The Student News Site of Hendrick Hudson

The Hendrick Hudson Anchor

The Student News Site of Hendrick Hudson

The Hendrick Hudson Anchor

The Student News Site of Hendrick Hudson

The Hendrick Hudson Anchor

The Anchor Staff Entertainment Picks of 2023

Mitski. (2023). This land is Inhospitable and So Are We. Dead Oceans.
Mitski. (2023). This land is Inhospitable and So Are We. Dead Oceans.

Elaine Clarke: This Land is Inhospitable and So Are We by Mitski

When I heard that Mitski was coming out with a new album less than a year after her latest release, ecstatic could not begin to describe how I felt. This album defined my 2023. Not only is each and every song on it a banger (even after the 1,000th listen), they also encompass Mitski’s staple themes of love, broken romance, and the complexity of life. She carved out a new niche for herself, softly depicting the sweetness of love with her floaty vocals over a rich symphony. As an avid fan of her music, to me this album depicts Mitski’s sound at its purest. She is a sappy, loving person, with songs like “My Love All Mine” and “Heaven” showing this with their kind and loving attitudes. After “Heaven” was released, waiting all summer for the rest of the album almost— quite literally —killed me. Mitski’s music is real and raw and touching, using her lyricism and songwriting talents to show off every bit of what it means to be human— the good, the bad, and especially the ugly. 

 

Kacie Burns: Pretty Hate Machine by

Nine Inch Nails. (1989). Pretty Hate Machine. The Bicycle Music Company.

Nine Inch Nails

During AP season this year, I had Pretty Hate Machine on repeat. While studying for APUSH and cranking out my final one-pagers for Mr. Wik, I jammed out to Nine Inch Nails. Yes, the lyrics are insane and definitely not school appropriate (although not as bad as the song “Closer” (iykyk)). But, the constant noise, nonsense, and bitter anger helped me push through studying. This album is industrial, gritty, and catchy. Buzzy synths and almost-screaming to whispering vocals fill your ears and knock out any distractions in the background. Pretty Hate Machine is just fun to angrily listen to, not taking the lyrics or meanings too seriously. This album helped me get into 90s alt-rock and the likes of Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, and Rage Against the Machine. My favorite songs off this album are “Terrible Lie,” “Kinda I Want To,” and “Sin.” 

 

Justin Corado: Songs I Wrote Skipping Classes by Hill View #73

Hill View #73. (2022). Songs I Wrote Skipping Classes. Trash Tape Records.

As this year comes to a close, this short EP will end as my most listened to album of 2023. I discovered this release right at the beginning of the year through rateyourmusic’s lovely database. I was able to find a small record label called Trash Tape Records that housed a lot of modern indie folk and singer-songwriter musicians. From the start I loved this EP, it’s melancholic and reassuring in the best possible ways. In every bleak moment of the year I had the comfort of Hill View #73’s music to help me, especially in February, when I had this on repeat. Their music articulates feelings that I’ve felt perfectly: regret, anger, and sadness that I couldn’t put into words. Most tracks either end on a bright note or with sweeping layers of guitars playing perfect earworms. My favorite tracks are “HWDYDT,” and “Shobji,” because of their emotional lyrics and catchy melodies.

 

Alec Elkin: Selected Ambient Works 85-89 by Aphex Twin

Aphex Twin. (1992). Selected Ambient Works 85-92. R&S Records.

I tried to listen to a little bit of every musical genre this year, but regardless of my efforts, I kept finding myself coming back to this electronic album. It’s incredibly re-listenable, tightroping a fine line between grabbing your attention and fading into the background. Despite relying on a decent bit of repetition, each track develops a series of increasingly complex rhythms and melodies. Opener “Xtal”— they all have…interesting…names—kicks things off with a somewhat hollow voice-like synth, but soon grows into something more with the addition of some thumpy bass and strange, yet fascinating melodies. Each subsequent song follows a similar pattern of picking a different beat and developing it, lending the album a sort of “work-in-progress” sound that I have yet to hear anywhere else. Selected Ambient Works has something new to discover during every listen; for me, it was this year’s perfect soundtrack for surviving my algebra homework or doing the dreaded dishes.

 

Elaine Clarke: The Giver series by Lois Lowry

The Giver by Lois Lowry. (1993). Published by Houghton Mifflin.

Lois Lowry is known for her novel The Giver, which in it of itself is perfectly fine as a stand alone book. She is less known, however, for the three following novels in The Giver quartet. The books all take place in the same dystopian world that Lowry built in the first novel, yet they add onto the universe in incredibly interesting ways. Lowry’s novels, despite being very different, all tell touching stories of love and community. They are equally exciting and wonderful, but my favorite is the final installation, Son. Claire, the protagonist, struggles through a long and terrible journey, escaping the same dystopia that Jonas, from The Giver, did. Claire matures a lot during the book, starting off as a clueless, young girl, but growing during her pilgrimage to become a strong and defiant young woman. It is, in my opinion, a satisfying conclusion to the series that I can read again and again.  

