Rated Reads shares our pick of the best articles from around the web. This week: a new wave of feel-good musicals, an interview with footballer Phil Foden and the future of horror.


In the Heights and the new Golden Age of musicals

As Jon M. Chu’s In the Heights hits the big screen this week, film writer Hanna Flint looks at why there has been a revolution in 21st-century musicals – from La La Land to Mamma Mia!.

Adapted from the book by Quiara Alegría Hudes and following that a broadway play by Lin-Manuel Miranda, In the Heights is an unmissable watch about the Latin community in New York’s Washington Heights. Flint chatted to Hudes about why the musical is such a winning genre: “‘We’re humans, we need music. It’s one of our most basic instincts. Our hearts beat in rhythm. I don’t know what can be more essentially human than rhythm and song. Musicals have staying power because they are not just their own subgenre – they incorporate contemporary and different genres of music that’s only to the benefit of audiences.'”


A Shared World

Robert Barry in Tribune Magazine looks back at the discography of Stereo Total, the German-French duo who rocked post-Cold War Berlin, following the passing of the band’s drummer, Françoise Cactus.

“In the liner notes to their best-of compilation of 2015,” Barry writes, “Stereo Total would trace the origins of the group to the period immediately after the Wall came down. ‘1992 — in the former eastern part of Berlin there were huge containers for trash everywhere,’ they wrote, ‘people were throwing away everything that reminded them of their former life in the GDR: records, books, clothes, furniture . . . That gave us the idea to be musically inspired by the “throw-away-society”.’

With a strict set of rules, the innovators masterfully created cheap music and actively sang in many languages – but swore never to sing in English.


J-pop megastar Hikaru Utada on teen fame, discrimination, and grief

A compelling gem of an interview with J-Pop star Hikaru Utada in Dazed, charting her career from her double-platinum debut album ‘First Love’ in 1999 to having a Netflix series inspired by her music. 37 million record sales on from her debut, Utada talks her latest single “Pink Blood” – her first English speaking press appearance since 2009.

Unveiling her musical influences, Utada jokes: “I may be having a celebrity crush on Megan Thee Stallion.

“Becoming really famous at 15, 16 was traumatic, ” Utada says. “It was exciting when people began reacting to my songs, but the attention extended beyond just my music.”


Phil Foden: “Some people see footballers as arrogant”

Been keeping up with the footie this week? In i-D, Jacob Davey spoke with team-player Phil Foden about being back home in Stockport to racism in the football industry.

On Marcus Rashford, Foden says: “Some people see footballers as arrogant sometimes […] but you only have to look at what [he’s] been doing to switch the public’s perception on, to prove that we’re not all the same. His work with the kids, his work in politics, all his work off the pitch is unbelievable, really. It’s been proper inspirational to me.”

“The fact that one footballer has been able to shift perceptions like that has been hugely inspiring for my generation of players,” Foden admits, “I think we’re all looking up to him now, safe in the knowledge that we can also help the world in the same way.” Foden has seen the effects of Rashford’s work on his local community. “You could literally see his impact… I saw ‘Marcus Rashford’ spray painted on walls around here everywhere. He’s really become the nation’s biggest role model to the young ones.”


Karyn Kusama, Jennifer Reeder, & Prano Bailey-Bond in Conversation

“The future of horror is female” argues Indiewire’s female filmmaker panelists.

At a transformative moment in horror’s history, director of “Signature Move” and “Knives and Skin” Jennifer Reeder, “Jennifer’s Body,” “The Invitation,” “Destroyer,” director Karyn Kusama, and Prano Bailey-Bond – director of much-hyped debut “Censor” – are hosted by the Future of Film is Female founder Caryn Coleman to talk all things horror.

An essential watch for spook-lovers and feminist allies alike.

Related Articles

Rated Reads: Beyoncé Returns and Side Character Summer

In Rated Reads this week, Queen Bee covers British Vogue as she prepares to drop a new album, and why we're vibing 'Side Character Summer'.

Rated Reads: Running Up That Hill & Teens vs. Avril Lavigne

This week on Rated Reads looks at Kate Bush's resurgence, Avril Lavigne 20 years on and the BookTok revolution.

Rated Reads: Binley Mega Chippy Rises & Dominic Fike’s Euphoria

This week on Rated Reads, visit the infamous Binley Mega Chippy, catch up with Dominic Fike and explore the strange new 'tradwife' trend.