For all you post-secondary students out there, you know what April means. It means hell. It means lock yourself in your room for hours on end studying your life away. It means living on nothing but pizza and KD for the next month. It means isolating yourself from your friends and family and everything that you love. In these times of darkness, some of you, like myself, turn to music as your savior. We all have our favourite albums to study to. This list is a combination of my own personal picks as well as some close friends of mine. Without further ado, let’s dive into some of our favourite study albums.
1 | My Head Is An Animal – Of Monsters and Men
Islandic folk band Of Monsters and Men had their debut album, My Head Is An Animal, back in 2011. Lead vocalists Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar Þórhallsson (don’t ask me how to pronounce those) sing with an ethereal quality that leaves you feeling as if you’re studying away in the clouds. If you enjoy studying to acoustic guitars and melodic choruses, then be sure to add this album to your playlist.
2 | What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World – The Decemberists
I was lucky enough to see these guys at Wayhome in 2015 and they were dynamite. Since then, I’ve returned to their most recent album What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World several times for late night study sessions. A little more upbeat and folksy, this collection will keep you awake when your eyes are shutting and you’re beginning to lose all hope.
3 | Return To The Moon – EL VY
EL VY was a collaborating project between lead singer of The National, Matt Berninger, and Brent Knopf, founder of both Ramona Falls and Menomena. Matt Berninger’s recognizable voice returns but with more upbeat musical tracks. Seemingly meaningless lyrics throughout the record provide sublime background music fit for any studious activities.
4 | The Lumineers – The Lumineers
We all know The Lumies, but this album just had to be on the list. Hit singles Ho Hey and Stubborn Love were an excellent primer for getting into this band, but this album is far deeper than these singles. I wouldn’t argue that The Lumineers content is overly complex, but I think that its simplicity is what we love. It’s simplicity that makes it the perfect study album.
5 | No No No – Beirut
Originally Zach Condon’s solo project, Beirut was later expanded into the band that exists today. The band was named after the capital of Lebanon because, as Condon puts it, it’s a place that has seen quite a bit of conflict, it’s “the place where things collide” – a perfect analogy of this album’s music: A harmonious collision between easeful indie rock and world music. This album will get you through the thick of your studying when you reach your breaking point and your mind and body begin to collide.
6 | All Killer No Filler – Sum 41
This one might be a tad unconventional for a list of study albums, but Sum 41’s best album provides some catchy guitar riffs, and rocking vocals that make it a ton of fun. This now “classic” album is likely to get you more pumped for your study session than you ever thought possible. It’s never a bad idea to inject a long and tiring study session with a dose of raw energy.
7 | Dream Your Life Away – Vance Joy
The Australian singer-songwriter struck gold in 2014 with his debut album Dream Your Life Away. A storyteller’s album revolving around themes of growing up and love, this album soft pop-folky genre is the perfect album for settling down and hitting the books. Sometimes studying can be an anxious time, if you’re looking for an album to offset that anxiety and provide a little relief, this is the album for you.
8 | Leave Your Love – Dan Griffin
Comfort is important when the pressures of academia are getting you down and there are few albums as comforting as Dan Griffin’s Leave Your Love. Flowing with love, honesty, and hopefulness, this album will not only help you get through your studies but reassure you that no matter what happens, everything will be alright.
9 | Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
One of their many seminal works, Pink Floyd’s Wish You Here would top any must listen list. Their singles are familiar globally and the album holds up as a whole even today. The dream-like quality that permeates most of Pink Floyd’s albums would make any a contender on this list. However, the sheer blissful catatonia that Wish You Were Here emits glides you along their immersive journey into progressive rock and if you don’t get lost along the way, is a perfect companion for your late night study sessions.
10 | Barchords – Bahamas
There are not many artists who have mastered and personalized their sound the way that the Bahamas have. Their second full-length album is a thoughtfully curated collection of tracks each with unique narratives that are beautifully supported by intricate, yet soothing and easily digested, guitar riffs, lyrics, and backup vocals. I recommended kicking off your studies with this one.