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Old Soul: The Finals Countdown

Back from our turkey fueled reprieve, the end of the semester gloom has set in. December is here, and no amount of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” can push away the assignments piling up. Stress comes hand in hand with finals, cramming three months worth of information into a brain never an easy task.

While some would say silent study sessions is the best way to retain information, I always find that music helps me along. It engages the mind. Certainly better than the library soundtrack of frenetic page turning and the clacking of caffeine-laden fingers on keyboards. What else but some great tunes to keep your eyes open after staring at the same textbook page for twenty minutes? And if not to keep you awake, music can also be a great stress reliever.

Here are a few tracks to either put on in the background or indulge with during a study break:

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“What’s Your Hurry” — Hush Kids

The velvety voices of Jill Andrews and Peter Groenwald provide an atmosphere to get lost in. This indie duo combines slinky guitar with alluring harmonies in peaceful perfection. Balancing musical intricacies with a simple chorus, you can listen for hours and still find something new each time. Asking “what’s your hurry?” and to “put your worries away,” the lyrics of this song create a positive mindset that could ease anyone’s stress.

“Tieduprightnow” — Parcels

A bouncy beat and tone of psychedelia is a refreshing listen when bogged down with work. The catchy backing track of the song drives its carefree mood forward. Using delicate vocals, Parcels’ sound has an ease that invites you to be part of the band.

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“Movie” — Tom Misch

Starting out with audio from an old film, this song pokes at my love of dramatics with every listen. Misch is a master instrumentalist, piano solos and ringing strings the co-stars of this blockbuster. A jazzy score connects to the black and white movies the song emulates, but comes through with a modern twist.

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“Moon River” — Frank Ocean

A revolutionary take on a classic song, Frank Ocean plays with style. Layering vocals over each other reinvents the well-known melody. From the mellow tone to synth additions, “Moon River” is a fascinating showcase of musical experimentation.

Sergei Polunin. Image via Baeble Music

“Movement” — Hozier

The most recent release from Hozier, “Movement” illustrates the artist’s soulful brilliance. More uptempo than his other pieces, it pulls you in with backing vocals that add a gospel flair. The melody moves from a quiet beginning to the dramatic chorus which displays Hozier’s immense vocal power. An auditory spectacle and well as a visual one, the music video features a dazzling performance by ballet dancer Sergei Polunin.

“No Depression” — Bahamas

With a title that serves as a mantra for students facing finals “No Depression” is a necessary listen. Canadian musician Afie Jurvanen under the moniker Bahamas, has a voice that scales both low and high registers effortlessly. The ho-hum tempo mirrors the lyrical content, forming a simplistic style that fits right into a study break.

“Good Day” — Jukebox the Ghost

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Telling a story of communal happiness through their lyrics, Jukebox the Ghost stirs excitement. The rapport between guitar and vocals creates irresistible moments of tension and release. Quick rhythmic piano breaks up the chorus into delectable sections. This song can make any day a good day, even one spent studying.