Here’s what the NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour crew was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.
Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story
Bono’s memoir just came out. I recommend listening to the “read by the author” version if you have 20 hours to spare. Bono is a great reader. He has a lovely Irish accent, and so much of the autobiography of his band is about the isolation, dead-endedness and lack of opportunity in 1970s Ireland, which was beset by sectarian violence. His solution to this violence was to form a band.
The other part of the memoir that particularly interested me as someone who’s followed this band for better or for worse, forever and ever was getting more into the trenches of Bono’s 21st century lobbying activism for debt relief and AIDS, getting past the lapel pin phase, the speeches from a podium phase, and actually building those relationships with administration after administration, meeting the people you need to meet to actually affect change. And having some of your, rock star buddies say, oh, you’re a sellout because you had your picture taken with George W. Bush or whoever. He wrote very candidly about the deal you make, if you want to get into a position where you can really try to change things. I found that very candid and enlightening.
Take all the disclaimers with my endorsement that you must, but I am endorsing the read by the author version of Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story by Bono. I’m so sorry. “And by buggin’ ya … don’t mean to bug ya.” — Chris Klimek
The Philly Orchestra’s Rendition of Dancing on My Own
I’m not a big sports person but the Phillies are having a moment in the sun. And Dancing on My Own, a Robyn song covered by Calum Scott, has suddenly become the big anthem for the Phillies this season. The Philly Orchestra has come up with their own version of Dancing on My Own, which is fantastic. It’s such a happy little clip on YouTube. It’s very short. Philly being Philly, having a sports obsession, and finally doing so well, makes people so happy. But it’s also the Grammy-winning Philly Orchestra. To see them cheer on a sports team with so much joy is absolutely beautiful. — Bedatri D. Choudhury
Dirt Femme and Screening Ourselves
I have two things making me happy this week. One is the new album Dirt Femme by the singer Tove Lo, she is Swedish and pronounces her name “Too-veh-loo.” The album is filled with dance pop bangers through and through, but it is also really thoughtful. She’s reflecting on her relationship with femininity in really interesting ways. And the songs are so catchy. If you love Dancing on My Own by Robyn, you should check out this record.
Starting this Sunday, we will be dropping a special series that my pal and fellow host Aisha Harris has been working on for more than a year. It’s called Screening Ourselves, and in each episode, Aisha digs into film history and looks at a movie that is considered a cinema classic but wasn’t exactly loved by the communities they represented. Sunday’s episode is about The Godfather. Make sure to check that out right here in the Pop Culture Happy Hour feed. I really think you’re going to dig it. — Stephen Thompson
More recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter
by Linda Holmes
I’ve been watching a ton of the GQ YouTube videos in the “Iconic Characters” series. They are very uneven, but when they’re great, they’re great. Try Paul Dano or Willem Dafoe, both of whom I greatly enjoyed.
Speaking of YouTube, have we talked about sewing? I have never sewn anything more complicated than fleece mittens, but when things become tense out there in the world, I sometimes get very soothed by craft videos, and right now, I’m into Bernadette Banner and her historically accurate sewing projects.
If you have been following the podcast adventures of our pal Sam Sanders, don’t miss him over on Jordan, Jesse, Go!, where he gets very frank about Paul Newman and sex and lots of other stuff.
NPR’s Pilar Galvan adapted the Pop Culture Happy Hour segment “What’s Making Us Happy” into a digital page. If you like these suggestions, consider signing up for our newsletter to get recommendations every week. And listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.