For all of you who are still in college like me, midterms are upon us. There’s nothing fun about a multitude of exams, papers and presentations worth 30 percent of your grade all smashed into five days. No doubt this week will be rough. You’ll likely spend at least one morning watching the sun rise through the window of the library as you attempt to keep your eyes open by consuming copious amounts of caffeine and Cheez-its, scrambling to finish your annotated bibliography before the 9 a.m. deadline.
There’s no escaping the doom and dread that accompany midterms week. However, a good soundtrack can be the difference between having a mental breakdown in the middle of the student center or memorizing those last few notecards with 20 minutes to spare. In my experience, there are two types of music necessary to get you through a stressful study night: the calming playlist and the pump-up playlist.
First, your calm, cool and collected music. You know that moment of finals week when you’ve come to the conclusion that you’ll never amount to anything in life and might as well drop out of college and buy a bunch of cats? No? Well if you do happen to feel like that at some point, it’s time for the calm playlist. This type of music is ideal for when you need to buckle down on your work and drown out all other distractions, both internal and external. Songs heavy on instrumentals with light or no vocals always work best for me. Here’s a few suggestions:
Let the Drummer Kick – Citizen Cope — This song feels almost hypnotizing and always calms me down.
Exit Music (For a Film) – Radiohead — I’m a big fan of listening to Radiohead whilst writing papers. Or doing anything, really. They have a few songs that are a little too upbeat or distracting, but most of them are perfect for studying.
The Lumineers – self-titled album — I know we’re probably all tired of hearing “Ho Hey” on the radio, but this full album is really great if you’re into folky sounds, soulful vocals and soft, sweet melodies to ease you through your 2 a.m. cram session.
Moonlight Sonata – Beethoven — As a pianist, I may be a bit biased, but you really cannot go wrong with Beethoven, and I think this is one of the most eerily beautiful songs in the world. No vocals or extra instruments to distract you, just the hammers and strings of the piano.
Next, the pump-up playlist. This is for when you’re scrambling to meet a last-minute deadline, prepping for an all-nighter or struggling to hang in there during the wee hours of the morning. Don’t even think about falling asleep on that library desk and drooling for all to see! Crank up some jams and get back to work, kid.
Adderall and Red Bull – Timeflies — The first few words of this song are, “I’ve been up for three days,” followed shortly by, “I feel so pathetic.” Sounds like midterms to me! Don’t worry, Cal and Rez will get you through the night with a sick freestyle and equally awesome beats.
Aint Too Proud to Beg – The Temptations — I grew up outside of Detroit, so obviously I’m going to throw some Motown at you. Is it possible to listen to this song and not instantly feel happier and more upbeat? I think not.
Tyler Durden Isn’t Real – White Noise — Every mash-up off of White Noise’s “Spoiler Alert!” is pretty superb if you ask me, but this is my personal favorite. No way you can fall asleep when there’s a dozen songs perfectly melded together in five minutes. Everything from Passion Pit to Dave Matthews to Jay-Z, with a cameo from Brad Pitt.
Rosalita – Bruce Springsteen — You can never go wrong with The Boss. This is one of my all-time favorite songs, and perfectly upbeat for those midterm nights when you want to do nothing but collapse on your twin bed and cancel anything and everything related to school. Instead, you’ll be dancing around the library — it’s that catchy.
There are so many other songs I could list, but I now need to write a five-page paper that’s due tomorrow. Hooray midterms! Hang in there, friends. And share the midterms week playlist love.