No matter what types of finals you might have, when you get bored of the Miles Davis or Classical Christmas Pandora stations (my study go-tos), searching around for good study music is inevitable. And if you’re like me, you’ve probably used “Creating the Perfect Study Playlist” as a huge procrastinating excuse. So here is my playlist for finals, equipped with when you should listen to each song – making your excuses (sorry about this) obsolete.
Songs for when you need to read a million pages:
John Butler Trio – Ocean
This song is great for studying for many reasons. The first is that it’s so long, giving you twelve minutes and four seconds before you have to think about what song should come next (or you can just keep replaying it like me). But it also is just one man on one (twelve-stringed) guitar – no lyrics or anything. It’s absolutely beautiful, but it also really helps me concentrate when I need to buckle down and read.
The Middle East – Blood
Nothing about this song is obnoxious or in your face. It is just mellow and relaxing. The instruments lay low and Jordan Ireland’s voice is subtle and high enough that it doesn’t distract you from anything.
A song for when you need to just finish the last part of your stupid project:
Childish Gambino – Casmir
I’m not trying to say that there aren’t difficult projects, but there are some that consist of making Power Points or reformatting and organizing points. For those, something a little more upbeat is perfect to keep the mind keen and amused, but the concentration persisting. “Casmir” is a perfect combo – not to mention it’s a Sufjan Stevens cover.
Songs for when you need to work through every science and math formula known to man:
Del Amitri – Tell Her This
I’m a big fan of this song, partially because it was released the year I was born (1995), but mostly because it was a song that my dad always used to play on a cassette tape in our car. It’s sweet and smooth. There isn’t really a bridge, or any part that isn’t perfectly patterned, so it’s easy to listen to when you’re working through an equation.
Lord Huron – The Ghost On The Shore
This song is just really safe and echo-y. I don’t know how to describe the fact that it makes me feel like I’m floating on a cloud of relaxation without it sounding like I’m dead or doing things that are illegal in most states. But I promise you, once you hear the song, you’ll understand what I mean. You’ll also probably reach levels of calm that make your brain start working again after being overused.
Songs for when you need to write a paper when the rubric specifically said not to use 14-point periods:
Radical Face – The Mute
When I’m writing a paper, I like to listen to music that has variations in its sound, but still manages to sound calm. It helps me work up to talking points in essays and it helps me organize my thoughts. When it only ends up producing word-vomit, even those jumbles are rich with tidbits of essay-gold that end up being really useful in the end. This song (and pretty much all of Radical Face’s stuff) gives me that type of brain-space to really develop my thoughts and knock out a solid paper.
Behn Zeitlin – Once There Was a Hushpuppy
I am completely enthralled and motivated by this song, which heralds from the Beasts of the Southern Wild soundtrack. When I need a final push or need to be reinvigorated in my topic and idea, I turn this on and am able to find my direction and end with a sensation of power. This song is great for studying and writing, but once finals are over, you might have trouble turning it off.
A song for when you need a break from studying, even when you weren’t ever really studying in the first place
Dan Croll – Compliment Your Soul
This three-minute song is great for a short escape into better, happier times where you could pretend homework didn’t exist and your grades were perfect. Plus, the music video features some weird taxidermied animals and very poor dancing, provided by Dan Croll, himself, in the form of swaying at the beginning. It’s a great little distraction and a fun detour – which is sometimes necessary.
Vampire Weekend – Campus
One last treat – but this time, much more related to the finals season. Good luck this week, everyone. May the odds be ever in your favor – and by that, I of course mean the odds that what you do study will end up on your exams, and what you don’t will not.