Study Playlists

Three RAZZ writers share their favourite study playlists that help them focus or get into a working vibe. From movie instrumentals to pop and disco, all playlists include ten songs available on Spotify.

Cheesy Pop

Everyone has a favourite vibe for studying, whether it’s candle-lit and quiet, gentle and acoustic, or like mine – loud, obnoxious, and embarrassingly cheesy. If I’m going to be stressed, depressed and incredibly bored of whatever essay has been chucked at me, I at least want to be able to take regular dance breaks to boost enthusiasm. These are my top recommendations if you want to enjoy studying in self-isolation as much as you would enjoy a Tuesday night in Unit 1.

1. ‘Diamonds’ – Rihanna

Starting with a more chill, mid-tempo track, ‘Diamonds’ will ease you into the mood of studying. The R&B vibe is relaxing.

2. ‘IDGAF’ – Dua Lipa 

Even though you probably go GAF about your deadline seasons, why not whack on some Dua Lipa?

3. ‘The Middle’ – Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey 

Thematically, ‘The Middle’ is about compromise. I guess that’s kind of ironic in the context of a study playlist, because those assignments really won’t stop for anyone.

4. ‘Payphone’ – Maroon 5, Wiz Khalifa 

For me, this track definitely has summer vibes. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be picturing myself having a fab Summer 2020 (if coronavirus isn’t still ruining everything) than being cooped up at my desk.

5. ‘Titanium (feat. Sia)’ – David Guetta 

When deadlines are shooting you down, get up! You are titaaaaaaanium!

6. Kesha – ‘Die Young’

‘Die Young’ has a contagious dance beat that can definitely fuel a morale-boosting dance break.

7. ‘SexyBack (feat. Timbaland)’ – Justin Timberlake 

Yes, I know it might be one of the cringiest songs in existence, but sometimes that’s a necessary evil.

8. ‘Too Close’ – Alex Clare 

Since this track’s popularity grew due to its use in a Microsoft ad campaign, it makes perfect sense to listen to it while banging out an essay on Word.

9. ‘Call Me Maybe’ – Carly Rae Jepsen 

Ah, that feeling of love at first sight that Carly Rae Jepsen constantly alludes to in ‘Call Me Maybe’. Definitely not something my tutor will feel after reading my essay.

10. ‘Beauty And A Beat’ – Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj 

Here we have the final song of the study playlist. I think we can all agree the tracks have got gradually tackier throughout, but that’s probably necessary for the gradual decline into insanity that goes together with essay-writing.

Bridie Adams


Movie Instrumentals

1. Westworld Season 1

The Westworld soundtrack beautifully combines rock classics with the lyric-less musical depths of instrumental. You’ll find yourself humming along to some favourites — it’s like an orchestral karaoke.

2. The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring)

While my boyfriend reprimands me for never having seen The Lord of the Rings films, this does not limit my enjoyment of the score. The fantasy elements and choral motifs make this an enchanting listen.

3. Call Me By Your Name

As a big fan of the film, the music from Call Me By Your Name transports me from the silent study room to the Italian sunshine. Sakamoto’s plucky, playful tones spice up essay writing and will certainly put a smile on your face.

4. The Social Network

My first foray into movie instrumentals, The Social Network score’s electronic vibe will make you feel as powerful as Zuckerberg himself.

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Dark, moody, and dramatic — this score perfectly reflects my study induced state. The pace of many of the tracks pushes me through those last-minute deadline rushes. (Perhaps try Philosopher’s Stone if Christmassy nostalgia is more your thing).

6. Ratatouille

Anyone. Can. Cook. Chef Gusteau’s words are perhaps the only inspiration you’ll need this exam season. Submerge yourself in Paris and hope that a small, intellectual rodent will lead you to academic success.

7. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse – The Score

It’s well known that the best thing to come from Twilight was its absolutely stellar soundtrack. Well, the score is just as great. Atmospheric strings bring you straight back to being ten years old — I can’t recommend it enough.

8. The Shape of Water

This beautiful film inevitably has a beautiful score, so study AND fall in love with a strange fish man while listening to Alexandre Desplat’s gentle underwater tones.

9. Star Wars: A New Hope

Potentially one of the greatest film soundtracks of all time. Every track transports me immediately to each scene in the film. Oh, and the Spotify play bar on your laptop will turn into a lightsaber when you listen to any Star Wars album — if that’s not enough to encourage you I don’t know what is.

10. Spotlight (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Another great score by Howard Shore, Spotlight’s music makes you feel so productive. As the soundtrack to a film focused entirely on the writing of an investigative article, these tracks will revive any procrastinator.

Hollie Piff


Get (Down) On It – disco motivation to help you study

Find it here:

1. ‘Get Down On It’ – Kool & The Gang

What’s more motivational than having the Bell brothers literally telling you to get down on it? Whether it’s an essay, a past paper, or a presentation, this playlist’s title track is definitely going to encourage you to get down to studying!

2. ‘We Are Family’ – Sister Sledge

This feel-good track will instantly put you in a positive frame of mind. Let Sister Sledge remind you that you and your student friends are all in this together and you can motivate each other. Us students are family.

3. ‘September’ – Earth, Wind & Fire

‘September’ takes its place as disco royalty at track no.3. Continuing with the positive vibes, this song’s iconic chorus will keep your attitude light, bright and springy as you smash this study session.

4. ‘Shake Your Groove Thing’ – Peaches & Herb

The fast-paced tempo of this song will keep you in the study zone, whilst reminding you to get up and have a little move around if you haven’t already. You might not fancy shaking anything, but a stretch will definitely do you good.

 5. ‘Play That Funky Music’ – Wild Cherry

The dirty bass and limitless drum breakdowns make for great listening with Wild Cherry’s smash hit.

 6. ‘Le Freak’ – CHIC

CHIC’s smooth vocals and the melodic string accents are the perfect combination to soothe your studying worries. The repeated refrains and long instrumental section make it great to keep you in the studying loop. And it’s produced by Nile Rodgers – need I say more? 

7. ‘Relight My Fire’ – Dan Hartman

If you’re slacking, or you’re starting to get more easily distracted, this song is perfect to give you a new lease of life. Inject some more excitement and enthusiasm into your studying with this cheesy tune. Relight your study fire!

 8. ‘I’m Coming Out’ – Diana Ross

Any disco playlist wouldn’t be complete without the queen of disco, Diana Ross. This empowering track is perfect for lifting your spirits and giving you the confidence to keep going.

9. ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’ – McFadden and Whitehead

Another motivating track from McFadden and Whitehead. The groovy bass-line in this instantly makes anything feel manageable and easier. There is no stopping you! You’ve got this.

 10. ‘That Lady, Pts. 1 & 2′ – The Isley Brothers

Super funky rhythms, a crooning falsetto, and the craziest electric guitar solo you’ve ever heard – this song has it all. Lively, playful and exciting, make your studying fun with this amazing tune from The Isley Brothers. If it’s good enough for Kendrick Lamar (see “i”), it’s good enough for this study sesh.

Charlotte Fitch

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