I’m not the type of person who can listen to movie soundtracks when I study. I find them distracting, to say the least. Sometimes I sit there and float off into space as I try to imagine which scene each instrumental piece is from. Needless to say, it is not very conducive to essay writing. I also cannot – and I mean cannot – listen to music with lyrics without singing along either in my head or out loud. No one in the library wants to hear my version of “Cornerstone.”
So what do I listen to? I know I can’t be alone in this perpetual struggle to find adequate study music. I have listened to curated lists of study songs, tried rain noises, and made my own classical music playlist in an attempt to find what I needed to focus. Nothing was working. I just wanted to find something with enough variety to keep me awake, but enough monotony to keep me grounded in my work. Finally, I came across an artist that worked for me. He’s called Engelwood.
I started off listening to the album Hotel Wood released in 2017. Engelwood is difficult to categorize. On iTunes Engelwood is under the umbrella of, “Hip Hop/Rap” but there isn’t any rap in Engelwood’s music. It is atmospheric, lo-fi hip hop incorporating old audio clips, the sound of waves, and quiet talking behind the steady beats.
Recently, Engelwood released a new album called Boardwalk Bumps released 2018 which is perfect for, not only summertime, but long drives on the 405 and studying in coffee shops. “Tropical Storm” plays in my head sometimes as I drive through streets lined with palm trees. “Boardwalk” just makes me feel like I am sitting by the ocean. “Austin Drizzle” makes me want to go to an open air shopping mall, in the best possible way.
If you are struggling with study music, you feel stressed out, or you have a long drive ahead of you—these albums and a lot of Engelwood’s earlier songs—are the perfect backtrack.