10 Songs To Celebrate The End Of The Semester

My fellow Jaspers: we have finally did it. We have finally reached the end of the semester. Summer is now in sight. The sun is out; the birds are singing. You can now go outside without wearing a sweater and you no longer hear your mother screaming in your head telling you that you’re an idiot for doing so.

In order to fully welcome the beginning of the end, I thought it would best to commemorate it with music: the only thing that can make warm weather and sunshine even better.

While the end is now in sight, we still have to power through endless finals, paper and presentations before we can bury ourselves in the sand. I have crafted a playlist for you to keep your mood positive and to provide you with a momentary auditory escape. You won’t work your best if you work for eight hours straight, trust me. You’ll need a break here and there to continue churning out your work.

You can thank me later when you’re stress-free and lacking work to do.

“Two Doors Down” by Mystery Jets, off of their album, Twenty One.

“Two Doors Down” is a wonderful 80s-inspired pop creation by Mystery Jets. The drums provide you with a beat that’s infectious and easy to dance to while the synthesizer sparkles into existence during the chorus. Blaine Harrison has a sweet, desperate voice that amplifies the emotions stirred by the instrumentals. You’ll be fluctuating between happy and sad innumerous times in this three minute, 39 second song that you’ll wish was much longer than it is.

Prepare to have this one stuck in your head for the rest of your life.

“Still Left With Me” by Craft Spells, off of their EP, “Gallery.”

Craft Spells is all of your dream-pop dreams come true.

“Still Left With Me” is a jangly track that tugs at the heartstrings with Justin Vallestero’s longing, fuzzy vocals. It’s an overwhelming amount of song that leaves you at a loss of what to do. You can lose yourself in the synthesizer and bass combination - and perhaps you should. You’ve done enough thinking this finals week.

I’m frequently left speechless at this song. It’s a fairly simple song with near-unintelligible lyrics, but it’s an emotional rollercoaster. With each guitar chord, you’ll feel your mood drop exponentially and you’ll be longing for someone who no longer - or perhaps even doesn’t - exist.

“Only Heather” by Wild Nothing, off of their record, Nocturne.

When I first discovered this band, I found myself craving for their music incessantly. Nocturne is a fantastic record with endless replay value and, if you have the time this week, well-worth the play-through.

“Only Heather” is yet another song that seeks to overwhelm you with sound, but instead of instilling a sensation of longing within you, it makes you lovesick. Jack Tatum’s voice is dreamy and lulls you away from any of your present stressors. You’ll be bobbing your head to the intricate guitar work and smiling at the basic lyrical rhyme scheme.

Remember heroic couplets from English class? Now you do.

“Simple And Sure” by The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, off of their album, Days Of Abandon.

This is just an unashamed, jangly guitar-ridden song that does not seek to be anything more than it is: a really good pop song. Kip Berman’s voice, loaded with nostalgia, inspires you to think of simpler, stress-free times where you were ideally face-down in the sand somewhere. The lyrics are brutally honest, featuring such gems like “She’s in love with a complicated man” and “It might seem simple but I’m sure / I just want to be yours” The sunshine-stained guitars creep into your mind and stay there - perpetually commanding you to bob your head to the constant drum beat.

Move your feet - put on a smile. There’s no reason why you should be upset while listening to “Simple And Sure.”

“So Near” by Jack Peñate, off of his record, Everything Is New.

“So Near” has always been a spring-time favorite of mine. It’s relentlessly happy with its bright guitar intros and constant clapping. Jack Peñate has a wonderfully warm voice that’s easy to get lost in (despite the heavy English accent). The backing vocals beckon you to sing along with “So Near” and, frankly, it’s quite easy to do. Peñate crafts beautiful images with his lyrics and keeps you wondering as to what the speaker is “so near” to.

With all these things in mind, there’s a lot for you to focus in on. Immerse yourself in the urban-tropical sound and forget about your studies for a moment. Latch onto that bass line and locate those claps and dare yourself to keep up with the beat. You’ll thank me later.

“Cumbia” by Smooth Ends, off of their EP, “Magic Johnson.”

To anyone who has been around me in the last month or so, I want to sincerely apologize for shoving this song down your throat. I do it with good reason, however. “Cumbia,” heavily inspired by Spanish guitar, is a song that screams sunshine and relaxation. They’re smooth and seek to hypnotize you from your daily world. Isn’t escapism wonderful?

I firmly believe that my quality of life has increased dramatically since I discovered Smooth Ends.

Kevin Erlicher’s voice is lazy and cool, only picking up when to command an unknown person to “lay by my side / and don’t make no sound.” In any other situation, frankly, I would think it rude. However, Erlicher delivers it in such a carefree, borderline-sexy manner that I don’t care.

The several incomplete cadences towards the end of the song are frustrating, but you’ll wish that they continued on forever with no end in sight.

“Alex” by Girls, off of their album, Father, Son, Holy Ghost.

Any time I hear this song, an image of a convertible driving fast down the Californian coast appears in my mind. Girls is a band that best known for their sunshine-stained guitar and droning vocals. All of those elements are featured strongly in “Alex.”

Christopher Owens drones on about this Alex figure who seems to be quite magnetizing. His voice is quiet, which indicates that perhaps the speaker has been scorned by Alex in the past. It is a wonderfully fragile and vulnerable track - qualities that are disguised by the warm guitar and full-sounding bass.

“Under Cover” by Ducktails, off of their record, The Flower Lane.

“Under Cover” is what you get when you take smooth-jazz influenced indie music and play it underwater. You’ll never feel cooler than you did when you listened to this fantastic track by Ducktails while laying back on the Quad in the high sun.

The guitar work is smooth and carefree while Matt Mondanile nearly slurs his way through the track. It is exactly the song that you go “under the covers / at night” to. With each strum of the guitar in the verses, you’ll feel yourself transported to a whole new universe, only to be brought back down to Earth by the frantic jam session that is the chorus.

Any musical style or tempo you were looking for can be found in “Under Cover.” Each section is expertly glued together by the hypnotic guitar. You won’t be able to get enough.

“Tu Casa Nueva” by El Último Vecino.

I recently came across this track thanks to Spotify and was taken aback by how effortlessly cool and emotionally-stirring it was.

The lead singer has a dark and desperate voice. When paired with the soft synthesizer and quick drum beat, you’ll be at a loss of how to feel. What I particularly enjoy about this song is how frenetic the chorus’ vocals are and while the verses are smooth and gentle upon the year.

Remember how I said that you’ll be at a loss of how to feel? Well, this emotional uncertainty is mirrored in the juxtaposition of smooth and jerky sounds.

El Último Vecino is the Spanish-language baby of The Cure and The Smiths and it’s freakin’ wonderful.

“Me And The Moon” by The Drums, off of their eponymous debut.

Word of warning: you’ll be shouting “forever, forever, forever” ad infinitum (or perhaps even ad nauseum) until your roommate becomes so furious with you that he or she knocks you out. Jonny Pierce takes repetition and turns it into an infectious musical weapon that will leave you plagued for, well, forever.

Prepare to sadly sway with cuffed jeans and the sun in your eyes to “Me And The Moon.” You’ll be clutching your chest in faux-heartbreak as Pierce wails, “But I don’t know how to feel without you love” and scrambling back to your feet to shoegaze your life away. The rhythm is simple and the guitar is just fuzzy enough to make this song ready for your soon-to-be-curated beach playlist.

And on that note, Jaspers, I’ll see you in the fall. You can listen to this week’s playlist below via Spotify.