If you're about to enter your freshman year in college or high school, then welcome to what will surely be an exciting new chapter in your life! You're going to learn so much and meet so many interesting and challenging people and take the world by storm! You will!
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For those entering any other year of school, then congratulations, sort of? You didn't get expelled last year, so you've got that going for you. And you're one year closer to being done, too, which is nice. More importantly, you're the ones that really know what's coming: studying. Lots of studying. Lots and lots of stupid studying. Interminably long hours spent hunched over a collection of leather-bound tomes, reading by candlelight, microscope in hand -- or in the bowels of the library, planted in front of a microfiche machine. Just kidding, you'll be starting a screen like the rest of us. But what about your earholes? Those need to be filled with calming, thought-nurturing noises, which is exactly what we have for you.
Below is a list, provided by Spotify and the Echo Nest, of the twenty-five songs that will get you through those cram seshes. (Do the kids still call them cram seshes? Did they ever?) The playlist was generated by analyzing the most popular songs from Spotify playlists whose names include the words "study," "hitting the books," "library," or "exam," as based on the listening behavior of over 40 million regular Spotify users during the last two months of school (i.e. right before summer vacation).
It's very calm music. That's the point. Now get to it, eggheads!
It’s the first day back to work after the Christmas break and you’re probably not feeling your best. Luckily, we’ve got the perfect remedy for New Year sluggishness. Who better to give you a boost than Kanye, Liam G or MIA? Here are 30 motivational anthems to kick start your 2018 and help you conquer the world.
30 Snow Patrol – ‘Run’
Gary Lightbody apparently wrote ‘Run’ after going on a massive bender and falling down some stairs. “The words ‘Light up, light up’ gave this sense of a beacon. There had to be a light at the end of a tunnel,” he said.
29 Franz Ferdinand – ‘Do You Want To?’
Follow Franz’s lead and go where you’ve never let yourself before! Well, at least switch your usual lunch for an edgier meal deal tomorrow.
28 The Jam – ‘Going Underground’
If any song’s going to make you politically motivated ahead of the forthcoming election, it’s this anti-Conservative rant from The Jam. “You choose your leaders and place your trust/As their lies wash you down and their promises rust,” Paul Weller sings. Let that be a lesson.
27 Doves – ‘There Goes The Fear’
Two important things to know about ‘There Goes The Fear’. 1. It’s imperative you dance like your dad to the jangly bits that sound like the Grange Hill theme tune. 2. Make the most of the track’s passive motivational skills by letting the lyric “You turn around and life’s passed you by” give you the fear factor.
26 La Roux – ‘In For The Kill’
Do what La Roux says (go in for the kill, do it for the thrill, etc. etc.) on her sassy electropop debut and you’re sure to tackle whatever naysayers might come your way with aplomb.
25 House Of Pain – ‘Jump Around’
Two parts aggressively energetic, one part hilarious (“I never eat a pig ’cause a pig is a cop”), ‘Jump Around’ has featured in at least two action movies, ‘Daredevil’ and ‘Rush Hour’, so is certified motivation music.
24 Justice Vs Simian – ‘We Are Your Friends’
Combine forceful synth stabs with stirring lyrics – “We are your friends/ You’ll never be alone again” – and you have a track so powerful it’ll defeat even Hollyoaks Omnibus laziness.
23 Friendly Fires – ‘Jump In The Pool’
Something about this synthy, bubbly, giddy tune turns tedious jogs through rundown towns into excited dashes through vibrant metropolises. It’s the ultimate ‘pretending to be in a movie’ exercise song.
22 Arcade Fire – ‘Ready to Start’
What better way to begin the day than with double-drum-kit, full-throttle Arcade Fire. Just make sure you pick the “Now I’m ready to start/My mind is open wide” lyrics as your mantra rather than the “Businessmen drink my blood” bits. That would be weird.
21 Be Your Own Pet – ‘Adventure’
Containing the word ‘adventuring’ 8 times and the word ‘adventurer’ 10 times, if Be Your Own Pet haven’t convinced you to head off on at least a mini-break by the time you finish listening to ‘Adventure’ you’re a stone-hearted individual.
20 Missy Elliott – ‘Get Ur Freak On’
Question: Wouldn’t life be 100% better if you lived everyday like you were Missy Elliot? Answer: Yes. Make sure you “Getcha getcha getcha getcha getcha freak on” and today will be a glorious day.
