Top 5 Pieces Of Pop Culture Awesomeness-March 2017
Monthly, I'm going to list the media that has moved me the most. Some of my picks don't need my help, so I'm going to try to talk about them in a different way.
In no particular order:
There is so much to discuss about Jordan Peele's directorial debut, from the uncomfortable feelings it stirs to the subtle visual cues and that almost too real ending.
The conversations I've had with friends after we have seen this hybrid of horror and social satire have been even more enriching for me than the film itself. There is the topic of how the film stacks up to its influences (The Stepford Wives and Rosemary's Baby, for starters, but it's also fair to compare Peele to Edgar Wright when it comes to the art of visual density.). Everyone walks away with something different, whether it is anger, laughter, or fear. Coworkers were brought to tears over how closely their own experiences mirrored the ones that took place during the dinner party scene. Never has a film been so in step with the times.
Lincoln In The Bardo
The entire world agrees that George Saunders' tale of President Lincoln grieving his child taken too soon is a masterpiece (well, almost everyone, as evidenced by the reactions during my book club's discussion of the book. Someone stated if Saunders' literary catalog were U2's, it would be his POP.).
I honestly got more out of the audiobook version, which features over 160 speaking parts, including David Sedaris, Nick Offerman, and Saunders himself. I was surprised by the tenderness that the author brings to his own words and found him much more compelling than his more professional counterparts.
Every couple years, music critics seemingly go through the same routine. Spoon releases an album. Praise is heaped upon it. The world spins on.
Hot Thoughts is no exception to that pattern, but it is a disruption of the critical matrix thanks to its content. Think Robert Palmer crossed with Devo, for starters. If Britt Daniel's band has released the meticulous musical equivalent of a Wes Anderson film for the last 12 years, Hot Thoughts would be the wacky Jodorowsky parallel. It zigs where it should zag, which makes this ninth album by the Austin, TX quartet worthy of multiple listens.
Each episode of Pete Holmes' HBO series is funnier than the last. The comedian tells a version of his story chronicling his rise from a divorced, transient nobody to the mid-level comedian with equal parts honesty and grace. Speaking of grace, it is the crisis of faith Holmes' Christian character goes through in each episode that gives this Judd Apatow-produced sitcom its heart.
Bear Ghost-"Don't Stop Me Now"
The Phoenix New Times held a friendly competition between local bands in honor of the NCAA's basketball championship being held in Phoenix. Dubbed the Phinal Phour, fans picked four groups to perform at The Rebel Lounge and the music writers picked the winner.
Stopping by with only the intention of bidding farewell to our departing editor, I intended to leave before the quartet Bear Ghost took the stage. I stayed at the urging of my erstwhile editor and was rewarded with a spot-on cover of one of my favorite Queen songs. While Bear Ghost did not win the tournament (the equally deserving The Stakes were awarded that honor), I admire any band brave enough to pull off "Don't Stop Me Now"'s complicated harmonies and Freddie Mercury's operatic vocals.