New year, new recommendations


In the January 2021 edition of The Echo Recommends, The Echo staff provides some things for you to try out in the new year.

As January finally comes to an end, surviving another eleven months in 2021 may seem difficult. The Echo has curated a list of some of our favorites that we hope will entertain you throughout the new year and maybe even help you achieve that “new you.”

Jason Verdin – Disney/Pixar’s “Soul” on Disney+ 

If the Marvel branch of Disney is parallel to telling stories of powers that we wished we had, then the Pixar branch of Disney is parallel to telling stories of the inexplicable, yet totally obvious aspects of life. From explaining emotions in “Inside Out” to telling a story about a sense of belonging in “Toy Story,” Disney/Pixar tackles another fascinating aspect of life in their newest film, “Soul.” “Soul” tells the story of Joe Gardner, a jazz pianist that gets the big break of a lifetime only to die minutes after. It explores notions of the afterlife, the creation of personalities and whether or not someone has one true purpose in life. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s healing, it’s life giving (quite literally) and it’s got some great jazz music!

Check out our own review written by Nwanne Nwosisi.

Dana Balmas – The Best Chipotle Order Ever

I am about to tell you a deeply personal secret. Yes, it is my Chipotle order. To quote the wise child from Vine, “Chipotle is my life.” The endless variety of combinations to order is truly intriguing and a metaphor for the many difficult choices in life. Confused? Try being a high school senior walking into Chipotle and viewing every topping as a different college. Do you see how that could be overwhelming and exciting all at the same time? This is how Chipotle really has been my life for these past few months of college apps… Here is MY order though: A steak burrito bowl with white rice, black beans, yes guac (it is important to treat yourself occasionally), mild salsa, yes cheese (the more queso, the better), yes lettuce, no sour cream (please don’t come for me, I just don’t like it okay) and finally heck yes to the veggies. There is the secret to a successful Chipotle trip, you are welcome. 

Hazel Booth – “Jade City” by Fonda Lee

This fantasy novel creates a city that is so intricately constructed, from its history to the political machinations of those who run it, you’ll end the book wishing you could live in it. It follows four family members from No Peak, one of the ruling clans, and their journey as they shape the future of their city while they fight the Mountain, an opposing clan. The four are enmeshed in an engrossing world of politics, honor and the magic that the clans lay claim to as well as relationships complicated by clan dealings. If you want a break from the current politics, pick up “Jade City” to fall in love with a world, the people who inhabit it and watch with held breath to see what decisions they’ll make.

Abby Apeland – Exercise

Going for a quick run or doing a little workout that gets you sweating is a great way to destress and feel better. These activities have many benefits for the body and mind, releasing natural endorphins, which are happy chemicals, making you feel happier and have a positive outlook afterwards. With everybody stuck inside their homes and constantly sitting down, this is a great way to get the body moving and be active. 

Jaclyn Bobbe – “Bridgerton” on Netflix 

This eight-episode series, based on novels written by author Julia Quinn, takes place during the Regency era in London’s high society when debutantes are presented at court. This show is completely binge-worthy, and I finished watching it in a day! If you love romance and watching period pieces, I highly recommend watching this show. I hope they come out with a second season!

Olivia Durcan – Stretching

Take a few minutes every morning to stretch to start your day. Stretching can relieve stress, increase blood circulation, and ease any aches or pains. There are countless videos online that target different parts of the body and guide you through various stretches. Since students have to sit in a chair every day for school, their bodies might be feeling tense and uncomfortable throughout the week. 

Sachin Fong – “Lenox Hill”

If you want a real life version of “Grey’s Anatomy,” this is for you. “Lenox Hill” is a great way to follow a doctor’s journey and their attempts to balance their personal and work lives. It takes you into the REAL (unlike Grey-Sloan Memorial) hospital, and shows you insight into a hospital. For anyone who wants to know about the life of doctors, this is for you. You can find the show on Netflix, and it only has one season right now. The episodes are a little lengthy, so don’t watch it during class. 

Augustine Gallespen – BENEE

BENEE is an amazing artist whose best known for her song “Supalonely” which trended on Tik Tok last year. Her music is often compared to Billie Eilish’s and is categorized as Contemporary R&B, Indie pop and Alternative/Indie. Personally, I love how her songs have a range of emotion and sounds. “Snail” is a great, peppy song for when you need some serotonin and want to headbang in your kitchen after school. “Night Garden,” on the other hand, is more chill with a midnight vibe, but is still as much as a bop. Her songs can be streamed on any platform and her radio on Spotify opens up to other similar and amazing songs and artists.

