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So we’ve been doing this for about a month now, eh? It seems there’s been some talk among different state governments to slowly transition out of lock-down in the near future, so I suppose there is something hopeful about that. Still, it’s hard to be hopeful when people are losing their jobs at an unprecedented clip and the idea of “life after quarantine” seems like it will be far from normal for a while. Still, I am excited for the day that I get to go see a movie in theaters or see a concert again. But for now, doing these activities at home will have to do…

Apparently, there weren’t that many things I was into this week, so I’ll just share 4 instead of the usual 5. This probably has to do with the fact that I’m still spending time with pop culture I mentioned in previous weeks, like Happy Endings (working through season two) and Animal Crossing (feel like I’m still not even half as far as everyone else is in this game).

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness

So yeah, I finally sat down and binged all of Tiger King in about two days. Do I feel good about it? Not really. Was it an entertainingly bizarre look inside a world that I knew nothing about? Sure. Netflix’s documentary series has a similar “I can’t believe this happened” vibe to other recent documentaries like McMillions or Fyre, but because of the ever-looming presence of tiger-based entrepreneur Joe Exotic, it often feels more akin to trashy redneck-sploitation reality TV. I still need to watch the extra episode they put out last week, but after getting the feeling of digesting too much junk food in my stomach after watching the initial batch of episodes, I’m not exactly in a hurry.

Waxahatchee – St. Cloud

I gave a little love to Waxahatchee’s newest album on the latest episode of The Pick, but I continued to listen to it a bunch this week, so I have no problem giving it a little more. The rustic vibes of the album are more than evident, as we see Katie Crutchfield swapping out the heavy electric guitars of her last album for a more acoustic, country- and folk-infused sound. Maybe there would be reason to have reservations about this 180 if this batch of songs here weren’t some of her strongest yet. Crutchfield has said the album was influenced by her desire to get sober, and St. Cloud shimmers with a kind of clarity that can’t help but make one optimistic about the future.

A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

The Beatles are always a safe bet to make you feel a little bit better about the world in a time of uncertainty, so revisiting their icon feature-length film didn’t seem like a bad idea. Watching it for the first time in at least ten years, I was struck both by the looseness and the kinetic energy of A Hard Day’s Night. There really is no plot — it’s just a day in the life of The Beatles at the early peak of their fame as their management tries to wrangle them into rehearsing for a television performance. Yet because The Beatles had such a joke-y, comedy troupe ensemble energy to them, there’s something delightful just watching them clown around with each other while intermittently playing some of the great pop songs of their era. Meanwhile, Dick Lester’s direction is just anarchic and playful enough to capture the youth and vigor of The Beatles, but also while keeping them palatable enough for an enormous worldwide audience to devour.

The Strokes

Ah yes, The Beatles of ’00s garage rock. I’ve been listening to The Strokes a lot this week in preparation for a podcast that we may end up recording, in lieu of their new album being released last Friday. Since The Strokes are a band that I’ve listened to consistently for a good 15 years at this point, it’s hard to make a ton of new opinions of them (“the first two albums are classic, the rest not so much” is an easy blanket statement). However, I would say revisiting 2011’s Angles has been a bit rewarding in that I think I did write it off a bit too hastily when it was released. I can’t say the same for 2013’s Comedown Machine, while I’m not sure this year’s The New Abnormal is an entirely successful Strokes album, but at least it feels like the band is trying new things and not being forced against their will to get back in the studio with each other.