Weekly Round-Up #6: 10/29-11/2
New Album: Walls by Barbra Streisand
I think I could listen to Barbra Streisand sing just about anything and be completely enraptured. She has one of those voices that manages to be engaging whether she is belting out soaring melodies or drifting softly through a quiet harmony. Streisand recorded Walls, her 36th studio album (yes, I double-checked the number), as her own personal coping mechanism for the relative insanity we are currently living through. In an interview with The New York Times, she says that she “would lie awake at night with Trump’s outrages running through [her head],” and so she decided “why not make an album about what’s on my mind?” The result is an album full of the drama, technical wizardry, and raw emotion that have long been her calling card. She may never mention Trump by name, but on power ballads like “The Rain Will Fall,” “Lady Liberty,” and “What’s On My Mind” (posted below), there is no questioning who this album is meant to take down.
New Show: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018-)
We, whether we like it or not, are living in an era of television reboots and remakes, some good, like Will and Grace, some great, such as Twin Peaks: The Return, and some that long overstay their welcome, I’m looking at you X-Files. With Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Netflix stakes a new claim in the reboot realm. First introduced to viewers on ABC Family’s Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (1996-2003), Sabrina Spellman was a friendly, hyper, teenager balancing her two worlds: mortal and witch. The show was engaging and light, a comedy through and through. The same can not be said for Chilling Adventures, a show that leans into the more unsettling and horrific aspects of the Archie Comics that the character is pulled from, much in the same vein as the wildly successful Riverdale (2017-). Kiernan Shipka, formerly of Mad Men (2007-2015) fame, brings Sabrina to life as a still caring and peppy 16-year-old, but is surrounded by a world of occult challenges and dark humor that distinguishes it quite distinctly from its precursor. It only took me about four days to get through all ten episodes, and while it has its share of writing woes and clunky storytelling, the cast, production values, and scattered moments of brilliant writing make it well worth a watch for the finale promises a season two to come that will lean into the best aspects of the first season.
New Season: House of Cards (2013-2018) Debuts its Final Season
It’s finally here. After a year that saw former star Kevin Spacey’s fall from grace and reports of Robin Wright more-or-less swooping in to save the Netflix flagship, House of Cards has come to end of its six season run. I have yet to watch the eight episodes, seeing as it only debuted at midnight last night, but you can bet that once I finish writing this I will put aside all productivity to tear on through it. Claire Underwood (Wright) has long been the most engaging character on the show, and to know that she is the focus of this final season makes it all the more exciting.