Concert Reviews Music

Concert Review: JID X Smino at MTELUS

JID and Smino both showcased why they’re on the map

It was in the packed MTELUS venue that hip hop enthusiasts gathered to witness two of the most promising figures of the “alternative rap” scene: JID and Smino. Both had released acclaimed albums in 2022 and it was only right for them to collaborate on a North American tour.

Before hitting the stage, they sent another hot name coming from that scene to warm up the crowd: St. Louis rapper Jordan Ward. He only played for 20 minutes, but he didn’t waste a single second and made the most out of it while hyping the crowd, singing and dancing. He definitely left a mark on Montrealers and brought an energy that matched JID’s and Smino’s.

Smino was next up, and surprisingly played with a band instead of a DJ, which isn’t something you see often at rap concerts. Smino gave a great performance, but unfortunately for him, had some things going against him. 

First, the sound was pretty bad, not only for Smino, but throughout the entire concert. The bass and drums were so loud that it was difficult to distinguish the different instrumentals and melodies. All you could hear was Smino rapping over loud bass and the drummer.

Second, even though it was a joint tour between Smino and JID, people were clearly there for the latter. Because of that, a lot of them weren’t familiar with the lyrics to Smino’s songs and weren’t as invested in his performance compared to JID’s set. Even though Smino brought the energy and was singing and rapping well, the crowd wasn’t reciprocating what he was showing them. I’ve been following Smino closely since 2018 and I even had problems recognizing the songs. 

He still delivered an hour-long set where he alternated between some of his most popular songs, with tracks from his latest record Luv 4 Rent.

Now time for JID. He was undoubtedly the star of the show. The singing was great, but the rapping was even better. He started off with the song that put him on the map: “NEVER,” and people were immediately hooked.. He then followed with a long run of songs from his 2022 album The Forever Story

JID was incredibly impressive to watch. During shows, most rappers need backtracks to perform and rap over them, but not JID. He was rapping almost every single word and rarely taking breaks. He is well known for having some of the most intricate and unique flows in the rap game, and to see him execute them to perfection during his performance was phenomenal. Songs like “Off Deez,” “151 Rum,” and “Raydar” really showcased JID’s rapping talent. 

He finished his set with fan favourites from his other records, and ended with the high-energy “Stick,” resulting in the crowd forming a massive mosh pit. While his set lasted an hour, I could have easily stayed for an hour more. He was that good.

Overall, despite some issues, JID and Smino still came together and more than satisfied the rap fans who were present. It was a fun night overall.

Interview Music

It’s jev.’S world, and we’re all living in it

 If jev. was a stock, now would be the time to invest

Since the beginning of the year,  jev. has been a name on the lips of most underground rap fanatics . From having one of his songs at the number one spot of the Top 50 US Viral Songs to now having over 700,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, it’s safe to say that Jephté Kweto, A.K.A. jev., has been blowing up over the past few  weeks.

The African-born rapper spent the majority of his life in Africa, growing up in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa before moving to Canada with his family in late 2019. jev. has been making music since 2009, but it’s only in 2015 that the moniker jev.  took form. Despite the colder weather, the move to Canada was actually beneficial for the young rapper

“You find yourself a lot in the house so it gives you time to be creative and come up with ideas, so for me it worked out well especially during the pandemic,” he said.

For those who don’t know jev. (yet) the 22-year-old rapper is an up-and-coming figure in the new generation of young rappers influenced by both old school hip hop and the rap scene from the 2010s. In this era where the boom bap drums and chopped-up soul samples are making a comeback, jev. thrives on this type of instrumental with his varied flows, brilliant wordplay and energetic delivery. You can hear the influence of some of the greats in his music: artists ranging from the likes of Nas to Joey Bada$$ and Kendrick Lamar are only a few inspirations that can be heard on his tracks. 

Even before coming to Canada, jev. had already started to work on his last project the color grey. which released in late December 2022. While most of the songs came together over the pandemic, he first started mastering his craft in 2018, recording “aitd – demo,” the final track, on his phone.

jev. has been turning a lot of heads recently, which can mostly be attributed to all the love his song “where’s the confetti?” is receiving. As of now, the song has been streamed nearly 2.8 million times on Spotify since its release in July 2022. 

