If you’re anything like me, you may have also been spending this quarantine trying to be productive. It could be in the form of getting an internship, going to class, or learning a new hobby. Regardless, we can all agree that setting the mood is a good step towards actually getting stuff done. 

I would say that the sense of hearing is one of the most important in that regard. What your audible surroundings are like can make it easier (or harder) to finish your readings or cram your report. That’s why most of us try our best to drown out disturbing noises with our earphones and study playlists.

We all have our own preferences for what we enjoy listening to while in the zone, but my go-to has always been YouTube’s lo-fi community. In case you’ve never encountered the genre, lo-fi stands for “low fidelity”, which essentially means that it’s music with all of the flaws that would’ve been erased in its studio-recorded counterparts. These include background noises, static, humming, and other small details.

A common reaction I get from people when they’re newly introduced to lo-fi is skepticism. Why would I want to listen to flawed music?

Labeling the genre’s preference to technical imperfections as a negative trait is kind of simplistic. The background noises and static are woven together to create this soft and subdued masterpiece. While I can never explain why I can’t focus on studying with my fan’s buzz ringing in my ear, the mixture of birds chirping, grass bunching, and beats softly dropping make my workflow way easier.

As a matter of fact, more niche versions of the genre are great for when you’re feeling all senti. A good example is the lo-fi version of “Pure Imagination”, or this if you want something less familiar. Some pieces use piano tunes to oddly mimic the feeling of walking around a clean road as the sun goes down, or having a cup of tea by the window in the middle of a rainy day.

This has personally saved me from feeling like life was impossible. Whenever I felt stuck at work, I would just listen to one lo-fi mix and it would place my anxious heartbeat at ease. I’m unsure as to how many people reading this can relate, but quarantine has pressured me to be always working. As a consequence, my head has been engineered to embrace productivity even when it’s too much. This YouTube music genre, with its beautiful animation and pretty sounds, always reminds me to take it easy. 

So I urge you to try searching up this community the next time you get productive. Who knows? Maybe your YouTube algorithm and recommendations will thank you later.

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