Update 3/4/2021: Warner Bros. has just released early images from the forthcoming remake of Space Jam, and social media has erupted in a torent of outrage — only some of which is ironic.

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Día de los Muertos is about remembering the dead, celebrating their lives, and acknowledging the pain of losing loved ones.

It's a sacred day in Mexico and parts of South America, and it's very much not Halloween.

For Day of the Dead, we've compiled a selection of traditional and contemporary Mexican folk songs meant to honor the holiday, as well as everyone who has made the passage over to the other side.

You might know the last one, "Remember Me," from the film Coco, but Day of the Dead has inspired countless traditional songs, poems, and brilliant works of art. Ultimately, attendees at typical Day of the Dead celebrations will often play the kind of music that their departed loved ones enjoyed, so if you're looking to honor departed loved ones on this day, you might just want to spin their favorite tunes. That said, the Mexican folk music tradition is rich in tradition and sublime in sound, and some of these songs are too gorgeous not to share.

Remember, though, if you're not part of the culture that celebrates this holiday, be careful if, when, and how you decide to partake in this day. Make sure you're not appropriating these cultures, avoid wearing costumes, do some research on the holiday and its meaning and sacredness, and support Mexican artists and causes.

1. La Llorona

This folk song's origins are wrapped in obscurity, but it is known that the song originated a long time ago in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. In 1941, the composer Andres Henestrosa popularized the song. There are numerous modern versions, with everyone from Chavela Vargas to Lila Jones lending their voices and finger-picking skills to the track.

The tune's lyrics are said to come from the original legend of La Llorona, the ghostly "Weeping Woman" of Mexican and South American folklore. Some of the verses were probably written during the Mexican Revolution, and today, it's frequently used to scare children into going to bed. Since it tells the story of a ghost (or a woman who won't allow her lover to leave her, depending on the interpretation), it's a natural fit for Día de los Muertos.

2. La Bruja

Just as La Llorona tells the story of a wicked, ghostly woman, so does La Bruja, which translates loosely to "The Witch." According to legend, La Bruja is a kind of witch that sucks blood like a vampire. Lyrically, like La Llorona, it's also been interpreted as being about a woman who goes out on the hunt for a man, though there are many legends about what its lyrics might be trying to say. Most of the song is from the perspective of someone getting stolen by a witch. Some believe it references the old folk story that witches would dance with candles on their heads, making it look like the candles were floating; others believe it has more ominous implications, but it's really up to the listener.

The song is often used as a children's rhyme, but it's also been gorgeously covered by many artists.

Vincente Chavarria | La Bruja | AEA Sessionswww.youtube.com

3. Calaveritas — Ana Tijoux, Celso Piña

This song was released by Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux to honor the dead, specifically those lost during the Pinochet dictatorship. The title, "Calaveritas," means "little skulls," and it's full of loving messages for those whose lives were lost. Recorded with Mexican musician Celso Piña, it's a blend of traditional, folk, and experimental sounds with a powerful message. "We all carry within us / one who died before us / who appears when night falls and the sun goes out," read some of the lyrics. It also includes a quote from a revolutionary named Pierre Dubois who opposed Pinochet during his regime: "It is not enough to say that justice takes time but it arrives. Justice that is not exercised when appropriate is already unfair."

Ana Tijoux - Calaveritaswww.youtube.com

4. Amor Eterno

This song was written in 1984 by Mexican singer Juan Gabriel and quickly became the most popular song for funerals in his native country. It's a rich, sad, and nostalgic piece, one that pays tribute to loves of old while acknowledging the pain of loss in the present. It's been covered magnificently by countless artists, but Silvana Estrada's version is incredibly moving in its delicacy and compassion.

Juan Gabriel - Amor Eterno (En Vivo [Desde el Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes])www.youtube.com

This well-known song has a way of reappearing in times of need. After the shooting in El Paso, Texas this summer, the song became a staple at funerals and memorial services. "How I wish that you still lived that your precious eyes had never closed so that I could see them eternal love unforgettable," go the lyrics, which ensure that there's never a dry eye when this song is played.