“From 0 to 100,000 was probably the hardest, but from the 100,000 to a million was easy as I think it was two weeks[…] But 0 to 100,000 was like three or four months. It’s exponential growth,” he said.

“where’s the confetti?” is a hookless song that sees jev. celebrate. Once he starts rapping, he never stops, laying clever one-liners after another over a simple drum beat and looped sample. In the past couple of weeks, this track has been circulating everywhere. Whether on TikTok, Instagram, or in various Spotify playlists, this massive exposure helped the song claim the number one spot of the Viral 50 – USA playlist on Spotify. 

“I didn’t know how to react at the time, I was kind of in shock, but I’m super grateful for everybody that has played it and added it to their playlists and everything. It’s crazy,” he said.

With all the success he’s having, you may think that jev. gets help from other people or works with a team, right? Well, you would be wrong. Aside from working with certain producers on his songs, everything else he does, he does it alone. From promoting his songs on his different social media accounts, to reaching out to brands, to creating his songs, he does it all by himself. 

jev. is his own team, so much so that he has started his own brand: LONER inc., a project that allows jev. to have full creative control of what he does, in every sphere.

“LONER inc. was gonna be this umbrella of me just being as creative as possible. Movies, music videos, TV, film, fashion, clothing, music, and music is the main thing right now, that’s where it was born from,” he said.

Despite being fully in charge of his music career, jev. is much busier than that. Not only is he a full-time student, currently studying marketing at Carleton University in Ottawa, but he works part-time at Staples.

With his combination of skill and a tremendous amount of talent, mixed with a balanced work ethic and a burning passion for music, be on the lookout for jev. as he might be the next big name in rap you wish you had discovered earlier.

Music Quickspins

QUICKSPINS: Mac Demarco – Five Easy Hot Dogs

Five Easy Hot Dogs is a great idea on paper, but in reality, it isn’t quite living up to Mac Demarco’s talent

Mac Demarco has been a household name in the indie scene over the past 10 years. Projects such as 2 and Salad Days helped propel the Canadian singer-songwriter to stardom. Even after six studio albums and more than a decade of being active, he still finds ways to experiment new things with his music. This time, it has taken the form of an instrumental record with his latest release Five Easy Hot Dogs. 

Wait, so guitarist extraordinaire Mac Demarco has released an instrumental record, it must be great, right? Well, not so much. While Five Easy Hot Dogs has its moments, it suffers from safe production choices and sound repetition, which makes the album fall flat on its feet.

Even though it’s Demarco’s first album since 2019, this new record feels much more like a side project rather than a full-fledged studio album. Every song on the record has been recorded during a road trip and each song represents the city it was written in, which explains why there are three songs with “Vancouver” in the title. This makes it easier to follow Demarco’s road trip throughout the album, which starts from Gualala and ends in Rockaway.

For someone who is known for his impressive guitar loops and infectious beats, Five Easy Hot Dogs feels rather uninspired compared to previous works. Yes, the songs are sweet and they are very easy to get into, but as I was listening to the album over and over again, the songs became more and more forgettable, often blending together. This record sounds like if Apple hired Mac Demarco to compose new adventurous alarms — it’s soothing to wake up to, but would you really listen to an album filled with alarms? I don’t think so.

I can definitely see this album getting played and working in some instances. For instance, while studying or relaxing, songs like “Gualala,” “Chicago,” or even “Victoria” would all work well. Aside from these three songs, most of the songs on the album sound like a warped attempt at a lofi study beats project. 

Despite Five Easy Hot Dogs having some moments of brightness, they’re not enough to save the album. This could have truly been something great, but it ended up being little more than wasted potential that in retrospect, will serve as one of Demarco’s most forgettable projects.

Trial track: “Gualala”

Score: 4/10

Music Quickspins

QUICKSPINS: Drake and 21 Savage – Her Loss

 Despite being a collaborative album, this most certainly did not feel like one

After only five months since his more house-oriented project Honestly, Nevermind, Drake is back for more with Her Loss. On this new one, Drizzy is teaming up with Atlanta rapper 21 Savage for their new collaborative effort. 

