Khalil’s Virtual Venue: 6 Chill Songs to Relax and Study for Finals To


Tara Gnewikow

Illustration concept by Khalil Bourgoub.

Khalil Bourgoub

Going into finals week, I decided to collect a couple songs that help me center myself and cool down while studying for my big exams or writing my extra long papers. We’re going to explore a couple of new genres along with some of the genres from my previous playlists to get our brains primed and ready to absorb all the necessary information we need this week. 

‘Photosynthesis’ – Saba, Jean Deaux 



I decided to start it off with a song from Saba, a mellow artist that raps over R&B and jazz-inspired beats with a calm flow that can easily be listened to for hours. This song has a beautifully smooth chorus and rhythm to help set the mood for the start of a study session. Imagine lighting some incense or a candle to help us get comfortable.

‘MmmHmm’ – Flying Lotus, Thundercat



The next artist I wanted to feature in one of my playlists is Flying Lotus. Generally, although amazing, his music is a little too busy for me to study to, but when I listened to this song for the first time, it sounded like what I’d imagine my brain sounds like when it’s firing on all cylinders, buzzing away thinking about important things. This should get everyone into their zone, into their command center, stimulated and prepared for what’s ahead.

‘Yesterday Princess’ – Yussef Dayes, Charlie Stacey, Rocco Palladino



I wanted to include a couple of songs without lyrics for those who find they are too distracting while trying to concentrate. Personally, I love listening to jazz music with a constant groove.

Even when it does get complex and deep, I found the absence of lyrics still helps me not latch on to one thing in a song for too long. Yussef Dayes is an incredibly talented drummer who put together this little trio to bring songs you’ll want to bob your head to while making that breakthrough in whatever assignment you’re working on. 

‘Stop Making Yourself Miserable’ – Vasudeva



The next song is sort of an interesting instrumental rock version of the last song, not only for the head bobbing, but even just the title of the song itself. “Stop Making Yourself Miserable” by Vasudeva is an example of how progressive rock bands focus on conveying stories and emotions through the push and pull of the melody and rhythm sections in their band. The melodies from the lead guitar function as a lyrical passage over the rhythmic landscape of the drums and rhythm guitar and bass. This song has ups and downs and has been one of my go-to study songs for years. 

‘Youth’ – Wander



Finishing off the instrumental block of songs, I decided to include one of my favorite post-rock bands, Wander. I feel like this is a genre of music not a lot of people have really delved into, but one that I have found great to study along to. A quick summary for those who don’t know: post-rock is a genre that focuses on creating landscapes of sound and sonic texture. It differentiates itself from songs like the previous ones by creating a listening experience that encompasses the entire band into a singular unit of sound, instead of a song with separate sections of melodic and rhythmic passages. 

Post-rock is the type of music I can find myself listening to for hours in the background of something and have no idea why all of a sudden I feel so emotional. Then suddenly I realize I had just listened to a beautiful album about growth, sadness or hope. 

‘グッドバイ(goodbye)’ – toe 



The last song is a sendoff, a culmination of the playlist into one song. “Goodbye” by toe has a little bit of everything, which makes a perfect conclusion to the playlist symbolically and contextually. We are saying goodbye to school for the summer or possibly the foreseeable future depending on whether or not you’re graduating or returning in the fall. The inclusion of this song is deeply personal to me, because not only is it just one of my favorite songs, it reminds me of walking around our colorful campus.