It’s that time of the quarter again. You dare not speak its name — your scar will burn too badly. Though we would never wish them upon anybody, finals have arrived again. For some of us, that means Scantrons and tests aplenty, while others have an endless amount of essays to juggle. To accompany this madness, a soundtrack can be helpful. This list attempts to encompass all the moments you feel during this stretch run — the stress, the triumph, the actual work and of course, the classic breaking-down-into-the-fetal-position moment where you’re gobbling Nutella by the spoonful straight from the jar after your SafeAssign link expired two seconds too early. Happy listening.
1. “Careful You” — TV On The Radio
This jam from the veteran indie rockers will lure you in with its lush bass and groovy electronics, and keep you there with lead singer Tunde Adebimpe’s earnest vocals wavering between many emotions.
Favorite lyric: “Should we back it up and turn it around? / Take the good with the bad / Still believe we can make it somehow”
2. “Under the Pressure” — The War on Drugs
This nearly nine-minute track that opens their 2014 album “Lost In The Dream,” allows you to lose yourself in its unique mixture of spacey synths and Springsteen-tinged guitars, as Adam Granduciel sings possibly the most relaxing song about anxiety ever.
Favorite lyric: “I’m just wading in the water / Just trying not to crack, under the pressure”
3. “Never Catch Me (feat. Kendrick Lamar)” — Flying Lotus
This collaboration off of Flying Lotus’ latest album sees Lamar spitting verses with the intensity of someone exploring the meaning of life, as restless beats and jittery jazz guitar encompass a wide array of emotions over the course of three minutes and 54 seconds.
Favorite lyric: “Analyze my demise, I say I’m super anxious / Recognize I deprive this fear and then embrace it”
4. “I’m Not Part of Me” — Cloud Nothings
Though the song appears to be more about a relationship than anything, the Cleveland garage rockers provide the correct mindset for motivation with this triumphant, self-assuring track. Drummer Jason Gercyz’s fills and the way Dylan Baldi decisively sings the word “but” are enough reasons to listen to this track.
Favorite lyric: “It’s over now, there’s a way I was before / But I can’t recall how I was those days anymore / I’m learning how to be here and nowhere else / How to focus on what I can do myself”
5. “Caaalifornia (feat. Ghost Beach)” — French Horn Rebellion
This weirdo electro-pop offering is as strange and fun-sounding as you might expect a band called French Horn Rebellion to produce. Its bouncy synths and sounds combined with an irresistible hook are sure to put you in a good mood.
Favorite lyric: “It wasn’t Caaalifornia / She said I’m coming for you”
6. “I Am Disappeared” — Frank Turner
You can’t quite spontaneously get away just yet, but this track will let you pretend to. Get your anger out singing along with Turner’s earnest vocals and fantastic contrast of electric and acoustic instrumentation.
Favorite lyric: “And come morning / I am disappeared / Just an imprint on the bedsheets”
7. “Content Nausea” — Parquet Courts
Technically released under the pseudonym “Parkay Quarts,” this anxious garage track understands exactly how overwhelmed you feel, with rapid-fire stream-of-conciousness lyrics mostly about living with too much technology.
Favorite lyric: “On a screen or at a distance / Life lived best without resistance”
8. “Dream About the Future” — The Apples In Stereo
This ELO-esque song floats along like there’s nothing to worry about; its bright piano and undeniable groove combined with the retro-futuristic sounding vocoder remind you that a future and respite from finals and papers, at least temporarily, is not far away.
Favorite lyric: “What do you see (What do you see) / When you dream about the future / Do you see me?”
9. “This Year” — The Mountain Goats
John Darnielle’s seemingly simple song follows only an acoustic guitar, a piano and a short steady drumbeat, yet efficiency is the name of the game here — not only do the instruments make you feel like you’re moving forward, but singer-songwriter John Darnielle’s ardent, impassioned vocals make you believe that you can overcome anything.
Favorite lyric: “I am going to make it through this year / If it kills me / I am going to make it through this year / If it kills me”
10. “Gonna Fly Now (Theme from ‘Rocky’)” — Bill Conti
What more is there to be said about this track? Go kick that final’s ass! Run confidently up the steps of the HUB and into your class with this blaring in your headphones, and success is all but assured — even if suffering may be inevitable.
Favorite lyric: “Gonna fly now / flying high now”