After seeing massive success with previous cooperations in the past, such as “Knife Talk,” and Jimmy Cooks,” both becoming some of Drake’s biggest hits of the 2020s, it was only natural for the two MCs to unite for a whole album as they are now used to creating fireworks together.

To classify Her Loss as a joint effort between Drake and 21 Savage would feel like a crime, as it feels very much more like a Drake album featuring his sidekick 21 Savage than an equal partnership between the two. In fact, Drake accounts for 66 per cent of all words said on the record, while 21 Savage raps 26 per cent of them. The other 8 per cent is from guest appearances, such as Travis Scott on the excellent “Pussy & Millions.” Drake also has four songs alone on the album compared to 21 Savage, who only has one.

Despite not being labelled properly, this is definitely an improvement on Drake’s last two records. He sounds way more cutthroat than he usually does and even though 21 Savage isn’t on the album as much as I would have wanted, he’s still helping Drake bring out his more aggressive side with the help of some more ominous trap beat selection. Drake even goes in with some reckless disses, calling out Megan Thee Stallion, Soulja Boy, and Serena Williams’ husband, Alexis Ohanian.

Her Loss contains a lot of fun moments, and you can definitely feel their chemistry. Songs such as the opener “Rich Flex” with its various beat switches, the ruthless “On BS,” and “Broke Boys” with its phenomenal second half are all infectious yet very hard-hitting. 

Regardless, it does have some misses, like the way-too-long “Hours In Silence,” the uneventful “Spin Bout U,” and the forgettable “Jumbotron Shit Poppin.” Oh, and don’t get me started on “Circo Loco,” which is another instance of an older hit being sampled to gain more traction. This time, it’s “One More Time” by Daft Punk that is victim of this awful trend.

Drake also has a couple of corny one-liners, like on the closer “I Guess It’s Fuck Me,” where he says “If bein’ real was a crime, I’d be doin’ life,” like come on man. But honestly, he might be one of the only artists that can get away with saying things like that. He makes up for it with “Middle of the Ocean,” which is another classic laid-back Drake cut that sees him get in his bag over a beautiful instrumental.

Yes it’s not perfect, and yes it’s a shame that 21 Savage isn’t on the album as much, but overall, Her Loss is one of the more fun Drake records to have come out in a hot minute.

Trial track: Middle of the Ocean


Concert Reviews Music

Concert Review: Gorillaz at the Bell Centre

Gorillaz delivered an incredibly colourful performance

One of the world’s most acclaimed virtual bands, Gorillaz, gave an exceptional show at the Bell Centre on Oct. 8 for fans of all ages. With the band having been around for more than 20 years, they had two decades worth of hits to share with Montrealers as a part of their North American 2022 tour.

Fans had to wait a bit before seeing Gorillaz hit the stage after an opening act from the Atlanta hip-hop duo EARTHGANG. Despite EARTHGANG’s music being very different from Gorillaz’s, they still brought the heat and delivered an incredibly fun set. 

They performed tracks from their 2022 album GHETTO GODS, as well as some classics from older releases and songs they have with their record label Dreamville. Sadly, the duo couldn’t perform some of their biggest hits like “Meditated” and “Sacrifices” with Dreamville, and the set fell shorter than the typical 45 minutes expected.

After their set, fans were ecstatic for the main event as people were doing the wave and cheering for a solid five minutes while waiting for Gorillaz to appear.

For a virtual band, Gorillaz sure had a lot of people on stage, with at least 12 musicians, including three drummers and four backup singers, who all came ready to play to a very warmed up crowd. The English band truly gave a spectacular performance, playing most of the songs off their 2005 cult-classic Demon Days to a crowd singing every word back. 

Lead singer Damon Albarn didn’t look like your typical 54-year-old. He was highly energetic and was really enjoying himself, even going into the crowd.  Albarn was really feeding off of the crowd’s cheers and gave an incredible show in exchange, playing multiple instruments during the set.

The band also had stunning visuals, often similar to videoclips of their animated personas that fans have come to know and love throughout the years. Each video had a different story attached to the songs and it was definitely entertaining to witness the animations and the members behind them on stage at the same time.

The band also invited a lot of different guest features to play their part. These included names such as the opening act EARTHGANG, and some lesser known rappers such as Bootie Brown, who most notably has a verse on “Dirty Harry” and their latest single “New Gold.”

