A Relaxing Instrumental Music Playlist For The Hot Tub

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If you don’t use music to help you relax in your hot tub, I highly recommend it. Not because research says you should. It’s just … pleasant.

And as long as I’m making recommendations, here’s a relaxing music playlist I put together for your enjoyment.

To create this list, I enlisted the aid of my 16-year-old daughter. Now, before you run away screaming, let me tell you her personal playlists include everything from the Inkspots, Ella, Duke, Louie and much earlier music to new indie stuff.

For novelty, we decided to stay purely instrumental. We surfed and used Pandora and other web-based sites to discover relaxing instrumental music. And as we started compiling, we noticed something very interesting. Much of what we chose and agreed upon was from movie soundtracks. Amazing musicians are paid lots of money to create music for high-budget movies. And the music is almost always designed to evoke a mood in movie viewers, often when they’re unaware music is playing.

So here’s our movie soundtrack-based, relaxing instrumental music playlist to help you relax while soaking in your Caldera® spa:

  1. And the Winner Is  by Mychael Danna. No, we didn’t pick an overall winner. That’s the name of the song we found on the soundtrack from Little Miss Sunshine and loved. For a year, whenever it showed up on my daughter’s playlist, I’d yell into the room, “Who is this?!” The answer? “C’MONDADYOUASKMETHATEVERYTIMEITPLAYS!!” The movie won two Oscars and was nominated for a third. It’s a great soundtrack, especially because it includes a couple Sufjan Stevens songs.

  3. J’y Suis Jamais Allé  by Yann Tiersen. This short piece is from the soundtrack of Academy Award Best Picture nominee Amelie. Despite the smirks, I unapologetically admit that it’s my favorite movie of all time. (Evidently, according to the critics, if a French film is any good, you’re supposed to feel miserable at the end.) Also, listen to La Valse d’Amélie or anything else on the soundtrack for that matter. Just play the whole thing while you soak.

  5. Any Other Name  by Thomas Newman. Ok, this one’s very slow and quiet, but it’s here for a different reason. Newman has been nominated for 12 Academy Awards and has picked up Grammys, Emmys and a Golden Globe. What’s interesting is that when you hear this piece, you’re sure you’ve heard it before, and you’ll attach any of a dozen movies to it. In truth, Newman has used similar pieces of it in many films. This one appeared in American Beauty (five Academy Awards).

  7. Music for a Found Harmonium  by the Penguin Café Orchestra. I discovered this quirky instrumental group in the early ‘90s when I invited my future wife over to watch Malcolm, an equally quirky Australian movie. Since then, their work has appeared in many movies (most of which are also independent and quirky), such as Napoleon Dynamite, which won a Grammy for its soundtrack.

  9. The Long Road  by Mark Knopfler from his instrumental soundtrack for the movie Cal. Many people know Knopfler from his days with Dire Straits, but he’s done quite a bit of soundtrack work on movies such as The Princess Bride and Local Hero. For a very mellow piece, listen to Going Home from the Local Hero soundtrack. Cal didn’t get any Academy Award nominations, but it scored two nominations and one win at Cannes. So there.

  11. Song for Bob  by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis on the soundtrack of The Assassination of Jesse James. It’s a very sedate, quiet song with a very slow build. Try not to slip beneath the waterline. The movie scored two Academy Award nominations and Cave and Ellis won Best Original Score from the Chicago Film Critics Association.

  13. Tema Finale  by Ennio Morricone from the Academy Award winner Cinema Paradiso (Best Foreign Language Film). A finale is always important at the end, isn’t it? In truth, it’s far too melodramatic for this list and who wants to fill his or her tub with bromine tears while relaxing? It’s a personal thing…

This small list is hardly comprehensive. But if there are any songs you really like, I’d suggest going to Pandora.com and typing in the artist. The site will choose a wide range of music that’s similar to your tastes. I’ve discovered a lot of music I’d never have discovered otherwise. Best of all, you can put in a couple artists, hit random and sit back in the tub while the site entertains you.

We’d love to hear what songs you would include on your relaxing music playlist in the comments below. In the meantime, save me the lounge seat.


For more relaxation and renewal ideas, take a look at:

It’s In The Seat

Not All Life’s Guilty Pleasures Should Inspire Guilt

Hot Tub Circuit Therapy

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