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  • Writer's pictureKristin Lyman


In this election cycle, a well-rounded candidate, who is able to present a well-rounded, comprehensive portrait of who they are, why they are the way they are while providing insight into their motivations and priorities is what the voters deserve. You can tell a hell of a lot more about someone by the music they listen to rather than with some corny, glossy mailer, featuring a bunch stock photos of the candidate walking down the sidewalk with people they've never met prior to the photo shoot, having a fake conversation about nothing while declaring "I'm a Champion of Women's Rights!" or some other platitude. You're a Democrat--it's a forgone conclusion that you're pro-choice and now you've killed all these trees and used fossil fuels to deliver a flyer that will not stop moving until it's found its final resting place in the "bin" (as the British say, I think).

It is almost impossible for me to express the profundity of Bob Dylan's existence upon my life. Even when America's conduct has been and is at its lowest, Dylan always has always made me proud to be an American. I started listening to Bob Dylan freshman year of high school. I had always listened to "oldies" growing up. From Herman's Hermits to Neil Diamond to Motown to Aretha (who was from Detroit, but not on Motown Records--she was signed with Columbia) to the Beatles to CNS and sometimes Y to Led Zeppelin to Janis; if it came out between I'd say 1955 and 1975, that was where it was at for me. Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" is the closest analogue we have to the Sistine Chapel here in America. His first album, titled straightforwardly enough "Bob Dylan" was released in 1962 and is a winter time album in my perennial seasonal rotation (early Beatles are also winter music to me; later Beatles albums such as the White Album are definitely for pool side listening).

I am also a huge rap and hip hop consumer. Since middle school, my CD catalog included every single Beastie Boys album and even the one offs; I at one point had a CD that was nothing but different versions of the song "Root Down." A poster with the album cover for "Check Your Head" was on the back of the door in my freshman year dorm room at UMich. I was fortunate enough to see the Beastie Boys, FRONT ROW in New York City in October 2001* at the Hammerstein Ballroom. After Mix Master Mike had gotten the crowd warmed up and the fog was thick on the stage, all of a sudden the three Beastie Boys burst through cloud and Holy Shit!!!!! I fainted! Thankfully, the crowd was so packed at the front, I was just held up by the bodies around me and quickly came to. I'll never forget it. Mike D.'s orange and white Nike high tops and his yellow kitten t-shirt. It was a benefit concert for 9/11. I definitely remember Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, with his group seated in the lotus position and the tablas and the wailing. Amazing, amazing, amazing. Transcendent.

Rap doesn't stop at the B. Boys for me. My Top 10 Songs of 2023 (according to Spotify):

  1. Just What I am-Kid Cudi, King Chip

  2. Soundtrack 2 My Life-Kid Cudi

  3. Get Down-Nas

  4. Cudi Zone-Kid Cudi

  5. Mr. Rager-Kid Cudi

  6. Biggie/Tupac Live Freestyle (Funkmaster Flex and Big Kap Feat. DJ Mister Cee, Notorious B.I.G. & Tupac)

  7. Lord Knows-Drake, Rick Ross

  8. Album of the Year - Freestyle-J. Cole

  9. By Design-Kid Cudi, Andre Benjamin

  10. 10 Bands-Drake

So many more though, esp. Wu-Tang Clan...

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