Music Features

A Leftist Reading of Ariana Grande's "Positions" Music Video

Ariana Grande isn't writing the "Communist Manifesto" with this one, but the video opens the door for a core tenet of leftist work: imagining alternative structures to create a different world.

Ariana Grande in "Positions"

Upon first listen, focused more on the visuals than the lyrics, I assumed Ariana Grande's "Positions" was about the professional multidimensionality of women.

This did not turn out to be the case. Interpret the actual lyrics however you will, the song is a certifiable banger; and, more importantly, the video Makes Some Points.

In the David Meyers-directed visual of the lead single and title track of her new album, Ariana Grande is President. She struts around the recognizable rooms of the White House in recognizable Jackie O-inspired outfits, but the world she is living in seems not to be ours. How can it be when she's surrounded almost exclusively by women and BIPOC?

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Culture Feature

The 9 Best JRPGs of the PS4 Era

The modern boom of JRPGs

Square Enix

They don't make JRPGs like they used to, but maybe that's a good thing.

While classic JRPGs thrived during the PlayStation 1 era and saw major innovations during the PlayStation 2 era, the PlayStation 3 era marked a major fall from grace for the genre. Save for a few major titles like Dark Souls and Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, fresh JRPG releases had grown increasingly scarce, and even the more major titles like Final Fantasy XIII were plagued by mixed reviews.

But with the PlayStation 4, JRPGs have seen a return to prominence. Sure, there may not be as many individual releases of bizarre, unheard of IPs like there were during the PS1 era, but PS4 era JRPGs have more than made up for quantity with quality. These are the best-of-the-best:

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Square Enix

By the mid-2000s, the classic JRPG formula was giving way to new innovations intended to keep the genre fresh.

The best PlayStation 1-era JRPGs were largely defined by the ways that they built upon the turn-based combat a menu navigation mechanics of their predecessors (with the most famous example being Final Fantasy VII's Active Time Battle system, which put turns on an always-running timer instead of a set order).

PlayStation 2-era JRPGs largely benefitted from the fruits of these labors, keeping the things that worked and playing around with the things that didn't. As such, the PS2 featured a diverse catalogue of JRPGs that ran the gamut from classic throwbacks to entirely new combat systems that seemed to throw the entire playbook out the window. These are the best of the best.

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