It’s that time of the year that I, along with every other student around the country, have been dreading: essay time. It’s usually around this part of the term that your tutors want to check how you’re doing, and so there is inevitably a lot more work to get done. However stressful this may be, there is a silver lining; namely, the chance to sort out a good calming, motivating and invigorating playlist to keep your mind active and your fingers typing. I’ve never really bought into the classical music or soundtrack accompaniments to essays and so here are the albums and EPs that I have had on repeat during my hard week of essay writing. Hopefully this will give you some pointers on how to best take advantage of this terrible time of year.

Lone DoeUpon First Blush

Sometimes when writing an essay it’s necessary to completely lose yourself, and Lone Doe provides a perfect atmosphere for this. All of the tracks on debut EP Upon First Blush provide something for  you to become totally immersed in, and the ghostly resonance of tracks such as Dawn and N.Y.E make sure that once it begins to wash over you, you are hooked until the end. For late night essay writing, this is sure to keep you from being distracted by the outside world.

Recommended – N.Y.E


Belle & Sebastian – Stressee, moi? Jamais…

The most important thing when writing for extended periods is to just keep your mind active, and Belle & Sebastian certainly have enough variation in this album to keep you interested. Stressee, moi? Jamais… is 42 tracks long and goes from relaxing classics like The Stars Of Track And Field to motivating bursts of energy like Mayfly, and is sure to follow you through the emotional journey with its many twists and turns and keep you cheerful with Stuart Murdoch’s ever-inventive witty lyricism.

Recommended – The Boy With The Arab Strap



The Folk – Wait Forever EP

I find the best way to deal with stress is to treat yourself to a sweet, harmonic set of songs, something that at once picks you up with sharp lyrics and settles you in with flowing, drawing instrumentation. The Folk can offer all this. Their Wait Forever EP, for just 6 songs, is a comprehensive catalogue of differing styles and moods from the soothing and inspiring Wait Forever to the uplifting and encouraging Disco Ball Bra. The three girls are sure to add that little bit of positivity to the situation and keep you from giving up with their melodic, folky charms.

Recommended – Wait Forever



Bellowhead – Broadside

If you’re on the last few paragraphs, your third cup of coffee and generally feeling drained of energy, then I think Bellowhead’s newest album is the thing for you. First of all, its instrumental mastery is sure to keep you going and act like an adrenaline boost, but it is its pure musical power that kept me going. Every song is so full of passion and complete belief, that it is inspiring just to hear the joy and sincerity that Jon Boden and the gang have.

Recommended – Roll The Woodpile Down


Keston Cobblers Club – One, For Words

There’s no shame in taking a break every now and then, and when you do you have to make sure you have an enjoyable playlist ready. My go to band is Keston Cobblers Club and their debut album One, For Words, simply because each song is so jam packed full of carefree spirit that you can’t help but warm to them and their innocent, happy charisma. Each song, with their contagious optimism, just reminds you that writing an essay doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and there’s always something to put a smile on your face.



About The Author

Josh is an English and Creative Writing graduate from Royal Holloway University of London. He writes plays, presents radio, draws comics and listens to folk music.

One Response

  1. Larry

    Hi, Josh!
    Nice tracks!
    There’s one problem in all “study/productivity” playlists:
    some people like wordless music, others like music with words;
    some people like classics, others like dubstep.
    I’ve created a website to help students with different music tastes to set up the flow. Hope, it will be helpful.
    All best, Larry



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