TIME Music

Original Abbey Road Review: Record ‘Crammed With Musical Delights’

Abbey Road
The Beatles' Abbey Road album cover EMI

The album was released 45 years ago

Forty-five years ago, on Sept. 26, 1969, one of the most acclaimed rock albums in history was released: The Beatles’ Abbey Road.

And, unlike some cultural behemoths that take a while to sink in, the grandeur of the album was immediately recognized. As TIME noted in the Oct. 3, 1969, review of the record, there was something special going on:

“We were more together than we had been for a long time,” said John Lennon last week. “It’s lucky when you get all four feeling funky at the same time.” Lennon was talking about a recording session last summer that produced the latest Beatles record. Out this week, it is called Abbey Road, in honor of the group’s favorite studios in London. The disk proves lucky indeed — for listeners who like being disarmed by the world’s four most fortunate and famous music makers. Melodic, inventive, crammed with musical delights, Abbey Road is the best thing the Beatles have done since Sgt. Pepper (1967). Whereas that historic record stretched the ear and challenged the mind and imagination, Abbey Road is a return to the modest, pie-Pepper style of Rubber Soul and Revolver. It has a cheerful coherence — each song’s mood fits comfortably with every other — and a sense of wholeness clearly contrived as a revel in musical pleasure.

…The record’s unity is best illustrated by the tightly knit and unpretentious way it combines a variety of styles. Among them: old-line rock ‘n’ roll (Oh! Darling), low blues (I Want You), high camp (Maxwell’s Silver Hammer), folk (Here Comes the Sun). Though the listener here and there finds such things as a vocal chorus or a swash of electronic sound, most of the time the instrumental textures are uncluttered by overdubbing. Rarely has John played better guitar than on I Want You (She’s So Heavy), a cunning combination of two songs with a chilling, mean blues throb. Rarely have Bassist Paul and Drummer Ringo achieved more cohesive yet flexible rhythm than on Mean Mr. Mustard and Polythene Pam.

And, despite a majority of songs bearing the familiar Lennon/McCartney credit, the album was also George Harrison’s time to shine. His song “Something” was already getting radio play, and the time he had recently spent with Bob Dylan was paying off. “This has helped him achieve a new confidence in his own musical personality,” the reviewer noted. “His three colleagues frankly think that Something is the best song in the album”

Read a 1969 story about the “Paul is dead” urban legend started by the Abbey Road album art, here in TIME’s archives: Of Rumor, Myth and a Beatle

TIME movies

Bill & Ted 3 is Probably Happening and That’s Most Excellent

Alex Winter, Keanu Reeves, in the original Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, 1989 Orion

Party on dudes

Actor and director Alex Winter, the renowned Bill of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, said in an interview that the franchise’s most awaited third installment will not only be most excellent, but most “f—ing funny.”

Winter said he will co-star with Keanu Reeves for the follow-up, which fans have been awaiting for 23 years since 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey came out, the follow-up to the original 1989 piece of cinematic gold.

“[Bill & Ted] will be 40-something and it’s all about Bill and Ted grown up, or not grown up,” Winter told Yahoo Movies. “It’s really sweet and really f—-ing funny.”

Producers and financiers are on board, Winters said, it’s just a matter of reworking the script, a draft of which has already been finished.

But fans shouldn’t hold their collective breath for the movie’s release: it’s going to be awhile. “It just takes a long time to put a movie together,” Winter said. “Now we’re having to build this thing in public, which is fine. I just feel bad [the fans] have to get dragged through this long, boring, protracted process.”


TIME movies

Review: The Equalizer Pits Denzel Washington Against the Entire Russian Mob. Guess Who Wins?

The Equalizer

No Slavic drug lord is safe once the wrath of Denzel is unleashed in this high-voltage, high-quality action thriller

Soft-spoken Mac (Denzel Washington) pays a visit to the Boston lair of Russian gangster Slavi (David Meunier) with a modest offer: $9,800 to free young Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz) from the grinding abuse she has suffered at the vicious pimp’s hands. Slavi and his four heavily armed, elaborately tattooed henchmen give Mac’s proposal a big harsh laugh — their last. In a minute or two of spectacularly choreographed violence that might leave Quentin Tarantino drooling with envy, Mac takes out the whole gang with dazzling fisticuffs, whirling gunplay and the innovative application of a champagne corkscrew. Slavi should have accepted the $9,800 — not just to stay alive but also to keep the sleeping beast inside Mac from stirring to confront the worldwide Russian mob.

