This collection of songs represents pieces of my brain that no one can ever erase. They are the sounds that have shaped not only my mind but my family, my friends, and my art. They have broken me, then put me back together. I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy. Create something.
Can we talk about Zoë Kravitz? For one, she is gorgeous. For two, she plays a music snob/record store owner/introspective millennial named Rob. It truly is the best of both worlds. I binged the whole series in one night, it was that good. The soundtrack is also killer; I found myself shazamming at least three songs per episode. It is originally based on a book of the same name, which was adapted into a 2000 film starring John Cusack and Lisa Bonet (Zoë’s mom!).
Nathan For You (2013-2018) Available on Hulu
This hilarious series follows Nathan Felder, Canadian business school graduate, as he provides really bad (or good, depending on how you view it) advice to help small business owners, with a little of trying to help his own personal life in between. In case you need more proof of its excellence: this is the only show that all of my friends and I can agree on when deciding what to watch.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) Available on Hulu
Listen, I know that you have already heard of this show. But, it truly is one of the best! I would only start watching if you’re willing to commit to all seven seasons because, once you start, you won’t wanna stop. Buffy is a normal teenage girl except she has crazy super strength and other superpowers (but they seem kind of…normal? Not like that superhero type of stuff), falls in love with two (2) vampires, slays all kinds of evil, and saves the world multiple times with some help from her friends. It has action, drama, love, death, demons, vampires, and Sarah Michelle Gellar!
Daria (1997-2002) Available on Hulu
A classic MTV animated series that you’ve probably seen screen stills from, Daria is a monotone angsty teenager who is just trying to navigate the simps of her school and home life with her best friend Jane Lane. She’s witty, smart, and funny and totally annoyed with the rest of the world. *sigh*
Derry Girls (2018) Available on Netflix
I cannot stress how funny this show is. I definitely recommend using subtitles, because these Derry girls have quite thick accents. This sitcom follows four Northern Irish teenage girls (and one English teenage boy) and their shenanigans all while “The Troubles” bring a (pretty much unrecognized) military presence throughout Derry. Watch them navigate war, sexuality, teenagehood, and the ‘90s!
Fleabag(2016-2019) Available on Amazon
Written by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge, this show was adapted from her one-woman stage show of the same name. Fleabag is a depressed sex addict who masks all of her problems (personal and otherwise) with humor. She talks to the camera throughout the series, which is definitely a bit unsettling at first. She’s facing her demons and growing up, while being a hilarious, narcissistic asshole. This is another show that I binged in one night.
(I also recommend Killing Eve, another show written by Waller-Bridge. It’s about a psychotic hit woman being hunted down by Sandra Oh. And yes, it’s as great as it sounds…)
Good Time (2017) Available on Netflix
The first thing I’m gonna say about this movie is: do not watch it before you go to bed. Not because of any type of nightmarish elements, but because this movie will undoubtedly get your adrenaline pumping. Directed by the Safdie Brothers, produced by A24, and starring Robert Pattinson; quite the formula for a bank-robbery-gone-wrong flick. It also has an original song by Iggy Pop (written for the movie) to close it out. If he thought it was worth his time, it is certainly worth yours.
(I would also obviously recommend one of the most talked-about films of last year, Uncut Gems, which is also a Safdie Brothers film. They truly are the kings of New York!)
Clue The Movie (1985) Available on Amazon
Okay, okay… I know what you’re thinking. And yes, it is a little cheesy because it was made in 1985. But, pretty much every film that was promoted as a “blockbuster” was cheesy, so give it a chance! This star-studded cast brought their A-game when it came to portraying board game characters. It’s a hilarious murder-mystery starring Tim Curry as a mysterious butler who invites a list of secretive government-employed characters, including the frontman of punk rock band Fear, Lee Ving. The ‘80s really were an interesting time…
The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) Available on Amazon
Another A24 film, we follow San Franciscan native Jimmie Fails and his best friend Montgomery as they try to reclaim Jimmie’s family home in the Fillmore District. Directed and written by Joe Talbot and Jimmie Fails, the story is heavily based on Fails’ real family history. This film gracefully tackles gentrification through the lens of sentimentality and family. It’s a love letter to San Francisco, a family home, and the duality of change. “You don’t get to hate it unless you love it.”
Tangerine (2015) Available on Hulu
This Sean Baker film, which was shot entirely on an iPhone 5S, follows the story of two transgender sex workers, one of whom just got out of jail, as well as their customers and friends in Hollywood. A beautifully shot film, it is historical without trying to be. Interestingly, Baker gave the actresses the freedom to say whatever and act however they saw fit. In combination with its low budget production, Baker succeeded in producing a unique, high quality film. I would also recommend Baker’s other film The Florida Project, available to stream on Amazon, for a beautifully heartbreaking story of three young children living in impoverished Orlando motels.
Dumplin’ (2018) Available on Netflix
Set in a small Texas town, this film revolves around the Miss Teen Bluebonnet Pageant and a teenage girl’s determination to stir the pot and make her town (and her mother) see how alienating pageant culture can be. With characters named Willowdean, Ellen, Bekah, Candee, and Delia, it has a real southern feel, but in the most charming way. There are drag queens, a very cute love interest, and a soundtrack of only Dolly Parton songs. It does an amazing job of being inclusive without tokenizing the wide variety of characters. Also, it stars Jennifer Aniston with a Texan accent!
