Music Review

Music for Hitting the Books

For many of us, back to school means back to car ride commutes, back to head-phoned journeys across campus, back to idly playing on your phone, and waiting for class to start.

Having good music can be crucial to all of these in-between moments on campus, especially when a large portion of this downtime is also spent trying to catch-up on your next class’s assigned reading or flipping through flashcard terms. To make all this cramming a little more soothing, Tri-Lite has compiled a collection of some of 2022’s very best albums to study to that you might’ve missed this summer.

  1. Superache, Conan Gray

This album truly did not get enough hype. As yet another product of songwriter, Dan Nigro (who is also responsible for Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour), Superache features everything that is great about Gen-Z’s hyper-fixation with dramatic emo-resurgence songs, while also having a grounded heart. Gray balances ballads and bops with heartbreaking truth, melding loneliness and pop-rock dance breaks. He demonstrates growth from his previous album, his debut Kid Krow, but still maintains his fresh-faced fun.

Best Song on the Album: It’s hard to pick just one, but Superache really hits the ground running with its second track, “People Watching.”How Easy is it to Study To? If you’re easily over-stimulated, Superache’s fast and heavy instrumentalization might not be for you. But I find its slower beats, like “Summer Child” and “Family Line” to be easy to work to. 3/5 for “study-ability.”
Listen here.

  1. Wet Leg, Wet Leg

It’s not a typo – Wet Leg’s debut album shares the same iconically strange name as the band itself. This endlessly interesting quirkiness is integral to Wet Leg, both the performers and the album. You might remember the group making small waves with their single “Too Late Now” reaching semi-virality on Tik Tok (“Now everything is going wrong / I think I changed my mind again / I’m sure if this is a song / I don’t even know what I’m saying” but you might have missed the full album that was released shortly after this internet fame, early this summer. While “Too Late Now” is still a stand-out hit, this album brings a lot to the table with a synth-y catchiness and a riff-y edge.

Best Song on the Album: Despite the popularity of “Wet Dream” and “Chaise Lounge,” mid-way through the album the group solidifies their tongue-in-cheek cheekiness with their sixth track, “Convincing.”

How Easy is it to Study To? Like Superarche, some of the faster songs may prove to be distracting while you’re working. However, most of the beats are more toe-tapping than head-banging. 3.5/5 for “study-ability.”
Listen here.

  1. Stages of a Breakdown, Semler

This is the shortest album on the list (if we’re being completely honest here, it’s only an EP), but it is also by the most underrated artist on the list, by far. I keep waiting for Semler to blow up. The musician, who uses any pronouns, has been making music since 2018, but really hit their stride in 2021 with his fantastic sophomore album Preacher’s Kid, where she thoughtfully and sensitively evaluates themes of religion and sexuality. In Stages of a Breakdown, Semler re-examines similar territory with a fresh exploration of different production styles. What was previously expressed through gentle acoustic ballads is reaching new planes with a fuller band and a brighter sound. I would get on the Semler train now to watch them soar into stardom later.

Best Song on the Album: “Don’t Tell Anyone” puts Semler’s slightly revamped sound on glorious display.

How Easy is it to Study To? Gentle and rhythmic, this EP is perfect to get lost in while studying. Its soft and sonic sound is easy to work alongside of. 4/5 for “study-ability.”

Listen here.

  1. Sometimes, Forever, Soccer Mommy

Soccer Mommy has been in the game for years, but still seems to remain fairly peripheral in the indie scene. You’ve probably heard a few of her songs already, but her newest album is definitely worth listening to in full. Sometimes, Forever has the energy of a girl next door with an electric guitar. Every subdued and shy moment of the album is delightfully edged with the tiniest bit of grudge.

Best Song on the Album: “Following Eyes” is a lovely little song toward the end of the album, but really, Sometimes, Forever is best listened to as a complete piece.

How Easy is it to Study To? Sometimes, Forever is a collection of study-friendly song after study-friendly song. It’s cohesive commitment to being completely chill will make for a pleasant studying experience. 4.5/5 for “study-ability.”

Listen here.

  1. Dance Fever, Florence + the Machine

This album certainly got plenty of attention in certain circles, but personally, I think most people need to rethink how they’ve categorized Florence + the Machine. While “Dog Days Are Over” might’ve been your mom’s favorite song for years, the artist is still producing interesting and exciting music. This newest album is by far one of my favorite albums to come out this year. It is a whimsical, yet fierce trip through feminist poetry that will leave you craving just one more glimpse into Florence’s world.

Best Song on the Album: While the single “Free” is the strongest, a lesser-known honorable mention is the dreamy “Cassandra.”

How Easy is it to Study To? Dance Fever is equal parts hypnotic and motivational, making it a perfect work companion. 5/5 for “study-ability.”
Listen here.

Hopefully, these study-song suggestions will help you catch up on the missed-out music scene of the summer, while also feeling well-motivated for upcoming school tasks ahead. (Though if you only play them while scrolling through Instagram, I won’t blame you.) To listen to the complete Tri-Lite study session playlist, featuring the best of these albums, as well as more chill songs with summer energy, listen to “tri-lite’s back2school study sesh” by abbi_t on Spotify, or click here.

Abbi Tobin – Senior at Holy Family University and member of Holy Family’s Folio team.