Bad as it is for Ukraine, the revived reputation of post-Soviet Russia as the world’s most thuggish aggressor state is a boon for action movies. Not since Rosa Klebb of SMERSH took on James Bond in From Russia With Love a half-century ago has Hollywood been able to revel with cause in the villainy of Eastern European tyrants. In director Antoine Fuqua’s The Equalizer, which opens the fall action-film season with a resounding, R-rated bang, the Moscow-based Mr. Big of the Russian drug cartel is code-named Pushkin; it may as well be Putin. His bad luck: the gentleman opposing him is not Barack Obama but Denzel Washington.

For much of this exemplary thriller, written by Richard Wenk, Mac is the quiet, friendly employee at Home Mart, solicitous of his coworkers and protective of his past. When quizzed about previous employment, he says, “I was a Pip,” and mimes, not too convincingly, the dance steps of a Gladys Knight backup singer. His life is monastic, his emotions post-mortem. The film’s first shot, a labyrinthine backwards track from a view of East Boston through Mac’s obsessively tidy apartment, reveals shelves of the hundred great books and little else. At night he reads alone in his flat or in the diner where he met Teri. He has nearly finished The Old Man and the Sea, and the viewer may wonder if Washington, who turns 60 in Dec., is like Hemingway’s Santiago, “too old to hook the big fish.”

But we wouldn’t be invested in Mac — aka Robert McCall, a top government agent living incognito since he “died” decades earlier — if he were to withhold his skills and anger forever. He’s like a bomb, of nuclear thrust, waiting to be detonated. That one kind gesture to the teenage Teri triggers his old talents and leads to an epic tangle with Pushkin’s prime enforcer, a purring cobra named Teddy (Martin Csokas, whose death-mask face suggests a more muscular Kevin Spacey). Every mob in town, Russian and Irish, along with a cordon of cops on the take, wants to kill Mac. The world against one man; that seems fair odds, when Washington is The Man.

No memories of the 1986 TV series, starring Edward Woodward as McCall, are needed to enjoy this virulently lively thriller. Fuqua, who steered Washington to an Oscar in Training Day, creates tension by mixing extreme closeups with elegant tracking shots. The viewer alternately counts beads of sweat on a gunsel’s face and gets an Old Testament God’s-eye view of a corrupt city that’s not too big for one righteous man to bring down or blow up. Mac’s job and his calling will entwine in a Home Mart showdown to trap Teddy and his gang. As the bad guys storm in, the loud-speaker system plays “Midnight Train to Georgia.”

That superstore climax is both dramatically implausible — Teddy should have brought reinforcements by the hundreds, not just a handful, to battle the un-take-downable McCall — and goofily overextended. But it provides a superb showcase for a movie hero’s abilities, both preternatural (hypervision, lightning reflexes) and practical (using sand bags and trip wires to trap his foes). It also suits Washington, in the dour-deity mode he paraded in his last truly cool film, The Book of Eli. Nobody else can bring such coiled menace, such glowering intelligence, to the simple act of watching.

If The Equalizer is the hit it should be, it will give this veteran action star his very first movie franchise. In the sequel, Denzel-McCall could make things right in Ukraine as Obama’s Secretary of Defense and one-man army.


@Large: Inside Ai Weiwei’s Unprecedented Exhibit on Alcatraz

As part of his new exhibition, @Large, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei oversaw the construction of 176 Lego portraits of political prisoners, most still incarcerated as of June 2014. Katy Steinmetz for TIME

The Chinese artist's seven installations on America's most notorious island champion human rights and recall America's dark past

Inside the hospital wing of Alcatraz, which is typically closed to the public, there are two adjacent rooms the size of closets. Together they make up the entire space officials dedicated to treating mentally ill prisoners before the notorious penitentiary was shuttered in 1963. And thanks to the Chinese artist and rights activist Ai Weiwei, for the next seven months those rooms will be very loud.

