“Malibu” – Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus returned this week with “Malibu,” a song about her rekindled romance with Liam Hemsworth. “Malibu” sheds “Bangerz’”s Mike-Will-Made-It intros for California cool guitar chords. In other words, “Malibu” sounds like the pop songs indie band Real Estate have always written but the difference is Cyrus’s commitment to an infectious cheeky joy. It’s a catchy but flat song that doesn’t jubilantly explode in the way you expect it to; instead it catches wind and glides along. In her vulnerability, Cyrus’ artistry and personal rebirth is brave yet can’t shake the feeling like it’s pandering. It’s all moving toward this exclamation, “Miley changed, she toned it down, she stopped smoking weed, she is the girl next door — I swear!” “Malibu” finds Miley meeting her Hemsworth brother giddily, with the ease of knowing stability in the relationship is close. It’s a tender new start where she meets us, keeping her campy sensibilities while shedding the lame, appropriative antics.
– Hugo Cervantes, CW
Hippocampus (noun): A curved elongated ridge that is an important part of the limbic system and is involved in forming, storing and processing memory.
Hippo Campus (band): A Minnesota-based indie rock band with a music discography that is bound to bless your ears with their sensational hooks and ethereal sound.
I honestly only just found out about the four-piece band on YouTube whilst searching for new music, and I already adore them. Somehow, the strange people behind YouTube’s algorithms landed Hippo Campus’ most popular single, “Violet,” in my recommendations and, as the saying goes, the rest is history, literally. My YouTube history at the moment is probably filled with Hippo Campus performances and interviews. With guitar-driven tunes such as the aforementioned “Violet,” and soothing songs like the instrumentally upbeat but lyrically dark “Suicide Saturday” and the infectious “South,” Hippo Campus makes for some of the most pleasing music the genre has offered in recent times. Their music videos are also a wonder to adore, with “South” and “Violet” respectively, consisting of aesthetically pleasing shots — a pretty inspiring feat for a small, mostly unknown band. Just like the hippocampus itself, I’m pretty glad I stored Hippo Campus in my memory.
– Adrian Garcia, SSW
Master of None season 2
Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang’s Netflix original series takes slices of life and peppers them with just the right amount of real-world drama and cinematic saccharine. “Master of None” season two takes off right where it left off in 2015, with Dev (Ansari) apprenticing for a local pasta maker in a small Italian village.
What makes the show work so well, discounting the lead’s charisma, is its propensity to find inspiration in a near boundless array of everyday occurrences. While primarily focused on Dev, the series will often prioritize its limited screen time to others; a great example is the “Slacker” inspired “New York, I Love You,” which is couched in observational humor as it drifts from one group of people to another within a matter of minutes, or the compelling exploration on Denise’s (Lena Waithe) identity as a queer woman of color on “Thanksgiving.” Almost every episode can stand on its own, a testament to the versatile writing subjects which speaks to the aimlessness of Dev’s early 30-year-old life.
– Julian Medranda, SSW