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Tuesday , December 14, 2010
Suffering Students, here is my gift to YOU!
Exams are in the air, and I've never been so happy to have graduated as I am right now. Oh, sweet freedom! Every time I stop into a coffee shop nowadays, my heart breaks for the droves of students hunched over textbooks and laptops looking like they want to cry, die, or probably both. The city is rife with Adderall-infused vibes of maniacal pre-exam anxiety; I've worked really hard this past year to suppress my memories of such cruel and desperate times, and now it's all been shot to shit. I can't help but reflect upon the thousands of occasions when I would show up at a print shop at 8 in the morning after a night of bullshitting my way through a paper about corporate social responsibility, only to find that my Design 3 final (which, for the record, was a re-design of the LP sleeve of Paul McCartney's RAM) was totally pixelated and the margins were all screwy! Or let's not forget the time I slept through my History of Graphic Design final- thank the sweet Lord above that this nightmare happened to coincide with the infamous New York City subway strike. When I showed up unshowered and fuzzy-teethed three hours late, my professor actually thanked me for making my way into Manhattan- I still can't believe life threw me that bone. Wow.
Anyway, if there's one thing that can make frantic cram sessions moderately less unbearable, it's a good study soundtrack. The perfect study soundtrack is reliant on a very delicate balance- the music has to be peppy enough that you don't fall asleep or get even more depressed than you already are (which I'm assuming is a lot), but at the same time, if your tunes are too catchy, you'll probably end up distracted, procrastinating, and/or impeded by your own resentment towards Tommy Roe for being able to melodically expound upon how dizzy he is because some girl he met is cute or whatever.
Okay, so now I'm going to help you out, you poor overworked souls, and tell you exactly what music you should put on the ol' iTunes these Finals Weeks of Spring 2008. I guarantee that if you listen to these two albums, you will feel highly more in control of the extremely terrifying situation in which you presently find yourself.
1. Jean-Claude Vannier, L'enfant Assassin des Mouches
Serge Gainsbourg albums are ideal for listening to on headphones while walking down the street wearing a miniskirt. It's a cool sensation- you totally feel like you're walking through the opening credits of a 60s French flick all about how impossibly hot you are. But listening to Serge Gainsbourg while you're trying to memorize the key points brought up by Andrew Carnegie in his seminal 1889 article, Wealth, is about as much fun as taking a driving test and getting a root canal at the same time. However, this "conceptual ballet" from longtime Gainsbourg associate/collaborator Jean-Claude Vannier channels his same fancy-free Frenchitude, sans potentially discomposing sexual innuendos. This album ebbs and flows along pretty smoothly, and its few moments of raucous noise will you wake you up if you need it.
2. George Harrison, Wonderwall Music
I've been majorly hating on the Dark Horse a lot these days, mostly because of his crotchety attitude towards the Beatles' success as exhibited in his Beatles Anthology commentary. Sorry George Harrison, but if you expect me to feel any sympathy for you because you were in the most important rock band of all time, you're looking at the wrong guy. Was it really so bad? Would you rather have been a window-dresser at a Liverpool department store or a bus driver like your Father? I doubt it. Stop whining.
Anyway, I'm sure in a few months time I'll be back in a George phase (it happens cyclically like that), but for the time being, the only Georges I have any time for are a) Style Icon George, and b) Wonderwall Music George. Harrison composed, produced and arranged Wonderwall Music, the soundtrack to Wonderwall (a sub-par but visually stunning psychedelic extravaganza starring Jane Birkin) in December 1967 while the Beatles were on a short break, presumably shit-talking John and Paul internally all the while. It's all instrumental and very pre-Rishikesh; stunningly chill, though not without its poppy "I just can't help but be influenced by the iron hand of Paul McCartney!" moments.
Before discovering Wonderwall Music, I would listen to Ravi Shankar's Sounds of India in its place, which is the Ravi Shankar album where he pops in every couple of songs to teach you about the structure of a raga. Which turned out to be really inconvenient when I answered the question "What is the difference between kearning and leading?" with "Ragas with five swaras are called audava" on my sophomore typography exam.
Now if you are feeling the need to indulge yourself in some serious procrastination, you can totally go out and buy these two records! You can justify it to yourself by saying, "Laura from nogoodforme.com told me I would study better if I bought these albums!" and then, a few hours later, you'll think: "Wow. Laura from nogoodforme.com was right."
Enjoy your A+!
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