What I’ve Been Listening To

I don’t know about you guys, but I love using spring break as a way to find lots of cool new music. Load road trips or hours spent lounging out in the sunshine are ideal for listening to new tunes, and this spring break did not disappoint. With tons of new releases alongside the rediscovery of some old favorites, I’ve got tons to talk about and share with you guys.

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  1. ÷ – Ed Sheeran

Wow, if you haven’t listened to this album already, what have you been doing?! Go listen to it now! Sheeran proves yet again that he is a complete lyrical genius with this record. I found myself tearing up during one song and then laughing out loud during the next. As usual, the album is full of the beautiful ballads that Sheeran is known for and are sure to be the slow song of choice this prom season. The record also touches on quite a few more personal notes, the most standout of these being the song ‘Supermarket Flowers’, a song about the death of Sheeran’s grandmother. There are however, lots of more upbeat numbers to round out the album, making it something truly worth listening to. Personal favorites include a Gaelic inspired number called ‘Gallway Girl’, ‘New Man’ (the song that had me actually laughing), and ‘Barcelona’.

2.  Green Light – Lorde

A huge departure from Lorde’s typical “dark pop” sound, ‘Green Light’ marks a triumphant return for the 21-year-old singer songwriter. Taking inspiration from Swedish pop sensation, Robyn, and David Bowie who previously called Lorde the “future of music”, Green Light is an upbeat heartbreak pop anthem. Since the release of ‘Green Light’, Lorde has also released a second single, ‘Liability’. A slow piano ballad, the song focuses on the message of loving oneself without the usual cheese-fest that self love songs usually have. These singles have really peaked my interest in her sophomore album, ‘Melodrama’, set to release on June 16th. If you’re a fan of Lorde’s previous work, or of good pop music in general, I’d definitely give these a listen.

3. Intertwined – Dodie

While this isn’t a new release, singer-songwriter/YouTube personality Dodie just finished her first U.K headlining tour earlier this week and if you haven’t hear this EP already, I highly recommend it. Dodie’s angelic vocals accompanied mostly by her ukulele create a unique and addictive pop sound. While most of these songs have been preformed acoustically on her YouTube channel, the in studio makeovers that they all receive creates a very different listening experience. A mixture of fun songs about things like toothaches mixed with more serious topics create a very fun six song debut EP that I am absolutely in love with.

4. TALKING IS HARD – WALK THE MOON

What a classic! WALK THE MOON’s sophomore album was released a few years ago, and even though the group is an absolute favorite of mine, this record had definitely fallen to the wayside of my collection.  Heavily inspired by 80’s pop, ‘TALKING IS HARD’ is packed to the brim with fun upbeat tunes, including their #1 hit single ‘Shut Up and Dance’. If you like that song even just a little bit, I beg you to give this album a chance, as that isn’t even the strongest song on the record. My personal favorites include ‘Different Colors’ and ‘Work This Body’. This record is almost exclusively made up of tracks that are amazing to dance to and the perfect songs to jam out to over spring break.

5. Fitz and the Tantrums – Fitz and the Tantrums

While this self-titled album was released in June, I happen to think that it’s the perfect collection of upbeat pop jams for any spring break outing. You’ve probably hear the records leading single, ‘Handclap’, but there are tons of other amazing tunes that are equally as catchy. Due to the lack of guitars the band uses, Fitz has a unique sound unlike so many other indie bands and always keeps me coming back for more. Personal favorites on the record are ‘Roll Up’ and ‘Walking Target’.

Hopefully at least one of these recommendations peaked your interest, or at least inspired you to try and find some new music this spring break! If you have any thoughts on the music I wrote about or have any musical recommendations for me, leave me a comment below!

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Five Tips for Surviving Dead Week

As any college student knows, dead week is possibly the worst and most stressful time of your life. Suddenly all of those projects that you’ve been putting off all quarter are due and you’re regretting the fact that you ever even signed up for a Netflix account. On top of all the ridiculous work that you have to do, you also have to study for your finals that are next week. What the hell?!

As someone who has had many successful and unsuccessful dead weeks, I feel as though I finally have some helpful wisdom that I can share that may hopefully make your dead week a little less terrible, or at least a little easier to manage.

1. The weekend before dead week, make yourself a schedule. 

Sit down with all of your syllabuses and figure out exactly what is due in the coming days, because it’s probably a lot. The last thing you want is to forget you had one final quiz in a class because you were too busy focusing on a giant essay that’s due. By knowing exactly what you have to get done, you’ll be able to budget your time and stay on top of all of your tasks.

2. Find a study partner.

This may be a personal preference,  but I find that if I have a friend that is studying with me, I’m way less tempted to start slacking and take dumb Buzzfeed quizzes for an hour when I should be doing work. The two of you don’t even have to be doing the same work, just having someone else with you and focusing can really help hold you accountable. Just make sure it’s someone who is just as dedicated to studying as you are. The last thing you want is to invite someone to study and they end up distracting you the whole time.

3. Try studying somewhere new.

I find that when I study in the same spaces all the time, I get way too comfortable and proceed to goof around instead of working. By going to a new environment, it really makes me think “oh, this is serious studying time now”. This can be something as little as picking a new floor of the library to go to, but it really can make a huge difference. Plus, this gives you a fun excuse to go try a new coffee shop or explore a cool new library!

4. Look for resources on campus.

A lot of schools will host fun study sessions during dead week that offer resources like extended tutoring hours or essay writing assistance. Taking advantage of these can seriously help boost your grade on a final project, or help you understand a concept that you’re not very strong on. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

5. Make time for fun.

I know everyone says that taking breaks is important, but this really can’t be stressed enough. When I schedule out one afternoon of fun, I definitely put a lot more effort into the work I am doing earlier that day. It is so much more effective to have a few hours of concentrated work than a full day of halfhearted work while you’re staring at your phone the whole time. By taking a few breaks, you’ll make the most of the time that you do spend studying.

While everyone’s experience with dead week is different, I really hope these tips help. Just know that everyone around you is equally as stressed and sleep deprived. And hey, spring break is just around the corner!