We’ve all been there. Late nights spent finishing up that one assignment that just we couldn’t find the time for until the night before it was due. Frantic reading to prepare for a test this afternoon that we just learned about two days ago (it wasn’t even on the syllabus!). Desperate texts to the group project member who hasn’t even shown up to a single meeting because he’s sick every Tuesday at 6:30. In each of these crises, we need a song that can help us dial up our concentration to superhuman levels, demolishing weeks worth of work in minutes. Here, we discuss all the study jams that allow us to do the impossible.
Michael’s Pick: “Only Shallow” by My Bloody Valentine
At first glance, the selection of one of the loudest rock bands in history as great study music may seem absurd. However, a listen to “Only Shallow” at low volume reveals a song that induces focus like no other. My Bloody Valentine delivers music that sounds as fantastic from miles away as it does under a microscope, creating the perfect environment for both engaged and disengaged listening. While an engaged listener may discover a bottomless pit of intricacies in the production, a disengaged listener will equally enjoy the work, using the song as a white noise machine.
By occupying this space between intense detail and smooth listenability, “Only Shallow” also affords the chance for the student to take a mental break from their work without looking away from their books. Instead, the student can just tune in to the song for a moment, taking in its vast sonic grandeur, before returning full focus to the work and allowing the remainder of the track to play out in the background.
Katie’s Pick: “Mountain Peaks” by Stephen Sanchez
My Study Jams pick is “Mountain Peaks” by Stephen Sanchez. “Mountain Peaks” is off Sanchez’s recently released Easy On My Eyes EP. Sanchez is a 20-year-old Nashville-based singer-songwriter we love around here at the station!
I become hyper-fixated on albums when they are released, and sometimes it becomes something I have to listen to every time I study for order. In my first year of college, the album was randomly Post Malone’s Hollywood’s Bleeding, but here we are senior year with a current hyper-fixation on Easy On My Eyes.
Sanchez’s wildly popular “Until I Found You” is off this EP, but “Mountain Peaks” immediately became my favorite of the August 19th release. The track is all about falling in love. Love that would make someone go to the end of the earth, or the top of a mountain. A love that blinds judgment and engulfs the person falling in it. Sanchez’s lyricism is vivid and well beyond his years. I connected this album with studying because it is acoustic-heavy. Sanchez’s voice is calming and grounds you when you listen to it. I highly recommend his music in general, but you definitely need to listen to “Mountain Peaks!” Check it out:
Mikayla’s Pick: “Stars Fell on Alabama” performed by She and Him
For me, ideal study conditions consist of sitting alone in my favorite local coffee shop on a gloomy day. I’m probably dressed in my sweats and crocs while sipping a hot chai. I’m surrounded by the aromatics of espresso and She and Him’s Classics album is playing in the background.
My pick this week is the She and Him cover of “Stars Fell on Alabama.” The “she” and “him” behind the name is dynamic duo, Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward. Classics is complete with the pair’s take on popular songs, primarily from the fifties and sixties. Both jazz and Zooey Deschanel hold a very special place in my heart, so this album is heavily rotated in my regular listening.
Originally performed and recorded by the Guy Lombardo Orchestra in 1934, the song was eventually sung and made popular by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald in 1956. Regardless of the decade, it is still easy on the ears and makes for a great study tune.