Cram this!: Six songs to help you study

Give your head a break from cramming for finals and treat your ears to these five home-stretch tunes instead.

We get it -- finals week is tough. If you're not frantically trying to cram names and dates into your noggin, you're likely pounding out a term paper in the midnight hour. I speak from experience here. Luckily, music is always here to help. The next time you're feeling overwhelmed by the finals-week blues, try these six songs instead and get back on track to earning that 100 percent emoji on all your tests.

Explosions in the Sky: "Let Me Back In" (2011)

No musicians today can create sonic ebbs and flows better than EITS. With no vocalist in the band, all four members are free to make a clamor on their respective instruments, which they do (especially here). But at over 10 minutes in length, "Let Me Back In" will help you close your Pinterest browser tab and ease back into your statistics homework without you ever realizing any time has passed at all. This band is that good.

Aphex Twin: "Rhubarb" (1994)

Richard D. James, the freaky Brit behind Aphex Twin, is known more for his glitchy tech-infused electronic music than his mellow, dreamlike side. But when he wants to get quiet, he get downright silent. This track, one of 25 in a collection of entirely ambient music (seriously), evokes nebulous images of clouds, galaxial skies and abstract webs of warmth capable of making us feel safe in the womb again -- or uber-focused on our history notes.

Jon Brion: "Phone Call" (2003)

Through his collaborations with Kanye West and Fiona Apple, Jon Brion has proven his worth as a forward-thinking musician and producer. His film scores, though, remain some of his most refined work. Taken from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, "Phone Call" is infantile crib music for when you need to turn your head off for a while and just follow your feels.

Neu!: "Hallogallo" (1972)

As I've mentioned before, Neu! is one of the bands I can't seem to get out of my personal rotation in 2014. When you need a pickmeup after Aphex Twin and Jon Brion have brought you down, reach for "Hallogallo," the song that effectively invented the motorik drum beat. That's the nonstop percussion that will pep you back up and keep you focused on that nine-pager due in just under four hours. Dawn creeping up. Walls creeping in. Neu! creeping you out?

Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross: "In Motion" (2010)

Like a musical cup of coffee, "In Motion" sets you down a path to jittery productivity. Though it may have been created to soundtrack the creation of Facebook -- which, as we know, is the ultimate slayer of school work -- this song can help you narrow in on the task at hand. Just make sure to stick around 'til the end for the quirky, colorful and cool synth freakout.

R.E.M.: "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" (1987)

Repeat after me: Finals week is not the end of the world as we know it, and you do indeed feel fine. Don't believe yourself? Keep reciting it. Make it a personal mantra for your success. And if all else fails, take a detour from your textbooks and study the words to this song instead to impress your family and friends (or a karaoke crowd). That tuition money should go to something, after all.

Photo: chiarashine via Flickr

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.