“Cough Syrup” by Young the Giant
They may have released a second album just last year, but this debut Young the Giant song will always be a sunny day go-to. Its softness and mellow guitar and cello balance the apathy of the powerfully delivered lyrics, with a chorus that is just the right kind of upbeat for a walk across campus in the midday sunshine.
“Simple Pleasures” by Jake Bugg
A relatively new kid on the block, Jake Bugg has been pegged as the new Bob Dylan, and with good reason. Every one of his songs includes an infectious tune and remarkably insightful lyrics, given that this kid is as old as we are, if not younger than most of our upperclassmen!
“Simple Pleasures” off his second album, “Shangri-La,” opens with a bluesy guitar riff followed by his distinctly nasal voice, mulling over the reality of change in life, being scared of change, and trying to get through it by enjoying the little things. The song picks up around the chorus with a slow-building energy that proves to be the perfect blend of soft and rock background music while writing those term papers.
“Pendulum” by Pearl Jam
Year before last, Pearl Jam released their tenth studio album, “Lightning Bolt,” exploring the themes of mortality and aging through softer tones than previous albums. With less cryptic lyrics than usual and more mellow bass lines, this album fused a Pink Floyd vibe with a little bit of punk rock in a way that only Pearl Jam can pull off.
“Pendulum,” the seventh song off this album, is by far the calmest track put forth, which is understandable given that it discusses life’s transience. With a similar message to 2009’s “I Am Mine,” only more subtle, there lies within this song a wisdom that comes from the aging perspective of a father watching both his parents and children growing older, each to different turning points in their lives. Eddie Vedder’s buttery, rustic vocals backed by a barely-there base line and drumbeat creates the perfect atmosphere for deep thinking.