The Ultimate Studying For Finals Playlist

It’s that time of the semester that you’ve all been waiting for: finals week! As we all rediscover that Manhattan College has a fabulous library (seriously guys - it’s been here all year, where have you been?), we also discover how much information we’ve covered in all of our classes.

And it’s a lot.

It is no question that more than half of Manhattan College will be locked in O’Malley Library starting this Friday. Page after page, your eyes will begin to cross; the library begins to blur into a grey mass. Hour after hour, you begin to question your surroundings, descending into a madness that only studying for finals can induce. As you try to get your work done, the engineers that have colonized the library begin to scream and, in turn, you want to scream right back at them.

Didn’t anyone ever tell them that the library is a place for peace and quiet?

In short, you need a finals studying playlist and you need one fast. You don’t have the time nor the energy to throw together a set of tracks that probably do not work together. You have no time for that awful dissonant noise. Cross creating a studying playlist off of your “To Do” list. I’ve got your back, my fellow Jaspers.

“Right Action” by Franz Ferdinand, off of their record, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action.

The best way to start studying is to do a little bit of exercise, so what better way to start off your studying session than a quick dance session? Featuring jangly, angular guitars and bouncing bass, you’ll be right up on your feet shaking your hips and hair.

The chorus repeats the album’s title, “right thoughts, right words, right action,” which is the perfect motto for this semester’s finals week. You’ll need to have the right thoughts and the right words before you can have the right action on your finals. Crack open your books after you’ve gotten your blood flowing and let lead singer Alex Kapranos ease you through your first chapter outline.

“F*ck This Sh*t” by God Help The Girl, off of the soundtrack, God Help The Girl (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack).

The harmonica has never sounded so lovely before. This simple, short track is reminiscent of brisk fall days long gone. The strings are light and mesmerizing; the guitar warm and inspiring. It’s essentially the exact opposite sound of a song with a name “F*ck This Sh*t” would imply.

Although “f*ck this sh*t” may be exactly how you’re feeling towards your studies right now, hopefully the melodic harmonica will convince you to put your fingers to the keyboard; your pen to the paper. It’s only a matter of time before you’re wrapped up comfortably in bed.

“Has It Come To This?” by The Streets, off of his album, Original Pirate Material.

The British are proving to us Americans that we can’t even do rap and R&B correctly.

The heavy bass paired with the gentle, repeating piano makes for an interesting studying song. It’s easy to nod your head to as you write out the third class review guide of the day. Mike Skinner’s Brixton-based accent is a constant presence within the track, constantly propelling the song further. If you find yourself staring at the ceiling, asking, “has it come to this?”, let Skinner push you forward to finish that chapter and more.

“Trouble” by Citizens!, off of their record, European Soul.

Yes, in finals week, no matter how prepared you may be, you’re still in a lot of trouble. Who the hell wants to take hours-long exams potentially back-to-back? Straight up nobody.

It’s no secret that I enjoy everything Citizens! releases. This song’s opening echoing synthesizer always reminds me of Christmas time (which is very fitting given the time of the year). Tom Burke’s voice is as saccharine sweet as ever. Paired with the soft, mellow nature of “Trouble,” this song will keep you focused on the mountains of work you still have left to do. The repetition of “I’ll be in trouble” throughout the song is haunting, reminding all of us of the work we still have yet to finish.

“Dreaming Of Another World” by Mystery Jets, off of their album, Serotonin.

The quiet, quick guitar run in the beginning of this song is the perfect motivation to continue on with your work. The synthesizer swoops in and is spiraling and ethereal. As Blaine Harrison’s voice commands your attention, perhaps you’ll begin to “dream of another world,” one where finals have been outlawed entirely.

Mystery Jets remind us that while we may “be talking all throughout the night” (we have to memorize those vocabulary terms somehow), we’ll “make it home all right,” perhaps a bit more tear-stained than usual.

“An Argument With Myself” by Jens Lekman, off of his EP, An Argument With Myself.

If you ask my roommate about Jens Lekman, she’ll tell you that he’s the saddest man in the world. I think he’s a man who can adequately capture life’s seemingly meaningless intricacies.

Let’s face it, finals week is a constant dialogue with yourself, trying to convince your body to stay awake for one more chapter. You will be shouting at yourself, “f*ck you, no, you f*ck you!” as your hand cramps for the 90th time tonight. Despite it all, Lekman’s voice is a perpetual presence in this track, the tropical guitar promising a future of warmer climes and maybe a reconciliation within yourself. The accordion has never sounded so good.

“Yeah, you want to keep fighting? Yeah, I want to keep fighting. All right, here we go!”

“I Can’t Pretend” by The Drums, off of their record, Encyclopedia.

This song is incredibly dark, yet the easiest to get up and sway to. Jonny Pierce’s voice is as melancholic as ever - a fitting sound for the height of college student stress. The guitar is piercing; the synthesizer echoing and heartbreaking. This song is entrancing, nearly tricking you into finishing that last essay if it hasn’t caused you to burst out into dramatic wails and sobs.

If you ask me, there is no better way to describe finals week than with the lyric, “You know I’m not crying / But you know I’m not trying to care.”

“It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way” by The Blow Monkeys, off of their album, She Was Only A Grocer’s Daughter.

Look, I don’t want you to flood the library with your tears - people need a place to do their work. Let the opening saxophone inspire you to wipe those tears from your face and get back to work. Robert Howard’s voice is warm, confident and melodic as he croons, “You know, it doesn’t have to be this way.”

And he’s right - it doesn’t have to be this way. Absorb his confidence and go forth with your studies.

“Runaway” by New Navy, off of their album, Lakeside.

When I first discovered this song, I sat at my desk with my hand at my mouth, completely shocked that such a beautiful song flown so under the radar. It’s a damn shame.

Yes, by the seventh consecutive hour that you may be in library, you may feel like the only appropriate reaction to finals week is to run away far and fast. However, let “Runaway” by New Navy hypnotize and lock you into your desk chair. This song is the definition of dream-pop, featuring even dreamier lyrics such as “Day and night / Intertwine / There’s no telling the two apart.”

Tragically, New Navy has broken up, but that is no excuse for you to break up with your studies. GET THAT A.

“It Is What It Is” by Blood Orange, off of their record, Cupid Deluxe.

“It Is What It Is” is a song that will make you demand from your favorite artists to use more marimba in their tracks. That opening marimba line is f*cking iconic. It’s both parts melancholy and tropical. As Dev Hynes’ breathlessly enters “It Is What It Is,” you’ll be convinced to get up on your feet and to dance angularly (no? Just me?) and to mimic Sarah Urbani’s delicate voice in the chorus.

I’m a very interesting person to go to the library with.

As your study session comes to a closer, do not say “it is what it is” to the rest of your studies. You can do it - I believe in you. Anything is possible with a proper playlist. Go forth and prosper, fellow Jaspers.

You can listen to this week’s playlist via Spotify below.

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