5. Remember Me, Coco

This movie beautifully portrayed Día de los Muertos and was tied together by the gorgeous ballad "Remember Me." In the film, the song is capable of crossing the boundary between life and death, forming an everlasting bond that keeps memories alive and inspires new generations to continue old legacies. It perfectly captures the message of Día de los Muertos: Even after our loved ones say goodbye, they're kept alive by memories and in song, and that's something to celebrate.

Carlos Rivera - Recuérdame (De "Coco"/Versión de Carlos Rivera/Official Video)www.youtube.com

Benjamin Bratt - Remember Me (Official Video From "Coco") [Ernesto de la Cruz]www.youtube.com


"Looking for Alaska's" Best Musical Moments

This article contains spoilers for Hulu's "Looking for Alaska."

After more than a decade in developmental hell, John Green's 2005 novel Looking for Alaska has finally been adapted for television, having premiered on Hulu Oct. 18.

Set in 2005, Looking for Alaska tells the story of Miles "Pudge" Halter (Charlie Plummer), a high school junior obsessed with famous last words, who transfers to Culver Creek Academy from Orlando, Florida. At his new school, Miles begins to come out of his shell thanks to his roommate, Chip "The Colonel" Martin (Denny Love), and friend Takumi Hikohito (Jay Lee). However, it's the mysterious and passionate Alaska Young (Kristine Froseth) who captures Miles' affection.

The eight-episode Hulu series is quite good. It's a sincere, heartfelt, and tragic adaptation of the award-winning novel, and it's a quality throwback to the successful teen dramas of the mid-2000s. A lot of the show's success can be credited to the creator, Josh Schwartz, and his creative and producing partner, Stephanie Savage. Schwartz and Savage are the team behind iconic teen shows like The O.C. and Gossip Girl.

But just like with the The O.C., the music featured on Looking for Alaska is arguably better than the show itself. While working on The O.C., Schwartz and music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas perfectly crafted an indie pop/rock soundtrack that featured up-and-coming bands like Death Cab For Cutie, Modest Mouse, and The Killers. Schwartz and Patsavas reunited on Looking for Alaska to curate a nostalgic and eclectic playlist featuring throwbacks from The Strokes, Bloc Party, 50 Cent, and Gorillaz.

1. The Killers, "All These Things I've Done"


The song is used in the first episode as Miles leaves Florida for an unknown future at Culver Creek Academy. More importantly, it's the song playing when Miles gets his first glimpse of his eventual crush, Alaska.

Listen to the entire Looking for Alaska soundtrack on Spotify.

Looking for Alaska (Music from the Original Series)

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Music Features

Sunday Selects: This Week's New Indie Music Picks Shatter Convention

You'll find comfort in SASAMI's universal messages, joy in Sundara Karma's exuberant classic rock, and innovation in Silvia Pérez Cruz's rendition of an old classic.

Each of this week's selection of brand new songs is drawn from a series of daring and genre-bending projects. They all explore unexpected themes, pull from poetry or ancient rituals, or somehow rail against structure and convention.

1. SASAMI — Turned Out I Was Everyone

Sasami has long been a fixture of the indie music scene, playing synths in the ultimate indie girl group, Cherry Glazerr, for years, but this week saw the release of her long-awaited debut solo LP. "Turned Out I Was Everyone" rides on the strength of its only lyric, which could be indie music scripture: "Turns out I was everyone / thought I was the only one / to be so alone in the night." The song is a sparkling blend of synths and looped vocals, starting mellow and building to a multilayered climax that drives home its message of unity.

Turned Out I Was Everyonewww.youtube.com

2. Foals — Moonlight

Foals' new album, Part 1 Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, is an ambitious project. The band sounds like it's trying to craft stadium-level soundscapes, with dark-eletronica tracks like "In Degrees" calling to mind bands like Passion Pit or MGMT, though sometimes they wind up sounding like new Mumford & Sons on mushrooms. On occasion, all of the different instruments can make the songs feel cluttered. But it works in a dramatic, cinematic way on songs like "Moonlight," a psychedelic dreamscape that grows nightmarishly surreal by the end.

Foals - Moonlight [Official Lyric Video]www.youtube.com

3. Sundara Karma — Rainbow Body

This uplifting rock song forms the centerpiece of an exuberant new album from UK-based indie art rock band Sundara Karma. The young band sounds a bit like The Killers, and their songs are equally pumped-up and electric, with hints of 1970s peace and love sensibility thrown into the mix. "Rainbow Body" is an energetic highlight on the band's latest release, Ulfilas' Alphabet.