Overall, Gorillaz gave a stellar performance to their loyal fans who definitely had an amazing time witnessing one of the most quintessential bands of the 2000s.

Photo by Charlie Brousseau @charliebrphotos


Is Erling Haaland human?

It’s a bird… it’s a plane… no, it’s Erling Haaland!

We can only admire Erling Haaland’s unprecedented start to the Premier League campaign, as he is currently leading with 15 goals.

The Premier League has always been considered the toughest soccer league, with newcomers having to adjust to the high level of competition.

However, the Norwegian striker is crushing it like it’s child’s play in his very first year. He has already tallied 15 goals, including three hat-tricks in his first nine games. The record for the most goals scored by a player in a 38-game season was 32 goals by Mohamed Salah in 2017-18.

Haaland on the other hand, is on pace to score nearly 67 goals this season with an unreal rate of 1.79 goals per 90 minutes. The most impressive thing about this is that he has a chance to pulverize the record at only 22 years of age.

The soccer player’s success in the Premier League is not a random stroke of luck. Whether it was in Salzburg, Dortmund, or the Norwegian national team where he once scored nine goals in a single game at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup, he has been dominating everywhere he plays. 

To put things further into perspective, at 22 years old Haaland has scored more goals than Messi and Ronaldo did when they were his age — combined.

The 6’4” and 191-pound striker has a very lethal skill set for his size. He plays a powerful game and is stronger, faster and bigger than the average centre-back.

He is insanely good at positioning himself on the field in order to be a threat, and reads the play well to make defenders uncomfortable — with or without the ball. Moreover, he is already becoming one of the world’s best finishers with his uncanny ability to finish with both feet and head.

Granted, it’s not hard to score when you play for Manchester City — a club that has players like Kevin De Bruyne or Bernardo Silva who can dish you the ball at the exact spot you want it to be. But even then, you still need to get it past the goalie, and Haaland is incredibly good at that.

He is in fact so good that a petition started to circulate online asking Haaland to be excluded from the Premier League, and it gathered more than two million signatures from fans.

People are genuinely wondering if he’s a robot and I don’t blame them. If you’d like to see the carnage unfold yourself, you should seriously start tuning in to his games as he’s solely decimating entire clubs and has all the talent in the world to shatter Salah’s 32-goal record this year.

After all, he is currently putting up numbers that have never been seen before in over 100 years of Premier League soccer.


The importance of cover art: how it can make or break a record

Cover art is the first look you get at a body of work — might as well make it count with something eye-grabbing.

Choosing cover art to associate with a piece of music will always be a big decision for artists, as the art introduces the music. Before listening to a single second, your experience with a body of work starts with the art that accompanies it. Since it is the listener’s first contact with the music, the cover has to be intriguing enough for the listener to decide to dive into the record.

In some instances, cover art can be so eye-catching that it transcends a record’s popularity and gets even more appreciated than the album itself, becoming its own thing. Album covers such as Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, with the famous triangle prism and the beam of light passing through, or The Beatles’ Abbey Road which sees the band members wearing suits and crossing the street, are prime examples of this.

Don’t get me wrong — these albums are considered some of the best of all time, but having such iconic covers definitely helped them gain the status and universal praise they still get to this day. These covers became so popular over time that you can now see them on clothes, posters, mugs, and tapestries, to a point where they’re almost symbolic.

With the streaming era, where everything is compiled on your phone, album art might not feel as important as 30 years ago when people would go to their nearest record store to skim through different album covers and buy whichever one caught their attention. Regardless of the period we are in, album covers still abide by the same set of rules as before for picking good cover art.

The most important rule is that the cover art has to be representative of the music. The genre that does it best is metal music, where the violence showcased on the album art is an excellent indicator of how brutal the music is going to sound. Death metal outfit Cannibal Corpse have some of the most gruesome album covers out there in metal, often picturing truly disgusting and unimaginable things done to people (look it up at your own risk) — and their very gross and murderous sound matches the vibe they portray on their front cover. 

R&B also does it well, as it’s a more sexy and intimate genre, where artists don’t shy away from sensually posing on their album arts. You can take Doja Cat’s 2019 single “Juicy” as an example, a song talking about “juicy booties,” where Doja Cat herself is showcasing her butt on the cover art.

