A Finals Playlist to Get You Through This Week

Whether you are writing an essay or preparing for final exams, finals week is stressful.  Listening to music is, at least in my experience, therapeutic, and it helps me maintain my sense of perspective. Here is a playlist for finals week:

1.  “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons (Evolve, 2017)

Is any finals playlist complete without at least one song from Imagine Dragons?  Not in my mind. There are so many songs of theirs that I could have featured, but “Thunder” is the best of them all.  It is a catchy song that makes me feel like I can conquer the world.

2.  “Hall of Fame (feat. will.i.am)” by The Script (#3, 2012)

The Script is a band from Dublin, Ireland, and they were one of the first of the current wave of Irish musicians to gain international recognition.  This song features American rapper will.i.am, who met frontman Danny O’Donoghue while they were both judges on the British version of The Voice.  The result is an unbelievably catchy and uplifting track.  I play this song whenever I need to feel inspired.

3.  “Nina Cried Power (feat. Mavis Staples)” by Hozier (Nina Cried Power — EP, 2018)

Hozier, best known for taking the world by storm with his 2014 hit, “Take Me to Church,” is finally back with new songs.  “Nina Cried Power” is a dream collaboration between Hozier, who possesses emotional and powerful vocals, and Mavis Staples, an American rhythm and blues and gospel singer who is a civil rights activist and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Whenever I listen to this song, I feel hopeful about the future.

4.  “thank u, next” by Ariana Grande (stand-alone single, 2018)

Words cannot describe how obsessed I am with this song.  The message is positive, prioritizing self-love and empowerment while also thanking the people in your life who have made you a better person.  “thank u, next” serves as a good reminder to keep the big picture in mind while dealing with the stress of finals.

5.  “Head Held High” by Kodaline (Politics of Living, 2018)

Kodaline is another Irish band from Dublin that is seriously underrated.  “Head Held High” is from their recently released third album, and it combines an infectious beat with thoughtful lyrics.  I listen to this song whenever I am feeling overwhelmed because it reminds me that no matter how stressed out I am, I will get through it.

6.  “10 Feet Down (feat. Ruelle)” by NF (Perception, 2017)

This collaboration between rapper and rising star NF and electro-pop singer-songwriter Ruelle results in a catchy anthem for all of the underdogs out there.  Whenever I listen to this song, it makes me feel extra motivated, and like I can overcome any obstacles in my way.

7.  “Be the One” by Dua Lipa (Dua Lipa, 2017)

This song is a serious earworm: it will get stuck in your head for at least a few weeks.  I listen to “Be the One” whenever I am writing a paper because the steady rhythm unlocks any writer’s block, and the words flow from my head to the keyboard much more easily.

8.  “Painkiller” by DREAMERS (This Album Does Not Exist, 2016)

No finals playlist is complete without a fast-paced song that has a catchy beat.  I play this song whenever I need to get back in the rhythm of studying, because listening to it gives me more energy.

9.  “Promise” by Ben Howard (Every Kingdom, 2011)

“Promise” is a guitar-driven ballad, and its bare-bones production is beautiful.  Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, I go somewhere quiet, close my eyes, and listen to the song; it has a calming effect on the mind. Listen to this song during a study break, or whenever you need to clear your head.

10.  “Overture,” “Dance With Me,” “Too Late,” and “I Understood Something” by Dario Marianelli (Anna Karenina [Original Music from the Motion Picture], 2012)

While I rarely listen to classical music, Dario Marianelli is a brilliant composer, and powerful emotions radiate from his pieces.  If you watched the Olympics in February, you might recognize this group of songs from Russian figure skater and silver medalist Evgenia Medvedeva’s free program.  I listen to these songs whenever I need to really concentrate on something, but I’m not in the right headspace.  I recommend playing these songs in the order that I placed them because the sequence has a wide range of emotions, beginning with determination and ending on a calm note, that make for a unique listening experience.  It works like a charm in warding off procrastination.