Eminem – “Campaign Speech”
For nearly eight minutes, Eminem raps to nothing more than his own vocal rhythm with only the lightest accompanying track. He gives us his presidential revenge fantasy, a mishmash of references, name-drops, dry observations and a generous dollop of curses added on top. Naturally, the old Slim Shady insult-bait persona emerges, but with a twist — there’s a bigger villain on the block: “Consider me a dangerous man / But you should be afraid of this dang candidate / You say Trump don’t kiss ass like a puppet / ’Cause he runs his campaign with his own cash for the fundin’.” Whoa. Marshall Mathers is on the warpath once more, and he’s taking his complaints to the trail, with none of the bells and whistles that usually accompany the typical Eminem rage-fest songs. He’s given this vitriolic speech some time to age and ferment, then uncorked it for our public entertainment.
— Alicia Lepler, Staff Writer
2 Chainz – “Good Drank”
On paper, each of the names associated with “Good Drank” — 2 Chainz, Gucci Mane, Quavo and Mike Dean — has the potential to make a song more than the sum of its parts. In practice, their familiarity and unique flair pays off. Producer Mike Dean, who prefers busier beats, instead goes for something noticeably sharper, relying on a simple piano sample reminiscent of Kanye West’s “Real Friends.” The Houston native successfully steers “Good Drank” into sad-banger territory currently claimed by Future, the loser at love. Gucci Mane, one of Atlanta’s most valuable industrial assets, continues the indomitable spirit that kept him strong through prison, letting it flow through clean-cut lines like, “Three mil in a month but I just did three years on a bunk.” 2 Chainz, first and last voice we hear on the song, greets us with a brag and leaves us with a grateful round of stream-of-consciousness. Cruising through AAA artists’ singles like a senior through AARP booklets, Quavo’s auto-tuned warble keeps up on hook duties — searching for anything resembling an answer.
— Sam Velazquez, A&E Editor
The Kooks – “Seaside”
Sometimes it’s the simplest songs that stand the test of time, harmonizing with our humanity in timeless ways that aren’t easily forgotten. The Kooks’ “Seaside” is the bare-bones, acoustic guitar-driven track that opened the band’s first studio album, “Inside In/Inside Out,” in 2006 with the heartfelt invitation, “Do you want to go to the seaside?” The tenderly raw, yet casually unburdened vocals of Luke Pritchard, the English band’s lead vocalist, continue to sweep the listener away from the troubles and worries of modern life to a simpler place of love and longing beside the sea. With the bulk of midterms weighing heavily right now, be sure to take the time to reflect on what’s important and maybe even ask that special someone if they want to go to the seaside.
— Liam Bass, Contributing Writer