The Best of the Best

Jake Aquino, asst. opinions editor

Music critic Jake Aquino reviews his favorite album, song and live performance of the summer.


One of the most underrated DJs simply due to his operating outside the realm of American EDM, Rustie continues his work as one of the most exciting “maximalist” electronic producers. He blends several different genres together to create a dense, exciting style where more is more. His second and latest album, Green Language, encompasses many different sounds and movements, without ever spreading itself too thin.

The best representation of Rustie’s amalgamation of many different genres occurs within the fourth track, “Raptor.” In it, he begins with a repetitive hardstyle beat; it builds and builds, until a second layered drop turns the song into one of the trap anthems of the year. Another highlight is the track featuring rapper Danny Brown, whose sharp, boisterous rhymes fit the daggering synths accompanied by crisp hi-hats and hard hitting bass.

The album is not just an array of bangers either; there is a variety of songs meant to build up suspense for the bangers, and also songs meant to cool down the listener after an intense track. It is led in slowly, with the first few songs creating a build up for the heated middle section, before cooling down again and ending on a slow piano piece which is also the album title track. With his impeccable skill, Rustie has created a cohesive, concise album that becomes better with each listen. Consistently pushing the sonic boundaries of electronic music, it is a fitting testament to his versatility and all-around skill.



Also known as “that song from the Macbook Air commercial,” “Chimes” is the first single by Glasgow-born producer Hudson Mohawke since his group TNGHT split. Everyone at Glenbrook South, whether they know it or not, has heard Hudson’s music before; one of his tracks, “Higher Ground”, once found its way into De La Cru’s choreography for last year’s spring sports assembly.

Though the flittering synths at the beginning definitely complement the rest of the song well, the strength of “Chimes” definitely comes at the drop; the blaring horns that follow, accompanied by glass-shattering bass, make for the hardest hitting, most exciting song of the summer. Words cannot describe the impact created by the beat; it is something the listener must experience for themselves. With Mohawke’s signing as a producer to GOOD Music, Kanye West’s label, it is exciting to watch his ascension.



The Swedish rapper embarked on a US tour this summer, as he was finally 18 and able to leave Sweden. Anticipation was great; tickets sold out in minutes, and all scalped tickets were selling for $70 to $90, as opposed to the original price of $10. Lean played at Reggie’s Rock Club, an establishment in the South loop with a capacity of about 100 people, making for a small, intimate show where everyone who went was a dedicated fan.

The show was high-energy from the start. Though Lean is not an experienced performer, nor does he have strong stage presence, the cult-like affection of his fans ensured that not a moment of the show was dull. Along with his eccentric squad, nicknamed “Sad Boys Entertainment,” Lean has crafted a show that never loses its vivacity, with his different anthems scattered throughout and his crew in the background mobbing the whole time.

Running through classics such as “Ginseng Strip,” “Kyoto” and “Yoshi City”, Lean was going strong until his voice gave out– not that anyone cared. The crowd never missed a lyric nor wavered in their energy, making for one of the most exciting shows of the summer.