By Edut Birger
For those of you on the semester system, finals are fast approaching. For those of us on the quarter system (read: hell), midterms are upon us. With the weather warming up and the prospect of summer vacation growing nearer, it’s hard to find the motivation to study. That’s where we come in. If you gather all 12 billion dollars worth of textbooks you bought this term, lock yourself in the library, and queue up this carefully curated playlist, we promise to help make the study session go by a little bit faster. Rise and grind, kids. It’ll all be over soon.
"Wildman" by Sun Drug
Heavy on guitar and synth, this is the perfect track to play when you really need to start getting up close and personal with your notes. This is the song you would want playing during a really intense montage in the movie about your life. Wildman is also very vocally impressive; they have some serious pipes.
Touch by MOTHXR
I’ll put MOTHXR on any playlist, honestly. But this track has a really cool bass line and that’s how I’m justifying it here. Like most of MOTHXR’s music, it marries all the best parts of 80’s vibes with modern synth and electronic sounds. Totally takes me back to 1985 while I’m studying. They were simpler times. There was no Google. Really makes you appreciate the gifts of the modern age.
"Money" by Pink Floyd
I’m not sure I need to explain this one, but here it is anyways. I may be biased since this is one of my favorite classic rock songs, but I’m pretty sure everyone can appreciate Pink Floyd’s vocal and lyrical talent, plus the truly remarkable bass and sax work. The sampling of cash register and coin-jingling sounds in this track really gives you something concrete to motivate you. Just remember, you’ll never have as much money as Pink Floyd if you don’t pass your finals. Stay in school, kids.
"Proofread" by Daniel Wilson
More 80’s sounds! More synth! Can’t stop! Won’t stop! Not sure how to stop! Why stop???????
"Cocaine Jesus" by Rainbow Kitten Surprise
Let’s take a moment to get past the embarrassment of explaining that we like a song by a band called “Rainbow Kitten Surprise.” Good? Let’s move on. If you haven’t heard RKS by now, please do yourself a favor and move out from under the rock you probably live beneath. This band’s music is the farthest thing from what you’d expect a rainbow kitten surprise to sound like. Think husky, lumberjack-esque harmonies, simple but intense drum lines, and powerful guitar vamps. I recommend all their music, but this song especially. Praying to the Cocaine Jesus might even bring you some luck on your exams.
"Treehouse" by Fin
This super upbeat track is great for that part of the study sesh where you feel about ready to lay down on the floor forever. It contains some totally relatable sentiments regarding wanting to live in a treehouse (don’t lie, you know it’d be awesome), and a totally viable option if you do decide to give up. This song’s really fun chord progression will pump you back up, give you the energy to down another Redbull, and carry on.
"Bloom" by ODESZA
I’m a sucker for anything with synthesized clapping. It’s a weakness. I’m sorry. I’m not really, though, because I love this song. Without lyrics, you can’t be distracted by the words. This song also doubles as a great pregame track, so you’ll probably be dancing in your seat while trying to finish final papers (warning: we claim no responsibility for any awkward dance moves or weird looks you might get from the people sitting around you).
"Waves" by Gosh Pith
If you like electronic drum beats, boy, do I have a song for you. When this song talks about how “waves will guide you home,” you can revel in the fact that you will be home soon once finals are dead and gone. The bridge also contains your daily dose of “really cool guitar solo,” which is recommended by 4 out of 5 doctors for a successful study session. We look out for your health here at Modern Sound. You’re welcome.
"Till Sunrise" (feat. Mammals) by Goldroom
This one’s got synthesized SNAPPING! I love the 21st century and all the electronic music that has come with it. Goldroom is an amazing DJ, and that’s why this song is the light at the end of the tunnel for me. Literally. It is probably almost sunrise by the time I get to this song. The subliminal messaging here is “That night I wished for you to stay [at the library] till sunrise.”
"Gold" by Chet Faker
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Chet Faker is amazing at making sound that people like. I love how lyrically honest he is (there are no secrets between Chet and me). He knows his way around a synth and a beat, and I love him for it. The chorus has a great build up. Chet clearly used his Midas touch to make this track Gold.
"Tangerine Girl" by Asher Roth
I’ll be honest; I lost my mind when I first heard this song. Remember Asher Roth? “I Love College?” A song I loved when I was in sixth grade?? Which is a ridiculous fact in itself??? But since then, he’s strayed from hip hop/rap and indulged in a funkier sound. Don’t worry, you still get a rapped verse in the bridge, and it’s actually surprisingly fun. To be honest, this song doubles up on your babymaking playlist. And if your study playlist can be as fun as that playlist, you’re doing it right.
"Age of Adz" by Sufjan Stevens
I’ll put a Sufjan Stevens song on any playlist. That also means “I am always in the mood to cry.” This song uses a ridiculous number of instruments and samples, and every time I listen to it I can pick out something new I haven’t heard before. It’s always more fun to study when you feel like you have an entire orchestra cheering you on. This song will probably be playing during the inevitable alien invasion because it’s honestly weird enough, but it’s cool. I’m into it.
"Fake Tales of San Francisco" by Arctic Monkeys
End your studying on a rock and roll note. I don’t know why, but there’s something weirdly motivational about feeling like Alex Turner is yelling at me. I’m sure you can all relate. The bass progression is so good on this song. So so so good. The guitar solo before the bridge of this song is also the reason I decided to start playing guitar. The last note on this song is the perfect wrap up for any productive study session.
Recipe for success: put on this playlist. Rinse. Repeat. You are ready. Go ace your exams.