Rated Reads shares our pick of the best articles from around the web. This week: 'languishing' is the dominant emotion of 2021, an interview with AJ Tracey, plus more.

“The neglected middle child of mental health can dull your motivation and focus — and it may be the dominant emotion of 2021” writes Adam Grant for The New York Times.

This viral article identified a feeling people all over the world had been feeling since the pandemic changed the way we live. “It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there’s a name for that: languishing.

Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield”.

UK rap star AJ Tracey: ‘I’m not all the way out of the streets’

“The west Londoner is up for two Brit awards and is hoping for a No 1 album – but fame and success haven’t eclipsed his insecurities or impoverished past”, Tara Joshi writes for The Guardian. In this interview, AJ speaks about his new album, ‘Flu Game’, being “the best rapper in the game” and his indifference to his two BRIT Award nominations, saying “It’s flattering and I’m grateful, but they don’t really measure cultural impact”.

What will life be like in the first self-sustainable city on Mars?

What will civilisation be like in 100 years? Will there be life on Mars? In a new feature for Dazed’s ‘A Future World’ series, Brit Dawson speaks with the architect of ‘Nüwa’, a new city on the currently inhospitable planet of Mars that will be ready for human residents in 2100. Alfredo Muñoz, the founder of architecture studio ABIBOO – the brains behind Nüwa – explains who it’s for, how it may resemble pandemic life, and how it might actually help us on Planet Earth.

Shantay, You Pay: Inside the Heavy Financial Burden of Going On ‘Drag Race’

“As drag has gotten more mainstream, it’s gotten further from its DIY roots—and performing on the biggest stage is becoming prohibitively expensive”, writes Rachel Miller for Vice. For lovers of the sensation that is RuPauls’ Drag Race, you won’t be alone in wondering just how much it costs for contestants to appear on the show. As well as speaking with drag queens, Vice also looks back at the history of drag, and how the concept of spending a ton on looks is a relatively new concept. “Social and financial marginalization forced drag artists to be creative. “Up until the 80s and the 90s, drag queens essentially dressed in vintage clothing,” Tom Fitzgerald, the co-author of Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life, explains.

Digicore captures the angst of coming of age during a global pandemic

New buzzword time! What exactly is digicore? Just when you thought you knew what hyperpop was, get ready for the new offshoot – digicore. It’s a scene of teen musicians mining their upbringings for inspiration. “The future of pop music is not defined by major labels, access to top recording studios, or even a consistent sound to call its own. Instead, it’s called digicore, and it’s shaped by the world of Discord servers, Minecraft, and the type of musical intuition that could only have been nurtured through years spent consuming YouTube beat tutorials and a cracked copy of FL Studio. Everything about this scene of teen musicians centres around the modern Internet landscape; from its origins to its diversity, right down to how community-oriented it is”, writes Billy Bugara for i-D.

WandaVision’s Elizabeth Olsen on feminism, famous sisters and playing a witch called Wanda

In a new interview for Glamour UK, Elizabeth Olsen speaks about finding her power, her sisters, Mary-Kate and Ashley, the pressures of social media, and much more. Set to star in Dr. Strange 2 alongside Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth chats with Glamour’s Emily Maddick about her mental health, revealing she battled with anxiety and panic attacks when she was younger, and how she considered changing her surname so as not to be affiliated with her sisters when she began acting. “I was 10 and I was curious about auditioning… during that time, I thought ‘I don’t want to be associated with [Mary-Kate and Ashley]’, for some reason. I guess I understood what nepotism was like inherently as a 10-year-old. I don’t know if I knew the word, but there is some sort of association of not earning something that I think bothered me at a very young age. It had to do with my own insecurities, but I was 10. So I don’t know how much I processed, but I did think, ‘I’m going to be Elizabeth Chase [her middle name] when I become an actress.’”

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