Tunes From Last Semester (Or, How I Survived Finals Week)

Let’s face it, being a student is never as easy or as fun as we fantasize it to be. Now, I’m an optimistic kind of gal, but even I generally fail to see the amusement in standing in front of a whiteboard for five, sometimes six hours at a time, painstakingly copying down notes and diagrams in semi-futile preparing for an exam that isn’t even in my chosen field of study.

Thankfully, we have coping mechanisms. And equally thankfully, a big one for me has always been music. Which definitely proved to be a huge calming factor in all of the stress that accumulated last semester.

A big help for me during long nights of reading was to create a low-key, mellow productivity playlist on Spotify of songs that I could get work done to without getting distracted. To do this, I generally stayed with music that was very synth-heavy, or overlaid with chiming melodies of guitar, and lyrics that were either faded into the background or that I knew so well from how many times I’d listened to the song that they wouldn’t get distracting.

One of my favourite bands to study to, particularly for my Ecology exams, was The War on Drugs. I’ve already gone on and on about my love of this band , but I just can’t get over how well they instantly create a definable ambiance from the first note. Their music transports me to a place of instant bliss and calm, buried under layers and layers of hazy production and intricate instrumentation, and I still can’t hear “Under the Pressure” without instantly feeling my shoulders relax.

Another opportunity for some peace and momentary spacing out came from the dream pop duo Beach House, who I’d mistakenly written off in high school as “not my cup of tea.” I got into this group when asked to weigh in if “Teen Dream” or “Bloom” was the superior album, and after spending a significant amount of time listening to both, I prefer the sparseness and reverberating loneliness of “Teen Dream” to the lush and beautiful production of “Bloom.” Both equally helped during walks to class and hours spent at my job, though, and I’ve expanded my listening into 2015’s “Depression Cherry” and “Thank Your Lucky Stars,” too.

For times when relaxation wasn’t exactly what I craved, I listened to a decent amount of Parquet Courts. This group has everything I love in my indie rock-a rough around the edges, fast and loose style that manages to show an impressive amount of skill (for whatever reason I’m always attracted to their basslines) and lyrics that are slyly literary with a sharp wit. I’ve been listening to “Borrowed Time” since high school, and I’m so glad I expanded to full albums like “Light Up Gold + Tally All the Things You Broke” and “Human Performance” this past semester.

What music do you listen to when you need to get away for a while?

As always, thanks for reading, and God bless.

-Turntable Talk

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2 thoughts on “Tunes From Last Semester (Or, How I Survived Finals Week)

  1. TT, as a music-mad student in uni (many moons ago), I found it difficult studying to songs with words. Thus George Winston’s December played over (& over) again on my Walkman cramming for finals. Now, when concentration is required, I listen to Gabriela Montero’s Bach & Beyond (her spontaneous compositions keep minds moving) & Libera (Peace, Visions, Luminosa, Free…) & Karl Jenkins’ Adiemus compilations. 😎🎹😎

    Liked by 2 people

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