working from home playlist
working from home playlist

Dancing on your own? Introducing Luxury London’s (not-so-definitive) WFH playlist

25 Mar 2020 | Updated on: 27 Sep 2022 |By Anna Prendergast

Our editors have compiled their ultimate working-from-home playlist - aneclectic (OK, random) mash-up of Korean indie, alt-rock, contemporary classical, soul, disco and R&B bangers to get you through the day. You can thank us later.

Click below to download Luxury London’s working from home playlist on Spotify, or read on to listen on YouTube.

Low Burn by Underworld

Watching Underworld in the real is a rollercoaster ride through dance, trance, techno, house and soul. Seeing as you won’t be watching the godfathers of EDM in a field in your wellies anytime soon, utilise lockdown to reconnoitre their blockbuster back catalogue – a four-decade-long playlist of repetitive electronica that’s perfect to tune out to while you’re procrastinating working from home. Low Burn, about taking things for granted and the banality of life (I think) is an appropriately dystopian place to start. The lyrics ‘free… total… unlimited… time’ are repeated, in signature Underworld style, over and over and over again – a timely, and ironic, evocation of our current restricted existence. (Nb. Luxury London accepts no responsibility for the psychotropic rabbithole down which listening to Underworld has the tendency to lead you. See you on the other side.) Richard Brown, Editorial Director

Positive by Hot Chip

By my less-than-scientific reckoning the working-from-home beats-per-minute sweet spot lies somewhere between 90-120. Anything above that will have you impulsively dancing around your living room. Anything below, and you might find yourself slipping into a coma at your new kitchen-table-cum-desk. Dubstep falls within the required beat-range (70-100bpm) but do you really want to irk the neighbours after your 10am Zoom catch-up with Benga’s Diary of an Afro Warrior? You could opt for some old-school 80s hip hop (80-115bpm) but are you really going to be focusing on finishing that market report while rapping along to Run-DMC’s Tougher Than Leather? No, what you need is some mid-tempo, lyric-light synth-pop. Step in the poshest quintet in alternative dance, Putney’s Hot Chip. While your current situation might be more Over and Over, last year’s Positive (118bpm), with timely lines like ‘We get together sometimes / Talk about how we used to get together sometimes’ and ‘You’re despised, contaminated, defeated, isolated’, is about acts of random kindness and the importance of communities sticking together in challenging times. Word. RB

Sinnerman by Nina Simone

This song makes the synapses in my brain fire a little bit faster – the building snare, the almost manic piano, the power of Nina’s voice. Resisting the urge to type to the rhythm is futile, so try this ten-minute version on YouTube for full-throttle Simone. Anna Prendergast, Senior Assistant Editor

Chateau by Angus & Julia Stone

There’s a great joy in rediscovering a band whose music was the soundtrack to one’s adolescence, and an even greater one in finding a song you don’t remember. During a time when travel is on lockdown, this one is pure escapism – ‘we can go to the Chateau Marmont’ – and filled with calming, unintrusive harmonies. AP

Out of My Head by Marti West

Because we could all do with a few minutes of getting out of our own heads right now. Marti’s soft vocals and synthy tracks are a soothing balm – and the artist has been in quarantine for six days, so let’s send him some love by tuning in. AP

Fade Into You by Mazzy Star

An ephemeral gem of a track, pinned down by Hope Sandoval’s syrupy vocals. The ingredients are simple: an acoustic guitar and a ton of reverb, all mixed like a Neil Young song from ‘72, this track is a slice of Americana and every escapist’s dream – and we could all do with some natural highs right now. Dom Jeffares, Brand Manager

Hero by Michael Kiwanuka

Kiwanuka sat on the music of this song for a couple of years, struggling to find the right words to fit the melody. His lyrics, an homage to leading figures of the Civil Rights movement in America, are as thought-provoking as they are catchy, and the complementing psychedelic soul riffs certainly worth that two-year wait. Ellen Millard, Deputy Editor

