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The Top 10 Albums for Surviving Finals

Tired of scrolling through infinite “indie-mellow-acoustic-instrumental” playlists on 8-tracks in an attempt to procrastinate going through the 68 slides you have to read before your final the following day?

Did reading that sentence make you want to hide under a desk in the fetal position and rock yourself back and forth very slowly? 

We are here to help. After spending hours trolling the internet for the most therapeutic, yet motivating albums and playlists out there, we have compiled a list of the ten best musical compilations to provide the soundtrack to the slow and steady burning pain that is final exams. There’s something in here for everyone; from the determined and positive worker bee, poised and caffeinated, to the emotionally unstable procrastinator, constantly on the brink of tears as they binge eat Swedish berries and call their mothers. We’ve done all the work for you, so you can get back to those slides.

Or maybe just check your Instagram one more time, something important might have happened in the last two minutes.

1. Beck – Morning Phase

Released this February, Beck’s “Morning Phase” will soothe your swelling brain, but provide just enough intrigue to keep you awake. The album is somewhat uncharacteristic for Beck who is normally known for zany experimentation in his music, but the tracks are refreshingly simple, making them perfect for early mornings in the library. 

2. Produced by J. Dilla
For lovers of hip-hop and R&B, this incredibly well curated playlist from Songza is perfect for studying. It covers a wide range of music produced by the late great J. Dilla, including songs by Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, Ghostface Killah, Common, De La Soul, The Pharcyde, Erykah Badu and J. Dilla himself. Tracks range from laid back to upbeat, but all of them embrace the diverse influences and rhythmic style that J. Dilla was so famous for. This playlist provides a nice hip-hop education to compliment whatever other pointless crap you’re learning about (i.e. Earth and Ocean Sciences: Rocks and Gems). 
3. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – The Social Network Soundtrack

This soundtrack has to be one of the most popular albums to study to of all time. After all, it is the soundtrack to a movie that is literally about college students being productive. Doesn’t get much more literal than that, folks. This album will have you feeling so motivated you might actually drop out of school and try to start a multi-billion dollar internet business. Or maybe just ace your final, that’s good too. 

4. Road Trip Through Canada

For the classic rock enthusiast, this little gem of a playlist is a no-brainer. Curated by The Guess Who’s Burton Cummings, the list features Cummings’ personal favorites from his classic rock collection, all meant to accompany a long road trip across our great nation. And while one can only hope none of you are actually studying while driving, this playlist promises to keep you focused and awake. In addition, it will mentally transport you to the 1970’s, a time when the internet didn’t exist and people actually got things done. 

5. Miles Davis – The Birth of Cool

To build on the theme of music from the pre-internet age, classic jazz serves as excellent instrumental music for studying. While there’s no distracting lyrics, the tunes are lively enough to keep your eyes open. Also, listening to jazz will give you something to talk about if you ever find yourself at an ‘adult party’ where people just sort of stand around and drink red wine. The Birth of Cool is an enduring classic, and a great introduction to Miles Davis.

6. The Blogged 50

For those of you that were super grossed out by the “old person vibe” given off by the last two posts, not to fear. We turned to Songza yet again to find a playlist to satisfy the trendiest of our readers in one fell swoop. The Blogged 50 is a playlist that is updated weekly and provides a comprehensive overview of the most popular songs across the vast tundra that is the internet. For all the multitaskers out there, this playlist allows you to discover new music while you discover how screwed you are for your next final. Hurray for efficiency! 

7. Fleet Foxes – Helpless Blues

Fleet Foxes folk melodies can have an almost repetative quality, which actually makes their music perfect for a cramming session. Their second effort released in 2011, Helplessness Blues has a self-described “groove-based” quality that is sure to calm any pre-exam jitters.

8. Groove Armada – White Light

This album comes from left field a little bit. Released in 2010, it’s not the most popular album released by British electronic duo Groove Armada, however it does serve our purposes (studying, remember?) rather well. The album was meant to accompany their previous release, the more laid-back Black Light, however, we feel the dance-y, euphoric sounds that come from this album are perfect for the student who needs a little bit of positive reinforcement. It’s a good alternative to dance music that actually makes you want to dance, which can be really distracting – especially in a public library. 

9. Thomas Newman 

Thomas Newman is essentially the king of subtle yet moving film scores. Listening to his scores while studying may result in uncontrallable crying, existential revelations, and/or a sudden urge to stare out of a window longingly. All that aside, his award winning compositions actually make for a great study soundtrack, mostly because they make everything you’re doing seem dramatic and meaningful. Suddenly you need to finish this reading on the Civil Rights Movement, because you are Martin Luther King Jr., and an entire nation needs your leadership… you get the point. We couldn’t pick just one soundtrack, but some notables include; American Beauty, White Oleander, The Shawshank Redemption, Revolutionary Road and The Road to Perdition.

10. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon

Alright, while this classic album is arguably “overrated” on the whole, there’s no denying that Floyd seriously gets you in the zone. There’s a reason why they have Pink Floyd laser shows at virtually every laser-dome on earth… because their music makes watching lasers for an hour seem really, really, cool. So following logic, The Dark Side of the Moon might make micro-economics seem really, really cool? At least we can dream. 

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