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Study Tunes for Your Finals Week Blues

Simply put, the last two weeks of the semester suck.

The majority of students are begrudgingly studying for their final exams or painstakingly writing their final papers (I have four of those!). Music is a great way to maintain your focus while cramming in every bit of information you were supposed to have absorbed over the course of the semester. We at Onward State have decided to make a Spotify playlist for our fellow students to help propel you through finals week. I tend to stick with acoustic-based and instrumental songs when I’m studying or writing. Here are some of my picks.

Explosions in the Sky – “Be Comfortable, Creature”

The Texas-based Explosions in the Sky rose to prominence after writing the soundtrack for the 2004 film Friday Night Lights. Their albums have been remarkably consistent, and this song off their most recent release Take Care, Take Care, Take Care is a perfect example of their excellent work. Their music is entirely instrumental and the perfect background music as you write your final paper(s).

The Tallest Man on Earth – “Thousand Ways”

Kristian Matsson (aka The Tallest Man on Earth) is not the tallest man on earth. He is, however, an extremely gifted singer/songwriter from Sweden who has been compared to Bob Dylan. This beautiful track, from his 2010 album The Wild Hunt, showcases his awesome fingerpicking on the guitar and unique voice. He sounds even better in concert, so don’t miss the chance to see him perform on his next US tour.

Ugly Casanova – “Barnacles”

Ugly Casanova is the side project of Modest Mouse (you know, the band who wrote this song) frontman, Isaac Brock. Their lone album, Sharpen Your Teeth, came out on Sub Pop Records in 2002 and featured some gems that were fairly different stylistically from Brock’s work with Modest Mouse. I’ve always found “Barnacles” to be extremely soothing when I am studying. If you are a Modest Mouse fan, Ugly Casanova is definitely worth checking out.

Jeff Pianki – “Old Habits”

Of all the random things I’ve found on Youtube, Jeff Pianki’s music has definitely been my best discovery. This unsigned musician from Michigan has released a handful of wonderful EPs and one short album, Paper Window, which I highly recommend. “Old Habits” is one of his best tracks and a worthy inclusion in your finals playlist.

Slightly Stoopid – “Closer to the Sun”

Slightly Stoopid, every stoner’s favorite band, has some great laid-back tunes for studying. “Closer to the Sun,” from the album of the same name, features some great acoustic guitar work and precise percussion.

Dinosaur Jr. – “See You”

Dinosaur Jr. were legends on the indie rock scene of the late 80’s and early 90’s. After disbanding in 1997, the group reformed in 2005 and have released two acclaimed albums since. More known for the use of heavy distortion in their earlier years, this track from their 2009 album Farm features bright, melodic guitar work from J. Macsis.

These are just a few of the tracks I’ll be studying to this year. Check out the selections of some Onward State staff members on Spotify and give us your own suggestions in the comment section!

About the Author

Sam Cooper

Sam is a senior originally from Newtown, PA who majors in print journalism and is a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. His athletic peak was age 11 so he decided to grow a beard and write about sports instead.


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