Recent Arts & Culture: Music and Literature
By Melanie Purificati
In recent months, many areas of art and humanities have come to life through new literature, music, and film releases. This article will briefly outline some of the ones that, as a writer and art lover, I have come to believe deserve a space to be appreciated and recommended to you readers.
“Reminders of Him” by Colleen Hoover
This novel was released near the end of January and has received an uproar of positive responses and reviews. Hoover has grown in popularity tremendously in the past year especially as her following grew through the popular app Tiktok, under the commonly known hashtag “#booktok.” She is known particularly for her heart-wrenching novel “It Ends With Us”, which beautifully depicts the difficulties of love and domestic abuse while fighting between the present and the past.
“Reminders of Him” details the new life of Kenna Rowan, who was recently released from prison for involuntary manslaughter. She goes back to the town where she left her life behind in hopes of meeting the daughter that she gave birth to while imprisoned but never had the chance to know. A key character in her journey to her is a town regular and bar-owner, Ledger, who she quickly develops a complex relationship with as they grapple the secrets of the past and the tragedy, they both faced in the loss of Kenna’s ex-boyfriend and father of her child, Scotty. This novel unleashes the difficulties of love and anguish, past and present, and hope for the future as the characters battle between what they feel and what they know. All the while, it gives us a heart-breaking representation of the difficulties of motherhood, especially when the opportunity to be a mother is kept from Kenna as her character is misunderstood. This novel truly touched me from start to finish in so many ways. It is not just a romance novel; it is a story with many different layers of emotion and takes on very real issues. It is unlike many of Hoover’s novels in the past. Whether it is a novel that will change your perspective on life or not, it is well worth the read as it continues to take over headlines.
“Last Birthday” by Valley
Valley is a Toronto-based pop band that recently debuted their first official album. This album released a few months ago in October of 2021 but was recently rereleased with added commentary. This was done to highlight the underlying messages and thought processes of the artists behind it. The album touches on many different issues, such as childhood wonder, memories, love, society, etc. It has a simple yet feel-good tone to it with the calming yet sometimes upbeat music behind it.
The bands most popular song from the album, “Like 1999” talks about the nostalgia we feel as a new year comes around and we reflect on the time that’s passed. The single relives some of the feel-good memories of the beginning of the millennium and the desire we have all likely felt to return to simpler times, before we had to grow up. For students especially around this age range, this song is a great choice to mellow you out or listen to with friends. Other songs like “SOCIETY” talk about the pressure placed on you by others, pressures to succeed, and how overwhelming it can get at times to find your place. It makes you just want to say, “society sucks.” This album may not be the genre for everyone, but it is well worth a listen in support of this small and uprising Canadian band.