The things we watched, listened to and streamed in the days before the election.
“THIS AMERICAN VOTE IN SONG”
After one of the producers for the podcast “This American Life” compared the 2016 presidential election to tragic opera, the “TAL” team started looking for songwriters. From that idea came three original songs, each written from the perspective of a player in this year’s bizarre political spectacle. Leslie Odom Jr., who earned himself a well-deserved Tony Award for his portrayal of Aaron Burr in “Hamilton,” sings the best of the three — a smooth, R&B tune written by singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles (“Waitress”). The lyrics of the track, titled “Seriously?” are told from the perspective of President Obama. “Red, white and blue, is black in there, too?” he croons. A bouncy track written by the songwriters of Disney’s “Frozen” and performed by Neil Patrick Harris imagines Paul Ryan’s hopes for “A Better Way” in 2020. Rounding out the trio is a Broadway-style rendition of RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’s frustrations with the GOP nominee, “Party Guy.” All three songs are available to download for free on the TAL website until Dec. 3. (Emily Williams, Managing Editor)
“JANE THE VIRGIN”
This mega-meta pseudo-telenovela masterpiece tells the tale of Jane, a virgin who is waiting until marriage, after she gets accidentally artificially inseminated in a mix-up gynecology appointment. And that’s just the beginning (cue: murder, a drug kingpin, a telenovela star and some other insane affairs). The cool — and important — thing about this show is that it breaks all the stereotypes of the ‘telenovela’ — it comments on immigration policy, depicts female relationships in a way that displays female agency and blatantly celebrates Jane’s Venezuelan heritage. (Jane’s grandmother, a central character, doesn’t speak one word of English, and instead, her dialogue is delivered in Spanish with English subtitles.) The best part? Gina Rodriguez, or “Jane,” is empowering, philanthropic and smart in real life, too. (Madeleine LaPlante-Dube, Opinion Editor)
“CUBS IN FIVE” BY THE MOUNTAIN GOATS
“And the Chicago Cubs will beat every team in the league,” sings The Mountain Goats’ poetic lead vocalist, John Darnielle. “And the Tampa Bay Bucs will make it all the way to January. And I will love you again.” It’s a crooning celebration of the underdog, a hopeful declaration that someday the little guy will emerge victorious. And after last Wednesday, it’s finally starting to ring true. (Devon Shuman, Culture Editor)