Extremely Good Shit of August 2016

Tinashe, Britney, Carly Rae, and none for ‘Suicide Squad’ bye

I, like so many others, had the immense misfortune of paying whole American dollars to see the edgy Myspace signature/Hot Topic reject bin that was Suicide Squad. Yes, we could discuss how DC can’t catch a break while Marvel, meanwhile, will never catch an L. We could discuss Captain Boomerang bouncing on the Squad only to return minutes later for a gratuitous slow-mo group walking shot. We could absolutely discuss Jared Leto’s growling. We could discuss why Common was even in the movie at all.

Instead, let’s talk about Geoffrey Lapid’s fantastic anticipatory breakdown of which characters were destined to become the breakout stars of Suicide Squad. Not only does he nail his prediction of Slipknot’s completely anticlimactic early death (they’re the Suicide Squad, get it?????? #hardcore), he asks the most important question of all:

“Are we about done trying to make Cara Delevingne happen?”

As per usual, The Ringer can be counted upon to assemble a crack team of experts to compile a list of the winners and losers of DC Presents: Guardians of the Galaxy (But Like, Edgier).

And of course, no cultural event is fully integrated into the zeitgeist without a signature Clare Mulligan Hot Take™:

And finally, Gracie Law wrote a fantastic and thoughtful open letter (that phrase is usually an oxymoron, but not in this case) to Zack Snyder upbraiding him for ruining the DC Cinematic Universe and to Warner Bros. for allowing his consistent mediocrity to flourish.

Surprise! My Extremely Good Shit series is actually just a long con to promote my own work!

I ranked every Kesha song, unafraid to alienate friends in the process:

I wrote a short play about encountering a walking neckbeard who told me I was “attractive for someone who’s, you know… gay”:

And finally, I investigated the Clinton family’s undeniable connections to the murder of Harambe:

I already gave props to The Ringer, but Allison P. Davis deserves special accolades this month. She gave us not only a wonderful piece on podcast queen extraordinaire Phoebe Robinson:

But also the definitive guide to where best to date naked/accept a rose/vote someone off the island:

I’ve been saying for months that “Tinashe will get it right eventually,” and she finally has. The beleaguered popstar has been trying to release her new album Joyride for months, and her Joyride World Tour came and went without its titular album. Recent promo singles “Ride of Your Life” and “Party Favors” have shown that Tinashe isn’t afraid of throwing everything on a track just to see what sticks. She needs a certified Summer Banger™ to have a shot at becoming more than a pop cautionary tale, and new single “Superlove” is hopefully it. It’s a buzzy, breezy popsicle of a track, refreshing and cool while still light on nutritional content.

#LetTinasheSing #FreeJoyride

I am extremely tempted to make titanic.jezebel.com my new homescreen. Sure, Gawker may be dead, but Jezebel’s Titanic Tuesday (and Wednesday, and Thursday, and…) is all I need. While every single Titanic Tuesday post is some Extremely Good Shit, my two favorites were Joanna Rothkopf’s hard-hitting investigation into Rose and Jack going to pound town in the car:

And Clover Hope’s list of what future Titanic Tuesday articles would be, if only our God was a generous God:

Glory, the new Britney Spears album, doesn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of In the Zone and Femme Fatale. Britney’s voice has been warped and modulated so much that at times she sounds like a sexy chipmunk, and none of the tracks are particularly groundbreaking — remember when she invented dubstep with “Hold It Against Me”?

While the tracks might veer into saccharine territory, there are a few standouts. “Liar,” a much-delayed clapback towards Justin Timberlake, was well worth the wait. The chorus is a torrent of handclaps and anthemic strings, and Britney emotes more than on the entirety of Britney Jean. “Better” and “Love Me Down” are both absolute bangers, and the latter does L.A.M.B.-era Gwen Stefani better than Gwen herself.

One of my personal favorites is “If I’m Dancing,” a buzzy and heavily syncopated percussion-heavy track perfect for voguing or editing over videos of Rihanna:

I don’t have a lot to say about E•MO•TION: Side B, the new EP from Carly Rae Jepsen, that I haven’t already said about last year’s E•MO•TION. They’re both cut from the same 80’s pop cloth, and that’s just fine with me.

Anyway, listen to “Store” because it’s about breaking up with a boy by leaving and telling him you’re “just going to the store.” QUEEN OF EMOTIONAL DISTANCE! QUEEN OF AVOIDING CONFLICT! QUEEN OF CONSUMERISM!

Critics hated The Bronze, a low-budget indie comedy about gymnastics that came out on DVD in mid-August. I loved it for the reasons they hated it: the protagonist is a nasty, spiteful, egocentric woman, and its outlook is aggressively cynical. Melissa Rauch directs and stars as Hope Ann Gregory, a former Olympian unable to move on from her glory days until she’s forced to train Maggie (Haley Lu Richardson), a bright-eyed and naive teenage gymnastics prodigy. The plot is a bit overdone — immature, self-obsessed cynic finds the joy in helping others — but Rauch’s Hope is an engaging spitfire with a grating Minnesotan twang that’s perfectly suited for delivering bon mots like “absence makes the dick grow harder.”

Dua Lipa is on a mission to Make British Pop Great Again. She has the swagger of a Rolling Stone and a deep, rich voice that’s perfect for stomping choruses and soaring bridges. On “Blow Your Mind (Mwah),” Lipa serves up self-confidence and flirtatiousness in equal measures over a funky beat.

The opening lines of “Trust Issues,” the debut single by 16-year-old Olivia O’Brien, really say it all:

A good girl is better than millions of bitches
But one bitch can leave you with millions of stitches
And I don’t wanna say I’m that bitch but I’ll never be a missus
I’m just gonna say you’ll never see me in a kitchen

It’s a moody, layered argument for staying single with brutally honest lyrics. O’Brien isn’t a teenager trying to ape the voice of an adult — she’s genuinely mature in her immaturity. Between O’Brien and Sophie Beem, I’m confident that the future of pop music is safe in the hands of teen girls.

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