Isabela Graham – Episode

Episodes have really dramatic stories that you can read about, you also get to create stories which other people can read and view. The stories are usually about petty teen drama, but it’s actually pretty funny and entertaining to watch when you’re in a pandemic.

Aarti Gupta – “Melodrama”

The new year has caused me to feel a mix of emotions that aren’t the best, and it has been difficult for me to calm myself down when I’m feeling low. I’ve found that listening to music often helps me relax, and this month, I’ve found myself returning to some of my favorite albums from the past that I continue to listen to. “Melodrama” by Lorde is an absolute classic to me—one that makes me feel euphoric even when I’m upset. Some of my favorites off the album include “Hard Feelings/Loveless,” “Liability (Reprise),” “Sober,” “The Louvre” and “Supercut.” Lorde sings eloquently about complex emotions that I connect to, even though I may not have experienced exactly what she is discussing. I know the lyrics of the album may be sad, but it’s a melodrama, so I’ll find myself feeling happy from time to time. 

Salman Khan – Opening a Minecraft Realm

The world of gaming is a great way to keep up with friends while social distancing; personally, my friends and I have had tons of fun starting a Minecraft Realm. Arguably the most famous game of the 2010’s, Minecraft is a sandbox adventure game with plenty of opportunities for creativity. From building a town square to exploring the deep sea to taking down extraplanar dragons, Minecraft has a bit of something for everyone. Hopping onto a friend’s world to build a house or explore a ravine is always a good time, but for $7.99/month (or less with a six-month subscription), you and your friends can run a whitelisted Minecraft server which can support up to ten people at once! Even without a Minecraft Realm, Minecraft is easy-to-learn, relatively inexpensive and available on several platforms (with cross-platform play available with Minecraft: Bedrock Edition), making it a perfect choice to pick up playing with friends. While playing, I suggest running a Zoom or Discord call with friends to make the experience even more enjoyable. Happy mining!

Enoch Kim – “Breaking Bad” on Netflix

Bryan Cranston plays Walter White, a struggling high school chemistry teacher who discovers that he has terminal cancer. Due to fears of leaving his family behind with nobody to provide for them, he turns to making methamphetamine with his former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) in hopes of leaving a nest egg for his two kids and daughter. Starting in the local drug trade as a kind-hearted, “Mr. Rogers” of sorts, White eventually transforms into a ruthless killer, capable of crossing every moral line. An excellent study of human devolution and morality, “Breaking Bad” is my pick because of it’s excellent portrayal of what depths humans will go to when forced into life’s worst circumstances.

Ben LeGrand – My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman – Dave Chappelle

David Letterman returns with his hard hitting interview show with one of the greatest comedians of all time, Dave Chappelle. Chappelle and Letterman touch on topics such as Chappelle’s activities during his 10 year absence from the spotlight, how quarantine has affected both of them, the recent BLM rallies and overall culture in 2020. Two of my favorite celebrities combine for an entertaining interview. 

Ollie Mallett – “Disenchantment”

Disenchantment” is a sitcom that has recently gained a third season. The animated series has talented people working behind the scenes, such as Matt Groening, the creator of “The Simpsons.” “Disenchantment” follows the story of a young medieval princess, Bean, who goes on adventures with her friends Lucy, a demon, and Elfo, an elf. The characters feel like they fit with today’s comedy and mindset while still living thousands of years ago, and the clashing of the two time periods creates a unique story that you can’t find anywhere else. “Disenchantment” season three is now streaming on Netflix, and I would definitely recommend checking it out.

Nwanne Nwosisi – “Punisher”

“Punisher” is an album by Phoebe Bridgers that was released on June 18, 2020. This complex and richfully engaging indie-rock album tells a story of feeling disconnected from a sense of self and the utter loneliness and pain that comes with meeting to an end. This album has been Grammy-nominated for Best Alternative Music Album, and her song “Kyoto” for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song.  

Jena Patel – “A Thousand Splendid Suns”

“A Thousand Splendid Suns” written by Khaled Hosseini is a riveting story. This compelling novel takes the reader on a heart-wrenching journey through the eyes of both Mariam and Laila, the book’s two main characters. This is one of the most eye-opening books I have ever read. Hosseini also wrote “The Kite Runner,” which was another riveting read. If you haven’t read either of these books, I highly recommend them!