Rated Reads this week looks at the enduring power of Christmas music, the ugly side of Internet amateur investigation culture and a curious musical trend from the 90s.

Rockin’ around the Christmas streams: why festive music is bigger than ever

Some call it cheesy, some call it dated, but no matter the year, there’s no stopping Christmas music. With familiar festive classics filling the airwaves and your Spotify playlists, the Guardian chats to the makers of some of the biggest festive hits about what remains so irresistible about a Christmas song.

I’m the TikTok Couch Guy. Here’s What It Was Like Being Investigated on the Internet.

Millions of users flock to TikTok every day for their entertainment fix, but there’s a darker side to the social media app. An unpleasant story emerged this year where a TikTok video of a woman paying a surprise visit to her boyfriend spiralled into an obsessive investigation of a figure dubbed ‘Coach Guy’. On Slate, Coach Guy takes the opportunity to tell his side of the story, revealing the shocking and surprising consequences of amateur investigator culture.

In Praise of the Junk-Drawer ’90s Alt-Rock Movie Soundtrack

Remember the 90s? (I don’t.) Amongst many other things, the 90s were the height of the CD craze and a banner time for alternative rock music. Inevitably, these two things combined, and The Ringer highlights just how in its look at the long-lost phenomenon of the alt-rock movie soundtrack, often produced regardless of the movie’s quality or premise. Forget Clueless or Romeo + Juliet. The soundtracks to movies like Super Mario Bros. deserve love too.

Ariana DeBose On Taking On The Role Of A Lifetime In West Side Story

Alert, musical lovers – Steven Spielberg’s highly-anticipated remake of West Side Story is in cinemas today. One of the remake’s big differences with the 1961 original is its authentically Latinx cast, and front and centre of that is the actress Ariana DeBose, who plays Anita. Vogue chats with DeBose about the responsibility of taking on such a famous role and the awkwardness of meeting West Side Story legend Rita Moreno. In fairness, I’d be nervous meeting Rita Moreno too.

Alicia Keys: ‘I defined myself in short sentences: pianist, Harlem, braids. I’m more than that’

For much the same reason that I don’t remember the 90s, I can’t remember a time when Alicia Keys wasn’t at the forefront of modern R&B music. Keys turned 40 this year and she’s still going strong, with a brand new album titled Keys out now. The I catches up with Keys to chat about the new album, self-acceptance and her genuinely surprising and highly impressive Lego habit.

Related Articles

Lewys Ball’s Post-Mortem of The Month

The Notion columnist is back casting a sharp eye over this month's hot & nots. September saw the good, the bad and the ugly from fashion month, the new season of Netflix’s Sex Education and an American middle schooler who can’t stop complaining.

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.