7 Things, Features

lil aaron, Replika, And Alicia Keys In Paris: 7 Things We’re Into This Week

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: Alicia Keys in Paris: A Take Away Show

We all know Alicia Keys is one of the most talented singers to exist to date (she is now even more powerful with her glowing, natural skin activism) but this 18-minute video of her singing at a club in Paris is on another freaking level. It barely exists as real in this universe. It takes place at Le Comptoir General, one of my favorite clubs in Paris/the whole world. The energy of her voice and the people enjoying it can be felt through every dragging moment. Give it a listen. – Siya Bahal

Thing 2: Replika


Black Mirror has predicted a lot of things. The first episode, “The National Anthem” kind of predicted the scandal regarding ex-PM Cameron’s sexual endeavor with a pig (unfortunately, I don’t mean that he slept with a police officer). “The Waldo Moment” from the second series seems like an exaggeration (or perhaps understatement) of Trump’s victory. And, after shamelessly clicking on a Facebook advertisement for Replika, I realized “Be Right Back” also pretty much hit the nail on the head with the development of an app that lets you talk to your dead loved ones. Or rather, it analyses their entire online history, from messages to tweets to blogs, and simulates them. Creepy, right? Well, now you can reserve the name for your own Replika, who will talk to you on an app to learn about your personality and replicate you. The app is yet to be released, but I’ve applied for early testing in order to satisfy my own, rather morbid, technological curiosity. You can, too. – Osian Dixon

Thing 3: Honeywater’s “7 Hours Ago”

My favorite socially aware cutie pie, Amandla Stenberg released an EP last year and I had no idea! This is my favorite song off of it, and it’s a pretty little folk ditty with nice harmonies and a little bit of violin. Did you know Amandla plays the violin?? Is there anything this girl can’t do? – Reina Shinohara

Thing 4: Kings of Leon’s “Walls”

I have a playlist called “Lullabies for Old Souls” on my Amazon account. Some music is just perfect to soothe a stressed and weary heart, and while it may not put us to sleep like it could have when we were barely the size of watermelons, it’s just about enough. Therapeutic acoustic music, I think that’s what it’s called. In all honesty, none of these so-called lullabies are particularly hopeful or soothing, except for the soft melodies. More often than not, our soothing music is about stepping out of our comfort zones, opening up to vulnerabilities, tearing walls down. It’s what each one of us wishes we were better at doing. Wishing that we didn’t get hurt one way or the other, wishing that the reasons our walls went up didn’t happen. When you listen to a song like “Walls,” you feel a mixture of things all at once. Nostalgia, melancholy, tranquility. Above all that, it’s a sense of unease and fear and regret that despite all our promises and efforts, we might just end up writing our own lullabies for old souls. What would you even call a feeling of mixed regret for things you may not do in the future and peaceful nostalgia for all the things that you may have done? – Keerthana Batchu

Thing 5: Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk”

I must live under a rock, because I heard “Uptown Funk” for the first time, last week. Holy cow, Mark Ronson managed to dig up everything that was good about the Morris Day/Ray Parker Jr. reign of 80s pop. The call-and-response between Bruno Mars and the backup dancers harkens back to Outsiders-style gang mentality. Saturday night, and that crew rollin’ up into the spot. It’s a modern take on 80s tropes, and it’s fucking delirious. Don’t believe me? Just watch. – Brook Pridemore

Thing 6: lil aaron

My coworker just left for a few minutes and I am taking this time to replace our office’s ambient playlist with lil aaron. I started following him on Twitter a little while ago and can’t remember why. I didn’t know he was a musician until I decided to investigate last night. BUT DAMN AM I GLAD I KNOW NOW. He’s like the best of my high school crabcore favs if they grew into neon green-haired cloud rap/trap stars. I am supposed to be doing things right now so I will go, but listen to Lil Aaron ppl!! – Krista Caproni

Thing 7: Nintendo Switch

This summer, I spent many an hour basking in the nostalgia of Pokémon, playing on a knackered old Game Boy. It took heaps of self-control not to pour out the last traces of Sterling from my exhausted bank account to buy a new console and play the new game. Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon were launched in the UK on the 23rd of November, but with no way of playing I can only sit down and continue checking my first-world privilege to see if it makes me feel any better. It doesn’t. I don’t often wish I was back at school, but university life leaves me without a spare minute to immerse myself in the ultimate escapist’s dream. Every so often, though, a new temptation draws me back into the world of gaming. I am teased and taunted with updated technology that my younger self only dreamed of. While the Nintendo Switch doesn’t seem all that futuristic, the option it gives to switch from a TV set up to a portable device has invited a copious volume of saliva to crawl down my face. Not only that, but The Legend of Zelda is back! For any young boy interested in fantasy, Link was the person to be. I won’t lie: he still is the person to be. But investing upwards of £200 (the estimated price for the console) for the Switch and playing Breath of the Wild is as fantastical a concept right now as any Zelda game. – Osian Dixon


December 9, 2016

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