Sundara Karma - Rainbow Body (Audio)www.youtube.com

4. The Sound Of Silence — Silvia Pérez Cruz

The Spanish singer has long been creating innovative arrangements of classic songs (check out Pequeño Vals Vienés, her Spanish-language rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" mixed with lines from the poet Federico García Lorca, for full-body chills). This version of the iconic Simon and Garfunkel tune is eerie and impressionistic, almost visionary in its resistance to structure and repetition. It completely deconstructs the song, only to build it back up, starting with a cappella vocals, then adding rolls of Spanish guitar and bone-chilling violins. It's a long journey, but more than worth it when Pérez Cruz's voice boils over from a whisper to a full-throated scream at the end.

Silvia Pérez Cruz - The sounds of silencewww.youtube.com

5. The New Revelations of Being — SoundWalk Collective & Patti Smith

Prolific Instagrammer and 1960s icon Patti Smith has teamed up with her daughter Jesse and the SoundWalk Collective, a group of experimental sound artists based in New York and Berlin, and their first collaborative effort is a spoken-word collage inspired by the poet Antonin Artaud. Though the song is largely about Artaud's experimentation with peyote, Smith clarified that creating the song did not require any actual drugs. "The poets enter the bloodstream; they enter the cells. For a moment, one is Artaud," Smith stated of her recording experience. "You can't ask for it; you can't buy it, you can't take drugs for it to be authentic. It just has to happen; you have to be chosen as well as choose."

With Patti's deep, magnetic rasp laid over Jesse's drumming and a mystical array of fond sounds, the song swirls in abstractions until getting to the point with its last line: "the guns and the guns and the guns," Smith repeats, a clear political statement. We wouldn't expect anything less from the godmother of punk.

Soundwalk Collective with Patti Smith - The New Revelations Of Beingwww.youtube.com

6. Bonus Track: Vampire Weekend — Sunflower

No, this, unfortunately, isn't a cover of the chart-topping Post Malone hit, but it is the latest release from everyone's favorite undead rock band and the prolific guitarist Steve Lacy. Though the garden imagery and beginning moments hint at the band's masterpiece "Hannah Hunt ," it's actually not a great song, or even a good song; even Lacy's dextrous shredding can't make up for the amazingly awkward scatting in the middle; but it's an entertaining listen, if only because it's so absurd.

Vampire Weekend - Sunflower ft. Steve Lacy (Official Video)www.youtube.com

Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York City. Follow her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.

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Rising Star

Weathers Come Into Their Own

The up-and-coming LA boy band talks night drives, inspirations, and the redemptive experience that is a concert where musicians and fans can come together and bond over the shared emotions at the core of being alive.

Weathers have a lot going for them. On February 7th, the four-piece LA-bred band of mostly newly minted 21-year-olds lit up Brooklyn's Knitting Factory with their tightly wound pop-rock, which takes notes from the 1975, M83, and Cage the Elephant while adding its own flavors of millennial existentialism. It's the kind of music that you can dance all night to or blast on a long drive while contemplating the inner workings of human existence. Their introspective lyrics spread the message that it really is okay not to be okay, while infectious drumbeats touch upon on the kind of stylization that's launched boy-bands before them to stratospheric stardom.

Popdust met up with them before the show to talk about night drives, inspirations, and the redemptive experience that is a concert where musicians and fans can come together and bond over the shared emotions at the core of being alive.

POPDUST: You've said you felt you underwent a big change after releasing your first music. What kind of change was it—was it a personal or sonic thing?

CAMERON BOYER: All of the above. You can hear it in our older stuff like "Happy Pills" and "I Don't Wanna Know." We were babies when that stuff came out, fresh out of high school, and we felt like we were someone else's project. After "Happy Pills," we decided to take some time off and wrote music for like a year and a half—which was terrifying, because a major label had signed us and we were telling them, hey, we're gonna change our sound.

That period led to Kids in the Night, which we feel like is a good representation of who we are as people, and will be for a long time.

POPDUST: What caused those changes?

