Podcasts, K-pop, and Pilots: Staff Picks, Intern Edition
I have been devouring podcasts in the past couple months, to the relief of my daily planner and the poor, beleaguered part of my brain that handles time management. There’s no better way to fill transit, cooking, and cleaning than spicing it up with The Penumbra Podcast, an audio drama that’s part–sci-fi, part-fantasy, and all-around deliciously queer. From Juno Steel, a private eye on Mars, to the Second Citadel, a city protected by a band of emotionally distraught knights, I always travel to a place that leaves me breathlessly in suspense, laughing with delight, and occasionally in tears.
One album that will always be special to me is XX by K-pop girl group Loona. I’d known about Loona for a while, but it wasn’t until I went back home and spent the day with my little brother that I began listening to them. He showed me all the members, all their group and solo work, as well as their lore and backstories. I sat through his info session in the name of being a good sister, but once I listened to their music on my own time, I found that I really loved it. There started my obsession. I know all their names, title tracks, and keep up to date with their Loona TVs (their Youtube series) and upcoming releases. After a year-long hiatus, Loona has finally returned with their latest album, #. I am so excited about their upcoming release and can’t wait to listen with my brother as one of our many bonding activities.
One song that I have greatly enjoyed has been Desert Rose by Lolo Zouaï. Ever since I first stumbled upon this song in late 2019, I have been absolutely in love. It has a relaxing beat that allows listeners to focus on Lolo’s voice and the lyrics that are sung in three languages (Arabic, French, and English). However, what really connects me to this song is the relatability of its lyrics. At its core, this song is about generational division and familial acceptance. My generation especially feels completely different from our parents in many ways. We think, act, dress, and share divergent beliefs. This has led to strife and turmoil in many families. In some cases, we are made to feel as though we have disappointed our families by not following in their path. Yet at the end of the day we all seek their approval. No matter how different we are, we still want to be accepted for who we are by those we love. I think this song perfectly encapsulates those feelings.
I recently watched a really great pilot for a TV series on Freeform called Everything’s Gonna Be Okay. The story centers on a man in his mid-twenties who has to take care of his younger half sisters after his father dies suddenly of cancer. Creator, director, and star Josh Thomas also produced Please Like Me, a different series with a similar tone. I was obsessed with Please Like Me, and it remains one of my favorite shows of all time, so as soon as I knew Thomas was making something new, I marked the premiere date on my calendar. So far, I haven’t been disappointed. The show is darkly comedic—light-hearted one second and depressing the next. Thomas balances serious themes with playful tones and quirky characters who come to life in a way I really admire. Here’s a link to the trailer.
Recently, I’ve discovered podcasts, and I’ve become really engaged by one called The Deconstructionists, hosted by Adam Narloch and John Williamson. Their purpose is essentially to create a space to explore questions and doubt regarding faith. To that end, they’ve hosted an incredibly diverse range of experts from a plethora of fields—theology, philosophy, science, music, and psychoanalysis, to name only a few. What they’ve cultivated is a beautiful place to engage with various viewpoints from all across the spectrum of belief and encourage introspection. I’m fascinated by the nuances and manifestations of faith, and this podcast has been such a wonderful place to encounter people who think radically differently than I do about it, and to learn about how all these different fields inform it. In episodes brimming with grace, humility, and genuine joy, Narloch and Williamson are creating space for dialogue that I think is healthy, raw, engaging, and just plain fun. I’m constantly learning and being challenged, which I think is crucial to growth. If this is an area of interest for you, or you’re a philosophy nerd like me, I can’t recommend it highly enough!