Blue Lights by Jorja Smith

The song that launched Jorja Smith’s career is still one of her best. Inspired by male stereotypes in her hometown of Walsall and mixed with samples from Dizzee Rascal’s Sirens, this song encapsulates Smith’s soul-stirring crooner tones, punctuated with her charming West Midlands lilt and wise-beyond-her-years lyrics. EM

You Are The Best Thing by Ray LaMontagne

Cheesy, cheery and a musical reminder to hold your loved ones closer – Ray LaMontagne’s You Are The Best Thing makes for a joyful soundtrack to a not-so positive time. The recurring lyrics are easy to learn too, if you fancy attempting to strike up a neighbourhood sing-a-long à la Italy. EM

Dancing On My Own by Robyn

Nobody does happy-sad tracks like Robyn, placing a twinkling, dance-pop beat to the most heartbreaking scenarios. “It’s that mixture of sadness and euphoria,” commented Sam Smith, “There’s no other artist that can do it, in my opinion.” This aptly titled track couldn’t be better suited for a late-night living room party for one. Pour yourself a drink, put your emotions on hold and free your inhibitions à la Lena Dunham in Girls. Mhairi Mann, Digital Editor

Narcissus (At the Disco Mix) by Róisín Murphy

This swirling disco groover has just the right amount of paranoia to make it perfect for our times. It is a collaborative effort between Róisín Murphy and DJ Parrot. MG

Controlla by Drake

Has anybody else been casually singing this song in their head, replacing ‘controlla’ with ‘corona’? From Drake’s 2016 album, Views, the dancehall-inspired track features Jamaican artist Popcaan and is as appropriate at breakfast as during your Facetime Friday night drinks. MM

Midas by Maribou State

I have this on repeat when working from home. The whole album is perfect background noise during self-isolation. MM

Dancing Queen by Abba

You are the dancing queen, young and sweet, stuck in quarantine… MM

Pola – Fakear Remix by Jabberwocky, Cappagli, Fakear

I was in an underground bar in Kuala Lumpur when I first heard this, and I jumped up to ask the staff if they had a playlist. We exchanged Spotify details (so 2020) and secret bar tips. Search ‘PS150 Weekdays’ for a whole host of perfect concentration-honing tunes. AP

Ora by Ludovico Einaudi

Einaudi’s gorgeous, fluid compositions catapulted classical music back into the download charts in 2015. While his new album, Seven Days Walking, is inspired by long hikes in the Alps, his older tracks are familiar favourites that zone out the rest of the world while you listen. AP

Old Notes by Gon Jo

Korean indie might not be an obvious genre – but if you’re a language ignoramus like me, you might find it really helps to listen to lyrics that you have no hope of ever understanding (sorry, Gon Jo). The melodies are uplifting and soothing, but I don’t have the constant itch to sing along and thus distract myself from important tasks such as compiling lists like this… AP

Old Time Rock and Roll by Bob Seger

Alright, it’s approaching home time, those emails can wait, your boss went mysteriously offline long ago and you’re going to need something to cheer you up before the 6 o’clock news – enter the iconic Risky Business scene with Tom Cruise dancing solo to Bob Seger. Log off, volume up, pants optional. AP

Weapon of Choice by Fatboy Slim

You’ve done it. You’ve made it to 5.30pm. Time for some feel-good, thank-god-it’s-Friday music, even though it isn’t, and even if it was, Friday might as well be a Monday at the moment. Never mind, you remember that Fri-yay feeling, which, in music video form, looks something like Christopher Walken in Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice. Featuring a besuited Walken dancing his way around a deserted hotel lobby – the Marriot in Downtown LA, in case you were wondering – the four-minute film was voted the best music video of all time by MTV channel VH1. Civilisation might be about to collapse, but you can still add some light relief to the end of your working day by pulling up YouTube and replicating Walken’s silky moves as you segue from home-office to sofa. All together now, ‘You can blow with this, or you can blow with that…’ RB