Early on we had this rule where all the songs had to be dark and kind of creepy. But over time, we all kind of realized that we didn't want to flounder around in our darkness, if that makes sense; it's not a fun place to be all the time, especially creatively. We still wanted to have some of those darker tones lyrically, but we also wanted to have fun onstage and let loose and have the music reflect a new, more positive attitude while still keeping who we are through our lyrics.

POPDUST: Is there any specific role you imagine your music playing in people's lives?

CAMERON OLSEN: It could be pretty cool to have kids that listen to us now feel like, hey, Weathers was the soundtrack of our high school experience.

Weathers - Problems (Video)www.youtube.com

POPDUST: Your song 1983 is a love letter to driving in cars, which is such a classic teenage experience. Do you have any favorite car songs?

CB: Nightcall by Kavinsky. It was my number one most listened to track of 2017, I think.

BRENNAN BATES: Night House by Joywave was one of my recent favorites. It's very much a driving song—as well as Outcast by Mainland.

CB: Somebody Else by the 1975 is great too, and Midnight City by M83 is a go-to. I read that they wrote that song specifically based on the feeling of driving through Los Angeles at night.

Kavinsky - Nightcall (Drive Original Movie Soundtrack) (Official Audio)www.youtube.com

POPDUST: Can you talk a bit about your songwriting process? Who comes up with what?

COLE CARSON: Usually there's someone on a computer who's creating the base of a track, and on top of that we start humming melodies, and once we have a track and a vibe we add lyrics.

CO: A lot of Problems was created outside, without instruments, playing catch with a football—we just came up with a concept and lyrics.

CB: Olsen and I worked together on the album, but we've also been writing a lot together as a group.

POPDUST: I love how you guys often emphasize honesty in your songwriting and interviews, especially with mental health. Why is honesty important to you, and what's its role in your music?

CB: If you're not honest with yourself, then who are you? You have to be honest with yourself if you're going to create anything, otherwise it's all going to feel fabricated.

BB: Honesty is a huge part of communication in any kind of relationship, with a loved one or a fan or a friend. Creating this music and building that connection with people is a different kind of communication to harvest, and honesty is a huge part of that.

POPDUST: You've written songs about very personal themes. Is it ever difficult to perform them, or do you find it cathartic?

CB: The only song that gets tough to sing is Secret's Safe with Me; that one's really personal. It's not actually about me—it's about someone else—so that gets tough.

CC: Most of it feels pretty natural. We're proud of the things we've been through that make us who we are. Everybody is going through similar stuff, so it's pretty rad that we can go up there and be like, we're exactly the same.

CB: The first time we ever played any of these songs live was when we headlined the Troubador. Seeing people singing I'm Not Ok, we got that feeling that they're all probably singing about something totally different—but it's helping them just as much as it's helping us.

Weathers - Secret's Safe With Me (Audio)www.youtube.com

POPDUST: Have you had any especially meaningful interactions with fans?

CB: There's a fan who's printing out pictures and stickers to post around Vegas before our first headline show there, and other fans that are making T-shirts for us.

CC: Some fans have gotten tattoos of songs that meant a lot to them.

CO: Someone got Shallow Water, and someone got Take In the View from 1983.

CB: Someone last night asked me to write Nice 83 Vibe on a napkin so they could get it tattooed.

POPDUST: That must be wild—knowing something that you wrote will be on someone's body for the rest of their life.

So you just released a song called Dirty Money. Does that come from a place of personal frustration with capitalism, or is it about something else?

CB: The song has nothing to do with money at all, believe it or not… When you're in a band and you're young and you've got fans, it's easy to lose yourself a bit. The song's about battling egoes and the inner demons that come with being in the industry.

Dirty Money (Visualette)www.youtube.com

POPDUST: Has it been difficult to maintain a sense of self? Have you felt any disjointedness between who you are performing and backstage, or is the transition more fluid?

CB: Onstage is the only place I feel like I get to really let loose. Otherwise, I'm usually pretty quiet or awkward, I don't know. It's really only onstage that I let go.

CC: When I'm onstage I'm definitely a lot crazier than in person.

CB: You really let it shine through the playing of the drums. You let the music do the talking.

Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @edenarielmusic.

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