November isn’t easy. You’re weeks away from winter break but deep into the semester. And whether you’re gearing up for finals season in the comfort of your own dorm or in your favorite corner of the library, you may be using music to keep yourself focused. We want to help. Course Hero has made you a playlist for the month of November — a variety of songs both fresh and classic to help ease the stress of your studies. So pop on your headphones, hit Play, and prepare to hit the books!
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1. The Great Unknown – Jukebox the Ghost
The question of what the future holds can be intimidating, but Jukebox the Ghost makes what lies ahead feel more exciting than ominous. This pulsing, piano-fueled anthem is a party in itself, complete with electric energy and a chanty, uplifting chorus. When this power-pop trio assures you, “There’s something waiting for you,” you can’t help but feel optimistic (even if the best thing that’s waiting for you is just a between-class nap).
For fans of: Walk the Moon
2. It’ll Be Better – Francis and the Lights
With “It’ll Be Better,” Francis and the Lights offer us a lesson in expecting more from ourselves (and having faith in our ability to get there). In this infectious folk-pop tune, an irresistible percussion arrangement sets the stage for the band’s crooning vocalist, who promises his lost love that he’s changed. But the lesson can be applied to just about any goal we set for ourselves. And it’s so catchy you’ll be humming it for weeks.
For fans of: Jack Johnson
3. 2Shy – Shura
There’s a cosmic feel to this showstopping single from Shura’s 2016 debut album. The synth does much of the work, sparkling and swirling into a mesmerizing pop masterpiece, while Shura’s airy vocals spin the tale of one of those overwhelming crushes that make you realize you’ve fallen for a friend. She reflects, “It’s taken me so long, maybe I’m just too shy to say it.” If relationships are adding to your stress while you’re studying, let this one remind you that you aren’t alone.
For fans of: Lorde
4. New Friends – Pinegrove
After more than two months surrounded by new faces, you may finally be settling into your group of college friends. Pinegrove’s anthemic indie-rock track is a rallying call for your new self. Equal parts nostalgic and forward-thinking, the song soars with emotional energy, the brilliant vocal melody and the crunchy guitar arrangement combining for a perfect driving-with-the-windows-down sing-along.
For fans of: Modern Baseball
5. Days – The Drums
The Drums’ hypnotic surf rock tune can keep you steady as the weather gets colder and the sun sets sooner. The song rolls forward lazily, mimicking the slow progress we may feel in our own lives. The difference may be, though, that the Drums find beauty in it. If you’re having trouble finding joy in the mundane, retreat into this lush bass line and chill vocal performance, especially as he laments, “We were just wasting time.”
For fans of: Alt-J
6. On the Nature of Daylight – Max Richter
If you saw the mind-blowing Oscar-nominated film Arrival, you may remember the haunting soundtrack that worked wonders in setting the movie’s solemn tone. “On the Nature of Daylight” displays the film’s most unforgettable use of music: a breathtaking instrumental piece that employs a rich symphony arrangement and a deceptively simple violin line that just might draw a tear out of you. If you like to feel things, this song will certainly help. And when it comes to processing those feelings, that’s where our next selection comes in …
For fans of: Classical music
7. It’s Alrite 2 Cry – Kool A.D.
Kool A.D. has a simple message for us: Relax. And if you’re stressed about your classes (or maybe a little homesick), this message might be coming at exactly the right time. “It’s all right to cry, it might make you feel better, Babe,” the group sings through bright autotune. The track uses voice modifiers, samples, and synthesizer to create a remarkably catchy pop “pep talk” that may be the modern-day equivalent of Bob Marley assuring us, “Every little thing is gonna be all right.” It even features Francis Starlite (from earlier in our playlist) experimenting with a very different style.
For fans of: Diplo
8. Waitress – Hop Along
The recent buzz around Hop Along likely originates from their frontwoman’s unparalleled vocal style. It has a rock-and-roll grittiness to it, screeching and squeaking with raw emotion, assisted by the adrenaline-filled electric guitar line. The lyrics navigate a complicated relationship — one that faded or soured — and the messiness that’s left. The singer belts, “The world’s gotten so small and embarrassing,” but she processes the challenges she’s facing with a strength that we could all benefit from.
For fans of: Paramore
9. The Gold – Manchester Orchestra
Few recent songs capture the blustery, overcast spirit of fall like Manchester Orchestra’s “The Gold.” The track brings us a subject who has reached the end of his rope in a relationship, and the lyrics cover the final plea for freedom. The chorus is wrought with desperation — perfect to sing along with — and the final product is a song tailor made for walking through campus on a cold November afternoon.
For fans of: Brand New
10. Song for Zula – Phosphorescent
If “The Gold” is the somber side of fall, “Song for Zula” brings us the golden glow of the sunset and the reds of changing leaves. It addresses the stress of life with a carefree ease. It’s relaxing and somehow still empowering, and it brings a warmth and encouragement that may be just what you need as the semester winds down. Let it be your song when you’re looking for a moment of peace.
For fans of: The Avett Brothers
What songs have been getting you through your studies? Share them with us on social, and use #CHPlaylist so students everywhere can see your suggestions!