Music is an amazing medium of expression. Certain songs hold special places in our personal psyche. They remind us of specific times in our lives, our friends, locations we’ve been, trips and or defining moments (both good and bad). A song can have a significant meaning to you, and you alone. Whether it is a well known hit song, or an obscure underground album, it is your soundtrack.
So let’s start with the Louis Vuitton Don himself. During my first two semesters, I almost exclusively bumped The College Dropout. A dope album top to bottom, which I remember initially listening to during my junior high days. However, it wasn’t until university that it really set in. Songs like Spaceship, School Spirit, We Don’t Care, Breathe In Breathe Out and Get Em High constantly had me inspired to walk out of class for good. This album reminds me of school. The good times and the bad times. From a career standpoint, this was a huge debut for Mr. West.
His first three albums are very school oriented. After Dropout, came Late Registration and Graduation. All great albums in their own right. The recurring theme for all three albums float around Kanye’s decision to drop out of school; something which many people battle with during their academic experience. The album Graduation consistently reminds me of one of my biggest concert regrets and of my best friends older and much cooler brother. In May 2008, Kanye’s Glow in the Dark Tour stopped in Edmonton in support of his Graduation album. Kanye headlined with opening acts by Lupe Fiasco and N.E.R.D. A few lucky classmates went to that show but I missed the boat. That would have been a good time. Luckily, later on in life, I made up for the mistakes of my youth by seeing Kanye on two separate occasions live in concert. However, 2008 was the only time he ever toured in Edmonton.
Now, let's look at some other bands and songs that remind me of the Concordia experience. Whenever writing final sociology and history papers on campus, I would always start off with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. In 2006, the band released the double disc Stadium Arcadium. Disc 1, which is called Jupiter, was always my go to when starting a paper late in the semester. Back in those days, I always wrote my papers in the main library's computer lab. For me stand out songs on that album include Wet Sand, Slow Cheetah, Dani California, Hey and Strip My Mind. By all accounts, this is a more mellow Chilli Peppers album, similar to By The Way, but it always helped me concentrate when the pressure was mounting. On a side note, their song Soul To Squeeze reminds me of tough academic times. It's probably my personal favorite Peppers song of all time. Just like Kanye West, I have been fortunate enough to see the Chilli Peppers twice in concert.
I remember buying Kendrick Lamar’s album Good Kid, M.A.A.D City the day it came out after class. I ripped out of the lecture hall and drove straight to HMV. That afternoon was spent making lunch and intently listening to the album for the first time. Standout tracks include The Art of Peer Pressure, Money Trees, Backseat Freestyle, Compton and Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst. Same goes for the Odd Future album, The OF Tape Vol. 2 which was released earlier in 2012. At times, this album is very over the top and excessive. That being said, I could listen to the 10 minute odyssey known as Oldie all day. In my opinion, this is the best beat Tyler, The Creator ever produced. Other good tracks include NY (Ned Flander), Sam (Is Dead), White, Rella and Forest Green. This is also an album which I bought after class one afternoon.
I was a little late on the Arctic Monkeys train, but their fifth studio AM is one which you can easily listen to from start to finish. With a running time of only 41 minutes, the songs fly by in quick succession. AM reminds me of walking home late from school after several night classes during the winter semester. Those were good times. Walking home through a full blown snowstorm in the dark was always a fun experience which quickly helped you forget about school. Another album which reminds me of past winter semesters is Friday Night Lights by J. Cole. This was his third officially released mixtape, and the one which arguably paved his way into the hip-hop community. Once this came out, everybody was anxiously waiting for his first studio album. Song like Too Deep for the Intro, Before I’m Gone, Villematic, 2Face, The Autograph, Premeditated Murder and Home for the Holidays make this tape a classic.
Hopefully, you will give yourself the chance to listen to some of these great tunes if you haven’t already. Safe travels.