The Tab’s Lent Term Playlist

The first term of the new decade beckons


We're back with another term in Cambridge; Christmas and New Year have come and gone, and the world is off to a (somewhat rocky) start to the next 10 years. So, why not bask in some lovely Lent chillout tunes whilst you get back into the groove and routine of Cambs study? Below, I'll go through some of the song choices on the playlist – you can access it with the following link (which will also be at the bottom of this article), or by giving us a follow on Spotify @thetabcambridge.

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The playlist starts relatively gently, with some folk-inflected songs to ease you in. To kick things off, there's a track from Harry Styles's impressive new album Fine Line, 'Cherry', a quietly graceful love song. Following are a couple of songs that whir around themselves, with looping guitar lines and skittering drums: Aldous Harding's 'The Barrel' (which boasts possibly the strangest music video I've seen in a long while), and Big Thief's 'Cattails', a gorgeous, poetically rich song that sounds like a daydream.

Going a bit more upbeat, there are a few remixes on this playlist: aside from the more overt disco banger 'Operator (DJ Koze's Disco Edit)' is a warm, pulsing remix of Laura Mvula's 'Ready or Not' courtesy of Slowz, a mix that highlights Mvula's bright, pillowy vocals. Perhaps less obviously a 'remix' is 'RARE ESSENCE_TMA_83 BPM', an alternative version of Kelela's 'Take Me Apart' from her brilliant remix collection of her album of the same name. It's a positively sunny few minutes that'll be sure to uplift your day.

Next we have some more ambient electronic music from two of my favourite producers. Firstly, there's DjRUM's 'Sparrows', a track that begins with chimes that flit in and out, before incorporating horns and ethereal vocals that build into a truly beautiful cloud of sound. Elsewhere, I've added in my favourite track from ambient-breakbeat producer Skee Mask's Compro, 'Rev8617', with synths that ebb and flow above fluttering drum programming – it sounds like something from both outer space and below the Arctic ice.

If you want something dreamy and yet still grounded and emotionally resonant, look no further than Mount Kimbie's 'Marilyn [ft. Micachu]'. With the simple couplet 'I'm looking up at you, / Are you looking up at me?' repeating throughout, the song gives off a warm, loving glow – perfect listening when you're getting ready in the morning. With a vocal reminiscent of Jamie Cullum, Jamie Isaac has the nighttime equivalent with 'Find the Words', perhaps one to listen to if you're struggling to 'Find the Words' for that weekly essay.

Near the end, you'll find some songs from masterful singer-songwriters that showcase some exceptional vocal and lyrical talent. Joni Mitchell's 'A Case of You' is one of her most lauded songs, and for a reason – it's an exceptional love song with frankly angelic singing, whilst still sounding easy, simple and raw. Ending the playlist is the quietest song from Fleet Foxes' self-titled album, 'Oliver James'. Parts of the track are a capella, with Robin Pecknold crooning sweetly, beautifully into the silence.

My two personal favourite picks on the playlist however sit next to each other, and both carry a nostalgic tinge. Phoebe Bridgers's 'Scott Street', from the excellent Stranger in the Alps, captures the feel of returning to a place which holds a strong emotional charge. As the song goes on, elements drop in, winding up to a moment of release (with a sample of a bicycle bell that suddenly draws you right back into childhood). What Bridgers does so brilliantly however, Sharon Van Etten compounds further with 'Seventeen', a song I haven't been able to stop coming back to since I first heard it. Here, Van Etten sings to her younger self, at the song's explosive climax belting out that she's 'Afraid that you'll be just like me'. This was one of the best songs to come out of 2019, and so it deserves a spot in our playlist bringing us into the new year, as we look back over the past decade to when so many of us will have had our 17th year.

So there you have it! I hope you all enjoy our Lent Term playlist, and that both this term and you all treat yourselves kindly. Remember not to overwork yourself, to stay present and aware of those around you, and remember that New Year doesn't necessarily have to mean New You – simply a Happy You who listens to some bangin' tunes.

Until next time x

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