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Arts and Culture News

What's making us happy: What to listen to this weekend

This week, BTS dropped by the White House, a 13-year old speller got a second chance, and a young royal was all of us.

Here's what NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour Crew was paying attention to — and what you should listen to this weekend to kick off Pride month.

"About Damn Time," by Lizzo

Everything about Lizzo's new song "About Damn Time" just makes me smile – from the opening baseline to the way she says "it's bad b**** o'clock" and "it's thick thirty". There's one particular section that's become a trending dance on TikTok, so I hear it all the time and it's stuck in my head constantly:

In a minute I'ma need a sentimental

Man or woman to pump me up

Feeling fussy, walkin' in my Balenci-ussy's

Tryna bring out the fabulous

It's good that no one can see me, because I'm not a dancer, and the fact that the song is getting me to dance is remarkable. Lizzo has a tutorial that's really fun and she will teach you, but she'll also be kind of mean about it. –Mallory Yu

"Last Last" by Burna Boy

I'm a big fan of Burna Boy, and "Last Last," which he just released, is the perfect summer song for me. He performed at the Billboard Music Awards recently, and I can't wait for his new album, called Love, Damini. –Bilal Qureshi

"Devastatingly Mediocre," by Deanna Petcoff

It's a great time to be dating and out in the world, which means it's an even better time to break up with your bummer boyfriend – and I have an anthem for you. The song is "Devastatingly Mediocre," by Deanna Petcoff.

In it, she talks about being in love with a man who's devastatingly mediocre, and this is the anthem you need to be singing along to with your friends in your car, once you've left that devastatingly mediocre partner and are experiencing the full freedom of a fun, flirty summer vibe. –Margaret Willison

Las Culturistas, The 300 songs of the Great Global Songbook

The podcast Las Culturistas recently issued a series of three episodes called The 300 Songs of the Great Global Songbook, where they simply name and rank the best songs of all time. Counting down from 300, it takes them over five hours to do it, and it is pure chaos energy.

The temerity on display here, the gall, the blithe disregard for logic and song quality, the fact that Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" is ranked 297 – it is wildly unpredictable, to say the very least, and they are just pure chaos agents. It's a great listen. –Glen Weldon

More recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter

  • Friend of Pop Culture Happy Hour Joe Reid rose to a challenge issued on Twitter and created a version of the Melrose Place credits with the cast of Angels in America. It's a pure delight.
  • I've been watching some thrillers recently, and I have to give some credit to Will Smith in Enemy of the State if you're looking for a surveillance nightmare. He really knows how to do that regular-guy thing, and since last week's recommendation was The Conversation, another Gene Hackman movie seems like the right follow-up. 
  • NPR has a great new project offering books to represent all 50 states. The selections are fascinating and varied.
  • Our friend Eric Deggans asks why Disney doesn't do more to protect actors, given that racist fans are so common.
  • I really recommend you try the series This Is Going To Hurt, which started streaming on AMC+ and Sundance Now this week. Starring Ben Whishaw as a National Health Service doctor, it's good enough to give one of those services a try just to get a chance to see it. –Linda Holmes

  • If you like these suggestions, consider signing up for our newsletter to get recommendations every week. And listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

    Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.