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The sun still shines: Recess reflects on the best culture of the summer

Nothing screams back to school like wishing it was still summer. From listening to the same album until the sun comes up to binge watching the most ridiculous reality TV, the Recess staff compiled their favorite pieces of culture from a season that’s all about rotting your brain in the most nurturing way. Welcome back to campus! I know you are beyond excited for all the schoolwork you have to do now…

“Minions: The Rise of Gru” (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) 

I spent the summer as a camp counselor, taking care of a bunch of 10-year-olds, which meant that one theatrical release dominated my summer — “Minions: The Rise of Gru.” While I did see (& enjoyed!!) the movie at the recommendation of my campers, it was the soundtrack, curated and produced by Jack Antonoff, that truly stood out to me. It’s fantastic. Featuring Antonoff’s own act, Bleachers, in addition to an all-star collection of artists including Phoebe Bridgers, Diana Ross, Tame Impala, St. Vincent, Caroline Polacheck, Thundercat, Kali Uchis, H.E.R. and BROCKHAMPTON, the soundtrack masterfully mixes covers of 70s classics and original music to create a really exciting body of work. Combined with time-period appropriate music throughout the movie, such as Mott the Hoople’s “All The Young Dudes” and KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Get Down Tonight,” the soundtrack heavily contributed to the 70s aesthetics prominent throughout the film. Though intended to be a backdrop for the Minions’ antics, the collection truly stands on its own as a fun listen with plenty of variety to enjoy. 

— Sasha Provost, social media editor

“The Rehearsal” 

By far the most innovative, heartfelt, riskiest and most bizarre piece of media this past summer was Nathan Fielder's "The Rehearsal." Every Friday I'd tune into HBO not knowing what to expect because this show is truly an experiment in what happens when a television network gives a man a blank check to create a TV show inspired by the deep recesses of his imagination. Fielder's previous show, "Nathan For You," while a great show, truly showed its brightest flash of absolute brilliance in its risky and experimental finale "Finding Frances," which broke the format of the show and instead took more of a meta-documentarian route. I'm more than glad that Fielder decided to follow suit in his next project with something equally if not more creative. It's an indescribable show that no summary will do justice, so my only recommendation is that you drop anything to watch it right now. 

— Rhys Banerjee, music beat writer 

Fred again..

This summer, I found myself listening to a lot of dance music with one of my favorite emergent artists being Fred again... With a long list of producing credits, Fred has been in the music industry for over a decade, working with artists such as Ed Sheeran and Halsey, but his solo career as a DJ has gained momentum in the last year. It was the "Boiler Room" set, with its infectious energy and spirited crowd surrounding Fred, that led to widen awareness of his music in the US, with his music becoming a fixture in lounges and clubs throughout the latter half of the summer.

— Ben Smith, staff writer 

Imogen Heap

Before Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift came along, there was Imogen Heap. If you haven't heard of her, perhaps you've heard Grande's cover of "Goodnight and Go" or Swift's "Clean," which Heap co-wrote. Heap makes pure pop magic, and her effervescent, often electronic sound was just as vibrant this summer as it was when she first started making waves in the early aughts. My favorite and current on-repeat song is (surprise) "Goodnight and Go." And yes, I'm part of a new generation that's discovered Imogen Heap. In in this day and age, that means it's only a matter of time before one of Heap's decades-old songs goes viral on TikTok. 

Megan Liu, campus arts editor

“Selling Sunset”

As much as I’d like to say that I’m above reality TV, I can’t bring myself to lie about my obsession of “Selling Sunset.” I know that this realtor-drama reality show in the bougiest LA neighborhoods is undeniably trashy, but I swear that’s what makes it so addictive. I don’t care that all the drama is likely more staged than a proper sitcom: I LIVE FOR IT! I live for Christine gaslighting Heather after she didn’t get a wedding invite, I live for Chrishell and Jason’s painfully awkward coworker to dating to exes timeline and I live for Davina being lowkey bad at her job. Not to mention, I become a ruthless fashion critic when watching this show because how can you be a real estate agent that makes such high commissions and spends your money on such expensive clothes and bags that don’t even match and that make you look like a girl playing dress up? It’s a disgrace, honestly. All I can say is thank god for the renewal of season six and seven. 

— Anna Rebello, culture editor

"All 4 Nothing" by Lauv

Is "All 4 Nothing" the best album ever? Well, no, but it's still everything I needed this summer and more. For Lauv's second album, he veered hard into muted electropop, and it somehow turned out well! It's cohesive (a first for Lauv), and stuffed with songs made for driving around at sunset with the windows down ("Better Than This"? "Summer Nights"??). You'll find me listening to this album for a long, long time. 

— Jonathan Pertile, Recess editor

“Metropolis” (1927)

My favorite culture I consumed this summer was Metropolis (1927), which I got to see at Kino Babylon in Berlin. They screened it in its original style, with a live orchestra band performing in the foreground. Fritz Lang’s prescient understanding of technology and humanity makes this classic seem still modern and relevant today.

— Katherine Zhong, local arts editor

"Fboy Island” Season 2

I love watching trashy reality TV shows, but only in a hate-watching way, you know? "Fboy Island," now two seasons in, perfectly satiates not only my craving for guilty-pleasure television, but also my constant need to convince myself that there is A Point to the media I consume and it's not all just rotting my brain. The premise is formulaic: 26 men — half self-proclaimed 'nice guys' and half self-proclaimed 'fboys' — vying for the attention of three beautiful women with the chance to win money in the end, set in a gorgeous island resort that cannot possibly be good for the local population. What's intriguing, though, is that the artificiality of the thin veneer of "looking for love" is the fulcrum of the show. Rather than watching borderline exploitative shots of heartbroken suitors in the back of a limo, eliminated contestants on "Fboy Island" are far more disappointed about losing the money than the relationship, often because they were actually an 'fboy' the whole time. It's incredible summer TV. 

— Tessa Delgo, managing editor

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