Today I thought I’d share some songs and albums that I’ve loved over the past few months, particularly the ones that I’ve listened to whilst studying and writing my final essays this semester. I’m a huge advocate for Spotify, so this post was kind of inspired by my 2018 Wrapped. (I’m a nerd for my music stats.) I’m going to chat a little bit about each artist and then recommend my favourite tunes by them.
My most listened to artist of the year was Lindsey Stirling. She’s an American dubstep violinist, and pretty much one of my idols in life. She built her audience on YouTube before breaking out into a more mainstream audience, and you can check out her channel here. The majority of Lindsey’s music is instrumental, which is great if you’re like me, and find music with lyrics super distracting whilst studying. The few songs which she has with vocals (both hers and others) are fantastic too. Her newest release is a Christmas album, which I haven’t listened to much – that’s me not being a huge fan of Christmas, not a fault of Lindsey’s music!
The track that got me into Lindsey was Roundtable Rival – it gives a great sense of Lindsey’s style and has a pretty cool video, which I’ve linked to the song title. My favourites right now are Don’t Let This Feeling Fade, and Stars Align.
My favourite album to write my essays to this semester was Imagine Dragon’s November release Origins. Whilst I really loved the style of it, the chilled vibes the album gives make it a great study companion. Most of the tracks have a low and repetitive beat, which means they aren’t super distracting. My favourites are Digital, Only and Cool Out.
In terms of other music for studying, often I use pre-made playlists on Spotify, as the service nails down finding things I’d enjoy pretty well. If you’re a Spotify user, titles of my favourite study playlists include “Good Morning Jazz” and “Gothic Instrumental”.
Hopefully these suggestions are new to you, or useful reminders of some good study music! Now I’m going to recommend a few recent discoveries, which are probably less useful for concentration. I’m a huge fan of music which makes you want to jump up and dance around.
This year I discovered Grandson. His EP “a modern tragedy vol. 1” doesn’t have a bad track on it, and his whole discography is pretty special. This is more the type of thing I’d listen to in my study breaks, to hype me up a bit or get me singing. Grandson collaborated with Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda on single Running From My Shadow, which is pretty perfect mix if you’re a fan of both artists.
A band that readers may not have heard of is Against The Current, an American pop rock band who I ended up seeing live twice this year! I first saw them as support for Fall Out Boy (alongside artist MAX, who is a must for anyone who likes fresh pop music) in March, and again at a local venue in September. They were excellent both times. They’ve released two full albums so far, which are slightly different from one another but both enjoyable for fans of the pop rock genre. Voices, Wasteland, and Blood Like Gasoline are my current faves by them.
The best artist that I saw live this year was Tom Grennan. I think Grennan definitely broke into the mainstream this year, and his live performance sounded amazingly similar to the professionally recorded album. It was like listening to the real thing, times 100. His vocals are really spectacular. You may recognise his track Found What I’ve Been Looking For, or Sober and Barbed Wire are pretty good indicators of his style.
Now, a few honourable mentions. These are bands that I don’t need to tell you about, you’ve probably heard of them, or artists where I just really want you to listen to a certain track by them.
First shoutout goes to Aurora View. I don’t know how it ended up on my Spotify, but I must have downloaded their single “Death Spells” as part of a playlist, because one day at uni it started playing through my headphones, and I immediately fell in love. If you’d like something slightly heavier than my previous recommendations, their work can also be found on YouTube here.
I don’t need to tell anyone who Twenty One Pilots are, but the American duo released their album “Trench” this year. Whilst it was definitely a step away from their previous releases, I think it also moves towards appealing to a larger audience, as the tracks suit a more pop label. If you’ve been avoiding this pair, give them a chance! I didn’t become a fan of them until my second or third proper listen to their music. With the range of styles that their albums cover, there’s probably something for you there.
Finally, I have to acknowledge the Emo Trinity. (My fourteen year old self wouldn’t allow me to do otherwise.) Although My Chemical Romance is long gone, we saw several releases from singer Gerard Way this year – I haven’t seen these advertised at all, so if you didn’t know, this is your notification! Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco also both released full albums this year. I think Pray For The Wicked is a more cohesive musical experience, and the one I’m more likely to listen to all the way through, but if you’re more inclined towards Fall Out Boy I would listen to Church and Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea from 2018 release M A N I A.
If you made it this far into the post, thanks for sticking around! I know that was a lot take in. I won’t be offended if you wholeheartedly disagree with my recommendations, but if you do give any of these artists or tracks a listen please let me know what you think! Equally, if there’s any music you’ve been enjoying recently that you think I should check out, let me know in the comments.
As always, if you’d like to stay in touch between posts, my socials are linked in my header – I’d love to hear from you.