You’ve just come back from Thanksgiving break, stomach still full of turkey and mashed potatoes, and you’re ready to coast to the end of the semester. But you realize, as you finally crack open your planner after a week break, that you have three papers, two exams, and a portfolio to finish.
We’re all in the same boat. It seems like no matter how hard you try to prepare, December always comes around way too quickly, and always with way more work than it feels like you can possibly finish in a two week period.
But we’ll make it through! How? Well, as you hunker down to crank out that 6-page analysis, instead of letting the Netflix queue roll, try adding one—or all!—of these 12 indie songs to your study playlist. Not only will they help you focus, but they’ll also help you remember that this isn’t the end… it’s just finals week.
This is one of my go-to study songs. Bon Iver has one of the chillest voices, and it doesn’t really matter what he’s saying—I mean, who really knows what Skinny Love means—if you’re about to give up on the third rewrite of that paper, his fall vibes will remind you of a better time, and help get you through.
2. Older by Doc Robinson
The Doc Robinson boys have a really cool sound. Somehow it’s lilting and upbeat, all at once.
3. Way It Goes by Hippo Campus
This one always give me a carefree vibe—a reminder that’s good to have when you’re feeling bogged down just looking at your to-do list.
4. Love Yourself by The Boxer Rebellion
This song kind of became my theme song when I realized how quickly finals week was coming up… the title says it all.
5. Telescope by Boom Forest
Forget how much your head hurts with “the spiritual wailings of John Paul Roney from the automated woods of Tomorrow.” (I don’t think there’s a better artist description on Spotify.)
6. Mykonos by Fleet Foxes
This song sounds like one from a different time. It always makes me wonder… what were finals like in the 70s?
7. Fountain of Youth by Local Natives
Although it starts deceivingly quiet, it always ends up making me feel motivated…even if it is just to make more revisions on a term paper.
8. Arcadia by The Kite String Tangle
This one is slightly pop… but equally chill.
9. Should Have Known Better by Sufjan Stevens
His is another really chill voice, one that you can just get wrapped up in and forget how long you’ve been sitting in front of your laptop.
10. Mother Song by Westerman
I found myself humming this one long after I’d set my books down for the night… it gives off a sense of renewal.
11. Cinnamon by The Long Winters
This song always makes me feel a little brighter. When the chorus hits, I can’t help but smile.
12. Dancepack by Volcano Choir
Does that voice sound familiar? Yes, that’s Bon Iver… before he was Bon Iver.
Music has restorative powers all by itself, and these 12 indie songs always help me remember that whatever I’m working on, however impossible it seems, I’ll get it done. While these songs would make a good addition to your study playlist, they’re also good for a break: a walk around, a slightly long shower, an accompaniment to a meal that didn’t come straight from a box. As the stress of finals ensues, it’s important to remember to care for yourself and give yourself little breaks—even if it is just a chillout session with your favorite music.