Welcome to the post-midterms dumpster fire that can sometimes be referred to as the month of April — or as we begrudgingly think of it, the final moments before finals. The beginnings of spring can bring all kinds of feelings to surface — the anticipation of summer vacation, the stress of exams and papers, and the “loveliness” of allergy season. Spring may mean finding yourself immersed in the intensity of pulling out your best work and getting your life together, but we all need some relief every now and then.
If you’ve got the urge to decompress, here’s a playlist of easy-sounding tracks to kick back and ease your spring worries.
“BLEACH” — BROCKHAMPTON
The smooth melodies of this track off hip-hop/rap group Brockhampton’s SATURATION III — the last installment of their 2017 SATURATION series — can calm anyone’s mind. One of this musical collective’s strongest elements is their godlike use of soothing vocal effects and velvety transitions. The lyrics, especially lines such as “Do you make mistakes or do you make a change?” are thought-provoking enough to keep listeners motivated to pull themselves out of that funk and “figure it out.”
“Warm Honey” — Willow
You didn’t know you needed this song in your life until the first chord hits. Willow Smith brings listeners back to the classic jazz style through Amy Winehouse vibes and Florence Welch-esque vocals. Coming off of the powerhouse’s album The 1st, this song has a tone that exudes a warmth and familiar sweetness from the young singer’s voice. Willow brings listeners back down to earth for a moment to “learn how to love, bask in new light” and of course, speak with your “third eye.” What more can a student ask for in this time of need?
“Sky Walker” — Miguel feat. Travis Scott
If there was ever a musical version of a hype man, this is the song. The most crucial message to pull from this track is just “celebrate every day like a birthday.” Not everything in life has to be taken so seriously. Take a moment to settle down and celebrate how far you’ve come this week, this year or just this far in general. Let this track from Miguel’s latest album, War & Leisure, help you stay motivated to stay on your grind and live in the moment. You’ll be Luke Skywalkin’ on your haters.
“The Ways” — Khalid feat. Swae Lee
Didn’t have enough time to give that coveted “Black Panther” soundtrack a listen? Add it to your spring catalog, starting with this airy tune by a king of the smooth hip-hop scene. After releasing his debut album in 2017, Khalid added to the Kendrick Lamar-produced, genius Marvel album with this track. The song, filled with bubbly background chimes, echoing verses and Swae Lee’s stand-out feature, is an instant mood-pickup. Put yourself in the shoes of the song’s highlighted “power girl,” and feel the good vibes.
“Sunflower” — Rex Orange County
Take a deep sigh and let the old-school sounding voice of England’s Alexander O’Connor put your mind at ease. Rex Orange County is a unique artist in the music industry, blending indie pop with tones of jazz and R&B-inspired bridges. His music is refreshing enough to block out stress. Cruise along the song’s bright guitar riffs, pretending you’re somewhere in an open field (without seasonal allergies), wholly at peace. As the single asks, “Why get yourself down in the first place?”
“Dark Red” — Steve Lacy
You may be thinking that this song is too sad to be on an uplifting spring playlist. You are correct, but this song is still fire — which is why we saved it for last. Steve Lacy was one of the jazzy gems of 2017, and this song reflects on that feeling of not wanting to go through all of the end-of-the-semester madness on your own. Overthinking takes on even the best of us, and it seems here that Lacy is no exception to this rule. He may be singing for a girl to not give up on him, but hey, don’t give up on yourself either.