Serin Koh / Sun Contributor

March 25, 2024

SOLAR FLARE | Songs for Grinding Out an Essay

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I know what you’re thinking: “A playlist to write an essay to? Did they run out of ideas already?” Fear not. I just happen to be a part of a niche group of people who enjoy listening to words while typing other words. Something about having a beat makes me more productive, and I know that there are others out there who feel the same way. I dedicate this playlist to you all. We proponents of listening to music with lyrics while writing may be a somewhat small group, but we are mighty.

1. SZA: Saturn

SZA’s newest single is truly a slow R&B masterpiece that picks up in just the right places. Perfect to start off an essay with, just when you’re starting to ease into it.

2. Steve Lacy and Fousheé: Sunshine

A bit more upbeat than “Saturn,” “Sunshine” is the song to write an introduction to. It breathes enough life into you to tackle some hard work.

3. The Marías: Cariño

“Cariño” is one of my absolute favorite songs by The Marías. It has the ideal steady beat to type to, and the added bonus of some funky guitar.

4. Public Library Commute: Moonlight

Yet another song that features a funky guitar riff, “Moonlight,” by the criminally underrated singer, producer and guitarist Conrad Hsiang (known as Public Library Commute) is some of his best work.

5. Ruby Doll: Nostalgia

This absolutely dreamy song is engaging in a way that isn’t distracting, but is still a very fun listening experience. It’s catchy, but it won’t stop you from writing efficiently.

6. The Japanese House: Saw You In A Dream

“Saw You In A Dream” has a quick, stable beat that makes for a wonderful backing track for essay writing. However, proceed with caution — if you know the lyrics to this one, it gets kind of difficult not to want to belt them out. I recommend only listening to this one if you don’t know the lyrics; otherwise, avoid writing your essay in the library, or some other place where it is not socially acceptable to burst into song. 

7. The Neighbourhood: Over the Influence

Similar in pace to “Saw You In A Dream,” “Over the Influence” picks up as the song progresses, making it a nice lead-in for…

8. Troye Sivan: What’s The Time Where You Are?

… “What’s The Time Where You Are?”, for when you’re really in the zone. You are on the fourth page of that five-page paper. The end is in sight, and you have no choice but to keep up the pace with this song.

9. Sabrina Carpenter: Fast Times

In “Fast Times,” Sabrina Carpenter continues what Troye Sivan started. Just the right amount of upbeat to propel you further.

10. Bad Suns: Grace (I Think I’m In Love Again)

I never stop recommending Bad Suns songs, so for people who know me, it should come as no surprise that I included one on this playlist. “Grace (I Think I’m In Love Again)” is energetic in a different way than the previous two songs, and makes for the perfect transition into the final paragraphs.

11. Omar Apollo: Archetype

Slowing down a bit more, we have some classic Omar Apollo, featuring fun guitar, a catchy chorus and Apollo’s soothing voice, just in case that paper isn’t going too well.

12. Ruel: You Against Yourself

An upbeat song for the grand finale. A delightful soundtrack for banging out those last few words.

Sydney Levinton is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected].

‘Solar Flare’ is a weekly playlist column where Sun contributors spotlight a slice of musical taste with the campus community. It runs every Monday.