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Friday, May 24, 2024

Culture Corner

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

 

By SAVANNAH ANNO and ALYSSA CREVOISERAT* — arts@theaggie.org

 

*Note: We are best friends.

 

Album: “Older” by Lizzy McAlpine (2024)

 

Alyssa: Lizzy McAlpine grapples with the passage of time and the impossibility of change in her third studio album “Older,” released on April 5, 2024. The instrumental build-ups, gentle humming and piano solos are woven between the lyrics of each song and come together to make this McAlpine’s most raw work to date. One of my favorite aspects of McAlpine’s writing is her storytelling — with songs like “Drunk, Running” and “Come Down Soon,” the descriptive imagery leaves listeners feeling like the relationships and heartbreak are their own. Notably, “You Forced Me To” details the guilt and pain of a one-sided relationship with haunting vocals and a layered piano composition. It is the only version of the song to exist — recorded as a demo and never changed — and almost didn’t make the cut for the album’s 14 tracks. This album has something for everyone: a college student who misses home (“Older”), a people pleaser who always lingers for too long (“Staying”) or just someone who wants to hear a good saxophone outro (“All Falls Down”). McAlpine’s newest album is all about uncovering who we are underneath layers of emotional setbacks, destructive relationships and the fear of being someone who can’t love at full capacity. If you’re looking for new music that feels like a lakeside cabin, early mornings and lonely walks, add “Older” to your list. 

 

Savannah: Going into the concert only knowing the lyrics to “Ceilings.” (Kidding, my favorite song off of the album is “Vortex”). 

 

Movie: “Challengers” dir. Luca Guadagnino (2024) 

 

Savannah: The number of audible gasps I let out during this movie was at least 20… each scene. If you still haven’t heard, “Challengers” follows a 10-year triangle between three pro-level tennis players. Was it a love triangle? Who knows. Director Luca Guadagnino, whose filmography includes “Bones and All” and “Call Me by Your Name,” is known for his unique portrayals of romance: raw, gritty and all-consuming. In the film, best friends Art Donaldson and Patrick Zweig find themselves drawn to tennis prodigy Tashi Duncan at the 2006 Junior US Open. Switching between the trio’s shared history as they grow into adulthood and an intense present-day match between the two men, viewers are left wondering what’s more strategic: their strategies for winning on, or off the court? Sexy, ruthless Tashi plays coach to the seemingly sensitive Art as he competes against Patrick’s undeniable charm in the biggest sports match of the year — including the real-life ones. 

 

Alyssa: I love tennis.

 

Book: “Funny Story” by Emily Henry (2024)

 

Alyssa: In the interest of branching out from my fantasy novel obsession, I picked up my first Emily Henry book back in February. More like women’s fiction than romance novels, Henry’s books take commonly used tropes — rivals to lovers, second chance and forced proximity — from their sometimes overused, cliche status to a borderline tear jerker. Now, fake dating takes center stage in “Funny Story” where children’s librarian Daphne and jack-of-all-trades Miles are both unceremoniously dumped by their respective partners. Daphne and Peter met through a twisted version of a meet-cute: a flying summer hat and a garbage-can fall, a story that Peter always loved to tell. About to be wed, Daphne was assured that his childhood best friend Petra (Miles’ girlfriend) was nothing to worry about — that is, until she wasn’t. With nowhere else to go, Daphne moves in with Miles, and the two decide to stop wallowing in the shared misery of their heartbreaks. As readers unravel Miles’ sunny disposition and Daphne’s reserved and practical lifestyle, they are met with a story of rekindling long-buried relationships, building unexpected female friendships and finding a home in yourself, no matter where you are. “Funny Story” certifies Henry as one of the top authors of her genre and is the perfect spring romance if you’re looking to kick your feet, laugh and cry alongside Daphne. 

 

Savannah: I’m still on page 62 of “Book Lovers”… and have been since March. My current read is “Massacre in Mexico” by journalist Elena Poniatowska, which you can also pick up for some variety. 

 

Alyssa: Pretentious. 

 

TV Show: “The Girls on the Bus” by Amy Chozick and Julie Plec (2024)

 

Savannah: We were, of course, drawn to this TV show because of its focus on journalism. More specifically, because of Melissa Benoist — star of middle-school favorites like “Glee” and “Supergirl” — as lead character Sadie McCarthy. Based on a true story, “The Girls on the Bus” shines a light on four different female reporters as they follow the campaign trail of the country’s lead presidential candidates. McCarthy, a witty political writer for the show’s version of The New York Times, is joined by seasoned, legendary journalist Grace Gordon, Gen-Z activist Lola Rahaii and conservative news reporter Kimberlyn Kendrick. Despite their differences, the four are ultimately forced to come together in order to save the country from an unfit presidential candidate. As they investigate sex scandals, financial fraud and ulterior motives, the women form an unlikely friendship, motivated by their collective need to deliver the right news to voters. Despite the more serious political drama — and the parallels to our current political state that are almost a little too on the nose — writers Chozick and Plec are able to keep the show lighthearted and laughable with sharp sarcasm, ridiculous scenarios and funny skits, like McCarthy imagining the presidential candidates on “The Bachelor.”

 

Alyssa: They mention the copy desk at least once. 

Written by: Savannah Anno and Alyssa Crevoiserat — arts@theaggie.org

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