Songs to wake you up

Aditi Bhandari, Blogger

As the seventh week of college finally draws to a close and the last set of midterms rolls off of our weary backs, we once again begin to appreciate the value of sleep. Getting a good, uninterrupted seven hours of shut-eye on a weeknight is as unlikely as eating more than one serving from the Hot Cookie Bar; you think it’s going to happen, and you’ve heard it’s happened before, but it remains no more than a campus myth. As a result, waking up in the morning ends up being one of the most hated parts of the day. Most students agree the pressure to receive good grades and maintain a steady social life is nothing compared to the crushing expectation to be caffeinated and coherent at an 8 a.m. class on a Monday morning. But have no fear — Ditty is here! Here’s an all-encompassing wake-up playlist that’ll cater to your every need, whether you want to be gently roused from slumber or jolted awake from your sleep.

The Soft:

1.     First Day Of My Life – Bright Eyes

This is the kind of song that’ll wake you up with a silly smile on your face that won’t fade even as the day progresses. It has all the elements of a folk-rock hit: a soft strumming acoustic guitar, semi-spoken vocals and a couple of awkwardly forced rhymes, especially in the last verse.

2.     Peer Gynt Suite #1, Op. 46 – 1. Morning Mood – Edvard Grieg

Supposedly based on the image of the rising Norwegian sun, this is one of the movements in the Peer Gynt Suite composed by Norwegian Romantic composer Edvard Grieg. Feeling cultured now, aren’t we? You might even recognize it from the numerous TV shows it’s been featured in recently like “Phineas & Ferb!”

3.     Sunrise – Norah Jones

The first single from her second album “Feels Like Home,” this song has a charming balance of her trademark soft, airy vocals and instrumental solos. Definitely one of the more soothing tunes to wake up to.

 4. Horses Mouth – Paul Stewart

If you’re looking for a mellow indie song that’ll gently coax you into wakefulness, then this is the song for you. Its so-called “hipster” aspect is most evident in the fact that it sounds like it was recorded in a wind tunnel. Even though the lyrics are somewhat indecipherable, it doesn’t really matter.

5. Si Tu Vois Ma Mère – Sidney Bechet

Ever wondered what it must feel like to wake up at the table of a roadside bistro located in a cozy little French coastal town to the smell of hot buttered croissants and steaming black coffee? Well this is exactly what it’d sound like.


The Cheerful:

 6. Mr. Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra

So long as the synthesized vocal parts in this song don’t creep you out (don’t look at me like that — it happens), ELO will get you up and hopping around in no time! It’s ever so more appropriate now that winter is slowly but surely bringing its dull skies to Evanston.

7. Good Morning – “Singing In The Rain” cast

This MGM classic contains greetings in not just one, not two but five different languages! It’s great for when you need to get up earlier than normal to fulfill those pesky language distros.

8. Sunday Morning (Demo) – Maroon 5

Now many of you may have heard the original version of this song, but I implore you to listen to the demo version that sits just on the fence between the acoustic and the studio versions. The whimsical yet definitive piano forms the backbone of the song, and it makes you realize that it doesn’t even need the additional ad-libbed vocals or the snare drum. And let’s just face it: A song that makes you feel like you’ve woken up in Adam Levine’s arms on a lazy Sunday morning is nothing short of perfection.

9. Fireflies – Owl City

Another one of those songs that’ll wake you up with a smile, Adam Young’s innocent vocals about insomnia are easily applicable to every college student ever. The “bleep-bloop-bloop” of the 1980s synthesizer can get a bit annoying after a certain point, but if your phone/alarm isn’t near your bed, then it’s a super effective way to force yourself to get up. 

10. Puzzle Pieces – Saint Motel

Yet another piano-based song, “Puzzle Pieces” falls into the genre of songs so upbeat they spark impromptu dance parties as soon as they play. Trust me when I say that there’s nothing quite like dancing around the room as you’re getting ready to go brush your teeth. This song is so cheerful, I bet your roommate won’t even mind hearing it ring at 6 a.m.!

11. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go – Wham!

This song spreads the important message to students everywhere that before they leave, they must indeed check to see whether their roommate(s) are still asleep at an unusual hour. I will be forever indebted to my roommate for having woken me up 10 minutes before I was supposed to be in class on multiple occasions over the past few weeks.


The So-Loud-Your-Roommate-Will-Never-Forgive-You:

12. Bring Me To Life – Evanescence

Ah, the calming sound of middle-school angst in the morning. Evanescence was a staple on the iPods of most tweens who wanted to appear “cool and goth” or even “edgy and emo” at the ripe old age of 12. And even though I’ll admit I still have most of the band’s discography, it’s not really something I’d want to wake up to, thus prompting me to get up and switch the alarm off.

13. Dance Floor Anthem – Good Charlotte

This was my alarm for many years before I changed it, and I’m happy to report I did not sleep in for a single day during that time. Even if you don’t enjoy being woken up by a loud guitar riff followed by a really heavy drumline, it’s a pretty good song.

14. Morning Glory – Oasis

The British example of a song that starts with a loud guitar riff and a heavy drumline, Liam Gallagher’s atonal voice coupled with cheerful lyrics about fun things such as cocaine and alcohol is a great way to get your morning started. 

15. O Fortuna – Carmina Burana – Carl Orff

Way back in the 1930s, German composer Carl Orff took the medieval Latin poem “O Fortuna” from the collection “Carmina Burana” and put it to music. Again, you’ll probably recognize it when you hear it because of its numerous inclusions in pop culture, but for those of you who don’t recognize the song by its name, be warned. It’s sure to wake you up with a start and even has a lull after the initial explosion of sound that acts as a “snooze” button, but once it reaches its highest point, you’d better be awake or face the wrath of your roommate.


The Accelerative:

 16. Bolero – Maurice Ravel

Ravel’s “Bolero” starts off with a quiet snare drum march and a flute playing the instantaneously recognizable melody and subtly adds instrument after instrument until, before you realize it, there’s a 70-piece orchestra blaring out of your speakers! The whole song is more than 15 minutes long though, so make sure you give yourself enough time to wake up.

17. Carry On – FUN.

“Carry On” is a more recent version of what I’d call an accelerative song — one that’s structured in the form of one big crescendo. Nate Ruess is one of the few people who can make you contemplate the direction your life is going with the kind of heady enthusiasm associated with a lack of sleep in the early hours of the morning.

18. Elegy – Hey Marseilles

And finally, the song that’s my current wake-up song. I highly recommend this track for its ability to calmly wake you up over the course of four minutes with a simple tune that you’ll find yourself humming throughout the day. It also ends with a beautiful cello movement that almost apologizes and makes up for the fact that it woke you up. Therefore, I can personally guarantee this is the perfect song to use as an alarm.