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Stuck on studying? Try these playlists

Spotify Session.jpeg
Inci Karaaslan / The Daily Princetonian

Midterms are over, and the snow is melting, but as you break out the spring clothes, you’re probably realizing that you have weeks of tough course loads ahead of you before summer hits. As you gear up for the rest of the semester, consider trying out some fresh study music to get you through those late-night essays and endless problem sets. Break out of the lo-fi beats rut with these equally-atmospheric Spotify playlists and albums, tested and rated by yours truly over the first half of the semester.

Coffee Table Jazz:


This is my go-to study playlist, which I recommend for any subject. It’s the perfect blend for focusing: smooth and soft enough to relax you, but energetic enough to keep you awake. Spotify has multiple jazz playlists suited to specific tastes, all of which suffice for studying background music. However, though adequate, Late Night Jazz and Jazz Classics just don’t focus your brain the same way this one does. Don’t simply take my word for it; this playlist has over 2 million likes on Spotify, and I’d wager a good chunk of them are students.

Instrumental Celtic Folk:


Here’s another Spotify-curated playlist to try. In my personal opinion, this one’s perfect for writing essays; these Irish and Scottish traditional tunes have gotten me through many writing seminar assignments. If Celtic music isn’t your thing, try out some other forms of traditional music, like Native American flutes. There is some incredible history and culture to these genres, so be sure to delve into that!

The Division Bell, by Pink Floyd:

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Or any Pink Floyd album, really. Just start at the beginning and let it play through as if you had it on vinyl. In my personal opinion, Pink Floyd’s albums set the mood perfectly for physics problems. That is, besides “The Wall,” which is far too dismal if you’re already struggling with STEM homework. Many of the songs feature long instrumental stretches, though they’re probably not the best if you can’t focus with lyrics. Personally, I like the intermittent words, especially when a chorus hits to which I can mouth the lyrics; it provides a nice little brain break from the calculations in front of me.

Claude Debussy Radio:

You may think you’re not a classical music fan, but I guarantee you’ll enjoy at least some, if not all, of the pieces on this radio. It’s perfect for reading a history book or writing a grandiose discussion board response. I promise you will feel as if you’re sitting in a coffeehouse in Vienna, reading a poetry book in a field, or doing something equally romantic and picturesque; this dreamy feeling will be especially strong when Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals” plays.

Nightmare Forever, by Nolan Potter’s Nightmare Band:

This might just be me, so feel free to take this suggestion with a grain of salt. I’m not entirely sure how I stumbled upon the song “Caberfae Peaks,” but for some reason, the discordant, fantastical tune puts me in a terrific headspace for math. Plus, by listening to Nolan Potter’s Nightmare Band, you’re supporting a small artist: they only have 1,204 monthly listeners.

Next time you’re looking to set the mood just right for a deep study session, you now have a few more options. Whether it’s the Celtic instrumentals or those rarefied classical melodies, hopefully one of these will help you stay concentrated on that engrossing stack of homework you have. While I can’t promise that this music will magically boost your GPA, at this point, isn’t anything worth a shot?