The importance of cover art should never be neglected — while at its core, music is a form of sound art, an album or song also needs visual art to represent it. Who knows, maybe that split second of looking at and judging a cool album cover might make you discover your next favourite artist.

Some of my favourite album covers includes:

Killers – Iron Maiden

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel

The House Is Burning – Isaiah Rashad

Kids See Ghosts – Kids See Ghosts

Twin Fantasy – Car Seat Headrest

Midnight Marauders – A Tribe Called Quest

Stranger in the Alps – Phoebe Bridgers

And Justice For All – Metallica

Cosmogramma – Flying Lotus

Songs In The Key Of Life – Stevie Wonder

Graphic by James Fay

Music Student Life Videos

ChatCordia: What Are Students Listening to?

The Concordian’s Music editor Guillaume Laberge and Video editor Jordan Tsering, asked students about their go-to songs that get them through the year.

Music On Repeat

On Repeat: summer edition

Our Music Editors share what they’ve been listening to over the summer.

Guillaume Laberge, Music Editor

Summer 2022 saw the birth of countless projects, some more memorable than others. Regardless, here are the songs I have been obsessed with for the past four months — hopefully you’ll discover something new here.

“Count Me Out” – Kendrick Lamar

Of the many songs I could have chosen from Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, “Count Me Out” is the one that stuck with me the most. There are so many layers and tempo switches to this track that it makes you sit on the edge of your seat for its entire duration.

“Bad Habit” – Steve Lacy

Whether it was on TikTok or on the radio, this song was inescapable over the summer, and for good reason. With “Bad Habit,” Steve Lacy crafted an indie pop anthem that contains arguably the catchiest chorus of the year.

“Big Ass Bracelet” – Westside Gunn

The Flygod himself dropped perhaps the underground rap song of the year with “Big Ass Bracelet.” The soul sample used in the track is so mesmerising that it took me at least ten listens to realize that he was saying something over this angelic drumless instrumental.

Honourable mentions

“Sugar/Tzu” – black midi

“Me Porto Bonito” – Bad Bunny

“Survivors Guilt” – Joey Bada$$

“Sticky” – Drake

“Chop (Nouvelle École)” – Fresh

Saro Hartounian, Assistant Music Editor

This summer brought about the release of many fantastic albums and singles (the new Kendrick record comes to mind), and I am pleased to showcase my favourite songs that were on repeat during my vacation to Gaspésie and Québec City!

“Auntie Diaries” – Kendrick Lamar

This song moved me to tears. Honestly. Regardless of the heavy topic it explores, I would play this during late summer nights where the pad synths would envelop my room. If you haven’t checked out this song I highly recommend it for the lyrics and the crescendo up until the very end.  

“hydrogen” – Sirintip  

Sirintip did not disappoint with her new single! The acid drum machine over ethereal jazzy vocals. There’s at least three tracks for her voice: two panning left and right and one in the background whispering a response from the former two. I know this is an oxymoron but hear me out… think “upbeat lounge.” 

“Magenta Mountain” – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

This song off King Gizzard’s Omnium Gatherum album was a must-listen through the summer months, especially for long drives. The Minimoog’s bass paired with the oriental melody gives off the feeling of a monastery way up in the mountains. Shangri-La, anyone?

Honorable mentions

“Tippa My Tongue” – Red Hot Chili Peppers

“Welcome To Hell” – black midi 

“Shotgun” – Soccer Mommy 

“Complacency” – Tide Rider

“La Rivière” – Pomme


Osheaga 2022: Artists to watch

This fifteenth edition of Osheaga is bound to be exciting

With Osheaga finally returning to its total capacity after two years, one of the world’s best music festivals is welcoming artists from different corners of the music industry to perform over a three day span.Since it’s physically impossible to divide myself across six stages with over 100 artists set to perform, who should I watch? My name is Guillaume and I’ll be your guide, helping you experience the best possible shows to have an amazing weekend.


