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Tune Cool for School

This story was published August 3, 2005, during an internship at Richmond.com.

Going back to school is a rough time for everyone. It’s when students of all ages get updates on the most crucial aspects of their lives – namely, whether there are any cute members of the opposite sex in their classes.

August and September are times of transition (See our College Guide ), when growth is forced upon us. Tragically, sometimes this exciting time becomes stale. Several years ago, I found myself bored with the prospect of heading back to my friends and education. I was apathetic, uninterested. It wasn’t pretty. Something had to snap me from my daze. I mused. I pondered. It came to me! I sprang into action… and I bought some CDs.

Music affects your mood and your memories. (What comes to mind when you hear Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman?” Stiff-armed sixth-grade dances! Exactly.) So, I’m giving you what I gave myself those many years ago — ways to enhance your life.

While compiling this list, I included a variety of styles and artists, as well as a multiplicity of genres. My objective was to list things you’ve heard of and things you haven’t. Because after all, part of going back to school is growing a little.

Music for a Good Mood

Everclear – “So Much for the Afterglow”

Ben Folds Five – “Whatever & Ever, Amen”

Weezer – “Pinkerton”

Sugar Ray – “14:59”

Too Bad Eugene – “Moonlighting”

Music for a Workout

Red Hot Chili Peppers – “By the Way”

Lit – “A Place in the Sun”

Green Day – “Nimrod”

The Bloodhound Gang – “One Fierce Beer Coaster”

The Chemical Brothers – “Come With Us”

Background Music for a Party in Your Dorm Room

Outkast – “Speakerboxx/The Love Below”

Jimmy Eat World – “Bleed American”

Cake – “Fashion Nugget”

Sublime – “40 Oz. to Freedom”

Basement Jaxx – “Remedy”

Music to Play When Getting Ready for a Date/Frat Party/Outdoor Sporting Event

Hot Hot Heat – “Make Up the Breakdown”

Phantom Planet – “The Guest”

Scapegoat Wax – “Okeeblow”

The Blues Brothers – “The Definitive Collection”

Eve 6 – “It’s All in Your Head”

Mellow Music

Jack Johnson – “Brushfire Fairytales”

Richard Ashcroft – “Alone With Everybody”

Simon and Garfunkel – “Greatest Hits”

Minus the Bear – “Highly Refined Pirates”

Norah Jones – “Come Away With Me”

The Best of… Soundtracks

Various Artists – “Forrest Gump: The Soundtrack – 32 American Classics on 2 CDs”

Various Artists – “Run Lola Run: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

Various Artists – “High Fidelity”

Mark Mothersbaugh – “Rushmore: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

Various Artists – “Shrek: Music from the Original Motion Picture”

Music to Drive to

Daft Punk – “Discovery”

Four Year Strong – “It’s Our Time”

Hey Mercedes – “Everynight Fire Works”

Races to April – “The Syntax in Everything”

Greenland – “Greenland”

Music for Learning

Enya – “Paint the Sky with Stars”

William Walter & Co. – “William Walter & Co.”

Mae – “Destination: Beautiful”

Sigur Ros – “( )”

The Decemberists – “Castaways and Cutouts”

Music for a Breakup

David Gray – “White Ladder”

Kevin Devine – “Circle Gets the Square”

Harvey Danger – “Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone?”

The Weakerthans – “Left and Leaving”

Cursive – “The Ugly Organ”

Music You Wish You Didn’t Like, But Do

Chumbawumba – “Tubthumper”

The Bravery – “The Bravery”

Air Supply – “Ultimate Air Supply”

Backstreet Boys – “Millenium”

Will Smith – “Greatest Hits”

Music You’ve Been Meaning to Buy, But Haven’t Gotten Around To

Paul Simon – “Graceland”

Liz Phair – “Exile in Guyville”

Moving Units – “EP”

Jets to Brazil – “Orange Rhyming Dictionary”

Atmosphere – “Seven’s Travels”

Music to impress parents/friends/teachers/pretentious music-loving hipsters with

Bill Frissell – “Ghost Town”

Blonde Redhead – “Misery is a Butterfly”

The Streets – “A Grand Don’t Come for Free”

Kenna – “New Sacred Cow”

The Fiery Furnaces – “Blueberry Boat”

E-mail to let us know which category your favorite albums falls under, clue us in to your favorite obscure band or complain about the inclusion of Sugar Ray on our list. We welcome the feedback, and we’re always looking for new music.


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