A song about sleeping alone, this Death Cab song from the album Narrow Stairs gently depicts the deeper meanings that lie in what lost love lies upon. Vocalist Ben Gibbard sings about "a single pillow underneath a single head" and you wonder if he's thinking of Zooey whenever he performs this live.
As much an ode to an undisturbed night's sleep ("Sing me to sleep, and then leave me alone.") as a morbid meditation on death, Morrissey coos, in this haunting ballad, over gusts of wind and a lone piano, "Don't try to wake me in the morning, because I will be gone. Don't feel bad for me. I want you to know, deep in the cell of my heart I will feel so glad to go." He takes comfort in the idea of a dream-like afterlife that is apparently better than his present reality; in that way, death is his rescuer ("There is another world, there is a better world. There must be.").
A song less about sleeping and more about sleeping with, Robert Smith longs to change his luck and hopefully get lucky when he sings, "Through the doorway and into the white room, it used to be the dust that would lay here when I came here alone." He does, however, appear to be bored with the ritual in the the task ("It's all the same, a stupid game.").
This song is essentially about how untouchable, as a songwriter, Brian Wilson is in contrast to frontman/guitarist Steven Page's abilities, common ground found in the one equalizing activity the two participate in: sleeping. The song starts off strummy and sleepy, then catapults into an attempt at cheeky Beach Boys optimism, frequently dropping references to their songs. Somehow the vocal harmonies kick in where the lyrics involve the most lethargic of circumstances: "lying in bed, just like Brian Wilson did."
Fitting this folky singer-song-writer should sing a song about wanting desperately to repose, when his voice is the perfect sleep-inducer, a warm Burl Ives-esque tone that lulls over twinkling instrumentation. The song itself plays like a lullaby, buoyant child-friendly sounds that sound lovely from beneath the covers.
The lyrics may be a confession of lazy habits, but the chord progressions say otherwise ("Everybody seems to think I'm lazy; I don't mind, I think they're crazy."): written mostly by John Lennon, it is surprisingly less R&B-based than a most of his songs. From Revolver, it contains little more than a heavily-strummed acoustic guitar, some minimal bass and otherwise emotive lyrics which are oddly affectionate of a less than conscious state.
This song sounds an awful lot like how a high school kid would live if he were able to drop out of school for a multi-million dollar record deal. And so is the story of Sean Kingston, teen R&B sensation. A club song, that sounds like every other club song, the same old bag of synths and beats underscore lyrics which narrate young irresponsible decadence. This song, while playing up ideas of partying hard, and working little at all, is a sort of contemporization of Rod Stewart's "Young Turks." Where Stewart sang, "Young hearts be free tonight, time is on your side," Kingston paraphrases, "The feel of liberation, yeah."
For a song called "Sleepyhead," it sounds like it was recorded on a caffeine high, shrieking falsetto belting out the eponymous descriptor as an affected baby-sounding voice adds to the synthetic stew of shiny plastic sounds. The lyrics describe a half-conscious state between reality and a fantastic dream-world, but play this song with a decent sound system and shouldn't have any trouble perking up.
Julian Casablancas, who knows his way around a late night or two (if dark undereye circles say anything), seems to find sleep to be the enemy of an endless good time. According to this surging, sleep-defiant song, from the Strokes' third album First Impressions of Earth, anyway. He sings, "Oh fear of sleep, can't you wait? I'm not done."
Another Beatles song concerning sleep, or the lack thereof anyway, this song from the White Album is another by Lennon, this time more heavily steeped in R&B and more of a rocker. Lennon pleas, "I'll give you everything I've got for a piece of mind," as endless drinks and cigarette can't seem to replace feelings of uneasiness, which are getting the way of a much coveted nights sleep. This is also the song from which the "Paul is dead" conspiracy was ignited, leaving many deep-reading fanatics sleepless as well.