5 albums to complement the 5 stages of midterms

October means every variation on pumpkin-flavored food and drink imaginable. It means temperatures dipping below a hundred degrees here and there, and the rush to get into scarves and sweaters it’s still far too hot for. But most imminently, it means that, once again, it’s time for midterms. Here are five albums to underscore the trudge through October toward the second half of the semester:


Stage One: Outright Denial — “Colours” by Graffiti6:

The idea of taking exams is still a hazy glow in the distance at this point, and though they might be quickly approaching, it certainly doesn’t feel that way.  Graffiti 6’s debut studio album, “Colours,” is the bright, no-strings-attached soundtrack to this blissful period of denial. With all that free time as a result of a lack of studying, there’s plenty of time to get up and dance to the high-energy melodies found on the tracks “Stone in My Heart” and “Stare into the Sun.”


Stage Two: Procrastination — “Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager” by Kid Cudi

Distraction is the name of the game during Stage Two, and there’s no better soundtrack than Kid Cudi’s 2010 release. Full of buzzing synths and rhythmic storytelling, this album may leave listeners feeling a fuzziness that is perfect when attempting to forget about impending doom — i.e. exam day.



Stage Three: Wary Acceptance — “Youth Novels” by Lykke Li

Then comes that disjointed feeling that comes with cracking open a textbook for the first time after avoiding it for weeks. Although, in the long run, dipping a toe in the cold waters of exam preparation is probably for the best. That’s the feeling that unconventional Swedish recording artist Lykke Li promotes in her off-kilter debut album from 2008. Airy xylophone riffs clash with the artist’s indulgent use of the vocoder in a Bjork-inspired album about doing what has to be done to move forward.



Stage Four: The Deadline Frenzy — “A Band in Hope” by The Matches

Feeling tired? A little sleep-deprived? Turn on “A Band in Hope,” the 2008 release from pop-punk band The Matches. On a scale of one to 10, this band is constantly at 15, and its fun anthems are sure to spur a laugh or two. With the clock ticking, turn on a track like “Yankee in a Chip Shop” — a track about the California-raised band members feeling out of place in London — and get to work. This record will definitely keep energy levels up for that last-minute push toward finishing assignments and preparing for tests.


Stage Five: Post-Exam Relief  —“Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down” by Noah and the Whale

That’s it — The last essay has been submitted. The last scantron has been turned in, if a little warily. All that’s left is to take a mental vacation for the next day or two. Noah and the Whale’s debut album, “Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down,” is a go-to for times like this. With this record, the English five-piece has served up a whole batch of road-trip-ready songs marked in equal parts by upbeat, full-band arrangements and relaxed, bare-bones acoustics.




Reach the reporter at svhabib@asu.edu

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