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Best Acoustic Cover Study Playlist

Samantha Dilley |
December 2, 2014 | 1:50 a.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Yes, it’s just that time of year. Pages upon pages of notes you took at the beginning of the semester have not only unfortunately reentered your life, but also shockingly become relevant to your academic success. Stress familiarly begins to constrict your ability to breathe, as the end of your life seems to approach you faster than the end of the week. Even though you tried to suppress any recollection or ignore these bold dates on your syllabus, you know it can only be one thing: finals week. 

Sometimes the best thing for me when I study is the perfect playlist. It is totally up to personal preference, but I find that sometimes acoustic music helps me focus more than whatever I have on my "Recently Added" playlist.

The recipe is simple: soothing piano or guitar, accompanied by a solid vocalist, singing a song that is familiar to me, instead of with new lyrics that will suck me into paying more attention to the song than my homework. 

Whether it’s Ed Sheeran crooning acoustic renditions of his contemporaries' hit songs, or a girl in her room filming on her computer camera, YouTube is my go-to place to find new music to help me study. Here are nine of my favorite YouTube acoustic covers I use as a study playlist: 

1. Ariana Grande ft. The Weeknd's "Love Me Harder" - Damielou Shavelle 

This Australian singer is the universal YouTuber, with videos ranging from “How-To’s,” to original songs and acoustic covers. I absolutely love Damie’s voice, especially with this song. 

2. Jeff Buckley's "Lilac Wine" - Miley Cyrus

Remember this version of Miley? Although she gained attention from her cover of the iconic Dolly Parton song “Jolene” during her backyard sessions, her version of "Lilac Wine" is breathtaking. Rumor has it, her ex-fiancé, Liam Hemsworth, popped the question and proposed to her after this recording session. Liam, we are just as mesmerized! She sounds beautiful! 

3. Drake's "Take Care Medley" - SoMo

YouTube star, TheMrSoMo, found his fame through his soulful covers of various hip/hop and R&B hits. The "Take Care Medley" that combines every song on Drake's “Take Care” album is just so, so cool. Definitely one of my favorites in the playlist. 

4. Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" - Aanysa 

Although I usually take issue with artists changing original lyrics in a cover, somehow the modifications suit Aanysa's personal performance and seem to tell her own story. Hearing this song sung from the female perspective is refreshing, as it maintains the feeling of heartbreak Sam Smith invited us to hear on the original track. 

5. Justin Timberlake's "Mirrors" - Boyce Avenue feat. Fifth Harmony

This collaboration includes amazing harmonies and even better solo performances, which makes it one of my favorites on the playlist. Even if it seems impossible to outdo J.T., they do a pretty good job in comparison.

6. Sia's "Chandelier" - Sara Bareilles 

Exclusively on her VEVO account, Sara posted her cover of “Chandelier” that she did at Madison Square Garden. Take Sara Bareilles, one of my music idols, and give her the task of singing anything, and she will vocally blow it out of the park. I get chills every time I hear this. 

7. Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car - Kina Grannis & Boyce Avenue

Boyce Avenue somehow made it on my playlist a second time, but for good reason. The way that Kina is singing to Alejandro makes this cover seem like a conversation between lovers, instead of Tracy Chapman’s anecdotal tale. It completely changed the way I thought about the lyrics. This is a phenomenal cover of one of my all-time favorite songs. 

8. Beyoncé's "XO" - John Mayer 

John, please sing to me. I would listen every day of every week, every second of every day. I already "love you light’s out." 

9. Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" - James Arthur 

This X-Factor winner exclusively performed his rendition of “Wrecking Ball” for YouTube and aren’t we so glad he did? Ignoring my biased, unwavering love for Miley, many crown Arthur with another victorious title: better than the original. 

Although this playlist doesn’t have the data to back up a reliable success rate, and you might be 45 minutes more distracted than you were before reading this article, you have to admit the covers were a pretty fun listen. 

May the odds be ever in your favor this week. 

Reach Staff Reporter Samantha Dilley here



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