As winter slowly disappears and spring takes hold, everyone starts to daydream about the fast-approaching summer. Sadly, standing between the student population and a never-ending holiday is the inevitabley horrific examination period. Be it finals at college or university, A-levels, high school exams or GCSEs, a revision period through April and May is on the horizon.
With large amounts of studying, most people like to have a musical background to help them concentrate (if you don’t, this article probably isn’t for you!) What music you pick, however, can really impact your study efficiency. For example, if you make the mistake, as I have done in the past, of having The Streets on repeat, you’ll end up writing “Don’t Mug Yourself” in the middle of your algebra notes …
On the contrary though, a good choice of background music can really focus you and help you get in the zone, so to speak …
What I’ve done for you guys, is compiled a list of my favourite study albums – I find albums more effective as the tracks melt into one, unlike a playlist – that hopefully will help you all get down to work. If you’re not a student, these albums are all pretty brilliant in their own right, and could be useful in helping you concentrate on any type of work, not just studying.
Arcade Fire: The Suburbs
My personal favourite Arcade Fire album. The third LP from the Montreal superstars is a work of art from start to finish – perfect to get lost in and zone into studying.
Bombay Bicycle Club: A different kind of Fix
Bombay Bicycle Club have dabbled with a few different styles across their four studio albums. This, their third, is full of gentle indie-pop. Its calming effect is perfect for relaxing into a long study sesh.
Car Seat Headrest: Teens Of Style
Car Seat Headrest is the solo project of Virginia’s Will Toledo, a workaholic. He has produced 11 full-length albums, all self-released on bandcamp, between 2010 and 2015. He was finally signed to Matador in 2015, and released this compilation of his previous work. It’s DIY indie-rock and done really, really well.
DIIV: Is the Is Are
Dream pop and shoegazey songs about drugs. It maybe about a different kind of escapism but this album is perfect for forgetting you’re still in the library! It’s also a magnificent album (I named it as one of my favourite records from January earlier this year).
Friendly Fires: Friendly Fires
Getting sick of the sunshine coming in through your window reminding you of all the fun you could be having? Bring the fiesta to your desk with the debut album from Friendly Fires! Brazilian party vibes from three lads from St Albans – before you scoff at that thought, let me assure you it’s a belter. Just give it a listen.
Jennylee Right on!
The first solo record from Warpaint’s Jenny Lee Lindberg is gloomy indie rock, similar to Warpaint’s staple, and is incredibly atmospheric and engrossing. This and both of Warpaint's records, have soundtracked some of my best study periods to date. A must-listen for a big cram.
The Last Shadow Puppets What You've come to Expect
The new LSTP album only came out last week, but it is destined to soundtrack much of my revision period. Despite it being a record about how much sex Alex Turner and Miles Kane are having, the wonderful string arrangements and guitar lines make it an absorbing listen from start to finish.
Pond Beard, Wives, Denim
The fourth album from Australian psych-rockers, Pond, is my personal favourite from the band which is comprised of members of Tame Impala (except Kevin Parker, but he does produce this record). It’s another full-length piece of art, and a bit more upbeat than some of the others on this list – the album to get you back studying after a break.
TV on the Radio Dear Science
Named the best album of 2008 by Rolling Stone, The Guardian, NME, MTV and Pitchfork, it’s no secret that this album is very, very good. It’s the third LP from Dave Sitek’s art-rock band which I’ve been revising with since A-levels, and I don’t plan to change this year.
Yuck Glow & Behold
The final album on this list is my personal favourite revision record. It’s from London four-piece Yuck, their second LP, and first after replacing original singer Daniel Blumberg with guitarist Ed Hayes, and handing vocal duties to Max Bloom. Many people doubted they would continue after Blumberg departed, however they recovered incredibly. Refining their DIY style from their debut, Glow & Behold is a mature record full of building guitar melodies. It’s impossible not to smile listening to the record, especially when it’s bookended by two tracks that are the musical equivalent of the sun rising and setting on the horizon – “Sunrise In Maple Shade” and “Glow & Behold”.
As it happens, I’m going to be taking a few weeks off from Music Mondays to revise – I hope these albums help you guys. See you on the other side!
What are you favourite tracks or albums to study to? I’d love to hear from you,
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