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21 songs to power you through exams

From Frank Ocean to the Velvet Underground — Concordia student Samuel Rae Mercier curated the ultimate studying soundtrack
December 12, 2017
By Samuel Rae Mercier

Samuel Rae Mercier chose "Special Affair" by The Internet for the bassline. Samuel Rae Mercier chose "Special Affair" by The Internet (above) for the bassline.

Fond of beer and robots, playlist creator Samuel Rae Mercier is in his last year of Concordia's undergraduate music program. He's also the melodic half of the new Montreal two-piece called The Tonitruance.

EDITOR'S NOTE: You'll need to login to Spotify to stream the playlist. Don’t have an account? You can create a free one. The tracks in the playlist can also be found on other music streaming services, such as Apple Music or Google Play.

1.  "Black Pearls" Apollo Brown

Apollo Brown makes the sickest beats. "Black Pearls" is probably my favourite track off of Clouds. Honestly, this album could have been the whole playlist.

2.  “Undercurrents” Atlantis Jazz Ensemble

I met these guys while working at Le Petit Chicago in Gatineau. Bassist Alex Bilodeau hosted a weekly jazz night. "Undercurrents" has a nice mellow vibe, but I definitely recommend the whole Oceanic Suite album, including the track "Yemaya."

3.  "Special Affair" The Internet

This one’s a staff favourite at the bar where I work. It has such a good bass line, I wish I’d thought of it.

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour

4.  "The Golden Age" The Asteroids Galaxy Tour

Need a break, have a cold one… Heineken? Anyone?

5.  "Cantaloupe Island" Herbie Hancock

Here’s a nice instrumental one for that paragraph you just can’t finish. Let Herbie’s groovy keys guide your creativity.

6.  "L’épave trouée" Choses Sauvages

If you haven’t been to one of their shows around town, you’ve been missing out on Montreal’s night life. Fun fact: their drummer has recently started making cymbals.

7.   "La femme flamme" Mort Rose

I’ve been listening to these guys for a few weeks now, and like them a lot. The line, "Juste 3000 de marge sur ma visa," might apply better at the beginning of the semester, but the music is just so damn good.

8.  “Celtic Dream Stream” Lenny Breau

This one is off the album Cabin Fever on which I wrote my final FFAR essay. I won’t write much here but if you wish to read 2,500 words about the album, drop me  a line.

9.  "Thinkin Bout You" Frank Ocean

Soothing sounds for whoever’s on your mind and keeping you from crunching those numbers.

Anderson .Paak

10. "The Bird" Anderson .Paak

Here’s a little reminder that on the other side of what might be a long and exhausting academic year, Jazz Fest and all the other festivals of Montréal are waiting. If you missed Anderson .Paak last summer, make sure to check out his live sessions on YouTube.

11.  "What’s A Girl To Do?" Bat For Lashes

Haunted by deadlines? Here’s a creepy reminder.

12.  "Can’t Leave The Night" BadBadNotGood

A friendly reminder that the Webster Library does not accept students with expired ID’s after 11PM… I learned that the hard way. So, if you’re pulling an all-nighter, don’t leave your seat!

13.   "My Liar" Bullion

Good vibes with Bullion. Enjoy this beat as it develops. I stumbled upon this when we were looking for a band name. We live on De Bullion street… I’ll let you do the math… Stalkers welcomed… 

14.  "Same Days" J. Roddy Walston & The Business

Best backing band name ever.

The Police

15. "Can’t Stand Losing You" The Police

For those of you who need those straight As: this is what I’ve been listening to on the metro on my way to school recently.

16. "Dean Town" Vulfpeck

If you’re stuck in the library after 11, here’s something upbeat to substitute for that coffee you couldn’t get.

17. "Run Run Run" The Velvet Underground

This is an ode to Georges Dimitrov’s last Post-Romantic to the Present Music History lecture. Dimitrov is a lecturer in the Department of Music, and he hooked me up with this sweet playlist-writing gig. Great prof, great class, catch it if you can.

18. "The Nightcaller" Flying Lotus

Think of all the Nintendo you’ll get to play with your cousins when this essay is over!

Men I Trust

19. "I Hope to Be Around" Men I Trust

Saw these guys play at POP Montréal, great set. I trust you’ll be around next time they play.

20. "Walkin’ on a Pretty Day" Kurt Vile

Here’s one to watch the sun come up with. For further reading, check out his track "Pretty Pimpin’."

21. "Smile" Yak

Don’t forget to smile! It’s almost over.


Listen to Mercier’s playlist on Spotify.

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