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Friday, April 19, 2024

Culture Corner

The Arts Desk’s weekly picks for television, movies, books and music

By CLARA FISCHER — arts@theaggie.org

Album: “Circles” by Mac Miller (2020)

Released in 2020, this album by the late Mac Miller is one that really stuns with its lyricism. Miller was a true artist, and explored many different genres and styles in his career, but “Circles” is one of my personal favorites from his discography. The more mellow sound and contemplative lyrics make for a pleasant listening experience, and provide a comfortable space to escape from the stress and bustle of everyday life. Standout tracks include “Good News,” “Woods,” “Hand Me Downs” and “Surf.” Perfect for destressing, this album is one I recommend to everyone, even those who may not be so much into Miller’s usual work.  


Book: “Emma” by Jane Austen (1815)

I was inspired to read “Emma” equally as much by my love of the classics as it being the primary source material for the iconic 1995 chick flick “Clueless.” Austen has countless famed novels, with one of the most notable being “Pride and Prejudice.” Her shining quality as a writer is the ability to craft beauty out of the mundane: Ordinary sentences spoken by ordinary characters gain new value because of the way she crafts them. “Emma” is also often heralded as a feminist novel of the time, as the main character and namesake of the book espouses female strength in a way that was not conventionally accepted at the time. What I will say is that much of the action unfolds in the form of dialogue between characters, which means that “Emma” requires a slow, careful read in order to properly digest its themes — something I personally welcome, as it forces me to slow down and not speed through the pages. 


TV Show: “Euphoria”

Having just come out with a second season after making fans wait over two years, “Euphoria” is experiencing a rampant resurgence in popularity. The show centers around teenage characters, though it’s not exactly your average teenage drama. Leaning heavily into themes of addiction, mental health, abuse and search for personal identity, the show elevates typical coming-of-age themes onto a more serious playing field while still, at its heart, focusing on the challenges of growing out of your youth. Combine this with a trippy aesthetic teeming with glitter eye makeup, killer fashion and an EDM soundtrack, and you have “Euphoria”: a love-letter to young adults everywhere who are going through it.


Movie: “Black Swan” dir. by Darren Aronofsky (2010)

This film is not for the light of heart. Labeled as a psychological thriller, Aronofsky’s depiction of what the pursuit of perfection can do to someone’s mental state teems with graphic themes and intense imagery, but is brilliant in its artistic expression. Natalie Portman won an Oscar for her portrayal of Nina Sayers, the demure, driven ballerina whose sheltered state and desperate desire to be the best may end up being the qualities that lead to her downfall. The tone throughout the entire film matches the darkness of the thematic points and compels viewers to the edge of their seats. Though it isn’t exactly a cheerful choice to reduce stress, watching Nina lose herself and fully embody the character of the black swan makes this movie worth the watch, even if just to take it as a sign that there is nothing worth completely losing your mind over.

Written by: Clara Fischer — arts@theaggie.org


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