19 The Strokes – ‘You Only Live Once’
Surely The Strokes have missed a trick by not re-releasing this classic now YOLO’s a thing? Anyway, aside for the obvious hedonistic title, this track has the kind of good vibes that make positive memories scroll through your mind like a ‘Big Brother Best Bits’ video montage.
18 Nas – ‘The World Is Yours’
Don’t be fooled by the laid-back beat, this is a song about winning at life. Its title was taken from ‘Scarface’ in which Tony Montana makes the phrase his mantra.
17 Primal Scream – ‘Higher Than The Sun’
Let’s slow down the tempo a little because even lazy Sunday mornings can be motivational. The mix of hazy melodies and lyrics like “I believe you get what you give” is potent.
16 Drake – ‘Started At The Bottom’
If Drake started at the bottom and got his whole team here so can you. He used to work all night, drive home through traffic, be hungry, live at his momma’s house and argue with her monthly but now nothing’s poppin’ off without him.
15 MIA – ‘Born Free’
Okay, so this video has that weird ginger genocide storyline but let’s ignore that. The lesson to learn here is “Yeah I don’t wanna live for tomorrow/ I push my life today”.
14 Florence + The Machine – ‘Dog Days Are Over’
This is probably one to listen to in the secrecy of your bedroom if you don’t want to ruin your street cred. It’s a bit, well, ‘X Factor final’ now (cheers Simon Cowell). Still, listening to ‘Dog Days Are Over’ puts an uplifting summer glow on dull, grey days.
13 Kanye West – ‘I Am A God’
If Kanye’s breathless ‘I Am A God’ doesn’t make you want to get up on your feet, not much will. It’s time to get stacking millions till you’re chilling with Jesus and remember, never ever accept sloppy service when it comes to croissant.
12 Kelis – ‘Bossy’
Life lesson to take from ‘Bossy’? Stop being nice to everyone. Remember: “You don’t have to love me/ You don’t even have to like me/ But you will respect me”. Now, dominate the office.
11 Nirvana – ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’
That riff, that anti-establishment attitude: whether you’re doing a 20 minute crosstrainer sesh or powering through your tax returns, try your hardest to channel ‘Teen Spirit’ in moments of stress.
10 Fatboy Slim – ‘Right Here, Right Now’
The musical equivalent to your mum standing at the bottom of the stairs shouting “No, not in five minutes! Do your homework NOW”.
9 The Vines – ‘Get Free’
If you’re trying to psych yourself into getting out of a mundane job/relationship/town this is the song to scream.
8 Daft Punk – ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’
Do we really need to explain why we chose this? No track is more hype than ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’.
7 Public Enemy – ‘Fight The Power’
Spike Lee commissioned ‘Fight The Power’ for his movie ‘Do The Right Thing’. “I wanted it to be defiant, I wanted it to be angry, I wanted it to be very rhythmic,” he told TIME magazine – and that’s why it’s the perfect motivator.
6 Dizzee Rascal – ‘Fix Up, Look Sharp’
Originally used to slew Asher D in a rap battle, you can now use ‘Fix Up, Look Sharp’ to convince yourself that sweatpants are never office appropriate. Even on casual Friday.
5 The White Stripes – ‘Seven Nation Army’
Egyptian journalist Mono Elthahawy says of ‘Seven Nation Army’: “Every time I hear the opening lines it just takes me to Egypt, where people – I’ve never seen anything like it. Literally, nothing can hold them back.” If it’s good enough for the Arab Spring it’s good enough for you.
4 Beyonce – ‘Run The World’
We imagine that when Beyonce faces the mirror each morning she looks herself in the eye and thinks “Who run the world? BEYONCE”. You should do the same.
3 The Gossip – ‘Standing In The Way Of Control’
Beth Ditto wrote Standing In The Way Of Control as a response to a US Amendment which would have outlawed same-sex marriage in the country. Explaining the ruling made her friends feel “helpless and cheated,” she said: “I wrote the chorus to try and encourage people not to give up.”
2 Kanye West – ‘Stronger’
A stone cold motivational anthem, guaranteed to put you in the zone. When it comes to getting yourself in gear, look no further than the king of overconfidence.
1 Oasis – ‘Live Forever’
Put this on, yell the lyrics at the top of your voice and pretend it’s 2am on Friday night, you’ve got your arms round your mates and anything is possible.