Pop Culture Picks: June Edition
At the start of each month I write a post detailing my current pop culture obsessions; the things I'm watching reading and listening to that are "giving me life". Feel free to add to the conversation by leaving your own suggestions in the comments. You may see something you suggested feature in the future!
Currently Listening (podcast):
Switched on Pop: One of my biggest pet peeves are people who are what I call "music snobs". You know the people I mean. The ones who say things like "I don't listen to that kind of music. It's boring and derivative." My music taste can run along more hipster lines; I love indie rock and singer songwriter stuff. But there is also a deep part of my music heart that is obsessed with good old fashioned pop songs. I don't believe in guilty pleasures. If you like something, like it without guilt. This podcast takes pop songs currently trending and applies the type of scrutiny and introspection that usually isn't given to Top 40 songs. It's equal parts tongue in cheek and absolutely serious. If you love pop music this podcast is for you. If you're a music snob this podcast is for you. You'll find that the songs we generally dismiss as pop that has no depth can surprise you with meaning you never expected. The episodes are short and usually run 20-30 minutes so it's perfect for those who find it to concentrate on longer podcasts.
The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America by Frances Fitzgerald: Even if you're a casual reader of this blog you've probably figured out my...contentious relationship with the Evangelical culture I grew up in my whole life. And that relationship was contentious before 80% of us (white ones at least) voted for a certain orange hued man for president while claiming him as one of our own...God's chosen president. In my quest to figure out my next steps I've been reading as much as I can about Evangelicalism. Our struggles and our successes. Our ability to create a big tent of faith that is racially inclusive and gender affirming and our ability to build a fence and hunker down in ways that exclude the least of these and prop up the evil systems at work in the world. What I love about this book is that it's written by a woman who is not Evangelical but clearly did her research and came at her subject matter with objectivity. The culture she writes about beginning all the way back in colonial America is familiar to me. Reading this book has shown me that since it's inception Evangelicalism has always fought becoming too intertwined with "Americanism". It's a struggle that clearly continues today. I choose to see this "history repeats itself" thread with optimism. The Church in America has struggled with our identity for generations. But we always course correct. I think reading this book is the first step in that course correction. Learn our history. Our ups and downs. And decide to do better.
Currently Watching (TV):
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix: I am obsessed with everything Tina Fey has ever done. I loved the first season of Kimmy but had less love for the second season so I was anxious to see what season three made me feel. In short...the show that delighted me in season one is back with a vengeance. Kimmy is optimistic but not naive. Only the creators of 30 Rock could take a really dark story (a girl being kidnapped and held in a bunker by a cult leader for 15 years) and make you laugh every other minute. Kimmy Schmidt is a joke machine show. They fly by so rapidly you have to watch the show multiple times to catch them. If you haven't watched this how yet go binge all three seasons now. You'll be glad you did...if only to see the Kimmy's roommate Titus parody Beyonce's Lemonade in an almost shot for shot remake.
Currently Listening (music):
Hopeless Romantic by Michelle Branch: If you were a teenage girl in the early 00's you were obsessed with Michelle Branch. I'm pretty sure it was the law. You had her album Spirit Room and you sang songs like Everywhere, All you Wanted and You Get Me while holding a hairbrush in front of the mirror convinced nobody had ever experienced angst like you. It's been a long time since she released an album but after listening to Hopeless Romantic I'm glad she took her time. She's gone through a break up and fallen in love again. She's working with a producer from The Black Keys. She's embracing her indie girl rock roots while also branching out in style and tone. Listening to this album is equal parts an embracing of my angsty teenage past and my more mature slightly more cynical but still hopelessly optimistic present.
There we have the picks for June. Join the conversation by leaving your own pop culture suggestions in the comments and I'll be back in July with more Pop Culture Picks!