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Five for Friday - July 9. 2021

Shape of Pasta: When I saw this Quibi show title pop up as a Roku Original, I was sure it was going to be some kind of weirdly trivial show about how pasta got its shapes. And evidence as to why Quibi lived up to its name and bit the dust quickly. It isn't. It is, however, overly earnest to an extent that it may set off your cynicism and sarcasm. Still, the fundamental idea is sound: an exploration of unique pasta shapes in Italy that are in danger of disappearing from cuisine as their handful of practitioners age. It would work even better if the host, chef Evan Funke, dialed back his tendency to white knight his quest to find and save these pasta shapes. Ultimately, it's an appealing morsel, but it could have been so much more nourishing.

Girl in Red - Serotonin: What if I told you the best summer jam is a song about intrusive thoughts? And it is a serious banger. In these plague times, it delivers the best kind of top down, sing it at the top of your lungs catharsis.

I Think You Should Leave, season 2: The second series in some ways reminded me of In the Wake of Poseidon by King Crimson. Let me explain. That album had a first side that absolutely sounded and felt a lot like listening to the first side of its predecessor, In the Court of the Crimson King. The scatology. The weird pageants. The desire to double down on a bad decision. Santa. All the themes and memes on display feel familiar. So this new batch of episodes on Netflix sacrifices a degree of shock and newness. And yet, I laughed about as hard as I did at the first season and admired Tim Robinson's willingness to not only end some sketches arbitrarily or with a 180-degree mood swing but also continually step out of the spotlight to let a diverse array of talent shine. I can't imagine season three deviating too much from the formula Robinson and his collaborators have established, but I can imagine laughing at it until I hurt, which I did. And I'll leave it at that.

Faye Webster - I Know I'm Funny haha: There are moments where you would swear this album was recorded around the time Fleetwood Mac's Rumours was. It has the same kind of warm and polished pop and countrified vibe to it. But if these songs sound easy going, they gain a certain tension from Webster's droll lyrics and her languid, sometimes diffident, and other times indifferent, relationship with the grooves and her thoughts. Charming, smart, bemused, and slightly odd, it is one of the year's best albums. But don't buy the vinyl. Mine sounds like it was pressed into a bowl of Rice Krispies.

ABBA's Gold has spent 1,000 weeks on the UK album charts: Do I think that's impressive? I do. I do, I do, I do, I do, I do.


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