Albums to Study To

By Christine Cauthen | Sept. 23, 2011

Tags: Music


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Normally, a few songs is enough to put someone in the proper mindset. But with the amount of homework that’s sure to be piling up (it’s test season… woo!), five albums might be just enough time to get you through the reading for the semester so far. Maybe.

Put these albums on a playlist and click shuffle for the ultimate musical environment for studying:

1. Vitamin String Quartet — "VSQ Performs Modern Rock Hits 2011 Vol. 1" — VSQ has a reputation for taking modern music — might it be rock, pop, metal or songs from a soundtrack — and transforming it into a beautiful string interpretation of the original. On this particular album, the String Quartet covers various modern “rock” bands such as The Foo Fighters, The Strokes and Augustana. My personal favorite track is the cover of “The Cave,” originally by Mumford and Sons. The familiarity of popular modern songs makes this album ideal, and the lack of lyrics makes it easy to focus on the task at hand.

2. Adele — "21" —Adele has the kind of voice that will either make you weep like a baby or have an epiphany about life… or statistics. The calming nature of her low tones and the contrast of her clear high pitches is that of a classically trained singer, a genre that is ideal for focusing and engaging the mind. Besides her (often overplayed) radio hits, Adele has a variety of excellent songs that will assist in doing work.

3. Death Cab for Cutie — "Transatlanticism" — New Death Cab is excellent, but the simplicity and raw feeling that Ben Gibbard portrays in his vocals on Transatlanticism is hard to match. Although the lyrics on this album are a sort of poetical masterpiece, it’s still a totally attainable goal to tune them out and just feel the steady pulse of the indie rock score in the background.

4. John Mayer — "Continuum" — Despite his player reputation, John Mayer is a good musician, as displayed in the album, "Continuum." The songs all have a deeper meaning, whether that be world peace, appreciating the pace of life or working on a tough relationship. The guitar and piano parts backing almost every song have a calming nature and slow-but-steady rhythm in common. This album also doubles as a good “falling asleep” playlist, which should not be taken as an insult. The music on this album meshes well enough to work as catharsis for the listener.

5. Passion Pit — "Manners" — The electronic dance vibe that Passion Pit has mastered so well sets a great environment for studying. While most music that goes on a study playlist is paced slowly, but Passion Pit’s uplifting and up tempo songs somehow still radiate a calming energy. The eerie background effects and lead vocals mesh with the various instruments to create an intelligent yet fun mixture perfect for making that biology diagram just a little more interesting.

Music is something that I personally use all day, everyday, and studying is no exception. Everyone has his or her own perfect combination of songs to focus to, but these albums are worth looking into if you find yourself stumped on what should play while you write that seven-page paper due tomorrow that you just started.

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