Drake – “Fake Love”
Drake was never the same after being punched by Diddy on a fateful 2014 day, igniting within him a sense of masculinity that had him pounding away at the gym and signaled the start of a swaggering post-Diddy-Punch era. He became capable of ending careers (Meek Mill), starting them (The Weeknd) and granting a neon half-life to others (Makonnen) with ease. He became a pop icon in his own right, but a grip on relatability seemed tenuous. “Fake Love” presents Drake at his paranoid best — doubting the intentions and affections of others, a problem that’s proven to affect both the layman and the elite alike. That wary outlook familiar to so many of us is strung through a half-step beat with slinked-back steel drums and another perfect hook where Drake, with a resounding Canadian conviction, belts out line after line that will be tattooed on men and women ages 18 to 35 for years to come.
— Sam Velazquez, A&E Editor
Kino – “Blood Type”
“I would stay here with you / Rather stay here with you / But the star high in the sky calls me away,” Victor Tsoi sings, begging a reprieve from his duty. It’s about the war. Maybe. As with numerous works produced under the pall of Soviet society, “Blood Type” cannot convey its subject matter explicitly; Tsoi’s voice relates his despair solely through raw, invigorating emotion. The words were stolen from that generation and hardly restored by the collapse. Post-punk, new wave, what have you — Kino (Cinema) pilfers from a variety of genres to create a raggedy patchwork, unified only by simple electric-guitar riffs and heavy bass. Fans of The Smiths, Joy Division and The Cure would do well to look into this perestroika-era band, writing at the cusp of the USSR’s end.
— Alicia Lepler, A&E Editorial Assistant
Bob Dylan – “The Times They Are a-Changin’”
“The Times They Are a-Changin’” is a beloved song that has spoken to many generations over the years. Its simplistic yet evocative lyrics allow its universal message to shine through, recalling Irish and Scottish ballads that have roots within much of Dylan’s folk influence. With the recent announcement that Dylan will be the first musician to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, it is only appropriate that we remember one of his timeless classics. The passion and raw poetic lyricism is impossible to deny in this song and is anthemic of his enormous contribution to American culture throughout his life. With one of the most polarized and outrageous elections approaching, it’s fair to say that his messages are still just as relevant as they ever were. Indeed — for better or for worse — the times they are still a-changin.
— Liam Bass, Contributing Writer