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Penguin Picks: This Spring’s Music and Movie Releases

photo of billie eilish signing on stage in a red jacket and playing a black guitar
Billie Eilish performing live at The Hi Hat in Highland Park, Los Angeles, California, on Thursday, August 10, 2017 taken by Justin Higuchi

Spring is a great time to listen to a new album or watch a new movie. Here are a couple of my favorites that I wanted to share with you.

Album:
“When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” by Billie Eilish

As a music enthusiast, choosing a new album to call my favorite of the season is a tough decision. However, Billie Eilish’s debut album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”  is a clear winner for me. At age 17, Eilish released her first full-length album on March 29,. The album received a score of 81 out of 100 on online review site Metacritic. It was the most pre-saved album on Apple Music of all time, according to Apple. For listeners, it isn’t hard to see why; Eilish has attracted a large cult-like following.

Her dark-pop sound transports listeners into another world, one where spiders crawl around and monsters become your best friends… in a good way. The album was produced and written entirely by Eilish and her older brother, Finneas O’Connell, who creates his own music under the stage name FINNEAS.  

“When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” is bass-heavy and what I can only describe as sparkling. Growing up as a dancer, I can see the clear influence of dance music in Eilish’s beats. Every song almost begs to be choreographed. You can hardly keep yourself from dancing to it yourself.  

Lyrically, the album is equally impressive. Eilish writes about heavy issues, such as substance abuse, suicide, mental illness, and love. The maturity level she displays on her darker tracks such as “listen before i go”, “xanny” and “i love you” (all of her songs are stylized in lowercase letters) betrays her age as she seems wise beyond her years. Other songs show her for what she is, a teenager with a love for sitcoms and trippy tracks. For example, “my strange addiction” features samples from an episode of “The Office.”

The diversity and range shown in her debut album are incredible, and I cannot wait to see what else Billie Eilish has up her sleeve.

Movie:
‘Us’, Directed by Jordan Peele

From the comedic genius that forms one half of duo ‘Key and Peele’ and the horror master that brought “Get Out” to life, “Us” is born.

Do not worry if you have not seen it yet, no spoilers here! And trust me, this is one you want to see!

In “Us”, a young girl meets her doppelganger in a mirror-filled fun hall on the beach. Years later, once she has her own family, they return to that same beach, and we soon realize she is not the only one with a double. I cannot say much more without giving the plot away, so you will have to see for yourself just what it is all about.

The film does not rely on jumpscares (my biggest pet peeve in horror), but instead artfully builds suspense through the movie. This is the kind of movie you have to see at least twice. You will notice new easter eggs and nuances each time. It is also just as scary the second time and the plot twists hit just as hard.

The cast is incredible as well, to say the least. Lupita Nyong’o, who plays both the lead and her double, told Variety that she studied a neurological condition called spasmodic dysphonia to get her eerie doppelganger’s voice just right.

Winston Duke, who can be seen in ‘Black Panther’, captures the “dad-trying-too-hard-to-be-cool-but-kind-of-pulling-it-off” vibe perfectly. Evan Alex and Shahadi Wright Joseph play tween siblings. The emotion and fear they capture are impressive, particularly for such young actors. Jordan Peele even makes a cameo as the voice of a (rather disturbing) dying rabbit.

‘Us’ was released on March 22 and if you have not seen it yet, this is one you cannot miss!

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