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Your Playlist for a New Year

Although we may not believe it, the new year is still young! Hopefully we’re all out of the fog of December break, fully recharged and ready to grind as the second semester rolls around. If you’re still trying to get out of the haze, or maybe you just want a fresh take on music, you’re in the right place. All the songs listed below, ranging from 1966-2015, will either relieve oncoming stress or keep you going when you’re working.

  1. The Shins, The Past and Pending. If we’re looking at this song sentimentally, it’s a new year-remember to look back before you go forward. This song is special in its simplicity, driven by acoustic guitar. In times of stress, give it a listen and remember to breathe. (Note: The Shins’ debut album, Oh, Inverted World, from which this song is taken, is a stellar example of early 2000s alternative, if that’s what you’re into.)

  2. Vampire Weekend, I Stand Corrected. This snippet of a love story was released in 2007 off of Vampire Weekend’s self-titled debut album. The song’s rolling percussion and up-tempo keyboards maintain a much needed sense of fun.

  3. Palehound, Cinnamon. A much more recent pick, Palehound’s frontwoman Ellen Kempner delivers a mixed bag of styles within a single track, ranging from upbeat alt-rock guitar riffs to mellowed out psychedelic sounds. Overall, a solid song for any time and anyone.

  4. Talking Heads, This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody). Synths and ringing guitars drive this 80s classic  with an incredibly catchy hook. Chris Baio, of Vampire Weekend fame, also made a 37-minute-long mix that opens with the “Naive Melody”-the first 6 minutes might be even more fun than the original.

  5. Simon & Garfunkel, Anji. It’s unfortunate this song, recorded in 1966, is just 2 minutes and change-its intense tempo and classical guitar finesse make Anji a really nice song for late night studying. As a sidenote, if you have the time and you’re interested, look into Simon & Garfunkel’s vast body of work. They are not the unsung, but rather the under-sung heroes of 60s folk music, with “Sounds of Silence” and “Leaves That Are Green”, among others, as profound statements of personal belief.

  6. Coldplay, Don’t Panic. Swinging back to 2000, the first song of Coldplay’s first studio release, Parachutes, mixes distorted piano, syncopated drums, and Chris Martin’s falsetto to near-perfect harmony. A calming melody from a time when the band was purely alternative, Don’t Panic (and Parachutes as a whole) is a solid listen.

  7. LCD Soundsystem, Home. Seemingly LCD’s magnum opus, the grand closing before going on hiatus for some 5+ years, “Home” carries deep meaning, discussing themes of loneliness and self-identity in lines like “You’re afraid of what you need” and “No one opens up when you scream and shout.” Its music video also has a highly offbeat but sweet concept, furthering the song’s emotionality. If you’re cool with an 8-minute long piece, “Home” is worth the time.

  8. Moi Je, Fais Rien-Petit Biscuit Remix. A deep house remix that finds the balance between ringing guitars and strong bass, throwing vocals into the mix as well-and it’s all in French. “Fais Rien” has a strong similarity to some types of electronic study music (ESM), but comes with a happier quality.

  9. Coast Modern, Hollow Life. “Hollow Life,” at least in its lyrics, is a highly danceable existential crisis. On a scale of one to Thirty Seconds to Mars, Coast Modern singer brings just enough angst to make you think about your life. Give it a try.

  10. Tennyson, Lay-By. Canadian brother-sister duo Tennyson (likely not related to our own Mr. Tennyson) delivers a dreamy instrumental centered around the oft-annoying noise of a beeping car door – sounds weird, but it makes sense as a lay-by is a nicer word for the shoulder to a highway. All in all, the group turns it into a chill jam.

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