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Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

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Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Adam Steinhauer, Marketing Director • May 10, 2024
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Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Adam Steinhauer, Marketing Director • May 10, 2024
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Eagle Spirit dancer Migizii Kwe dances with the audience at this years East Lansing Art Festival. Photo credit: Samantha Ku/WDBM
2024 East Lansing Art Festival Q&A
Samantha Ku, Writer/Volunteer • May 18, 2024

Heather Majano is the Art Festival & Arts Initiative Coordinator under the East Lansing Parks, Recreation & Arts department, she...

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Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Adam Steinhauer, Marketing Director • May 10, 2024
View All
Eagle Spirit dancer Migizii Kwe dances with the audience at this years East Lansing Art Festival. Photo credit: Samantha Ku/WDBM
2024 East Lansing Art Festival Q&A
Samantha Ku, Writer/Volunteer • May 18, 2024

Heather Majano is the Art Festival & Arts Initiative Coordinator under the East Lansing Parks, Recreation & Arts department, she...

We Watch It For The Music | Everything Everywhere All at Once

We+Watch+It+For+The+Music+%7C+Everything+Everywhere+All+at+Once

Award show season is wrapping up for the year, with the Oscars taking place this past Sunday. Arguments have sparked on who honestly deserved that Best Picture win or if Jimmy Kimmel was actually funny this year, but I have an issue with all of it. Don’t get me wrong, all the nominees and winners this year are well-deserving, and the films are exceptional, but I’m a bit stuck.

See, I’m still trapped in last year, sitting on the couch as award after award goes out, leg bouncing, fingers crossed as Best Picture steadily approaches. I’ve never been interested in watching award shows, getting all worked up over things I can’t change and opinions I don’t share, but last year I was a moth to a flame all because of one movie: Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Everything Everywhere All at Once follows the stories of the Wang family. Evelyn Wang eloped to the United States from China with her husband Waymond, then had their daughter, Joy. They lead a dull life, running the laundromat downstairs and filling out tax forms as their marriage’s spark continues to dim — except there’s something this version of them doesn’t know. There’s an interdimensional rupture and a serial killer overlord traveling across these dimensions killing every version of Evelyn she finds. Probably not what you were expecting to hear, right?

The soundtrack of this film, composed by the trio Son Lux, harbors an intensely maximalist energy. Utilizing various forms of composition and a symphony of instruments, this score matches the absolutely wacky and chaotic mannerisms the directors wanted for this film.

When directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, also known as the Daniels, began the hunt for their composer, they found that the density of material, texture and character of Son Lux’s music fit their vision perfectly. The Daniels are typically known for their absurdity, so they didn’t want your average “Hollywood” composer, and they didn’t want your average “Hollywood” film.

When Son Lux first began working on the score for this film, the Daniels had this odd idea to use “Clair De Lune,” a melodic, mellow and romantic piece as the symbol of their monstrous IRS worker, Dierdre. It’s sprinkled throughout the film but is first noticed about halfway through the piece above, in the dead center of a fight scene.

In an interview with NPR, Son Lux speaks on their original confusion with the Daniels’ idea to include this piece, but when they stepped into their mind, they realized how this piece reverse engineers her character. They remark on this unique choice, explaining that, initially, “They were wondering, ‘Could we hear this melody for this character? She’s kind of a monster. She’s like a domestic monster. She’s a surreal monster. She’s all these different versions of a monster. But in the end, she’s also a broken, beautiful lover.’”

The scene above introduces us to our villain Jobu Tupaki, Joy’s alter ego. She can be whoever she wants, wherever she wants, whenever she wants, but she spends her time searching for the version of her mother capable of comprehending the complexity of the multiverse — the version feeling everything she feels. 

As this song begins, we’re presented with more of a gentleness, feeling rather sympathetic for Joy. Those emotions continue to grow as Joy monologues about how insignificant we are. She introduces us to the bagel she created out of boredom one day: an everything bagel with every thought, creation and object on it causing it to implode in on itself.

Her nihilistic mindset piles up, leading to her claim that “If nothing matters, then all the pain and guilt you feel for making nothing of your life, it goes away” leading us up to the song’s only line of lyrics:

Sucked /

into /

a bagel.”

