Noise cancelling headphones may be required this exam season JONATHAN GRADO/ FLICKR,

Deep sighing, the slightly tacky table where someone has spilled their “natural” energy drink and your finger hovering over which track to press play on. All symptoms that potentially some serious studying is about to commence. Varsity’s music team offer some humble suggestions to hopefully see you through your study session.

Emmy Warr - Pornography by The Cure

If The Cure’s fourth album needed an elevator pitch for entry into your study playlist, it would say: “you can’t be distracted by the disgruntled groans of your fellow students when they are so effectively drowned out by Robert Smith’s animal wailing”.

“Always inducing just the right amount of anxiety to keep you sharp”

Pornography was made for those pedal-to-the-metal, library-til-3am, blood, sweat, tears and Red Bull nights, when ambient jazz and lo-fi just won’t cut it. At times it is haunting post-punk psychedelia, at others it is pure cacophony, but always inducing just the right amount of anxiety to keep you sharp. Besides, nothing captures exam season quite as well as the line “is it always like this?” (from “Siamese Twins”), screeched out into the abyss.

This is not a study soundtrack for the faint of heart, but when you need to introduce a healthy element of fear into your revision timetable, Pornography is the album for you.

Alex Brian - Metamorphosis - Phillip Glass

Throughout my education, teachers have always told me that only classical music can help you study. Pop music’s fast tempos and engaging lyrics are simply too distracting. This I am willing to accept to an extent.

My nosiness certainly makes it difficult for me to study in a room where others are talking, let alone speaking in perfectly crafted rhymes. However, I have never understood the argument that classical music is less off-putting. If anything, it is more distracting with its constant mood changes and massive crescendos. Hence my suggestion of Phillip Glass’ Metamorphosis One. Even when not studying, I prefer to let this music wash over me. Its steady rhythms, gradual evolution and soft solo piano create a calming atmosphere that is perfect for studying. The only danger is its heartrending emotions. This is not the ideal collection if you’re already feeling down after a long day of revision.

Georgie Atkinson - Jungle - Jungle

Jungle’s self titled debut album, (ironically) will help you cut through the thicket of copious amounts of reading. Jungle’s unique blend of funk and nu-disco has happily been gracing the earth and my headphones for almost ten years. The album features tracks that are not so high octane as to get you bumping and grinding (to the horror of your fellow students) but they do allow you to romanticise the perhaps imaginary relationship you have with the person sitting next to you, during a late night study session. For me, the album personifies the feeling of sitting in the sun at a festival sipping on an overpriced gin and tonic — arguably where I am most at home.

With tracks titled, “Lucky I Got What I Want” and “Smoking Pixels” and with the inclusion of lyrics such as, “never had plans for a boring life”, surely it is necessary listening for any Cantab about to tackle exam season?

Aaron Syposz - Around the Sun - Mr Fingers

What makes a good study song? For me, it’s something that makes me feel like I’m making progress. “Around the Sun” by Mr Fingers does that better than any other song I know. It’s chill and repetitive enough to blend into the background when you’re cramming for those exams, but also has a really satisfying build, evoking ever more of the planets spinning like clockwork around our sun with each minute that passes.


Mountain View

Valentine’s Heartbreak Hits

It’s also a song (and would we expect anything less from Mr Fingers, arguably the creator of deep house) which you can’t help but bop along to as it plays in your headphones. It’s pretty rare to get a song that you can dance and study to!

Faisa Mohamed - The concept of white noise

As an English student, studying feels like constantly reading pages after pages and trying to unknot the most tangled of language and narrative. If I’m listening to music the words all melt together and I find myself rereading the same lines over and over. White noise is my go-to whilst I’m working. Although not considered to be music, streaming services have seen a profitable interest in the growing white/pink/brown noise movement.

I use music when I’m on the verge of finishing a task like citations for an essay or notes from my reading. Little Simz’ Gorilla or Stormzy’s This Is What I Mean have been perfect to complete a study session, with both being over four minutes long and packed with braggadocio lyrics that make you think you could conquer the most difficult tasks, like citing in the MLA format.