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Clayton's Pre-Dead Week Playlist

The amount of homework I'm looking at right now is, to put it bluntly, terrifying. Within the next seven days, I need to write around 30 pages of material divided between four writing intensive classes (and another four pages the week after). This is on top of the regularly scheduled reading assignments for those classes, and a bunch of preparation for all my upcoming choir concerts. And it's not even Dead Week yet (that's the week before finals week, for the lucky ones who haven't experienced that special sort of stress). There's not much left to do other than barricade myself in my room, pop my knuckles, throw on my giant Sony headphones and get to work.

I don't usually listen to music while I'm doing homework since it sometimes makes me lose focus, but there are times when I'm stressed out enough that motivation becomes a key factor in keeping my focus squarely on the finish line. I figure now is as good a time as any to give you readers a peek into my Pre-Dead Week Playlist, since it's currently on repeat as I type this anyway. My musical taste is pretty eclectic, so I'm sure that there will be something in here that you can enjoy yourself. All of them help me focus a little bit - maybe they'll do the same for your own studying/workdays.

Final Fantasy Symphonic Suite - Rebel Army Theme (Final Fantasy II)

I'm an unabashed fan of the mind-numbingly popular video game series Final Fantasy for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which are the epic soundtracks that accompany every installment. This particular track is a symphonic orchestral/choral arrangement from Final Fantasy II, the Rebel Army Theme that is easily the most prominent song in the game. This is my favorite part of this suite, which covers the first two Final Fantasy soundtracks with an epic backing of strings and brass. If you add this song to the background of anything, it'll suddenly become about 117% more important.

Eden Espinosa - One Song Glory (Look Around)

The first time I heard Eden Espinosa, I was in high school on a choir trip to San Francisco. She was playing Elphaba in the musical Wicked, which is one of the shows we saw while we were on the road. I've been a pretty big fan of hers ever since, since her voice is so distinctive and powerful. This is my favorite track from her debut album, Look Around, which is an excellent, introspective arrangement of a song from the musical Rent (which Espinosa was on the closing Broadway cast of).

Scapegoat Wax - Aisle 10 (Luxurious)

I actually heard a remix of this before I found the original, and I kind of like the original a bit better. I haven't listened to anything else by this group, but I can play this on repeat and not get tired of it. I naturally move to this song, so it can be a bit distracting, but if I bump this during late night sessions I can avoid the urge to fall asleep.

Richard Jacques - What About the Future (Jet Set Radio Future Soundtrack)

Another song from a video game series, this time the signature electronic sounds of the Jet Grind Radio franchise (which incidentally also contains the remix of Aisle 10 I mentioned). I don't know a ton about electronic music, but I know that this is the right kind of background noise I need to make me feel like what I'm doing is urgent. It's certainly dance worthy, but the bass isn't as heavy as it could be, so it's less of a distraction and more of a theme song to hard work. I figure the title is appropriate, since every time I ask myself why I'm working so hard on these papers, I remind myself that the future is coming soon whether I want it to or not.

Judas Priest - (Take These) Chains (Screaming for Vengeance)

This rock classic hardly needs any introduction. The guitar solo is a reward I give to myself for working so hard. Or, rather, a reward Judas Priest gives to me. 

Jim Johnson - Flight of the Valkyries (Daniel Bryan WWE Theme Music)

I don't think I've mentioned it on this blog yet (or even to some of my less close friends), but I'm a pretty big fan of professional wrestling. Yes, I know it's fake. No, I don't care. There's a drama in professional wrestling, and a fire inside of it, that doesn't really compare to other forms of entertainment. There's just something satisfying in the way professional wrestlers tell stories - I have tons of respect for people who can take chair shots to the back, bodyslams to hard mats, and painful looking submission manuevers and do it all over again at the next show. And yeah, the personal theme music they all have is icing on the cake. This particular theme is Daniel Bryan's, the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion and probably the most popular professional wrestler since "Stone Cold" Steve Austin (if you ever hear people chanting "YES! YES! YES!" over and over again, it's because it's this guy's catchphrase). This is a never-say-die sort of theme, and it's a great fix of adrenaline for when I need it.

I have some literary analysis to get back to, unfortunately. But at least I've got some music to keep me company and working through the witching hours.

-Clayton Gefre

Clayton is a junior creative writing major from Meridian, Idaho.