 

At this point in the film, Evelyn is dangerously close to fully grasping the concept of interdimensional travel and universe jumping. Her plan amid a fight is to jump to a universe where she sings opera, hoping to possess a larger lung capacity. The wickedly talented Surrija voices Evelyn, a renowned opera singer, in this universe. As opera singer Evelyn serenades us, we watch as a fight unfolds. 

This scene is very unique when you consider typical fight scene music in film. Traditionally, there’s a lot of intensity and electricity in a fight scene, but I don’t particularly see that in this one. Evelyn doesn’t look like your average fit and powerful superhero, so watching her fight just like one, partnered with the music’s cultural tones, truly adds to her character’s power. 

This next scene came plummeting full speed at me, leaving a permanent crater in my soul, and it’s all Waymond’s fault. As the film finishes its crawl to climax, we’re presented with a huge moment of realization from Evelyn.

After bouncing around from dimension to dimension, collecting skills, Evelyn realizes that winning this fight was right in front of her all along. No matter how cliche it sounds, Waymond’s message of kindness in this scene pushes Evelyn’s perspective in the right direction. While Evelyn has spent this entire film tossing Waymond aside, daydreaming about alternate universes without him, she has been completely blind to the important part he plays.

It’s in this moment, with pinwheels of color spinning on their faces and flashing lights surrounding, where we receive a deeper glimpse into who Waymond and Evelyn really are. Waymond knows Evelyn sees herself as a fighter, but what she doesn’t see is his way of fighting. His empathy and his heart are what lead him in battle, as represented in this piece by the melodic and gentle piano.

There’s a specific sound to “In Another Life” that dog piles all my emotions on top of one another. It carries a melancholic yet hopeful message. So, what better way to end this beautiful buildup than with the quote that absolutely destroyed me? 

“In another life, I would have really liked just doing laundry and taxes with you.” 

There are no words to describe how this quote affected me. Really, I just wanted an excuse to mention it since I think about it nearly daily. Waymond is such a bright and playful character throughout this film, so seeing this broken side of him adds so much more to the sucker punch feeling the line brings. There’s nostalgia and memories we’re thrown into that aren’t even ours.

If you needed to sum up the energy of this film into one piece, it would be this next one. At the climax of our film, we’re presented with “Come Recover (Empathy Fight),” a piece encapsulating, well, everything.

This scene sees Evelyn and Joy on opposite sides of our existential bagel: one with fists clenched, prepared to fight, and the other ready with open arms. Starting with a gentle, everyday piano melody leading into shimmering strings, the piece quickly builds into an outburst of instrumentals, matching the explosion of the everything bagel. 

Whenever I listen to this piece, I am presented with every thought, feeling and emotion I’ve ever experienced on a silver platter. I’m thrown back to the theater, silent tears streaking my face, matching my Mom’s beside me, feeling hit after hit. Mismatched sounds, funky instrumentals and the trademark background vocalizing make it nearly impossible to walk out of this film with the same mindset you walked in with.

The movie’s over, your brain has turned to mush and you’re probably crying. Cue Mitski and David Byrne! As the credits roll, lead vocalist of the Talking Heads and Mitski provide us with the perfect soundtrack for an existential crisis. Beneath the utter confusion of what just happened on screen, Mitski and Byrne present a melancholic ballad emphasizing Evelyn and Joy’s re-found love and acceptance of each other. 

This is a light (Many lives that could’ve been) /

Free from entropy (Entangled for eternity).

Evelyn could’ve chosen from a million lifetimes and opportunities. She could’ve been an actress, an author, an athlete or astronaut. She could’ve chosen not to run away with Waymond, or to never have kids, yet she chooses to be in this moment, in this life, no matter how hard it is. This film, through all its chaos, absurdity and pandemonium, really is just a message of love, no matter how you choose to perceive it. 

This is a life /

Slow and sudden miracles /

View of other worlds from our window sills /

With the weight of etеrnity at the speed of light.

So, let me ask you this: If you had the opportunity to demolish the universe, eradicate all signs of life, wash away your mistakes and everything you wish you did differently, what would be the poppy seeds on your imploding bagel? How about the sesame? Or the salt? Which failed dreams would take the place of garlic? What insanity would be the dried onions? Every piece of gum you chewed? Every scent of Yankee Candle? 

What would take the lead on your existential void of a bagel?

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