Staff Recs: Good Music for Studying

The Arts Desk collects the perfect chill tunes for a serious study session.


From pop to lofi, WSN’s Arts Desk recommends their favorite music to study to. (via YouTube @ChilledCow)

“logical” by Shuttle358
Songs with lyrics are a bust for me when it comes to background music for studying. I always feel tempted to turn the volume up so I can hear the vocals better. No, instrumentals on low are the way to go for me to do anything resembling productivity. Today, I’ve apparently decided even a discernable melody is too much for my highly distractible brain, so I’m recommending a much more ambient song than usual: “logical” by Shuttle358. This one makes you feel like you’re either way up in space or far below the ocean waves. Either setting is fairly terrifying in concept, but “logical” comforts with its soothing electronic swells and echoing, rhythmic beeps. It’s also a great song to drift off to, a dangerous quality when you’re writing an essay at 2 a.m. that’s due the next morning. Take your chances. Ethan

“Instrumental Study” on Spotify
When I need music to study to, I type “instrumental study” into Spotify and play it on full blast. It’s either that or Troye Sivan. I like to think I can study to Troye Sivan but I end up just getting emo in Bobst LL2 instead. Elevator music can also be wonderfully mind-numbing. My headphones are not noise-cancelling, but I like to turn the volume up loud enough that they effectively are. I basically can’t focus on my work unless my eardrums are on the verge of rupturing and everyone within 50 feet of me can hear what I’m listening to. The “Instrumental Study” playlist features such bangers as the soft piano melodies “Amorous Rebound” by Sumsar, “schemering” by Jaidy Thissen and “Hou je nog van mij?” by Bionda van der Ham. I highly recommend this playlist, especially because it is so versatile. Yes, you can listen to it while studying, but songs like “Lisa’s waltz” by Lisa Chong and “The Piano Inside” by Milo Edale are also perfect party bops if your idea of a party is melancholy self-reflection. Julie

“lofi hip hop radio – beats to relax/study to” curated by ChilledCow on YouTube
It’s all in the name. Thanks to this playlist, I’ve cranked out a multitude of essays, study sessions, scripts and rough cuts to the tune of pop culture samples, muted snares and artificial record scratches. Lo-fi, short for low fidelity, deliberately recreates imperfections in a track from distortion to a sound quality reminiscent of a cassette tape or vinyl record. In February 2017, French YouTuber ChilledCow started streaming lo-fi tracks he’d sourced from musicians across the web such as eevee, sugi.wa, j’san, and kudasai, to name a few titans of the genre. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, you can tune into “beats to relax/study to” and hit the books alongside the now-iconic looped video of a girl in a green sweater and googly-eyed headphones, endlessly scribbling in her notebook and occasionally gazing out the window past her fat, orange tabby cat. Personal song recommendations from the playlist include Caleb Belkin’s “Lost Samurai,” which samples Cambodian singer Ros Sereysothea, bassti’s “to all the ladies in the place” which samples “Big Poppa” by The Notorious B.I.G. as well as “We’ve Only Just Begun” by the Carpenters and “pinya” by plusma, which repeats “come and have a good time, better slow down, chillin’ with a pina colada” as you clack along on your keyboard. Fareid

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