Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
It’s Midterms week(s?), but let’s be real, we’re studying all the time anyway. For the past few playlists, it’s been all fun and games, but now it’s time to get somewhat serious. I often find it difficult to listen to songs with lyrics, so I usually turn to instrumentals, movie soundtracks, and jazz to get my hardcore studying done. These are just a select few songs from my (infinite) library, however if you particularly like a song, I would suggest listening to the entire album while studying for style and mood consistency. Below is my studying playlist:
1) “Hand Cover Bruise” and “In Motion” by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
The soundtrack of The Social Network is a minimalist and contemporary album that sets the mood for young Mark running around Harvard’s campus when he was furiously drunk coding. You must listen to these consecutively. These tracks are especially motivating to listen to for those comp sci labs.
2) “Running Off” by Danny Elfman
Taken from Silver Lining Playbook, it this song features a simple, yet catchy melody. Although it’s only 2:00 minutes long, I often listen to the entire soundtrack or type “repeat” in front of “youtube” in the url.
3) “Once There Was a Hushpuppy” by Benh Zeitlin
From Beasts of the Southern Wild, this beautiful soundtrack immediately caught my attention when I saw the movie showing on campus. Magical, rhythmic, and motivational, you too can feel like Hushpuppy and beast your midterms.
4) “A Walk” by Tycho
From his album Dive (2011), Tycho brings us relaxing chillwave electronic music. Those who are fans of Toro Y Moi or Washed Out might find this that doing homework to this song is as refreshing as taking a walk.
5) “Moonglow” by Benny Goodman
Let’s throw some jazz in here— my favorite song by Benny Goodman that I discovered on a vinyl. Makes nighttime studying so much more bearable.
6) “Be” by Common (Instrumental Version)
One of the best beats that Kanye has ever made. Heck, walk around campus listening to this song. It will put a kick in your step and pump up your mind to crunch through your last problem set.
7) “In a Faraway Place” by Shanghai Restoration Project feat. Mimi Yu
Reinterpreting of an old Chinese song from the 1930s, Shanghai Restoration Project brings us the modern a version with electronic beats and a cello solo. Absolutely brilliant instrumental that deserves a listen.
8) “Dream Within a Dream” by Hans Zimmer
Your midterm paper is due in two hours and you’re barely done your rough draft. Time to go into overdrive. From Christopher Nolan’s Inception, this song will get your heart racing and remind you the urgency of finishing the paper before your course grade collapses.
9) “Postcards From Far Away” by Coldplay
From Prospekt March, this piece is magically in every sense of the word. This is unfortunately only a 48 second song, but within 48 seconds, Coldplay can transport you in to places far far away from Swarthmore and your studies.
10) “Where Is My Mind” by Maxence Cyrin
This Pixie’s cover is my favorite song for basically any occasion. Whether it be just lounging around in my room or doing readings, this will surely soothe your soul.
Photo courtesy of freshnewtracks.com