By Muna Agwa

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Album: Solar Power by Lorde

Book Suggestion: Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri 

Both Lorde and Lahiri use simplistic and beautiful writing styles that tell a story. They infuse their works of art with naturalism. They find a way to make the most mundane aspects of life irresistibly interesting. Lorde’s album celebrates and observes the changing landscapes around us, while Lahiri offers portraits and notes on the mental landscapes within us. I thoroughly enjoyed both this book and album, and they both have a certain timelessness to them that makes it easy to return to them often.

Album: folklore by Taylor Swift

Book Suggestion: On Earth, We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong 

Taylor and Ocean are both masterful writers whose work is full of evocative and poetic lyricism. Both the album and the book have striking storytelling, and they muddle the line between what is autobiographical and what is imagined by the artist. They approach their real-life experiences through a fictional or metaphorical lens. Both this book and album have a special place in my heart, and I return to them often. Every time I press play or flip through the pages, I know it’s going to make me think and feel deeply.

Album: Happier Than Ever by Billie Eilish

Book Suggestion: SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson 

Both Happier Than Ever and SHOUT breach serious topics in a raw and poetic way. The book and album are personally reflective for the artist and comment on the experiences of teenage girls growing up in a society that tries to demean and diminish them. Upon reading the book and listening to the album, they have a coming-of-age feeling. They seem like a sort of catharsis for the creators. I appreciate the themes, messages, and personal stories woven throughout both the album and book.

Album: Euphoria (Original Score from the HBO Series) by Labrinth

Book Suggestion: Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami 

Both the book and the album have an offbeat, psychological feel to them. They’re experimental and you can’t really tell what’s going on the entire time, but it’s wholly captivating. (And maybe a little unsettling.) If you like something artistically and intellectually stimulating though, then Kafka on the Shore makes a perfect pair with the Euphoria soundtrack. They both contain a specific, channeled chaos within them and have a deconstructed vibe that brings readers/listeners into a new and unfamiliar world. Both the book and the album are super interesting and atmospheric, and they linger in my thoughts after I engage with them.

Album: Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers

Book Suggestion: Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney 

Both this album and book leave me feeling like I’m on the brink of an existential crisis, and I love them for that. Both Punisher and Beautiful World, Where Are You feel expansive and ask questions about the greater scheme of life. And somehow, I feel grounded by reading/listening to both of them. Beautiful World, Where Are You has a minimalistic, real-life vibe with an idyllic touch like the sound of the tracks on Punisher. These works aren’t going to make you feel particularly happy, but they will leave you thinking and feeling intensely.

Album: Plastic Hearts by Miley Cyrus

Book Suggestion: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

Malibu Rising is set mainly in the 80s, which matches really well with the disco-pop/rock sound of Plastic Hearts. Both the book and the album capture an era really vividly. The book centers around a party where the climax takes place, and the upbeat tracks on the album fit well with a party setting. Lyrically, the album eerily lines up with different characters’ backstories and perspectives in the book.