Culture & Food » Arts & Culture

For Your Consideration

Indie-pop, catching up with Spader and arena-sized comedy

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ALBUM | It's been three years since Welsh indie-pop artist Marina Diamandis — better known as Marina and the Diamonds — has dropped an album, her most recent release being Electra Heart in 2012. Her newest compilation, FROOT, while a definite direction change from her sassy, in-your-face previous work, is worth a listen. It's the first album that Diamandis has written completely on her own, and while the album's slower pace and calmer overall tone has led a few critics to label it as "dark," Diamandis has said that it's just much more self-reflective than her other albums. You can decide which adjective you find more fitting, but either way it's undeniable that Diamandis' voice, more than ever before, is exquisite.

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TV | The end of the second season of NBC's THE BLACKLIST is rapidly approaching, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't try your hardest to start from the beginning and get caught up by the May 14 finale. James Spader, as the sarcastic, high-profile criminal Raymond Reddington, is the epitome of every villain you've ever hated to love and is intriguing enough to be the sole reason you start your Netflix and Hulu binge immediately. Each episode is named for the criminal Reddington helps the FBI take down in exchange for their promise to keep him out of jail, and each is more thrilling than the last. There's mystery, deceit and all kinds of insane twists that set Blacklist apart from just any old crime show. It's been renewed for a third season, so you won't feel abandoned come September.

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COMEDY | Aziz Ansari has been living in the comedy spotlight for a few years now, so much so that he recently performed his stand-up act live for a sold-out Madison Square Garden. It's OK to envy those who actually got to be a part of the audience, but the great news is that Ansari has partnered with Netflix, and now AZIZ ANSARI LIVE AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN can be viewed by anyone. The hour-long special is a laugh-a-minute and also chock-full of relatable content. Ansari touches on everything from flaws in the meatpacking industry to technology's ill effects on the dating world, and as disjointed as that set probably sounds, it works hilariously. ♦