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Music Culture cheat sheet: Hunter Schafer with Lorde, Beach House, and more

Feb. 17, 2022
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Listen: One Twice Melody by Beach House

I’m going to be frank, reader: I had a semester’s worth of classwork I did not look at, let alone do, until the latest possible time—a day that coincided with the release of One Twice Melody’s third segment. And let me tell you, this episodic, 13-track record from dream-pop duo Beach House gives Adderall a run for its money. It’s the kind of music you cram to, sleep to, fall in love to, cry to, drive to, maneuver a rocketship to. I was convinced I had late-onset synesthesia when I listened to the ambient “Another Go Around,” though in hindsight it was probably just sleep deprivation and the pure heavenly vibes.

The album, which is Beach House’s first self-produced record, is a long-form expansive rollout broken into four chapters, released monthly from November to February. “There’s so many confines in music that really dominate everyone’s minds, like the four-minute songs, and the ten-song album,” multi-instrumentalist Alex Scally said in an interview. “I think in the past we’d always really been controlled by that.”

If Beach House’s magnum opus Depression Cherry can be described as the indie-boyification of the Mars rover who sang itself “Happy Birthday," One Twice Melody feels like Mars itself slinging you around in its antigravity. It’s the Dune of ethereal alternative albums: ambitious, grand, and making you itch for a sequel. Did I mention the pure heavenly vibes? Fly me to the moon, Beach House.

Listen to One Twice Melody by Beach House on Spotify here.

Watch: The Tragedy of Macbeth (dir. Joel Coen)

I accidentally watched the first five minutes of The Tragedy of Macbeth on mute. I was fully convinced it was a silent film and I was okay with it, which is perhaps a testament to the sheer magnetism of its use of cinematic language; evidence of a certain je ne sais quoi that grips you despite the—as I would soon find out, after I finally unmuted it—film’s inaccessible dialogue. (Or maybe I just thought Joel Coen was that pretentious that he made this already black-and-white film a silent one too? I did just use “je ne sais quoi” unironically, so maybe I’m the problem?)

Shakespeare’s Macbeth has never been short of film adaptations, but what sets Tragedy apart is its “untethered from reality” look, which I was thrilled to know was intentional. The entire movie was shot on sound stages; cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel went as far as painting shadows directly on set pieces. And the witches! The eerie, contorting Kathryn Hunter, who played all three of the witch sisters, will stay in my mind maybe forever. 

I do wish I was the kind of person who enjoys Shakespeare adaptations, especially objectively good ones like Tragedy. But we never studied him in high school, and for the longest time the only work of his I found pleasure in was The Taming of the Shrew, by which I actually mean 10 Things I Hate About You. Still, I appreciated that the movie had enough silent moments for me to space out and think about this week’s culture moment that actually matters: Lady Gaga saying “Mommy and Daddy love each other” on a photo shoot with Jake Gyllenhaal.

The Tragedy of Macbeth is streaming on Apple TV+.

Tune in: “Divine Frequency with Hunter Schafer and Lorde,” A24 Podcast

Teen girlhood is so discombobulating and magical and traumatic that many of us spend the entirety of it and then some debriefing—writing about it not just to process but to preserve. I recall a letter singer-songwriter Lorde wrote before her 20th birthday: “All my life I’ve been obsessed with adolescence, drunk on it. Even when I was little, I knew that teenagers sparkled. I knew they knew something children didn’t know, and adults ended up forgetting.” I also think often of this comic by Euphoria star Hunter Schafer for Rookie Mag (!), about the crazy-sad-exciting act of moving out.

I think their pivotal roles in the teen girl canon are what ultimately bring Lorde and Hunter together, and why their pairing for the A24 Podcast sent my specific corner of the internet into meltdown. The episode did make me cry, especially hearing them talk about mapping out their inner worlds and exiting the threshold of teenhood. I’m getting convinced Lorde, with her warm, whispery storytelling, is as good a podcaster as she is an artist; and Hunter, who spoke about co-writing the Jules special episode on Euphoria and said her favorite shows are Fleabag and I May Destroy You, is an auteur waiting to happen. It was such an enchanting hour-long conversation that I almost forgot how much I associate A24 with annoying film students who have never felt the touch of a woman—when the pair exchanged I-love-you’s by the end of the episode, I said it with them. 

Listen to “Divine Frequency with Hunter Schafer and Lorde” from the A24 Podcast here.