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Listen to the 42 Songs That Inspired Black Mirror’s “San Junipero” Episode

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In addition to being one of Black Mirror’s most universally acclaimed episodes, season three’s “San Junipero” installment is also notable for being one of the hit series’ most uplifting episodes ... well, as “uplifting” as a show about the many ways technology can be terrifying can be. Part of the episode’s strength is that it’s partly rooted in 1980s nostalgia—specifically: 1987—with all its bad fashions and great music.

While the episode itself features a handful of highly recognizable tunes—including Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth” and The Smiths’s “Girlfriend in a Coma”—series creator Charlie Brooker’s musical inspiration for the episode went far beyond what you hear during its runtime. Now, he’s paying tribute to all 42 of the songs that informed the episode’s narrative with a new Spotify playlist, according to NME.

The musical genres range from straight pop to rap, with Madonna, INXS, Depeche Mode, Run DMC, and Public Enemy among the featured artists. Even Was (Not Was), the band behind “Walk the Dinosaur,” gets some airtime.

In an interview with Vogue, Brooker explained his reasons for setting the episode in the past:

"One, I wanted to do a period episode. Two, I’d read that some people were worried that after Black Mirror went to Netflix it was going to be all Americans. So I thought, ‘All right, f*ck you. Opening scene: California.’ I was deliberately trying to upend what a Black Mirror was. If you think about the first episode of the third season of Black Mirror, you probably picture it’s someone in the year 2045 scowling at the app store. So I thought, let’s not do that. So 1987—I think I would have been about 16—it felt like a really good era to anchor it in. It was shiny, it’s aspirational, and it just felt like the perfect place to revive this sort of simulation, with this heightened, movie-fied version of 1987. And then there’s huge nostalgia for me. All the music I said I hated, I secretly loved all of it; T’Pau and all of that. It was a great way for me to indulge in all those guilty pleasures. To go back and revisit all of that music people claimed to hate in 1987. In the ending, I did want to do something where you saw them in loads of different eras, like in the 1920s. It’s so much fun when it jumps to 1980, and 1996, and 2002.”

Take a listen for yourself on Spotify.

[h/t: NME]

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This Just In
Police Recover Nearly 100 Artifacts Stolen From John Lennon’s Estate
Keystone Features / Stringer / Getty Images
Keystone Features / Stringer / Getty Images

A collection of artifacts stolen from John Lennon’s estate, including diaries, glasses, and handwritten music, has been recovered by German police, the Associated Press reports. After arresting the first suspect, law enforcement is now working to apprehend a second person of interest in the case.

The nearly 100 items went missing from the New York home of the late Beatles star’s widow Yoko Ono in 2006. Years later, German police were tipped off to their whereabouts when a bankruptcy administrator came across the haul in the storage facility of a Berlin auction house. The three leather-bound diaries that were recovered are dated 1975, 1979, and 1980. One entry refers to Lennon’s famous nude photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz, and another was written the morning of December 8, 1980, hours before he was shot and killed. In addition to the journals, police retrieved two pairs of his iconic glasses, a 1965 recording of a Beatles concert, a 1952 school book, contract documents for the copyright of the song “I’m the Greatest”, handwritten scores for "Woman" and "Just Like Starting Over”, and a cigarette case.

German authorities flew to New York to have Ono verify the items' authenticity. "She was very emotional and we noticed clearly how much these things mean to her,” prosecutor Susann Wettley told AP. When the objects will be returned to Ono is still unclear.

The first suspect, a 58-year-old German businessman from Turkey, was arrested Monday, November 21, following a raid of his house and vehicles. The second suspect is one of Ono's former chauffeurs who has a past conviction related to the theft. Police officers are hoping to extradite him from his current home in Turkey before moving forward with the case.

[h/t AP]

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Scientists Analyze the Moods of 90,000 Songs Based on Music and Lyrics
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iStock

Based on the first few seconds of a song, the part before the vocalist starts singing, you can judge whether the lyrics are more likely to detail a night of partying or a devastating breakup. The fact that musical structures can evoke certain emotions just as strongly as words can isn't a secret. But scientists now have a better idea of which language gets paired with which chords, according to their paper published in Royal Society Open Science.

For their study, researchers from Indiana University downloaded 90,000 songs from Ultimate Guitar, a site that allows users to upload the lyrics and chords from popular songs for musicians to reference. Next, they pulled data from labMT, which crowd-sources the emotional valence (positive and negative connotations) of words. They referred to the music recognition site Gracenote to determine where and when each song was produced.

Their new method for analyzing the relationship between music and lyrics confirmed long-held knowledge: that minor chords are associated with sad feelings and major chords with happy ones. Words with a negative valence, like "pain," "die," and "lost," are all more likely to fall on the minor side of the spectrum.

But outside of major chords, the researchers found that high-valence words tend to show up in a surprising place: seventh chords. These chords contain four notes at a time and can be played in both the major and minor keys. The lyrics associated with these chords are positive all around, but their mood varies slightly depending on the type of seventh. Dominant seventh chords, for example, are often paired with terms of endearment, like "baby", or "sweet." With minor seventh chords, the words "life" and "god" are overrepresented.

Using their data, the researchers also looked at how lyric and chord valence differs between genres, regions, and eras. Sixties rock ranks highest in terms of positivity while punk and metal occupy the bottom slots. As for geography, Scandinavia (think Norwegian death metal) produces the dreariest music while songs from Asia (like K-Pop) are the happiest. So if you're looking for a song to boost your mood, we suggest digging up some Asian rock music from the 1960s, and make sure it's heavy on the seventh chords.

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