

    Robert Whitfield

  • Nina Simone

    Nina Simone - 'Memphis In June'

    [ 1961 ]

    The coolest, sexiest voice ever singing a song about kicking back in the shade on a baking Sunday afternoon in the South. Nina Simone sang about prejudice, about sexism, racism, mindless violence and obsession, but never did she top 'Memphis In June' for perfectly sculpting the form of a song to replicate its spirit. The track drips with easy, woozy calm; perfect for a woozy, achey Sunday afternoon on the couch.

    Nicholas Glover

  • The Beatles

    The Beatles - 'Here Comes The Sun'

    [1969]

    No matter how much your head throbs and how many blinds you've put up, you can't escape the inevitable: the sun is going to rise after your night of drinking. There will be another day that you're going to have to grin and bear, no matter how dead you feel inside. So you might as well embrace it, and there's no better way of doing that than with a slice of classic pop. The Beatles don't do it brazenly or garishly. In 'Here Comes The Sun' you have a gentle ease into the day; the unmistakable guitar melody and George Harrison's sweet tones will light and kindle a small flame inside your bruised mind. Then, as the rest of the band joins in that flame is blown into a full, warming fire and you start to appreciate the joy of a new day. By the time the three minute gem reaches its conclusion you might even be singing and clapping along.

    Or you might chuck your pillow and swear at that overly joyous, smug bastard of a song within the first 20 seconds of its playing. It could go either way.

    Rob Hakimian

  • Goldfrapp

    Goldfrapp - 'A&E'

    [2008]

    It doesn't tend to lacerated flesh, it doesn't soothe Stoli-induced ailments, it won't keep the turd-coloured kebab slivers in your stomach; but when those tinkled ivories and proto-folktronica hooks hit, it's like being swaddled into a coma. The last thing I want to hear in the morning after a heavy, heady night of hedonism is Alison Goldfrapp's recollection of a narcotised despair-infused evening gone horribly awry: "How did I get to accident and emergency?" she sings on the cusp of bawling. Although doesn't alleviate my anguish, rather it soundtracks my wallowing, perhaps it's the 'being in the same boat' feeling that's kept it my go-to hangover track for five years.

    Larry Day

  • Jason Collett

    Jason Collett - 'Pink Night'

    [2005]

    Hangover? To misquote Janice Galloway, the trick is to keep drinking. Why wallow in misery the next day with some sad-sack folk singer (if anyone selects Nick Drake or the like for their hangover song, that's unforgivable) or, worse, some kind of hellish coffee table chillout music? Keep the party going, the hangover can wait! So, you could soundtrack the day with a mix of Andrew WK, Neil Young's Tonight's the Night and endless Andrew Weatherall sets while you line up drink after endless drink... and that's when you become the drunken, embarrassing mess that Jason Collett's 'Pink Night' describes. The sometime Broken Social Scene man's rollicking Dylanesque singalong begins "drunk again / at 6pm / beautiful, ugly weekend / stayin' out, and sleepin' in" and descends into name-calling and glorious debauchery from that point on. It's equal parts regret and joy, and if that's not a description of all our best weekends then I don't know what is.

    Andrew Hannah

  • Jackie Wilson

    Jackie Wilson- '(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher'

    [1967]

    A year or so ago I had to make an all too familiar trip home from Bristol back down to the south coast, with just an awful hangover and 2% iPhone battery to prepare myself for First Great Western's gloriously unpredictable Sunday service. With an overwhelming sense of regret and my bank balance still reeling from the extortionately priced drinks of the night before, I decided to throw caution to the wind and leave my remaining battery life in the hands of 'shuffle', this is the first song that came on. Everything about this classic is uplifting, from the instantly recognisable intro to the intermittent strings and brass, with of course Wilson's vocal delivery remaining infectiously joyous throughout. My phone died as the slow fade at the end kicked in, but the whole three minutes of this song just feels like pure musical happiness, which has since made it my go-to track on hangover days. As if you needed another reason to love this song, a cover of it was also in that scene in Ghostbusters 2 where they ride The Statue of Liberty. What a film.

    Elliot Mitchell

  • Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan - 'Tangled Up In Blue'

    [1975]

    Dylan is always a good option for Sunday mornings, but some of his tracks may become a teeny bit uncomfortable if you're have a hard time dealing with the night before. The opening song of Blood On The Tracks carries you gently while you reach for the tenth cup of coffee and attempt to keep that plain toast in your stomach.

    Ana Leorne

  • Daughter

    Daughter - 'Youth'

    [2012]

    This mellow, melancholic tune, with its glimmering guitar melody, subtle atmospherics and subdued vocals, is just right for the morning after. The chillness of the music won't exacerbate a headache but isn't so low-key that it's zombifying. And when Elena Tonra sings "If you're still breathing, you're the lucky ones/because most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs," the after effects of a night out don't seem so bad."

    John Faulkner

  • Augustana

    Augustana - 'Sunday Best'

    [2005]

    This is really quite the fitting topic as I was battling an awful hangover while writing this (I should not have had that last whiskey/ginger...). If, for some reason, I'm not able to sleep my hangover off and I have to be productive and do things with my day, I tend to things on the quieter end of the spectrum. I'm always blown away by the fact that Augustana's All the Stars and Boulevards came out in 2005 because it's such a timeless record, and the latter half, 'Sunday Best' in particular, normally fuels my battle against a hangover. The acoustic guitar pairs perfectly with the piano and it's emotionally stimulating enough to keep me awake, but not loud to the point where it makes me question living.

    Tarynn Law

  • John Coltrane

    John Coltrane - 'Blue Train'

    [1957]

    John Coltrane: This is how your nurse a hangover and the resulting existential contemplation. Calm the brain waves, rehydrate with 'Blue Train' and cool yer jets, Man.

    Louise Burns

  • Cloud Control

    Cloud Control - 'Dojo Rising'

    [2013]

    Nothing nurses the groan-inducing, head-splitting hangover quite like the sardonic slow-burn lushness of Cloud Control's 'Dojo Rising.' Also, not to mention the catchy-as-hell chorus that's so satisfyingly fun to hum along. Altogether now: "Give it to me easy/ Give it to me hard/ Just wanna get, get, get lit, yeah!"

    Chanun Poomsawai

  • The B52's

    The B52's - 'My Own Private Idaho'

    [1980]

    My motto for life 'do it for the story' may have landed me in some awkward positions but the satisfaction of recounting the tale afterwards is always worth it. Yes, running into my parents bedroom blind drunk with my brother at 3am to reenact the assassination of the Osama Bin Laden wasn't a sensible idea, but imagine how funny that shit was the next morning. And when the inevitable hangover descends (accompanied with a note: "fuck off out the house you little bastards") I stick on the B52's and remember how great the world can be, and then promptly flee to the hills.

    Woodrow Whyte

  • Tara Palmer-Tomkinson

    Tara Palmer-Tomkinson - '5 Seconds'

    [2012]

    Why: Let's face it, hair of the dog aside, the only sensible way to deal with a hangover is by having some comic relief in a duvet wonderland, eating 4am-fresh leftover chips and watching YouTube.

    Taking the concept of vanity project to a whole new level, TPT released an album, Flawed, in 2012. The flat, strained vocals on first (and only) single, '5 Seconds', were tastefully accompanied by contrived, unintentionally hilarious visuals that make selfies seem subtle. It all comes to a climatic amazingness after the middle-8, where (at 3:07) our heroine is seen diving into a swimming pool in what looks like a limp body being thrown to its death in some macabre Julia Davis comedy. You'll laugh; you'll cry; you'll forget about having had one shot too many the night before.

    Doron Davidson-Vidavski