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10 artists you should consider adding to your study playlist

Art by Metzli Esparza

Along with the beauty of autumn leaves shifting from forest green to burgundy red, and the air starting to fill with the familiar aroma of a pumpkin spice latte, many of us are still haunted by the rapidly progressing school year and the strive to get back into the academic mindset. Studying and remaining focused on your academics may prove difficult, especially when coming off of that summer high. That being said, I believe the best way to survive any academic obstacle is to romanticize the situation as much as possible and one great way to do that is making an autumn playlist.

Listening to music while studying can encourage you to stay focused and even spark some creativity. For that reason, I will be listing 10 musicians that I think radiate the comforting and warm energy of the fall season.

10. Sales

To begin, we have the American indie-pop band, Sales. Sales has made many recognizable hits such as “Chinese New Year,” “Renee,” and “Pope is a Rockstar,” which may be more popularly known from their viral audios on TikTok. The band’s music is perfect for chilly October mornings given their lo-fi and dreamy sound. Their song “Big Sis” is one that I personally love and recommend to anyone looking to add a smaller band with a unique sound to their study playlist this fall.

9. Liana Flores

Liana Flores is next on our list and is a British-Latina singer-songwriter who makes music mostly in the alternative/indie genre. Her most well-known song is “Rises the Moon” off her 2019 album, Recently. Most of Liana’s music is acoustic guitar-based which creates a serene and relaxing atmosphere, perfect for winding down from doing work or calming yourself down when the workload starts becoming overwhelming. A song of hers I would recommend is “Recently,” the title track to her 2019 album.

8. Boygenius

For our second band, we have the talented Boygenius. Singer-songwriters Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker make up this alternative/indie supergroup. The band first formed in 2018 with a self-titled EP and after a long hiatus, they returned in 2023 with their first album titled The Record. The Record is filled with amazing songs ranging from a capella to indie rock to more mellow and lyrical. Some songs I would recommend studying to are “Cool About It,” “Leonard Cohen,” and “True Blue.” But proceed with caution because even though these songs will definitely awaken your fall spirit, they might also inspire some tears.

7. Mitski

At number 7 we have Mitski. Mitski is an Asian-American, singer-songwriter of indie music. She recently released her seventh studio album which contains her newest hit “My Love Mine All Mine.” She creates music ranging from poetic and heartfelt like “Francis Forever" to more fun and upbeat like “Strawberry Blond" which is perfect for whatever study mood you are in. Songs like “I Bet on Losing Dogs” and “First Love/Late Spring” are definitely on my study playlist. That being said, be prepared for some beautifully gut-wrenching lyrics!

6. Clairo

Next on our list, we have the queen of bedroom-pop herself. From the age of 13, Clairo began writing and recording original music and releasing it on the internet. Her lyrics are catchy and clever and pair extremely well with her soft and soothing voice. Clairo’s music is simple and sweet and great for when you need to wind down and focus but still want to listen to some fun or easy-going music. I recommend listening to the rerecorded versions of some of her songs off her 2019 album, Immunity, for more upbeat fall energy and amazing production.

5. Lana Del Rey

Halfway down the list and our next artist to add to your fall playlist is Lana Del Rey, one of my personal favorites. This American singer-songwriter is known for the Americana, tragic romance, and melancholy feel. Her lyrics and attention to production are both beautiful and add to her ethereal aesthetic. Due to her variety in style and wide range of musical talent, it would be difficult to not find a song that fits your current headspace. Songs like “Cinnamon Girl," “Tomorrow Never Came,” and "Venice Bitch” are all extraordinary and perfect for helping you slow down and concentrate while also preparing you for the upcoming foggy and gloomy weather.

4. Men I Trust

Our next artist is the Canadian indie band, Men I Trust. The band was formed in 2014 and consists of three members, Emmanuelle Proulx, Jessy Caron, and Dragos Chiriac. Their music is the perfect accompaniment to a cup of hot tea and a good book to read as it begins to rain. One of their more popular songs is “Show Me How” but I also highly recommend the songs “I Hope to Be Around” and “Numb.”

3. Mac DeMarco

Mac DeMarco is a Canadian singer and songwriter of mainly alternative or indie music. One of his more popular songs is “My Kind of Women” from his 2012 album, 2. Songs by him I would recommend for a similar feel are “Watching Him Fade Away” and “For The First Time.” Demarco’s style of music tends to be categorized as more relaxed and laid-back, perfect for a calming walk to clear your mind and breathe in the crisp autumn breeze.

2. Big Thief

Big Thief is an American indie folk band that is well known for their demo of the song “Vampire Empire” which created a lot of discourse on many social media platforms when the released studio version of the song slightly differed from the orginal. That being said, whether you like the demo or studio version more, I think most people involved in this online conversation can agree that it is a great song with strong and meaningful lyrics. Not only is this a great addition to your newest playlist but so are their songs “Paul” and “Simulation Swarm.” Big Thief tends to pack their music with a lot of emotion and relatable lyrics that are incredibly moving and can help get your creativity flowing.

1. Hozier

Last but definitely not least on this list is Hozier. For those who aren’t familiar with the artist, Hozier is an Irish singer-songwriter who creates alternative music with aspects of folk and blues. He is most known for songs like “Take Me to Church” released in 2013 and for the hauntingly beautiful and celestial feel of a lot of his music. Songs that I think exude the most fall vibes are “Would That I,” “From Eden,” and “Like Real People Do.” Hozier’s music can be extremely tranquil and soothing especially during this time of year when things tend to get a bit stressful.

Some honorable mentions include Faye Webster, Steve Lacy, and WILLOW. I highly suggest giving at least one of these enormously talented musicians a listen.

With all that having been said, nothing listed is in any specific ranking and are all deserving of a try. Autumn can be such a lovely season, and though the day-to-day stressors in our lives may distract us from this, it can be helpful to utilize music to keep us staying focused, grounded, and motivated.

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