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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Culture Corner

The Art Desk’s weekly picks for music, movies and more


By NATALIE SALTER — arts@theaggie.org 


Album: “The Land Is Inhospitable And So Are We” by Mitski (2023)


If you’re anything like me, and have a penchant for the most melancholic and heart-wrenching music, you’ll be enraptured by Mitski’s most recent album, “The Land Is Inhospitable And So Are We.” Its opening track, “Bug Like An Angel,” cuts to the chase with its mournful and introspective lyricism, with Mitski touching upon broken promises and the treacherous comfort a drink can bring to a lonely soul. Still, though the album has its woeful moments — “The Frost” muses upon lost friendships, while “I’m Your Man” is laced with poetic self-loathing and a desperate longing to be loved — Mitski demonstrates her talent for masterfully capturing an immense range of emotions through tracks such as the romantic “My Love Mine All Mine” and the shiningly hopeful “Star.” Whatever you’ve felt, be sure that Mitski has felt it too and put it into words with a stunning eloquence that reminds you that your experiences are not only yours.


Book: “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë (1847)


I know what you might be thinking — “‘Jane Eyre,’ what is this, AP Literature?” — but trust me when I say, if you haven’t already enjoyed Charlotte Brontë’s Gothic masterpiece through the joy that is high school assigned reading, you’re missing out. Though unassuming at first, it is the woeful tale of the titular character’s journey to becoming a governess for the young ward of the brooding and wealthy Mr. Rochester. Without disclosing the novel’s unexpected twists and turns, “Jane Eyre” is an initially withdrawn novel that conceals a dark and compelling story beneath the surface. Not to mention the novel’s melancholic aura is perfect for the gloomiest of November days. Brontë’s polished and immersive writing will capture the attention of even those with AP-Literature-summer-reading-trauma and is a classic more than worth the critical praise it receives. 


Movie: “Stardust” dir. by Matthew Vaughn (2007)


“Stardust” has all the makings of a proper fantasy film — magic, romance, sword-fighting, a political succession crisis that could be right at home in an episode of “Game of Thrones” and yet it remains one of the most underrated and excellent gems of the genre. When Tristan Thorne (Charlie Cox) promises his unrequited love that he will bring her a fallen star in exchange for her affections, he is thrust into a fantastical world of flying pirate ships and conniving witches hungry for eternal youth, all whilst the male heirs of the nearby kingdom compete for the newly available title of king. Between Claire Danes’ radiant (quite literally) performance as the fallen star Yvaine and Robert DeNiro’s delightfully subversive Captain Shakespeare, what ensues is a brilliant and heartwarming adventure that will surely find its way into your heart, and into your collection of ever-rewatchable comfort films. 


Song: “Margaret” by Lana Del Rey ft. Bleachers (2023)


“You’re asking yourself, ‘How do you know?’” Jack Antonoff, lead singer for Bleachers and collaborator on the track “Margaret” vocalizes with palpable emotion. “And that’s your answer: the answer is ‘No.’” Though American singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey’s newest album, “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd,” is filled with moving sentiments, listening to “Margaret” invokes a particularly bittersweet feeling, between its slow instrumental and reflective lyrics. On this track, Del Rey and feature Bleachers muse on the idea that “when you know, you know,” urging the listener to reflect on the past while also acknowledging when it’s time to let go. It’s hard not to listen to a song with such hard-hitting lyrics and not come out feeling a little introspective, if not also a little more grateful for everything that makes life worth living, even the littlest of things. 


Written by: Natalie Salter — arts@theaggie.org


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