 

Francisco Aguirre-Ghiso: Past Lives by Celine Song (2023)

Past Lives. (2023). CJ ENM, Killer Films, 2AM.

In a year of box office blockbusters and high-stake historical biopics, the film that stood out the most to me this year was Celine Song’s understated Past Lives. The movie follows Nora, a South Korean woman who emigrated to the United States as a young teen, and Hae Sung, Nora’s childhood best friend who watches her leave, and how the two reconnect decades later for one week in New York. This is a gentle and emotionally mature film that explores a “what if” relationship. Nora and Hae Sung could have easily become a couple in another life, but in this life they weren’t given the chance. The result is a romantically tense film where Nora balances the choices she made against the choices she didn’t. At the heart of this film are three wonderful performances by Greta Lee, Teo Yoo, and John Maguro, who each play their role with such nuance and skill that all three characters come alive; they feel like real people with real desires and regrets. Celine Song’s extensive background as a playwright shines here as well; the screenplay for this film efficiently comprises a decade-long relationship in less than two hours. Past Lives never feels rushed, and the audience is given ample time to absorb the complex relationships between Nora, Hae Sung, and her husband Arthur. What culminates is a bittersweet and thoughtful film that leaves audiences thinking about the relationships in their lives that they passed up on, and the choices they made to build the life they are living.

 

Castalia Litos: Submarine by Richard Ayoade (2010)

Submarine. (2010) Warp Films,Film4 Productions, UK Film Council, Wales Creative IP Fund, Film, Agency for Wales, Protagonist Pictures, Red Hour Films.

During a chaotic final exams season last year, I managed to dedicate a few moments of free time to watching a couple movies I had been meaning to watch all year. One of these was Submarine, and as soon as the credits rolled, I knew I had found one of my new favorite movies. Following the teenage years of the socially awkward and confused Oliver Tate, Submarine is a masterpiece in relating the teenage experience to a large audience. From the wholesome yet sometimes questionable relationship with love interest Jordana, to the shaky relationship between his parents that bleeds into Oliver’s own self confidence, the movie perfectly balances the absurd with the everyday. Because let’s face it: sometimes, life is a bit like a movie, in all its wonderful craziness that seems too good, or bad, to be true. The level of detail, for example, the color coding of the main characters to reflect their prominent emotions, as well as the cinematography, only serves to enhance the viewer’s experience, never trampling on the plot and blurring the focus of the film. Pair all of this with an incredible soundtrack performed in solo by Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner (seriously, if nothing else, give the soundtrack a listen – Turner manages to capture the entirety of the film’s objective in a mere five tracks), and there lies the perfect movie to simply sit, relate to, and find a sense of nostalgic comfort in. 

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About the Contributors
Elaine Clarke, Opinion Desk Editor
Elaine Clarke is a Senior at Hendrick Hudson High School. This is her fourth year writing for the newspaper and first year as editor. Alongside this, Elaine participates in the school musicals and plays, film club, as well as the senior club. In her free time, she likes to hang with her friends, listen to music, or just chill with her cat.
Kacie Burns, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Kacie is a Senior at Hen Hud and this is her fourth year on The Anchor. For the paper, she does the layout, artwork, and writes. This year, she is the Arts & Entertainment Editor and Head of Layout. Outside of school, she loves to listen to music (Fiona Apple, The Cure, and The Smiths), take film photos, and read classic literature. She doesn’t play any sports, but does play the violin in the school’s orchestra and loves to draw and paint. 
Alec Elkin, Writer
Alec Elkin is a Junior and a new writer for The Anchor this year. Aside from writing, he has leadership roles in Hen Hud’s Chess Club, as well as Menso Forte, the school’s men’s choir. When not in school, Alec enjoys reading, listening to any and all genres of music, watching movies, skiing, and retro gaming.
Castalia Litos, School and Community Editor
Castalia is the editor of School and Community News for The Anchor. Outside of the newspaper, Castalia participates in several afterschool clubs; she is the co-president of the Hen Hud Debate team and is a member of SEED club, Literary Magazine, and AV and Stage Crew for Drama. An avid alternative and classic rock lover, Castalia spends her free time listening to music, reading, and playing cello for the school’s Chamber Orchestra.
Francisco Aguirre-Ghiso, Managing Editor
Francisco Aguirre-Ghiso is currently a senior at Hen Hud. This is his second year writing at The Anchor, and currently holds the position of managing editor. He is also public relations officer for Tri-M Music Honor Society and plays Varsity Tennis. Outside of school, he likes watching movies, playing video games and listening to music.
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