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Around week 5 of every semester there is a tidal wave of midterm exams, projects and papers that begin to overwhelm students across the country and world alike. Every semester I am somehow surprised by this, even though I am fully aware of its existence. This year especially, with the bustling cold and the maintaining pandemic, there is extra stress amidst the student population. One way I relax is by finding and engaging with new music; these are my top picks right now.

“Good Days” by SZA

SZA’s Ctrl is easily one of the best albums of 2017, and this return single does not disappoint. Thankfully it seems most people agree and this song is quite popular. This is the music you throw on while all the roommates are gathered in the kitchen assembling dinner or while you walk down the lakeshore path pretending that it’s not terribly cold outside. It is the music you play while unwinding from the season of midterms that is upon us. Hopefully this means that there will be much more to come from SZA. It seems like the singer has confirmed a new album dropping soon. I know for a fact that record will make my 2021.

“Don’t Judge Me” by FKA Twigs, Headie One, Fred again…

I am a sucker for a little FKA Twigs number. Her voice is so haunting, yet so beautiful. I listen to all of MAGDALENE at least once a week. It has Twigs chilling vocals with Headie One’s honest and heartbreaking portrayal of his experience as a Black man today. It’s groovy and impactful. Some of the best music encapsulates the real experiences of living in the modern world, and this is a prime example.

“Paradise” by MEDUZA and Dermot Kennedy

Dancers and sad girls alike watch Dermot Kennedy like a hawk. More upbeat and dancey than his usual ballads, with the help of Italian DJ trio MEDUZA, this song is definitely more fit for a crowd rather than the lonely single. This is a song that makes you wish the pandemic was over and you had the ability to congregate with strangers again.

“Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” by Taylor Swift

Finally after Taylor gained the rights to her own music back from the menace Scooter Braun, she announced the upcoming rerecordings of her past albums. When the news struck, I was instantly most excited for Fearless. Beginning with the smash hit “Love Story”, Swift delivers the same general feel with enhanced maturity. Though overall it doesn’t sound that different, you know it’s more developed. Losing the deceptive country twang is just one example of its evolution. Though it seems to have the same backing, this version sounds more stripped down and raw.

“Chemtrails Over The Country Club” by Lana Del Rey

With an upcoming release in March under the same title, Lana dropped her first single riddled with everything I love from the sedated lonesome singer including astrology, distrust in religion and feeling numb among reality. Everything Lana has to offer is loaded into this track, and that gives me immense hope for the upcoming album.

While I am aware these are not the most indie picks, as Kesha says “I’m a cheesy girl who loves pop music.” So, this is your sign to keep up the good work this semester and when you need a break, a great way to mend that is by unwinding with music.

Charlotte is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison hoping to major in Journalism and Strategic Communication upon admission to the School of Journalism. This is her first year writing for Her Campus Wisconsin. When not writing, you can find her dancing, reading, or watching Glee.
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