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My ideal studying soundtrack

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 17:04

The beginning of a new term is upon us, and I have begun my resolution to do my homework as it is assigned, not wait until dead week. I say this every term, as I suspect many do, but it never seems to happen. Oh well, this time will be different, right? Right?  

Obviously, with this much work to do, I need good music to study to. Although my favorite bands tend to fall along the lines of Soundgarden or Pearl Jam, Chris Cornell’s angsty snarling does not exactly get me in the mood for writing a history essay, you know? Here are some bands that never fail to provide some great, easy-to-concentrate-to tunes.

1. Incubus: I basically listen to these guys whenever I have to write a paper. Some of their songs (such as “Megalomaniac”) are a little rock-ier (what is the technical term? “Uptempo?” You tell me), but they manage to still feel laid-back. Like a vacation to... California? Somewhere sunny and calm, anyway.

Wait. California is only five hours away, and the weather is terrible  here.. please excuse me. I will be back in a couple weeks. My favorite tracks are “Dig,” “Wish You Were Here,” “Love Hurts,” and “Aqueous Transmission” (which is the most soothing thing I have ever heard.)

2. M83: Founded by Anthony Gonzalez and Nicolas Fromageau in Antibes, France, M83 is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I am not usually an electro-shoegaze-etc fan, but I like this group. Their latest release, “Hurry Up We’re Dreaming,” is inspired by (you guessed it) dreams, and it is appropriately ethereal and pleasant.

I have not gotten in to a lot of their earlier stuff, but besides “Midnight City” from “Hurry Up We’re Dreaming,” I also like “Sister” (parts 1 & 2,) from the “Digital Shades” album. Definitely worth listening to.

3. Afro Celt Sound System: My mom introduced me to this band (she is cooler than me, I realize this), and I have to say they are one of the strangest combinations I have (n)ever thought of. Celtic folk music with African influences? Convince me. They did.

The collection of styles is certainly unexpected, but that’s exactly what makes it fun to listen to. Did I mention that they record at Peter Gabriel’s studio, and songs have featured performances by Robert Plant, Sinead O’Conner, and Gabriel himself? Neat! Check out “When You’re Falling” from their latest release, “Capture.”

4. The Raconteurs: I have loved this band for years. They are very retro as far as sound goes, (this is Jack White, so it kind of goes without saying), but they manage to sound retro in a very modern way. (Which some might sneer at, but I happen to like.)

Their songs are, for the most part, mellow and upbeat. In other words, perfect for when I need something that makes me feel okay about memorizing Spanish verb conjugations. Some of my favorite tracks are “Broken Boy Soldiers,” “Level,” and “These Stones Will Shout.”

5. Amy Winehouse: Even though she’s bound to be remembered for her struggles with addiction, which ultimately led to a tragic and untimely death, Winehouse deserves to be remembered for her talent. Before Adele, there was Amy.

Her beautiful, soulful voice makes me wicked jealous every time I hear it, and her lyrics are so brutally honest that they are sometimes uncomfortable to listen to. The entirety of “Back To Black” is something you should listen to, as are the songs “Stronger Than Me” and “Our Day Will Come.”


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