Staff Picks
What We’re Listening To – February’s Picks

 

I am packing as many great listens as I can into the shortest month of the year! Here is what I am listening to at home, at work, and when I am on the move.

 
Meaning of MichelleDuring her eight years in the White House, Michelle Obama has been an advocate for health, children, military families, women, and Americans in general. With grace, class, and style, she has touched the lives of countless people as First Lady and created an incredibly high standard for the role. In The Meaning of Michelle, 16 different contributors share what FLOTUS has meant to them; from Roxanne Gay to Ava DuVernay, Philippa Soo to Marcus Samuelsson. Listening to these essays, I am inspired to act for the change I want and believe in. When in doubt, just think “WWMD?” (What Would Michelle Do?)

 

David Axelrod, former adviser to President Obama and current CNN commentator, started the bi-partisan Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago in 2013; in 2015 he began to ask guests that were scheduled to speak at the university to sit down with him for an in depth conversation and The Axe Files podcast was born. Many of the episodes feature political figures, but what is unique is that they are from both sides of the aisle; one week Sen. Lindsey Graham and the next Sen. Claire McCaskill. He also mixes in a fair number of pop-culture figures like Jon Stewart, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Joakim Noah just to name a few.  Axelrod is a gifted moderator in that he gives his guests the opportunity to speak about and explore the experiences that have shaped them. I always feel like I know more about the world we live in after I listen and am constantly impressed at how my horizons have been broadened in a mere hour.

Westworld

 

 

 

 

Some people are suckers for beautiful cinematography, but for me music is an essential part of any TV show or movie. When done right, the music is a character and helps to fully transport you to another world. The two soundtracks I am obsessed with right now are the scores from Westworld and the episode tracklists from Insecure. You could not really have more opposite ends of the spectrum, but both are perfect in their own ways. The sweeping, classical pieces from Westworld become a creative white noise, perfect for buckling down to finish a spreadsheet at work or to drift off to sleep. The songs from Insecure are bold, fiery, and unapologetic, just like the show, and get me through spinning or trudging home in the snow. HBO is definitely doing things right, and I highly recommend both!