- Words Notion Staff
Rated Reads shares our pick of the best articles from around the web. This week: how pop-punk has been transformed by the internet generation and a Wolf Alice interview.
Hannah Ewens argues that pop punk – once the genre of “juvenile men in shorts” – has been reclaimed by the current generation of women. But this time round, she claims, they are adding “emotional maturity” to the mix.
“Today’s pop punks go to therapy (I’m Gonna Tell My Therapist On You by Pinkshift) and sing self-reflectively about relationships. Their vocals recall the soprano gymnastics of the genre’s 00s matriarch, Paramore’s Hayley Williams more than her nasal male contemporaries.”
From Olivia Rodrigo to Willow Smith, women are repairing the missteps taken by their male pop punk peers and putting a new spin on the genre. “’Black and brown women have a different vocal range and abilities and take inspiration from different places,’ says Yasmine Summan, an alternative culture journalist and the co-host of the lifestyle podcast On Wednesdays We Wear Black. ‘Pop punk isn’t just a guy who sounds like [former Blink-182 singer] Tom DeLonge, it’s a woman who sounds like Ashrita.’”
Ten years on from Amy Winehouse’s death (and two documentaries looking back at the musician recently on air), Viola Levy pays tribute to the iconic singer’s Jewish aesthetic as just as important as her music – “a Jewish girl from north London who famously pulled no punches, her make-up and hair were as honest, unfiltered, and beautiful as the rest of her.”
Levy writes: “that cat’s eye make-up looked like it had been scribbled on with marker pen, teamed with chunky gold earrings and a gold Star of David around her neck. Together, these things were a bold reflection of her chutzpah, something Jewish women have had to cultivate as armour over the centuries.”
Yet Amy’s image was often attacked in ugly ways by the media in underlyingly anti-Semitic tones. A decade later, Levy hopes Winehouse’s particularly Jewish identity and beauty can be celebrated, rather than derided or ignored.
The legendary Wolf Alice joins Stephanie Phillips in conversation as the band’s latest album ‘Blue Weekend’ has been nominated again for a Mercury Prize. Chatting about the Sopranos, trains and their humble ambitions, the band’s vocalist Ellie Rowsell opens up.
“Her worry about outside interpretations brings up the eternal struggle many women songwriters have expressed about not being allowed the same level of creative licence as men. ‘We were talking about Quentin Tarantino and no one thinks that his films are what he’s like,” Rowsell states. “Why is it when you start talking about feelings that people take musicians’ words as the [musicians’] own [feelings], whereas you wouldn’t do that with an author – or you would with a female one, maybe?'”
Irish designer Jonathan Anderson discusses his most recent Loewe collection, and how a moment of fashion humiliation as a teen inspired him to test the boundaries of gender ever since: “’Ultimately, in the end, everything I do – especially when it comes to men and gender – is an obscure fantasy of what I would love to get up in the morning and wear.’”
With tinsel, sequins and zebra stripes, he describes his own designs as like “’seeing a crocodile on the street’”.
The most exciting release out there in cinemas this week is undeniably Limbo, Ben Sharrock’s dramedy about refugees held on a remote Scottish island as they wait for their asylum claims to be processed. Nick Chen chats to the director and lead actor Amir El-Masry about the film.
“’That’s the whole idea of narrowing and bridging the gap between the West and the East,’ says El-Masry, a Cairo-born British-Egyptian actor whose credits include Industry and The Night Manager. ‘It’s making sure that we’re very relatable in that sense. What better way to do that than by using humour to break the ice?’ He adds, ‘I’ve never experienced an ounce of what Omar has, so I’m very privileged… but when you strip it to its bare bones, he’s just a human being like anybody else. That allowed me to tap into it.'”
From filmic influences to the trickiness of avoiding cultural appropriation, Sharrock concludes “‘it’s about family, identity, loss, and all of these things that we can all relate to.’”