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Monday, June 24, 2024

Culture Corner

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


By LORENA ALVAREZ — arts@theaggie.org 


Song: “Espresso” by Sabrina Carpenter (2024)


Even if you have not listened to Sabrina Carpenter’s new song “Espresso,” you have likely heard people singing “I’m working late ‘cause I’m a singer” in passing. From its upbeat tune to its silly, flirtatious lyrics, “Espresso” is quickly becoming the song of the summer. Carpenter has been making headlines for her music and fun performances that left fans wondering what witty “Nonsense” outros she would come up with next while opening for Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour.” Much like her flirtatious concert outros, “Espresso” depicts the self-awareness and confidence in knowing you are someone’s infatuation — someone’s caffeine addiction. The lyrics, “Now he’s thinking ‘bout me every night, oh / Is it that sweet? I guess so / Say you can’t sleep, baby, I know / That’s that me espresso,” draw listeners in because of its silly ending. While Carpenter’s iconic “that’s that me espresso” is grammatically incorrect, that playfulness is what makes “Espresso” so catchy and charismatic. 


Album: “Fine Line” by Harry Styles (2019)


Much like Carpenter’s fun and upbeat “Espresso,” Harry Styles’ album “Fine Line” embodies the feeling of a perfect summer evening. While a slower song compared to Carpenter’s, “Watermelon Sugar,” a popular track from the album, revolves around summer evenings and desire. Despite the explicit meaning, “Strawberries on a summer evenin’ / Baby, you’re the end of June / I want your belly and that summer feelin’ / Getting washed away in you,” appeals to the senses. The lyrics force its audience to imagine themselves sitting out in the sun and enjoying fresh strawberries — what a carefree summer is all about. Although “Golden” does not carry this happy message, it incorporates the same upbeat tone that is perfect for fun summer days. It discusses feelings of longing and desire; and the idea that the person behind your longing is “so golden” that you are willing to risk heartbreak if it means you get to spend the summer driving vintage convertibles and swimming in the Mediterranean Sea with them — like the music video depicts. 


Play: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare (1600)


While Shakespeare is known for his classic love tragedies and his use of early modern English, which can oftentimes deter young readers, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is the perfect light-hearted comedy to read this spring. Unlike his popular tragic love stories, this short dialogue plays with the meaning of love and relationships in a mischievous way. It follows two couples who are easily manipulated into loving the wrong person. While theoretically dark, the play’s light-hearted nature consumes the text’s tone, featuring the magical world and an attempt to emphasize that any unhappiness is just a dream, not reality. This magical realm with lively manipulation and pranks fills the reader’s senses with an appreciation of nature, magic and comedy. For those who prefer to watch plays, UC Davis students can use their student log-in to access Alexander Street productions for free.


TV Show: “Dynasty” dir. Matt Earl Beesley (2017)


“Dynasty” is a drama featuring a rich powerful family with multiple businesses. As the story unfolds, the series touches on fidelity, birthright, women in the workplace, sexuality and the complexity of family relationships. While the plot is centered around Fallon Carrington, Blake Carrington’s only daughter, and her journey to become a respected businesswoman, the television show depicts the family’s adventures and hardships. While the series humanizes the rich family by depicting their personal lives and losses, the drama highlights the extent the Carringtons go to to maintain their status and success.

Written by: Lorena Alvarez — arts@theaggie.org


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