Named after the glorious, if negligibly inaccurate Miley Cyrus song, The Sympathizer HQ delivers to your computer and phone screens (or iPad–if you’re that guy) a spanking new column. A weekly round-up, “7 Things” presents you with 7 things we’ve been into this week–songs, records, books, podcasts, both old and new. You’ll never be left not knowing what to do with your weekend again.
Thing 1: They Might Be Giants’ “Seven”
Shout out to this inspired little moment of ridiculousness in the center of a string of middling albums from Brooklyn’s Ambassadors of Love. From their third children’s record, Here Come the 1,2,3s, I can’t for the life of me tell you what’s supposed to be educational about an army of sevens showing up to John Linnell’s house, demanding cake. The band’s knack for writing angular hooks is present, though, in the bass saxophone riff, and their restraint is also present, in the absence of guitars and co-singer John Flansburgh’s voice. – Brook Pridemore
Thing 2: Francis And The Lights’ Farewell, Starlite!
PLEASE. LISTEN. TO. THIS. ALBUM. It is exactly what you need— exactly what we ALL need. Beauty, magic, and everything good in this world. I don’t have much to say other than stop reading this right now and get your ass to http://farewellstarlite.com . If you need any more convincing, Francis has cosigns from Chance The Rapper and Kanye West. Kanye even says Francis’s song “Friends” is his favorite of 2016!! When Yeezus speaks, listen! – Krista Caproni
Thing 3: Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run
I’ve always been keen to profess that I’m not responsible for my intimacy with the life and music of Springsteen. There was a boy, as there always is, who spoke of The Boss so highly, like a gleeful Dickensian scholar, almost, that I had no choice but to take a bus to the record store between classes and pick up a copy of The River. After many a solitary snow-streaked Syracuse walk listening to the tale of Mary, pregnant at just seventeen, riding out of a green-field valley, Springsteen and I were inextricably tied, our restlessness binding us together for life. He wanted to get out, I wanted to get out. And if we walked long enough into the night, together, in the darkness, we could disappear.
It’s hard getting to know someone you love. Even harder, sometimes, getting to know the songs you love. I stood in line for hours outside Brooklyn’s Greenlight Bookstore in anticipation of Elvis Costello’s Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink last year, spent hours going back and forth on the F train, absorbed wholly by the stories, only to realize that the music I’d grown to love was exactly that: unfaithful. Disappearing. They didn’t mean, to Costello, what they meant to me, and that left me devastated: What do you mean “New Lace Sleeves” was a pastiche of newspaper headlines and subway strangers? Born To Run isn’t unfaithful. Or disappearing. It breathes a new life into the songs you love. You find out he spent his whole life writing about cars because he sought solace in them during lightning storms. You learn that Mary was, in fact, his little sister, who dropped out her senior year of college to raise a child. The stories come alive, they become realer. I’ve had the book in my hand since I got my copy yesterday and haven’t been able to put it down since, except to write this. I don’t want to give anything away, but I am going to say this: it’s the best music book I’ve read since Johnny Cash’s Cash. I will respond to all your e-mails, texts and calls as soon as I turn the last page. -Gauraa Shekhar
Thing 4: DUCKWRTH’s Ugly
I am fucking with DUCKWRTH’s new tape Ugly. It explores love, self confidence and what it means to be ugly. Worth a listen if you’re looking for some underground, off the chain shit. – Siya Bahal
Thing 5: Gorillaz’ “Feel Good, Inc.”
Windmill, windmill for the land; Is everybody in? My heart goes back to 2005 this week, gleeful again over Gorillaz and their Grammy winning “Feel Good Inc.” Fourteen year old me would be impressed that its memory lingered so long. For a somehow sanguine twist on escapism, dial your Pandora to early 00’s or throw on Gorillaz Spotify for this heavenly throwback. – Courtney Errico
Thing 6: The Artwork of John Dyer Baizley
Baroness has always distinguished themselves in my mind from other metal bands, in part due to their sophisticated, ethereal album artwork that so perfectly complements the music. All of Baroness’ art is created by their own singer/guitarist John Dyer Baizley, who has also drawn album art for bands like Skeletonwitch, Black Tusk, Torche, and even Metallica. His work is imaginative and dreamlike, even dabbling in the nightmarish. -Ruby Johnson
Thing 7: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
I am in awe of this trailer. There were some teasers before for FBAWTFT which were… cute, but underwhelming. This trailer was jam packed with action, anticipation and beautiful graphics of magic and beasts. Newt Scamander, played by Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne has a playful twinkle in his eye, reminiscent of Luna Lovegood, and his British charm while not out of place in Hogwarts and Diagon Alley, is exceedingly quirky in the dreary New York landscape. The American Wizarding Ministry displays some very similar traits to the present Muggle (ahem, No-Maj) government. They seem to have an extreme dislike of Magic in general, and there’s a very large rift between the wizarding and Muggle population. Watch the trailer, and tell me your jaw didn’t drop on the floor! – Keerthana Batchu