[pullquote1 quotes=”true” align=”center”]Combat homework blues with these strangely appropriate albums[/pullquote1]


I propose a change of pace. If you’re going to get to finals (I’m looking at you, freshmen) in any sort of appreciable shape you’ll need some variety to preserve the few brain cells persisting. The best way to do this is to listen to some fresh, or simply good, music on shuffle whilst counting away the hours in Martin, LSP, or Shad Fack, and force yourself to appreciate the finer points of quality music. Here are five albums that would make a good addition to your study playlists.

5. Babel by Mumford & Sons

Phillip Phillips is lying to himself, clearly, if he thinks he created any sort of unusual music. Every single person ever thinks his lovely song “Home” is by Mumford & Sons. Luckily Babel does not require help from this phoned-in replica of a lesser Mumford & Sons song, and despite being compared somewhat lamentably to their first album, it is still a great work.

And it’s wonderful to study to once you’ve already basked in the warmth of the strong lyricism and skilled banjo-strumming, and can let it merely wash over you while stuck in Shad doing organic chemistry definitions over and over and over.

4. Some Nights by Fun

This album is unequivocally one of the most feel-good albums of ever. My friends and I break out into gleeful, off-tune song every time “Some Nights” or “We are Young” begins to trumpet from our car speakers. It’s awesome.

When I’m doing homework and “One Foot” comes on I can’t help but smile and take a jam-out break. An upbeat portrait of moving forward and building on the foundations available, this album is pretty much perfect to accompany you on your journey towards finishing the semester on a positive note.

To start studying for that impossible test, you simply “put one foot in front of the other one,” and when the going gets tough, remember “the amazing things we can come from.” And with the most cheerful voice.

3. The Lumineers by The Lumineers

“Ho Hey” is number four on Spotify’s most-listened-to songs. It is there for good reason.

This song is so sweet it almost hurts, but also manages to be wonderful musically and to fit in with the current popular scene of melodic pop-folk. And it is just the tip of the sweet, melodic iceberg; the full album is just as simultaneously raw and smooth as this first single, drawing emotion with rougher-than-usual vocals and mitigating those with light female harmonies. Thank goodness for new musicians who dare to produce quality works.

2. Young the Giant by Young the Giant

This has been one of my favorite albums since the summertime and it hasn’t played itself out. Therefore, it should be one of your favorite albums as well. The foxy Californians’ first work has been out for a few years, a few of their singles “Cough Syrup” and “My Body” reaching the masses through alternative radio stations and Lollapalooza 2011, but their sound keeps reverberating through my mind.

The vocals are soft, crooning, and the music surf-inspired, which together wash over the listener in waves of low-key beauty. These features make the album an excellent kick in the pants to keep trucking through piles of reading and scores of essays; it does double-duty as background music for your firing neurons and inspiration for typing a 15-page paper the night before its due.

1. Ten$ion by Die Antwoord

Mix up your feel-good crock of “You belong with me and I belong with you” and “Home is wherever I’m with you” and “live like we’re gonna die young” with “I fink you freaky” and some pot-inspired Zef songs. Let Colorado and Washington’s recent laws lead you to go South African upbeat crazy reggae-style hip-hop.

Die Antwoord has been in the public eye recently for their unusual music videos and more unsual music. A mix between techno and some sort of rap, Zef is a genre localized to South Africa — until now. First made popular by viral video for “Enter the Ninja,” Ninja, white rapper born as Watkin Tudor Jones, and his babymama Yo-landi Vi$$er, born Anri du Toit, have been producing interesting rap with high-pitched interjections from Yo-landi since 2008 with $O$.

The group advocates marijuana-use and criticizes the milieu of popular music nowadays, including a many-headed monster featuring Kanye West, Lady Gaga, and Drake, as well as many others, in their artistic video for “Fatty Boom Boom.”

So get away from the norm and shock your eardrums with some exciting, blatantly different music. It will be good to set your heartbeat atwitter in the midst of all that light folk and sweet pop; you can pump your adrenaline every so often to re-institute the fear of failure and fuel your crazed studying.

Questions? Email Lauren at lbejzak@fandm.edu.

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