What’s the best way to make a task more fun? Add a great soundtrack. But in the case of academic tasks like revision, reading up and writing essays, don’t just put on the radio – listen to full albums. The beauty of an album is that it gives you one continuous ‘vibe’ for quite a while, so we’ve put together a varied list of five ‘greats’ to start you off. And they’re all on Spotify, of course!
Frank by Amy Winehouse
As we’re a London-based company, we think it’s only fair that we kick the list off with a local girl! Frank, Amy Winehouse’s debut album, is almost an hour long, so whether you need to read a few chapters for the next day’s lecture, revise a whole module for an upcoming exam, or crack on with an essay for an impending deadline, you can stick it on and get on with it – no distractions for 58 solid minutes.
It’s one of the few albums in this list that covers all bases, because the blend of jazz, R&B and classic soul makes for perfect background sound.
Play by Moby
This 1999 album is considered by many to be Moby’s masterpiece, and is certainly the one that broke him into the mainstream. If you’ve never sat down and listened to it all the way through before, you’ll probably recognise several songs when you do – “Porcelain” is the most obvious one, though there are more, such as “Honey” (which should rev anyone into ‘getting-stuff-done’ mode), “Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?” and “Natural Blues”.
If you like Play, try his follow-up, 18, which also has a handful of extremely recognisable tunes on it.
New Ways But Love Stays by The Supremes
This album was made in 1970 – the year after Diana Ross left the group to pursue her own solo career. Jean Terrell stepped in as the replacement and did a good job, leading things to funkier new territory. The band’s first album with her at the helm, New Ways But Love Stays, is great fuel for revising and writing alike. It somehow manages to get your foot tapping without distracting you from the task at hand.
Led Zeppelin II by (you guessed it) Led Zeppelin
If you need to get a first draft of an essay typed out quickly, Led Zeppelin II should give you the push you need. It contains some of the band’s best-known songs – such as “Whole Lotta Love”, “Heartbreaker”, “Ramble On” and “Moby Dick” – and is probably their most boisterous record. If you’re in the mood for something even more aggressive but don’t fancy straying into Death Metal territory, try Paranoid by Black Sabbath.
Kind of Blue by Miles Davis
Jazz is a genre most of us don’t get into until we’re a bit older – if at all! – because it’s not the most accessible type of music. That said, there are a select few jazz albums out there that even the layman or sceptic can enjoy.
Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue is a prime example of that; it’s one of the first albums you’ll be recommended when you tell a jazz fan you’d like to get into the genre. You’ve undoubtedly heard bits and pieces of Miles Davis before – if you’ve ever sat in a Starbucks then almost certainly!
If you find vocals distracting during revision or essay-writing, you should definitely try a few jazz albums – you might be pleasantly surprised! Other musicians worth checking out are Herbie Hancock, Thelonious Monk and Dexter Gordon.