If you’re like me, you probably agree that the right song can transform a boring, possibly not so great day, to a more exciting and cheerful day. No matter what you’re doing — studying, walking, driving or exercising — having a playlist to accompany every activity can help fight monotony that easily creeps into our days stuck inside. Because of this, I’ve put together a compilation of playlists to match almost any quarantine mood. 

Studying

If you ask any two people what type of music they like to listen to while they study, you will probably find two vastly different answers: slow and moody or upbeat and loud. Students can benefit from a wide variety of music; classical music helps focus and upbeat pop music helps get you energized. I personally like to find songs that hit just the right balance between mellow and motivating. If you’re looking to maximize your time, the ideal study playlist should have a mix of mid-tempo songs, generally with lyrics that provide some variety of warmth, optimism or empowerment.

Illustration by Allison Barlow

If you’re in a study grind, check out: “Leaning On You” by HAIM, “Back In My Body” by Maggie Rogers, “All Will Be Well” by Gabe Dixon, “Stupid Deep” by Jon Bellion and “Cigarette Daydreams” by Cage The Elephant.

Cheery Walks

As the pandemic rages on, many are taking more time to reflect, and walks are the perfect way to enjoy some alone time. Going outside to walk my dog each day is one of my essentials to self-care, and I love to listen to music while doing so. Relatively upbeat music sets me up for the outdoors for it seems to encapsulate the energy of the warm weather. Whether you’re walking in 90-degree, sunny weather or in a below 30-degree blizzard-like area, adding some tunes to your walk can be a great way to uplift your mood.

Songs that fit this upbeat vibe include: “Don’t Take The Money” by Bleachers, “Harmony Hall” by Vampire Weekend, “Lisztomania” by Phoenix, “august” by Taylor Swift and “Sunflower, Vol. 6” by Harry Styles. 

Midnight Drive to Nowhere

A slightly odd but deeply cathartic coping mechanism that I have come to enjoy throughout quarantine is taking random drives with no real destination in mind. Traveling around to parts of my city that I generally don’t frequent has helped me feel less trapped, and I absolutely love the opportunity to sing random music at the top of my lungs without having to worry about volume. Fill this sort of playlist with any bangers you want to scream-sing in the car, no matter the genre or artist. 

Some examples that I will always belt out include: “Green Light” by Lorde, “Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas, “All Too Well” by Taylor Swift (if I’m being honest, really anything from her entire discography fits the bill), “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood and “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen. 

Throwback Bops

Nothing energizes me more to clean or be productive like some good old early-2000s music. Upbeat bops that remind me of pre-pandemic memories have been the best way for me to make mundane tasks more enjoyable — and, really, it’s much more fun to do the dishes if you can dance around a little. 

Song examples that take me back include: “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers, “Bye Bye Bye” by *NSYNC, “Everytime We Touch” by Cascada, “Hey Ya!” by Outkast and “Hot N Cold” by Katy Perry. 

Conclusion

At the end of the day, everyone has different music tastes, and each of us should just try to find songs we can connect with because it helps get us through our daily challenges. There is no one right or wrong answer about what you should listen to. Everyone should explore and try to find the types of songs that put them in the right headspace, whether that be for dancing or studying. Think about your daily routine to create your own perfect playlist and don’t be afraid to venture into new genres!