Friday starts off the festival on a pretty strong note with a string of interesting names, especially in the pop and indie fields. Artists such as Pink Pantheress, Ashe, and Charli XCX all put their own unique spin on today’s pop music and are a must-see if you’re into pop. As for indie, Gus Dapperton, Dominic Fike, and French Canadian band, Les Louanges could all satisfy indie lovers on Friday. Coming off the release of their latest record WE, Montreal’s legendary alternative rock band Arcade Fire is in town headlining on Friday,  making it definitely a show not to miss. Sleeper sets of the day include trap producer and singer Pi’erre Bourne and Punk band Turnstile.


Saturday is looking to be the most promising day, with heavy names in hip hop and a profusion of other cool artists. Fans of the genre are going to get spoiled with artists such as Slowthai, Freddie Gibbs, BIA, and Saturday’s headliner, Future. Saturday is also another strong day in the indie field with performers such as Toronto’s Luna Li, Montreal’s Men I Trust, and none other than Mitski. Other must-sees include Hyperpop duo 100 Gecs and Nigerian superstar Burna Boy. The sleeper pick of the day is U.K rapper, Slowthai.


Sunday might not have the most stacked lineup, but you will definitely be able to find quality performances. Sunday’s headliner include pop star Dua Lipa, who is solely worth the cost alone, and is almost guaranteed to deliver an incredible show. Sunday also has a couple of popular names in the music industry, such as Machine Gun Kelly, Glass Animals, and Alan Walker. Rapper Cordae, singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus and punk-rock band IDLES are amongst other talented musicians performing on Sunday. The Sleeper show of the day is the Australian Genesis Owusu who is a must-watch.

Now that Osheaga has returned back to its full form , it’s safe to say that everyone is as excited as ever to see a plethora of  talented artists hit the stage in Montreal. With perfect weather announced over the weekend, these next three days are going to be incredible for music lovers.


Action Bronson and Earl Sweatshirt at MTELUS

MTELUS was packed for a hip hop rendez-vous

Rap fans of all ages gathered at MTELUS in Montreal last Wednesday, as a duo of lo-fi hip hop mastodons Action Bronson and Earl Sweatshirt were headlining their NBA Leather tour accompanied by Boldy James & The Alchemist as their opening act. Fans were waiting patiently for both Bronson and Earl to come out and perform.

The show started off with Californian producer, The Alchemist, coming on stage and warming up the crowd, playing some of his more popular beats. Detroit rapper and Boldy James joined The Alchemist to perform their opening set. James’ set was definitely entertaining, with him playing most of his classic songs, and at least half of his 2021 amazing collaboration album with The Alchemist Bo Jackson, but his performance didn’t do justice to the quality of his music. 

James’ music is more based on him spitting bars over a smoothly sampled instrumental. This style of rap is harder to decipher at a concert, resulting in the performance lacking a bit of energy, making it harder for people to connect with the music. Nonetheless, he still delivered a satisfactory performance and set the table well for the other artists yet to come.

The next artist to perform was Earl Sweatshirt, who delivered a solid performance, rapping most of his latest album SICK!, and some key songs off of his other records. The crowd lacked energy at the beginning of his set, but once he played his meme song “EAST,” they picked it up and started moshing. Earl was the chillest and most laidback guy ever. He had no difficulty showcasing his funny, nonchalant and sarcastic side we all came to know and love from his days as a part of Odd Future. Earl’s set was able to make people feel a plethora of different emotions. 

The last but not the least artist performing was New York MC Action Bronson, who delivered a super loud and “in your face” set. Contrarily to Boldy James, his music sounded even better live. He was super theatrical with his rapping and the fans were really engaged in his set. It was definitely surprising to not see him rap much of his new album Cocodrillo Turbo as he only performed a song or two off of it, regardless, it was still great to see him live.

Whether it was Boldy James’ gritty sound, Earl Sweatshirt’s more laidback and posed attitude, or Action Bronson’s aggressive and energetic performance, everyone brought something different to the table that saw fans feasting through it all.



Listening to a new album a day for a month recap: how such a laborious challenge helped me grow as a music enthusiast

While extremely fun to do, this undertaking truly gave me a hard time

For the second year in a row, I decided to attempt a challenge that requires an extreme thirst and curiosity for discovering new music, a keen sense of attention to detail, and a lot of free time. It consists of listening to an album you’ve never heard before every day, for a whole month. Fortunately for me, the month of February is the shortest month of the year. While it still might sound like a lot considering albums are usually between 30 to 75 minutes long, trust me, it’s not just a lot — it’s way more than that.

