Students of the world, we support and believe in your endeavors. We trust that you will take this flaming wreckage of a planet and turn it into a place capable of supporting human life, long after our tired souls have left this mortal coil. And by the time you’re done, hopefully all of the banks carrying your student loan debt will have crumbled, like the once-mighty Ozymandias.
But first: Finals! Lo-fi hip-hop radio can only take you so far, so I’ve hand-selected five OSTs to help you through the next couple of weeks. Whether you study best to ambience or EDM, I’ve got you covered. You’ll have to find these on your own though, I’m not about to link to potentially-illicit YouTube collections. What you do on your own time is between you and God.
Guilty Gear XX: The Midnight Carnival #Reload
For those who are about to study and rock, there is no better solution than the Guilty Gear XX etc soundtrack. This thing contains over 40 of the most shred-tastic instrumental metal jams ever pressed, from symphonic power epics all the way down to the grimiest sludge available. For a taste of what’s in here, I personally recommend the songs Holy Orders (Be Just Or Be Dead) and Burly Heart.
If chiptunes are the order of the day, there’s no better to be found than those on the VVVVVV soundtrack. Composed by Magnus Pålsson, the square-wave jams of PPPPPP — the soundtrack’s official title — are energetic and engaging, but respectful enough of your head-space that studying can still be performed at peak efficiency. Suggested entry points include Pushing Onwards and Pressure Cooker.
Few games in recent memory have done ambience and subtlety better than the Hollow Knight soundtrack. The music in this game does an incredible job of playing organic sounds off of each other, while interweaving them with beautiful, cautious bits of orchestration. If your mind works best to the soft sounds of a thoughtful symphony, there may be no better option. Recommended trial tracks include Dirtmouth and City of Tears, and there’s also a YouTube playlist of in-game ambient sounds that I highly recommend.
Nier: Automata‘s soundtrack is as much of an emotional journey as the game is, clocking in at nearly six hours long for the whole shebang. Most songs have multiple versions, including with/without vocals and chiptune variants — the soundtrack’s dynamic in-game evolution was a core part of the Nier experience.
The only problem with using Automata‘s OST for studying is that you may end up wanting to play the game again way, way more than you want to study. I recommend getting a taste from Amusement Park or Pascal, but this ride really needs to be taken from beginning to end.
Silent Hill 2
Alright, I get that this is kind of a weird recommendation, but I promise I’m not trolling. I’ve done more writing under deadline to the Silent Hill 2 OST than any other collection of music, full stop. I’m talkin’ hundreds of thousands of words here; for whatever reason, Akira Yamaoka’s piece de resistance slots into the exact right spot of my brain, allowing me to focus and stay truly engaged with the task at hand.
Perhaps this unorthodox solution will also guide you through finals, as it has guided me through most of my professional career. Theme of Laura and Love Psalm are the most traditionally musical tracks on the album, but this OST’s true effectiveness lies in the hypnotic ambience of songs like A World of Madness and Fermata In Mistic Air.