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6 Songs To Listen To Before Finals

Michael Boateng |
December 7, 2015 | 1:58 p.m. PST


As the year comes to a close, I find myself not necessarily underwhelmed, but in a state of ennui with where to go with my passions. From the recent terrorist attacks to my brothers and sisters in Nigeria, Paris and other fellow nations, to the rise of Islamophobia, to the Presidential race, to the increased activism across the nation from my collegiate peers, to the lurking tension of finals, my head is all over the place. I see many around me in La La Land, walking in their bubbles – concerned about success, the next move, what is or isn’t right about college administration, who stands in solidarity for whom, and more. Luckily, music has been able to help make sense of everything.

If you’re looking to figure out where your head and heart are as the end of the years draws near, here are a couple songs to provide some clarity. 

These songs are subtle. They provide a space to breathe, and if you’re out there and feeling the same as I, I hope they let you take in things easier, as they have done for me. 

“Don’t Pull Away” by J Viewz feat. Milosh 

Brooklyn musician Jonathan Dagan presents a track that makes you think for a second about where you are at in your current life. A reflective song, that combines the beautiful vocals of Rhye, with the transient sound of Lo-Fang and J. Viewz. 

“American Girl” by Ta-ku feat. Wafia

Close your eyes when you play this track. Think of a soft blanket around you, as the winter chill comes in. In this state of warmth is where you’ll find Australian natives Wafia and Ta-ku’s emotional vocals on this soothing melodic track cover of Estelle’s “American Boy.” The strings will fill your room or ears and give you the opening for a soundtrack for a film titled – "Your Life." 

“Here (Thoughts from A Tour Bus)” by LidogotClouds 

The blues-infused piano riff and blunt lyrics of this track hit home. As the song progresses, it captures the frustrations I’m currently feeling as I live in Los Angeles. The idolization of individuals, the corporate manipulation of records, and the consistent ego-stroking I’ve witnessed in this state, are beautifully pointed out in these lyrics. For anyone that understands that real recognizes real and is over the small talk – enjoy. 

“Petals” by Bibio 

Up next is British producer Bibio releasing this ambient piece that is like a water-colored masterpiece in melodic form. The strokes of his music draw autumn leaves falling onto an ice-cold pond, and floating across slowly as it shrivels. The pulse bass consistently following the reversed sounds let you rewind for a minute to when things were a little simpler.

“Now I’m Alive” by O Mer

The haunting truth that O Mer’s lyrics express in his hollow voice about the inevitable fate of death that comes to us all, is surprisingly able to relieve me of the stress of life. His voice over the simple beat is chilling, but brings us face to face with reality. Although one may miss it at first in his lyrics, he shares with us, that although we’ll come to an end, as you read this, and I write this – we’re both – alive, and there is a shimmering glimpse of hope under the dogpile chaos. 

“This Feeling” by Alabama Shakes

When it’s time to wrap up your night from the long day you’ve had, I strongly recommend putting this track on. The walk, bike ride, or drive will have a pleasant sweet sound that will warm your heart and let you know that no matter what, everything’s going to be alright. This American rock band lets lead singer Brittany Howard pull you in the corner of your mind and smile at the world around you. The sweet lyrics on top of the folksy sound and grainy color makes life feel, even for a second – a little simpler. 

All these songs remind me to breath. To take a second, and remember that it will all work out, or naively I think it’ll work out. But for now, I’m okay with that truth, and hope these tracks bring some clarity to your life in the complicated world we live in. 

Reach Contributor Michael Boateng here



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