If you’re anything like us you’ll be scratching your head at how we’ve already arrived at the end of another study period. We hope yours has been an exciting, fun, and not-too-stressful one. Whether you’re staying up late revising for exams or madly writing essays, you need a great study soundtrack now more than ever. So let’s get right into it, shall we?
Swing Out Sister – It’s Better To Travel (1987)
Swing Out Sister should have been so much bigger. Instead they’re remembered as a one-hit wonder. Granted that hit was ‘Breakout’ which – if golden oldie radio stations didn’t play the same 20 tunes over and over – would be remembered as a classic to this day.
Hit ‘play’ below you’ll find an album of pure pop at its finest: soulful, breezy, and sophisticated. And at a lean eight tunes, there’s not a dud moment to be found.
Joni Mitchell – The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975)
It’s a crime to think there’s a whole generation of people who only know Joni Mitchell for one song: ‘Big Yellow Taxi’. While it’s true her early albums were characterised by that folky, confessional, singer-songwriter style, in the mid ‘70s she stretched out musically: adding elements of jazz and progressive rock (the kind of sound that makes Steely Dan fans salivate).
Prince (may he rest in peace) was a huge Joni Mitchell fan and often praised ‘Hissing of Summer Lawns’ during interviews. It’s also my favourite and is bookended in her discography by two equally great albums, ‘Court and Spark’ (1974) and ‘Hejira’ (1976).
Moon Duo – Shadow of the Sun (2015)
Moon Duo are a band who aren’t ashamed to wear their influences on their sleeve: that is krautrock pioneers Neu!, electro-punks Suicide, and space-rockers Spacemen 3 (who all influenced each other in turn). At any rate, none of this is of too much consequence when they make music this simultaneously weird, yet easy to enjoy.
D’Angelo – Voodoo (2000)
D’Angelo initially emerged from the neo-soul scene of the mid ‘90s, which included the likes of Erykah Badu, The Roots, and Common. Basically D’Angelo is the man. Well, perhaps number two after his idol Prince (check out his touching and emotional tribute to the Purple One on Jimmy Fallon recently).
‘Voodoo’ isn’t just a great study soundtrack – it’s a great date night soundtrack. I’ll just leave it at that.
Prince (R.I.P.) – Parade (1986)
You didn’t think we’d leave the Purple One out, did you? Appropriate study music aside, ‘Parade’ is a criminally underrated album in an intimidatingly huge discography. This album was the soundtrack to the terrible film he directed called ‘Under the Cherry Moon’, where he plays an American gigolo in Paris, named ‘Christopher Tracy’.
Taken from the album and movie is the equally underrated single, ‘Mountains’. Spoiler alert: Christopher Tracy dies at the end and goes to heaven where, perhaps fittingly, you can see him below, dancing around in what looks like a skimpy matador outfit.