Maybe the easiest assumption about our staff is that we are all at universities still. Not that being out of school would change much of anything for us, but there are a few stressors, like exams, that are easily musically related. And if you’re like me, you are the kid who asks the professor if iPods are allowed during tests. Most of the time I’ll get “Uh… no.” but some times I get lucky. Here are ten albums to throw on while studying for your midterms!
Vince Guaraldi Trio – A Boy Named Charlie Brown (pictured above)
Jazz. No real surprises here. A friend of mine said this album reminded her of Christmas, so maybe this album is more related to the idea that after this semester I’m going on my Winter break. That is, if I don’t drop out beforehand…
The New Amsterdams – Killed or Cured
Really easy to get into this album if I need a break from all that cramming. Really easy to let it sit in the background while working on essay outlines. The entire two-disc set is really low-key and full. No harsh stops or insanely hooky lyrics and/or beats; really, nothing that would catch my attention abruptly (and that’s a really good thing). Maybe one of the more under-appreciated New Ams albums, as well.
Kevin Devine – Brother’s Blood
This might be Kevin Devine’s most flowing album. Each song seems to be well integrated into that whole album feel. I think that’s one of the best keys to a good studying album, finding a good album that flows throughout songs. This isn’t my all-time favorite Devine album, as Make the Clocks Move takes that place, but it’s definitely one of my favorite albums in the scheme of things.
Mycomplex – If We Keep Moving
I don’t know why, either. This is one of the most musically inspiring albums for me but in most eyes… shouldn’t really be considered “study music”. It’s a mash-guitar album with fast punkish rhythms and intricate guitar work. If I had a dream concert, this would be one of the bands I’d bring on for sure. …….still trying to find a reason why others should study to this, but maybe there is none.
Ardecore - S/T
Italian acoustic rockish-folkish-punkish from Zu and Geoff Farina. Obviously, if you can’t understand it then it’s kind of hard to be focused on what they’re saying — which makes this album a great contender for studying sessions all around (unless it’s a study session on learning Italian… anyway). Mostly calm and nothing too flashy (or, rather, too rock or punk).
Red Sparowes – The Fear is Excruciating, But Therein Lies the Answer
Hard to argue post-rock when trying to conquer your own apocalyptic struggles. Maybe the best word to describe how I feel when this comes on is “determined”.
Colour Revolt – Plunder, Beg, and Curse
It seems like these guys are going to be one of those bands everyone seems to look over but can never fully appreciate. I don’t know why, either. These guys are really good. Loved this album when it came out and became an exam anthem for me for a year. Hasn’t changed since. Should probably review their latest album, The Cradle, which came out this year…
Sigur Ros – Takk
I mean, it’s really hard not to think of Sigur Ros as the best studying music. An impossible language to understand (barely sensible if you speak Icelandic), long whimsical music that drones into other songs, and easy to jump in and out of when you’re braining away. The only problem is when you somehow learn the lyrics and find yourself singing very botched Hopelandic. Maybe not the best album to sing along to in a study group, as your group mates might be questioning the words you were just singing… I mean, are you really going to say “oh, I’m singing the lyrics of a made up language that I don’t actually understand”??
Pedro the Lion – Control
Whenever there is a time to take a theme of an album and completely take it in the wrong context, it would be this album and the context would be “don’t cheat”. And that I won’t. This album has a few catchy riffs and hooky choruses, but keeps within an easy thinking rhythm.
Russian Circles – Geneva
Along the same lines of Red Sparowes, except a little more aggressive… maybe the word that comes to mind would be “aggravated”. This album doesn’t aggravate me, but I feel that it’s theme-music to some sort of demon challenging me to a contest of wit.
There you have it. If there were any albums I missed, feel free to comment below. Until next time.