This article originally appeared in the March 8, 2018 issue of The Collegian
Usually when I’m writing my articles, I like to read them out loud to make sure that they feel and sound right. This week, I cannot do that because I blew out my voice screaming during Battle of the Bands and blew out my hearing standing too close to the speakers at Battle of the Bands. So, after I’ve probably permanently damaged my capacity for consuming media (my head feels like it’s stuck in a gigantic, mile-long tunnel of cotton candy. It was totally worth it, and I’ll probably be fine eventually) it seems only appropriate to talk about the last pieces of music, film, and TV that I was able to enjoy. Let’s go!
“Superorganism” is the recently released debut album from UK-based band/collective Superorganism. I stumbled onto the absolutely bizarre music video for one of their singles, “Everybody Wants to Be Famous” near the end of last quarter, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting this album ever since.
“Superorganism” seems to have evolved from the weird, lo-fi, deep fried, memefied “aesthetic” corner of YouTube, but instead of being grating and obnoxious, like some of those things that spawned it, “Superorganism” is super-chill easy listening. The album sports a unique sound design, with tracks dropping in and out, samples looping at variable speeds, trippy guitars sliding up and down, and a bevy of sound effects acting as a kind of souped-up percussion section. The whole thing is anchored by lead singer Orono Noguchi’s drowsy, hypnotic vocals, and each track sports a catchy, karaoke-worthy chorus.
“Superorganism” is a product that can only exist because of the internet, not just because it’s about the internet, but because it absorbs a specific part of the internet’s mindset, tone, and punchlines, and gives that collage a meaningful form. This album is the result of passionate people taking memes very, very seriously, and it’s a joy to listen to. Standout tracks are “Something For Your M.I.N.D.” and “Nobody Cares.”
Superorganism will be playing in Portland right after finals, on the 22nd, so give the album a listen, and if you like it, be sure make it out to their show. I’m pretty sure these weird, wonderful digital hipsters are going to be around for a while.
Donald Glover is a prodigy. He’s involved in every facet of the media landscape, writing for “30 Rock,” starring in “Community,” rapping as Childish Gambino, and stealing the spotlight as Lando in the upcoming Han Solo film. On top of and maybe because of all of this, “Atlanta” is his magnum opus.
Combining pieces of all Glover’s earlier work, “Atlanta” is an FX comedy that ostensibly chronicles the rise of Atlanta rapper Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles (played by Brian Tyree Henry) and his cousin/manager Earnest “Earn” Marks (played by Glover). I say ostensibly because this is how Glover has himself described the show, calling the comedic rapper storyline a “trojan horse” designed to get him a show on FX where he could tell whatever kinds of stories he wanted to. The horse definitely made it into the network, because “Atlanta” frequently and joyously tells all sorts of crazy stories. Rapidly oscillating between drama and comedy, “Atlanta” takes on strained relationships, issues of race and incarceration, and the realities of the neverending hussle that Earn and his friends face.
“Atlanta” is beautifully directed (mostly by music video director Hiro Murai), it’s got a phenomenal soundtrack, and the short, half-hour comedy format is the perfect length for its singularly punchy stories. The show tackles one issue an episode, and does so without staying around too long or getting preachy. Each episode features plenty of variety, with great performances from not only Glover and Henry, but also from Lakeith Stanfield and Zazie Beetz, who play Alfred’s conspiracy-theorist best friend Darius, and Earn’s pragmatic girlfriend Van respectively.
The first season of “Atlanta” is streaming on Hulu, and the second season just started last week, making now the perfect time to hop on. Please enjoy this show!
Lady Bird (Film)
“Lady Bird” is the first film from writer/director Greta Gerwig, a coming of age story with familiar elements of family drama, children growing up to become their parents, and the end of high school leading into the beginning of college. What sets “Lady Bird” apart is its strong characterizations. The film is populated almost entirely with immediately recognizable caricatures: an overly-respectful/dorky Catholic theatre kid; a black-clad, heavily pierced vegan emo-couple; and a pseudo-philosophical “edgy” bad-boy rich kid. These figures spout line after line of quotable, quirky, almost Wes Anderson-esque dialogue that is clearly exaggerated, but at the same time feel like echoes of the sentiments and stories that I remember hearing all the time during high school.
Somehow, “Lady Bird” is both ridiculous and real, and as the drama teacher in the film says, “it’s not important to be right, it’s important to be true.” The film certainly achieves this aim of being true, providing an extremely dense slice of life in Sacramento circa 2002. At its core, “Lady Bird” is pretty simple; there’s no villain, the conflict is straightforward, and the characters have clear motivations and arcs. Because of this, “Lady Bird” is able to focus on execution, and does so masterfully. This is a solid, meaningful film with a big heart, and you should watch it as soon as possible.
Well, as always, that’s about all the time we’ve got for today. “A Wrinkle In Time” comes out this week, and it looks pretty neat, so maybe we’ll talk about that next week. If there’s something else you’d like me to cover, or if you have any questions, comments or concerns, shoot me an email! Thanks for reading, and have a great day!