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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

Recommendations of the Week: 12/31-1/6

Recommendations+of+the+Week%3A+12%2F31-1%2F6

Each week, the staff here at The Anchor give their recommendations on an album, book and movie to enjoy. Here are our recommendations for the week of 11/26-12/2.


Album- Voodoo by D’Angelo (2000)

Recommended by Francisco Aguirre-Ghiso

Photo Credits: Virgin Records

The debate for the queen of Neo-Soul is one with many contenders. Some might say Erykah Badu, others Lauryn Hill, others Jill Scott. But when it comes to the king of Neo-Soul, there’s a pretty clear consensus: D’Angelo.

This is best seen with D’Angelo’s second album, 2000’s Voodoo. Voodoo is the perfect amalgamation of the soul and funk of the past with the R&B of the present. D’Angelo had a voice and musical presence reminiscent of Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, but the production on the album combines elements of 90s R&B, Funk, Prince-style rock and Hip-Hop in a way no one had done quite so well before. 

Highlights include the sultry Prince-inspired  “Untitled (How Does It Feel),” the laid-back groovy “Spanish Joint,” the more driven and Hip-Hop-styled “Devil’s Pie” and the trippy opener “Playa Playa.”

There’s a reason why Rolling Stone lists this in the top 30 best albums of all time. No one had done it quite like him before, and truthfully no one has done it quite like him yet. 

 

Movie-  The Boy and The Heron by Hayao Miyazaki (2023)

Recommended by Francisco Aguirre-Ghiso

Photo Credits: Studio Ghibli

It’s a bad year for animators when the greatest of all time decides to come out of retirement for one last film, and that’s just what Hayao Miyazaki did this year with his personal and magical The Boy and the Heron.

All the classic Miyazaki strong points return:  beautiful and hypnotic animation, hidden magic worlds, and themes of family, war and environmentalism. But what is strikingly new in this film is how personal the subject material is. The film’s plot is loosely based on Miyazaki’s own childhood during World War Two, specifically how he and his father moved to the countryside after Miyazaki lost his mother. So although the fantastical elements key to the Miyazaki aesthetic remain, The Boy and The Heron stands out as a uniquely intimate film that confronts pains and lessons Miyazaki learned and didn’t learn, as a child stricken by war and family death.

But more than anything, everyone is just happy to have another Miyazaki film added to the filmography. Miyazaki has been saying he’s gonna retire since 2001’s Spirited Away, so it’s a genuine privilege that we get to enjoy new material from the greatest of all time again and again. But many, including myself, would be satisfied to see Miyazaki end his long career with a film as beautiful as this one.

 

Book-  All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (1992)

Recommended by Francisco Aguirre-Ghiso

Photo Credits: Vintage Books

Two Texas ranchers left without a place to call home decide to ride all the way down to Mexico in search of work. They meet a fellow wanderer on their way there, one of them falls madly in love while trouble with the law threatens to end their lives before they even truly began.

Seems straight-forward enough. Sounds like a classic Western– I’ve read a gazillion of those before. What’s so special about this one? The reason you should read it is because it’s the best introduction to one of America’s best writers, Cormac McCarthy.

When reading Cormac McCarthy for the first time, his style of writing might seem jarring. But once you get used to his lack of some punctuation and poetic rhythm, it’s hard to put down. His command of the English language is sickeningly good, and he is as occupied with describing the atmosphere of a place and time as describing the place and time itself, leading to a vivid and multifaceted reading experience that draws you in like very few authors can.

All the Pretty Horses is the best place to start with McCarthy because it has a tenderness that most of his other novels lack. It’s moving without being overly dramatic, and balances McCarthy’s poetic style with a candor that makes it easier to digest than his denser, more violent works. This story transcends the Western genre– it’s a story of forbidden love, of the cruelty of civilization and of a way of life that has slowly faded from America. In short, it’s just a really great novel. 


If you want to submit your own recommendations, contact Francisco Aguirre-Ghiso at [email protected]

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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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