The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

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Music drops this week in history

Surely by now, you know the drill. Here are some notable song and album releases this week in history. 

“Small Town”

John Mellencamp released his song “Small Town” on April 17, 1985. Mellencamp’s songs were a staple in my house growing up and my family would listen to his music when playing basketball, cleaning the house and on our 16-hour long car rides from Wisconsin to Virginia.

This song was released on Mellencamp’s 1985 album “Scarecrow” and reached the number six spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. 

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In 2013, Mellencamp told Rolling Stone, “I wanted to write a song that said, ‘You don’t have to live in New York or Los Angeles to live a full life or enjoy your life.’”

I love singing this song as if I wasn’t born in one of Kansas’ most populous cities – Overland Park. But, I am from the middle of nowhere Wisconsin so I think it counts anyway. 


Nas released his debut album, “Illmatic,” on April 19, 1994. The album, which was partially produced by Nas himself, features narratives of Nas’ life in Queensbridge, New York.  

The album has received praise since its release and has even been referred to as one of the best hip-hop albums ever produced. Pitchfork ranked it 33 on its list of Top 100 Albums of the 1990s. 

It is also featured in the book “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die,” as well as number five on “The Critics Top 100 Black Music Albums of All Time.”

“Social Cues”

Released on April 19, 2019, “Social Cues” is the fifth studio album by Cage the Elephant. While I love all of Cage the Elephants’ albums, I think this is my favorite one. For me, it is a no skip album.

The album captures several emotions, as was the intention of lead singer Matt Shutlz who detailed his feelings following his divorce from his wife of four years. 

I really love this album and have half of the tracks favorited on Spotify including “Broken Boy,” “Social Cues,” “Black Madonna,” “Night Running,” “Skin and Bones,” “Ready To Let Go,” “Dance Dance” and “What I’m Becoming.”

Obviously, I was not the only one that loved this album as it won Best Rock Album at the 2020 Grammys. This made it the band’s second album to receive this award, the first being “Tell Me I’m Pretty,” which was released in 2015. 

“Toby Keith”

On April 20, 1993, 31-year-old Toby Keith released his debut self-titled album. The lead single, and arguably his most recognizable song, “Should’ve Been A Cowboy,” went on to top the Billboard Hot 100 country songs.

Keith was an Oklahoma native born in Clinton, Oklahoma, about an hour west of Oklahoma City. I remember when I lived in Oklahoma seeing his name on water towers saying “Toby Keith was born here,” and how dedicated he was to the state, especially after the 2013 Moore Tornado.

The tornado, which destroyed much of Moore (just outside of Oklahoma City) and surrounding areas, Keith performed a benefit concert to help rebuild and provide monetary relief to victims and their families. 

Keith was always loyal to his home state and was buried there in 2024 after battling stomach cancer. Many of his fans remembered him at public memorial services and remembered the memories associated with his most famous song, “Should’ve Been A Cowboy.” 

Beyoncé released her album “Lemonade,” on April 23, 2016. The album, which was nominated for nine Grammys, describes her emotional journey dealing with her husband’s infidelity in several contexts. 

I really love this album, but I still think it is insane that her husband, Jay Z, cheated on her. How are you going to be married to Beyoncé and cheat on her? 

“Lemonade,” went on to win Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Music Video (no thanks to Jay Z), making up two of her 32 awards, making her the most awarded artist in Grammy history. 

“Favourite Worst Nightmare”

My favorite band, The Arctic Monkeys, released their second studio album “Favourite Worst Nightmare” on April 24, 2007. This album features the hit song “505,” but it is so much more than that.

I really like “505,” but the album has other good songs like “Old Yellow Bricks,” “Brianstorm,” and “Fluorescent Adolescent.” I like this album because it is still in the band’s early days before a lot of their international success. 

There wasn’t as much pressure to produce a classic Arctic Monkeys album, as it was only their second but I love hearing lead singer Alex Turner’s voice and its transformation over the course of their discography as well as the skills of the band in general.

If you couldn’t tell I really like Arctic Monkeys and had to include them, even if it encompasses more than a week’s worth of music releases.

Moris can be reached at [email protected].

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