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Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Culture Corner

The Arts Desk’s weekly picks for music, movies and more


By JULIE HUANG  — arts@theaggie.org 


Album: “After Fillmore County” by Vansire (2020)


Vaguely describing a road trip through Vansire’s home county in Minnesota, the collection of songs featured on “After Fillmore County” slowly moves toward a discussion of love, loneliness and the existence of inescapable truths. These themes sit at the heart of the album and permeate every track with a sense of hazy uncertainty that grows larger the longer the songs go on. Do the words “fall short of something profound” or do they instead reveal the existence of such? The album itself strives to avoid certainty in its lyrics, enhanced by its sonic quality of dreaminess, and allows the listener to walk away feeling something intangible.  


Song: “Vapour Trail” by Ride (1990) 


With its distorted instrumentals, subdued vocals and melancholic lyrics, this song seems to perfectly encapsulate the bittersweet experience of nostalgia. Featured on English rock band Ride’s first album “Nowhere,” “Vapour Trail” is an elegant example of the shoegaze genre and its many merits. As I can attest, it is also a great song to play on solo walks in late spring or early summer, when the sun is shining down and stirring up the desire to reminisce and reflect on the passage of time. 


TV Show: “The End of the F***ing World” (2017 to 2019) 


“The End of the F***ing World” follows two teenagers who run away together to take a road trip across England, hoping to get different things out of their shared experience. The protagonist, Alyssa, seeks an opportunity to escape her messy home life with a thrilling cross-country adventure, while the other protagonist, James, seeks an opportunity to kill her and prove to himself that he is truly a 17-year-old psychopath. The intersection of these highly contradicting motives creates a dynamic between the two that is endlessly watchable and yet provides many opportunities for character development, leaving the protagonists in vastly different places than where they start out from. Although the show’s offbeat premise is often played up for dark comedic effect, it is also a way for “The End of the F***ing World” to contextualize its characters and their actions within circumstances which often feel uncomfortably realistic, creating a funny yet sharp and dramatic atmosphere for viewers. 


Book: “The Carrying” by Ada Limón (2018)


Ada Limón’s sophomore effort at a collection of poetry delivers on all accounts. Her poems showcase technical skill more than deserving of the National Book Critics Circle Award, but the most awe-inducing aspect of “The Carrying” is Limón’s ability to infuse each line of her poetry with feelings that are tender yet forceful in their intensity and vulnerable yet piercing in their clarity. The core concept tying this collection together appears to be an examination of what it might mean to live year after year in a changing world. What is constant, and what is certain? Limón’s exploration of these ideas encourages readers to widen their perspective and appreciate the smallest details. 


Written by: Julie Huang — arts@theaggie.org



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