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The Best Music for Law School Study

BPPdixie-lsat-blog-pandora2It is officially finals season again at law school, which means that for the next few weeks I’m studying just as hard as all you LSAT takers out there, if not harder. And of course I’m forced each morning to confront that age-old question: the public or the private? Do I study at home, where I’m constantly tempted by my bed, TV and extensive romantic comedy DVD collection? Or at the library, which is chock full of strangers and shiny objects?

It’s a tough call, but usually I need to get out of my apartment. Otherwise, what starts with me sitting at the kitchen table with my books, highlighters and outlines ready to go ends with me fast asleep on the couch, half eaten bag of Cheetos on my stomach, taking an 11:30 AM “nap” while Turner Classic Movies drones in the background. This is not an ideal way to learn the law.

Of course, the library is not without distractions, so I’ve spent some serious time this year coming up with the optimal Pandora stations to drown out the sounds of pages turning, caffeine over-consumption and anxiety attacks. What follows is the results of months of hard-core experimentation and investigation* to bring you the best information possible, as you study for your exams or the LSAT. Enjoy.

“80’s Upbeat”
Pandora Entry: Journey and The Bangles. One of my go-to stations, usually around 8pm on a Friday night, while I am getting ready to go out. It’s especially enjoyable after my roommates and I have polished off a bottle of Andre Champagne. I thought it might be a good pick-me-up during the doldrums of study period.
Songs: “Send Her My Love,” Journey; “Free Fallin’,” Tom Petty; “Just What I Needed,”, The Cars; “Hotel California,” The Eagle.
Appropriate Law School Experience Lyric: “And I was thinking to myself/ This could be heaven, or this could be hell.”- Hotel California.
Pros: Peppy music leads to unintentional head bopping and seat dancing, which distracts those around you. A real gunner knows that they are competing against their classmates, and will relish the opportunity to skew the curve in their favor.
Cons: As always, Pandora doesn’t shine when you try to mix two types of music, unless they are very similar. For these four songs there was absolutely no reason to have The Bangles as one of the artists. It also wasn’t very upbeat. With these selections, a more appropriate station name might be, “Music White Kids Listen to when they are Smoking Weed in their Parents’ Basement and Want to Feel Authentic.”

“Siren Songs”
Pandora Entry: Regina Spektor and Sarah McLachlan. The premier station for those times when some idiot never called after the second date, you feel fat, and you have to wake up the next morning to go bridesmaid dress shopping for your little sister’s wedding. And it’s raining. Seriously, listening to this station never fails to cause my roommates to knock on my door and make sure I haven’t hung myself from the rafters. All in all, a perfect choice for finals’ study period.
Songs: “Ghost of Corporate Future,” by Regina Spektor, “So Long,” by Ingrid Michaelson; “Such Great Heights,” by the Section Quartet; “Near to You,” by A Fine Frenzy.
WTF Lyric: “Hair grows even after you’re dead.” – Ghost of Corporate Future.
Pros: When you are feeling like you are in the middle of a dark abyss of studying horror, these artists really seem to get it. Familiarity with these songs also provides good fodder during conversations with people who think you are a lesbian. For example, every family member who attended your little sister’s wedding.
Cons: All these ladies sound exactly the same. And when you feel like you are four steps from insanity to begin with, listening to hours of eerily similar, high-pitched, female voices is never a good idea. There is a reason Ulysses tied himself to the mast.

“I Should Be Ashamed”
Pandora Entry: Barry Manilow and Phil Collins. This is the radio station that I really should pretend I only listen to when I’m with my mom. But that would be a lie. I’m just a Fanilow.
Songs: “Looks Like We Made It,” by Barry Manilow; “Sweet Caroline,” by Neil Diamond; “If You Leave Me Now,” by Chicago; “Lost in Love,” by Air Supply; “Glory of Love,” Peter Cetera.
Uncomfortably Sexual Lyric: “Hands, touching hands, reaching out/ Touching me, touching you.”- Sweet Caroline.
Pros: Despite the questionable artists seeds, this actually made for a pretty good study station. It was pretty similar to the “80’s Upbeat” selection, except the songs actually made sense here. Also they were a little less mainstream, so it was less likely you’d accidentally start singing the lyrics under your breath.
Cons: There’s a really good chance you were conceived to one of these songs.

“One for Trent”
Pandora Entry: Radiohead. I have never actually listened to Radiohead before, but after going through the comments on Colin’s pre-LSAT music post for inspiration, I figured I’d give it a try.
Songs: “Street Spirit ‘Fade Out’,” by Radiohead; “Black Swan,” by Thom Yorke.
Chorus That Made Me Change Stations After Only Two Songs: “You are F’d up, F’d up./ This is F’d up, F’d up.”- Black Swan.
Pros: I got a glimpse into Trent’s psyche.
Cons: I got a glimpse into Trent’s psyche. And I want to throw myself in front of a bus.

“Instrumental Inspiration”
Pandora Entry: Hans Zimmer. Saving the best for last, this is my usual study station, since it features almost entirely instrumental pieces.
Songs: “Braveheart, Film Score,” by James Horner; “The Memory of Trees,” by Enya; “Pachelbel Meets U2,” by Jon Schmidt; “Jurassic Park, Film Score,” by John Williams.
Selection of Enya Lyrical Babble: “Eyo ja, aaaaaaah, ooooo, aaaaah, eyo jah, we we we, eyo jah.”
Pros: Without words, this becomes a nice background that rarely distracts you. Plus, most of the film music was written with the sole purpose of getting you pumped, and nothing makes studying feel more epic than listening to the same music that helped Mel Gibson save Scotland.
Cons: When you’d rather be doing anything else in the world than studying, it’s sometimes tough to fight off the overwhelming urge to watch all those favorite childhood movies again. You’ll also find yourself losing more money than usual, when you not only buy the song on iTunes, but the whole movie.

Now, it’s time to pick a station and get back to studying. Or at least pretending to study, while you really eye up the cutie three tables over. Until next week, my friends.

*This is a complete lie. Dave called me three hours ago and told me to write a damn blog.