-What are we all thinking about Taylor Swift‘s new album? I’m only two listens in but I’m digging it. It’s restrained and contemplative (but not introspective — some of the songs are clearly fiction, like “The Last Great American Dynasty,” which is about Rebekah Harkness who once owned Swift’s house, or “Cardigan,” “August” and “Betty” — which is a trilogy revolving around a high school love triangle. Of course, many people think the trilogy is really about Karlie Kloss). My favourite songs from her in the past few years are “Archer” and “Dress,” so I was already in the bag for stripped-down Taylor.
-The reviews are overwhelmingly positive, with the Guardian giving it 5 stars and saying while it’s “Swift’s most coherent record since her staunchly country days, it’s nonetheless her most experimental, developing on Lover’s stranger, more minimalist end,” Buzzfeed saying that “in isolation, alone with a paper and a pen and a guitar, she’s yet again written some fucking great songs,” Rolling Stone praising it for “the most head-spinning, heart-breaking, emotionally ambitious songs of her life,” Billboard noting “there’s nothing quiet about this songwriting tour de force,” Teen Vogue saying “in her restraint, she leaves space for couplets that slice through the heart,” and Variety observing “at least this one won’t require an album-length Ryan Adams remake to convince anyone that there’s songwriting there.”
–Jennifer Lopez turns 51 today, just in case you want to feel bad about yourself.
–Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani debuted the video for their new duet “Happy Anywhere”, which was shot by her brother, Todd Stefani, who quarantined with the couple at Shelton’s Oklahoma ranch.
-There was a panel for The New Mutants at Comic-Con and I think everyone is shocked that it’s still going ahead.
–Mel Gibson‘s rep reveals he was hospitalized back in April with covid. Unlike Tom Hanks, I guess he didn’t feel the duty to share his experience and educate his fans on the seriousness of the virus.
-Here’s another good breakdown of the Britney Spears conservatorship.
-I don’t believe for a second any of the “ratings” numbers Netflix releases, but if they’re bragging about the performance of Charlize Theron‘s Old Guard, hopefully that means a sequel is coming.
-Also, Charlize doesn’t strike me as the most social media plugged in celeb, so her responding to fan praise is great.
-This is a really good piece on how baffling it is that this far into the streaming wars, nobody (not even Netflix) seems to know how to build a good user interface, making browsing a headache and searching an embarrassment. I recently did a Happy Endings rewatch on Amazon Prime and every single time I’d have to search for the next episode, even though I’d watched the previous one the day before.
-Speaking of Amazon Prime, How To Build a Girl starring Beanie Feldstein hits the streaming service today. I saw this last year at TIFF and was very charmed by it.
-Stranger Things’ Joe Keery plays a rideshare driver on a murder spree on the trailer for Spree.