Now you may be asking, “Guillaume, why are you doing this? What are you gaining from committing to such a time consuming challenge?” Well, there’s a lot to gain from this experience. The main reason I did this was to expand my music tastes and knowledge. I find that by forcing myself to listen to a full body of work every day that is completely different from the last, it helps me appreciate what every genre has to offer and what makes them stand out compared to others. I see this challenge as I would see a Christmas advent calendar, where every day you open a door to get a different chocolate or treat — in this case you “open the door” to discover a new album and experience it for the first time. During the challenge, you will also most definitely discover a new artist or album you’ll love, which makes it exciting.

The albums that were selected for the challenge had to fit two important criteria. First of all, I wanted to include as much variety as possible. From jazz to metal and from the early 60’s to the late 2010’s, I wanted to cover as much musical ground as I could. Despite being all so different stylistically from one another, they all share a point in common, which is my second rule: all of these albums had to be considered classics by the music community within their respective genres and eras. During such a tough challenge like this, I was a lot more thrilled and motivated to complete it by listening to respected classics rather than listening to more obscure material, mostly because I know what I’m getting into.

With that said, here are the list of albums I listened to during the past month, in this exact order:

Paranoid by Black Sabbath

LP1 by FKA twigs

One in a Million by Aaliyah

Elliott Smith by Elliott Smith

Meliora by Ghost

The Low End Theory by A Tribe Called Quest

Siamese Dream by The Smashing Pumpkins

Pieces of a Man by Gil Scott-Heron

Funeral by Arcade Fire

Bury Me At Makeout Creek by Mitski

Duke Ellington & John Coltrane by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane

Rust In Peace by Megadeth

Lord Willin’ by Clipse

Paramore by Paramore

Gets Next to You by Al Green

Doolittle by Pixies

Pure Comedy by Father John Misty

Selected Ambient Works 85-92 by Aphex Twin

Contra by Vampire Weekend

Schlagenheim by black midi

You’re Dead! by Flying Lotus

Even In The Quietest Moments by Supertramp

Yes Lawd! by NxWorries

Age of Consent by New Order

Hounds of Love by Kate Bush

Third Eye Blind by Third Eye Blind

Homogenic by Björk

The Glow, Pt.2 by The Microphones

I can’t say this challenge was a breeze for me, because it is never easy to incorporate such a time consuming activity into my already busy schedule, but what I can say is that I was definitely successful in my quest to become a bigger music nerd. I won’t lie, some days were harder than others and I did a lot of catching up, especially towards the end of the challenge, but my struggles were mostly attributed to the fact that some days, I simply didn’t have the time. On top of that, while I was doing my challenge, artists were still releasing new music (how inconsiderate of them). The new Beach House, Big Thief, and Conway the Machine albums all made it hard to focus on the older records I had to listen to for the challenge. 

My top five favorite albums of the month consists of the following (this list is in no particular order) :

Paranoid by Black Sabbath

This album is a pioneer in the hard rock and metal realm, the riffs and drumming fills are way ahead of their time and Ozzy Osbourne’s songwriting is in top form on this one.

The Low End Theory by A Tribe Called Quest

This is such a chill and laid back jazz rap album, it’s definitely for the vibers. This record is perfect to listen to while taking a walk outside.

Funeral by Arcade Fire

This album is so grandiose and powerful, it makes you feel like you could take over the world. Just an epic alternative rock experience.

Duke Ellington & John Coltrane by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane

A record that sees two of the greatest jazz musicians of all time come together for an incredibly smooth 34 minutes. It’s a meeting of the minds for the ages.

Third Eye Blind by Third Eye Blind

This pop-rock record offers anything you would want from a 90’s album in the genre: infectious hooks, angsty lyrics, and banging instrumentals.

While this challenge might seem scary at first, if you put in the time and effort, I guarantee you that the exposure to a large number of records in a short amount of time will most definitely expand your horizons and sharpen your curiosity as a music listener.

Visual by Catherine Reynolds and Lily Cowper

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