Love, as stated in the Christmas cinema classic Love Actually, is everywhere. It’s in our personal lives, it’s marketed to us, we read works about it, we even listen to songs about the damn subject! I don’t need to tell you what love is, but I am gonna railroad ya with some fun facts about some of the songs on this extremely well-thought-out playlist.
Starting off with a bang, we have the 5’5 powerhouse and resident Mean Little Man, Van Morrison, who was apparently hiding from the Boston Mafia when this song was released! The Ronnettes? You mean the huge plot of Phil Spector to tokenize young black women, make money off of them, and then use his predatory nature to get the lead singer to marry him? Yes, but his “wall of sound” erases that in the music world. (He’s currently incarcerated, convicted of murder.)
But now, let’s move on to some happy facts. Yes, I have those too; I’m not just a Debbie Downer. “Ever Fallen in Love” is gay! Yes, GAY! A gay love song in 1978! Pete Shelley wrote it about another man he was living with at the time, and he later came out as bisexual. The first (widely considered) pop punk song is gay! Also, the drums were specifically set to that beat to imitate a heartbeat –– how cute.
Not to mention all of the amazing womxn on this playlist: FKA twigs (goddess), Joni Mitchell (badass), Lucinda Williams (poet), Linda Rondstadt (trailblazer), Empress Of (angel), and Mitski (all of the above). And a special shoutout to Brond from Just Friends, too! #BayAreaAroundTheWorld
Well, that’s all folks. I’ve exhausted the fun fact area of my brain. Just know this playlist is made with… love.
“Leaves have their time to fall, And flowers to wither at the north wind’s breath, And starts to set — but all, Thou hast all seasons for thine own, O Death!”
-Felicia Dorothea Hemans, “The Hour of Death”
The autumn season brings many exciting things to look forward to; the leaves changing colors, the holiday season, pumpkins, sweaters, Chameleon Cold Brew Pumpkin Spice Oat Milk Lattes, seasonal depression, a nice brisk cold that makes your face hurt when you’re walking and instantly regret getting out of your warm bed. What a cornucopia of stimulating activities! But seriously, fall represents the preparation for change that the winter will definitely bring and this playlist is here to keep you company.
Not gonna lie, this is most likely the most depressing playlist I have ever made, subject matter wise. But the subject of decay is rather depressing, when first thinking about it at least, then you start thinking about the new life that is going to come and blah blah blah, you know this! Anyway, back to the music; some of these songs have upbeat tempos but have a dark subject matter, so I recommend googling some lyrics if you feel so inclined. They all have a subject matter that is a kind of decay, such as the decay of relationships, self, body, career, and even land. Finally, a few trigger warnings for people who are sensitive to these subjects: suicide, death, and self-harm.
I hope you enjoy this mix of old and new. Hang in there!
P.S. A fun fact: the song “Frame for the Blues” by Calvin Newborn was recorded in Memphis, TN at a rent party. When someone was short on money for rent, they would throw a party and provide music and free space for people to dance, people would pay to get in, then the host would have enough money to pay their rent along with the musicians that performed, “it’s a celebration in the face of looming tragedy, an optimism when the wolf is at the door.” (Fat Possum Records) How fun! These should still be a thing!
As October ticks on, the days become shorter and the world (okay, the Northern Hemisphere) becomes colder. Scary movie marathons and pumpkin patches take over weekends once spent basking in the sun. Ghosts and ghouls take their posts, lining the streets and haunting sidewalks as if it were their civic duty.
I’m sure we’re all familiar with Halloween, a night filled with costumes and candy and jump scares. But perhaps what you’re less familiar with is Mischief Night, sometimes called Devil’s Eve. This night takes place on October 30th, and its origins can be traced all the way back to 18th-century Great Britain, where children played harmless pranks such as stealing or switching signs around town. It’s unclear as to exactly when the tradition made its way across the Atlantic, but reports of Mischief Night began popping up in newspapers in the U.S. around the 1930s to 1940s. These pranks shifted towards something darker, with vandalism requiring police intervention, but it was generally seen as a mere nuisance until the late 20th century. This quickly changed in the 1980s, when Detroit saw a night filled with violence and arson. By 1984, there were almost a thousand fires in the city, with arson continuing to escalate. The night was deemed “Devil’s Night,” and in 1986, a curfew was imposed for anyone under the age of 18.
While I certainly don’t condone violence, vandalism, or arson, I do believe that the Halloween season is one meant for terror and hauntings. Embrace your darkness! Befriend your inner demons! Let’s get spooky!
Description by Victoria Conway; Playlist by Juliana Meduri
“I won’t stop talking. I am a girl you have no control over. There is not a gag big enough to handle this mouth.”
There’s nothing that I can say about women that the people reading this do not already know. Women are some of the most powerful creatures that exist in this world. There would be no life at all without them. But one thing that you may not know is the term “womxn”. Quite simply, the term is used to include all womxn, not just cisgender, white, “of men” “women”. Our new world is for everyone, especially our brothers, sisters, and folx (people who identify as nonbinary with they/them pronouns) who reject the gender they were assigned at birth.
This playlist is comprised of all womxn artists. Although all are cisgender, some are womxn of color, queer, old, young, and even dead! No particular mood is needed for listening, only some open ears to hear theses womxn’s messages. But maybe make a cup of coffee (or tea, I don’t know your life), put on some headphones, let some tears flow if you feel so inclined. Or have a fat smile on your face! Maybe punch a wall? I’m just kidding. Or am I?
P.S. Nina Simone is the first punk rock icon. DM me on Instagram if you would like to argue this claim.