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Music Inspiration for Exams

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Label volunteer, Sid Dhupal, provides us with some music inspiration for when you are revising and to get you ready for the exam on exam day.

Well, it’s that time of year again. No, not Christmas, it’s exam season. Think of endless procrastination, a little hard work, and a lot of anxious waiting. This rollercoaster of emotions, however, can be conquered through music. While revision is quite tedious, it allows for the exploration of an expanse of music by any average student. Similarly, exam days are also often plagued with negativity: nervousness, frustration, and guilt. These scenarios could definitely use a bumping (or calming) soundtrack, and that being said, here are some of my personal recommendations for some calm study sessions and some exam day reinvigoration.

I prefer less sonically abrasive music for the rare times I do revise, mainly to placate my easily distracted brain, and so electronica and experimental underground hip-hop artists usually fill my playlists. I do however, love innovation in recording and structure, and so I would recommend Aphex Twin’s ‘Vordhosbn’ off the album drukQs or the creatively named Lil Ugly Mane’s ‘RATHER BE BROKE’ on Three Sided Tape Volume 3. Another great instrumental track is ‘Creeper’ by Japanese jazz-hop musician DJ Deckstream. Some other songs on my revision playlists include songs from the late great MF DOOM, whose intricate and witty lyricism layered on great instrumentals provide for a very soothing listening experience. I recommend cuts like ‘Bistro’ from Madvillainy and ‘Kon Karne’ from Mm..Food.

On the other hand, exam days call for extremely loud, triumphant, or even obnoxious songs. Anything that’ll get me awake and pumped up, I’ll listen to. Keeping that in mind, I highly recommend listening to the very aptly named ‘WIN’ by Jay Rock. What better way to start your exam day than by listening to what is basically the national anthem of balling. If the lyrics are too bland for your taste, then you might as well just listen for Kendrick Lamar’s humorous ad-libs. Kanye’s ‘Blood on the Leaves’ from Yeezus is another personal favourite, mainly for the minimalist song construction and the heavy sampling. Continuing on, Alexisonfire’s ‘Mailbox Arson’ from their album Crisis, is a another great wake-up song, consisting of loud riffs and guttural screaming a la George Pettit, mixed with Dallas Green’s angelic clean vocals. If you’re not a fan of the traditional rap and rock genres, then 100 gecs are for you. ‘Hand crushed by a mallet’, in particular, pumps me up. The record, which appears on 1000 gecs, is a gestalt of auto tuned vocals, instrumental shifts, heavy bass, and soaring synths. And it’s loud. Like, very loud.

Finally, my personal favourite song to listen to when I’m down and stressed on exam days is ‘Break Stuff’ from Significant Other, the second album from Limp Bizkit, who are arguably the most obnoxious, offensive, in-your-face band. And yet there’s just something about Fred Durst’s signature vocals and the infectious melodies that just hype me up. It’s a much unexpected remedy for stress: a stocky, bearded man yelling profanities in your ear while guitars and drums blare in the background. I often find myself getting drawn into whisper-screaming the lyrics (can’t wake up the neighbours!) and awkwardly dancing in my room when I’m freshening up on exam days.

Well then, I do hope I’ve given you all some musical inspiration for your upcoming study sessions and exams. All I can say is: music may not help your grades, but it’ll definitely help your mood.


Header designed by Volunteer Designer, Molly Goldby

Article Edited by Matthew Rousou – Label Music Editor

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Label Music Editor 2020-21

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