I can’t study without music in the background. As a kid, my parents would grow worried about my studying habits — convinced that I wasn’t learning anything. I ended up with good enough grades and still can’t go an hour without listening to good music. Here are some of my personal favorite songs —and albums — to study to.
“Mathematic(k)” by selki girl from “[for the profane]”
I discovered selki girl in 2020 while trying to find music to meditate to. “[for the profane]” is an incredible album riddled with witchy incantations and otherworldly production. This has become a staple in my studying habits. “Mathematic(k)” feels more like an experience than a song, a common theme with tracks off this album. Its driving beat and funky lyrics give a nice soundtrack to studying that’s not very distracting.
“Ba Ba Ba” by Ivy from “Apartment Life”
“Ba Ba Ba” is perfect, topped with ‘90s ethereal vibes and mostly nonsensical lyrics. It’s calming and light like rays of light shining through your apartment window. Ivy is like The Cure if Robert Smith was more for the girls than he already is. “Apartment Life” is full of airy and bright songs to help romanticize your life. If you need some chill positivity to study too, this album will bring you the calmness you need.
“1 Sun” by Miley Cyrus from “Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz”
No matter how many times I listen to this album, I can never tell if I like it or not. But it’s a great piece of music to have on in the background. The song “1 Sun” is more upbeat and electronic than you’d expect from the popstar. It’s a more experimental album centered around being vegan and that translates heavily into the lyrics of “1 Sun,” focusing on loving our Mother Earth. Even though the feel of the album confuses me, it’s a perfect playlist to just have on in the background whilst doing any activity.
“Crave” by Paramore from “This Is Why”
If you need upbeat and driving music to get you to study, “This Is Why” is the perfect album for you. If you need calmer vibes with stellar vocals, “Crave” might just be what you need. It’s an emotional song heightened with Hayley Williams’ hypnotic voice, perfect for taking practice tests to flesh out a study guide.
“Pictures of Us” by beabadoobee from “Beatopia”
Calming, repetitive and acoustic, “Pictures of Us” has it all. “Beatopia” was the only album I listened to after winter break, helping delude myself into thinking we’d have an early spring. It’s acoustic study music that can provide a summery daydreaming escape from the horrors of finals week.
“cbd” by brakence from “hypochondriac”
This slightly depressing electronic album is every facet of perfection to me. “cbd” is bouncy and breathy, a nice addition to any study playlist. The opening sounds a bit wet and mushy which does carry through onto other tracks from this album, so if wet noises make your skin crawl, this won’t be for you. If you can get over that hump, this album is full of good beats that keep you motivated to study hard.
“Oh! Sweet Nuthin’” by The Velvet Underground from “Loaded”
I recognize that I’m not being revolutionary by recommending The Velvet Underground, but this album is genuinely the most played CD I own. It’s perfectly calming and sweet. “Oh! Sweet Nuthin’” feels both contemporary and vintage. It’s perfect for classic rock enjoyers and fans of good harmonies. These serene love songs create a perfect bubble to lose yourself in Quizlet flashcards as the night grows darker.
“Duet for Guitar and Rain” by Florist from their self-titled album
That’s right, this is the first song on my list without lyrics. Don’t get me wrong, I love ambient music, but it takes something special to make me want to listen to music without vocals. “Duet for Guitar and Rain” is that something special, along with this whole album. I listened to “Florist” the night it came out and haven’t stopped listening since. It’s a beautiful mix of carefully crafted lyrics and gorgeous guitar often paired with sounds from the outdoors.
“Get Outta Yourself” by Rupert Holmes from “Partners in Crime”
Dads and quirky daughters can unite over this quintessential yacht rock album. Yacht rock is the perfect musical genre in my eyes with an indisputably happy core and a recognizable sound. “Get Outta Yourself” is just funky enough to satisfy my taste while boasting a lazy river tempo. This album is perfect for whatever you could possibly need to listen to — especially for providing happy vibes in a stressful time.