Finals week playlist

Music to get you through the stress of exam week


Finals week is approaching and you might have a sense of impending doom, whirling through a caffeine-induced, sleep-deprived dystopia. Hold on tight, because these next few weeks are going to be stressful. But you’ve got this.

Relax your mind with this calming playlist, tailored to take you to a place of clarity – if only for a few moments.

Radiohead - “How to Disappear Completely”

Escapism might not be the most effective way out of difficult situations. In the long run it can certainly be detrimental. Especially during finals week, you should face your fears head-on and conquer those papers and exams.

But sometimes it’s OK – for a few minutes – to pretend you’re somewhere or someone else entirely. That’s what Radiohead accomplishes in this song, which is so ethereal it seems otherworldly. Thom Yorke sings over and over, “I’m not here. This isn’t happening,” the mantra of the college student during exam week.

Kendrick Lamar - “i”

Sometimes finals bring you down emotionally. The stress becomes overwhelming and the lack of sleep from late-night study sessions catches up to you quickly. This can bring self-confidence down to new lows.

Kendrick Lamar’s “i” can help pick you back up again and give you the confidence to make it through the week. The song is about overcoming adversity with one positive message: “I love myself.”

Best Coast - “Feeling OK”

Best Coast is a band mostly known for its dreamy California tunes mixed in with some inspirational lyrics.

“Feeling OK” is a fitting title for a song that isn’t over-the-top inspiring, but realistic enough to make you see through whatever it is you’re going through.

Modest Mouse - “Float On”

Modest Mouse has been around longer than most college students have been alive. Their 2004 album, Good News for People Who Love Bad News,is soaked in Bukowski-inspired lyricism and as a whole isn’t very optimistic.

“Float On” is a feel-good anthem, one that can get you through even your darkest and most stressful times. “And we’ll all float on OK” is the prevailing message in song about trudging through tough circumstances.

Beach House - “Space Song”

There are very few bands that make dreamier music than Beach House. Each song is an escape to your own sleepy-subconscious, to a make-believe place or, in this case, through time and space itself.

The song progresses slowly as if the music is suspended in time. Become entranced in the notes as you “fall back into place.” It feels like lying on clouds or gently free falling through the deepest ocean depths, somewhere you might dream of being during the end of the semester.

Miguel - “Coffee”

Love can sometimes complicate things and amplify the stress even further. But when the feeling is just right, love can lift us through our worries. That’s what Miguel tries to do in the 2015 song “Coffee.”

Equal parts sedating and inspiring, you can choose whether what you get out of your “coffee” is the calming sweetness or the energy from the caffeine. The lyrics read like a poem, and the message can take you to another place. “Pick a star in the sky; we can both say goodbye,” Miguel says.

Explosions in the Sky - “Your Hand in Mine”

Words are limiting. And when you’re trying to listen to music while you study, lyrics can be distracting.

If that’s the case for you, then Explosions in the Sky is the perfect band for you to listen to while studying during finals week. This song is the last track from their 2003 EP, The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place, which is fully instrumental. The music is rhythmic and powerful, and it can help you concentrate on preparing for that exam.

The Shins - “Sleeping Lessons”

During these last few weeks, your sleeping schedule might take a turn for the worse. While you should try your best to get eight hours each night, sometimes pulling an all-nighter is the only way to cram for that exam you have to pass.

Go without ‘til the need seeps in,” is the first line from this song about insomnia. James Mercer, the lead singer, wrote this song while going through fits of sleeplessness, so he can certainly relate to what a lot of students will be experiencing.

The song starts off slowly as if it’s just wakened from a coma, yet as it nears the end it powers through and becomes forceful, energizing, and inspiring.

Andrew Safe is an arts staff writer and can be reached at