Rachel Abreu, our Music section editor, offers a musical cure for mid-semester stress.


We’ve just about reached the halfway point of the semester, and if there’s even one person out there who feels the same way I do, I think we all need a little stress relief. Sometimes you just need to give yourself an afternoon to wear your pyjamas, stare at the ceiling and ignore all your responsibilities. Maybe a massage or a spa day at the Old Course is more your style, but for now all I can offer is a little pick-me-up by way of a soothing soundtrack. I’ve tried not to make all the choices too mopey, but I would also recommend listening to some of the tracks while bundled up in something cozy, clutching a mug of something dark and sweet (hot chocolate anyone?) Without further ado…

Storms –Fleetwood Mac

There are few melodies out there as beautiful as this one. Stevie Nicks’ voice is both haunting and soothing, making for the perfect little lullaby. Sometimes I have this playing on repeat in the background without even realizing, possibly due to the hypnotic guitar riff. Pay attention to the lyrics as well – they are well thought out and quite touching – my personal favourite is when Stevie wails “never have I been a blue calm sea; I have always been a storm”.

Delicate –Damien Rice

Just a fair warning, if you’re feeling down, this song might make you feel worse (whoops). But that is not to say that Damien Rice has not put together a work of art in this song. Every component fits together – the guitar and the violins sound like rolling waves, and Rice manages to both wail and whisper his lyrics. It’s a song that just keeps giving back and is the perfect choice for rainy afternoons when you don’t want to go outside (or do anything at all, for that matter).

The First Days of Spring –Noah & The Whale

Noah & The Whale is one of my favourite bands due to the fact that they’ve made me truly appreciate instrumental interludes. I found it so difficult to pick out only one song from The First Days of Spring album, but I went ahead and chose the title track. This outstanding track has a way of lulling you into reverie, and is oddly uplifting for such a slow track. It’s quite a long track but listen the whole way through – or at least to the instrumental break – it does not disappoint.

I Found You –Alabama Shakes

Here’s a more energetic tune for you all, when you’ve just about (albeit begrudgingly) decided that it’s time to get out of bed and face the rest of the day. This is a quintessential folk tune with contagious energy that tells a lovely story along the way. Sounds like a winning recipe, doesn’t it?

Sexual Healing –Ben Harper (Cover)

One of my personal favourites to listen to on a Sunday morning, Ben Harper takes an old favourite and reimagines it into something a little mellower. This track is far from boring though, and it’s great that the “official” version is a live recording, because you can hear just how much passion goes into every word he utters. This is a song that will soothe all sorts of moods, and might even get you in the mood for other bedroom related activities (wink wink).


Rachel Abreu