At this most dull and depressing time of the academic year, music can be the only thing dragging you through the hours spent bent over notes, wishing you had attended even one lecture or tried a little harder in that essay. In these dark days of revision and exams it’s all too easy to exhaust your study playlists; there really are only so many times you can listen to Westlife’s greatest hits, or a power-ballad mix of Leona and Christina. Don’t ever let yourself stoop that low, it’s not pretty.
So we’re here to jazz up your study tunes, with a list of our editors’ favourite songs and albums to stay on that road to exam success and university stardom. Get out of that musical rut and try something new…
Jessie Ware : Tough Love // Lucy Keown
Jessie Ware’s most recent album, Tough Love, is a heady mix of crooning, slower songs coupled with some bigger emotional tracks such as ‘Say You Love Me’. The album’s flow throughout each song, linking them all together, is what makes it so perfect for studying – it’s like background music, with enough intrigue to stop me from becoming too incredibly bored.
Spotify : ‘Mellow Pop Gold’ // Lottie van Grieken
The ‘Mellow Pop Gold’ playlist on Spotify is ideal for some focused fun. It has got a whole range of music, is fairly chilled but uplifting making it perfect through the day and night. It’s also got those sing along songs (perfect for an outburst of song in extended revision breaks, perhaps to be avoided in the ‘silent’ section of the library). Spotify add new songs all the time so it never gets boring. Its pretty cheery too, ideal to beat the exam blues. Perhaps less ideal for essay writing (if like me you are prone to writing what you hear) but is definitely one for keeping your spirits high and beating your nerves in those final revision cram sessions.
SBTRKT // Anna Ireland
Their music is perfect for concentrating, namely when you’re at the last part of an essay and are close to giving up/tearing your hair out. They’re soothing and melodic in equal measure, and won’t distract you with emotional or easily discernible lyrics (anything too tuneful, and I’d be consumed with the desire to sing along). I could listen to this album on repeat; it’s the perfect back drop to an intense study session and will effectively calm those nerves whilst providing enough of a beat to carry you through to the finish line.
Sylvan Esso : COFFEE // Kate Whitaker
By this point in the semester my study music reserves are running extremely low. I have countless Spotify playlists that I have listened to so many times that they now immediately conjure up a mental image of the bright lights of level 8 and the sounds of someone slurping coffee next to me.
For me, study music has to be calming and chill – I quite often listen to trance or electronic music. Recently I’ve been very into Slyvan Esso, Bad Bad Hats, Oh Wonder, Camera Obscura, GEMS etc. In desperation I have resorted to searching for ‘chillwave’ on 8tracks and seeing what I get – its is a risky tactic but sometimes it pays off!
Miles Davis : Kind of Blue // Hannah Burgess
I stumbled on this album completely by accident but I’m so glad I did. For me, listening to music while studying is a must – however known tunes and lyrics prove more of a distraction than helpful. The great thing about this album is that neither of those issues are a problem. It’s chilled, its varied and with tracks averaging at nine minutes in length you can really get into a zone without being distracted by a drastic change in song. Granted it’s not for everyone, especially those who need a constant techno kind of beat, but give it a try – you might be surprised!