This paltry psych ward now holds one of seven site-specific installations in four locations around the island that Ai – everyone calls him Weiwei – has taken over for a new exhibit opening Sept. 27. Cheekily titled “@Large”, the installations, which remain on view through April 26, are designed to use the setting of an infamous prison to explore issues of human rights, punishment and the loss of freedom.

In one of the two spartan rooms plays a loop of Tibetan chants, in the other an American Indian song intoned by the Hopi tribe—thumping tracks that resonate in one’s ears like voices might in one’s head. Both are meant to remind visitors of how confined and oppressed those peoples have been at times throughout history. The latter is also reminding America, in particular, about the imprisonment of Hopi men at Alcatraz who refused to send their children away to government boarding schools in the late 19th century. “That was the darkest time,” the National Park Service’s Michele Gee says about jailing the island’s earliest prisoners of conscience. Weiwei calls that particular piece “Illumination.”

There are plenty of impressive things to note about this unprecedented exhibition. One is that the 57-year-old Weiwei designed and built his elaborate pieces without ever setting foot on the island. A vocal critic of the Chinese government, Weiwei has not been permitted to leave the country since being detained for 81 days in 2011 on tax evasion charges that were brought against him after he had conducted a lengthy investigation of government culpability in the shoddy construction of schools that collapsed in China’s 2008 earthquake, killing thousands of children. Another is the installations themselves, like “Trace,” which consists of 176 portraits of political prisoners fashioned out of 1.2 million Legos; or “With Wind,” an intricate dragon that fills an entire room in the form of some 100 hand-painted kites that hang like dominoes from the ceiling.

This installation, “With Wind,” hangs in the New Industries Building, a place where privileged prisoners were allowed to work, pictured Sept. 24, 2014. Katy Steinmetz for TIME

Less obvious is how logistically complex the project was, which not only involved getting architectural plans and videos and photographs to the artist but also seeking the approval of government agencies going all the way up to the State Department. Though the project was first conceived in 2012, the actual assembly of @Large took just nine months. And the person who should be credited for putting all the works together so quickly (sometimes literally putting them together, after carrying them across San Francisco Bay by rented barge at night) is curator Cheryl Haines. Haines is a fixture in the San Francisco art world and executive director of a non-profit called For-Site, which exists to install ambitious art in unexpected places. And she is the person who suggested to Weiwei the idea of doing an exhibition in Alcatraz while visiting him in Beijing. “Of course it’s difficult for him that he doesn’t have personal freedom and that he’s not able to come,” she says, currently sporting blue hair in an attempt to keep her calm through the storm. “But Ai Weiwei is incredibly adept at understanding the built environment … and he welcomed the challenge.”

Less obvious still may be the fact that agencies of the U.S. government, which to some extent is lumped in with more egregious human-rights violators in the exhibit, would work so hard to highlight the dark underbelly of American history, from the treatment of American Indians to the dire conditions of Alcatraz in its days as a prison. Because of the not-always-great relations between the U.S. and China, the National Park Service, which oversees Alcatraz Island and its facilities, made the choice to seek permission from the State Department before giving a Chinese political dissident one of the nation’s most popular visitor sites to use as a stage. “We knew from the get go that his belief in self-expression and his values are part of his art,” says Greg Moore, CEO of the non-profit Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy that staffs Alcatraz. “Ai Weiwei takes us beyond the gangster years into something that’s not only part of our history but part of our present.”

In “Blossom,” Weiwei fills hospital wing amenities like sinks and bathtubs with intricate porcelain flower sculptures, pictured on Sept. 24, 2014. Katy Steinmetz for TIME

Also in the hospital wing is “Blossom,” which consists of porcelain flower sculptures snugly fit into existing amenities like bathtubs and sinks. The work, the curator says, might be interpreted as an offering of sympathy to those who are imprisoned or an allusion to China’s Let One Hundred Flowers Bloom Campaign in 1956, a time when free expression was briefly tolerated among citizens, before being abruptly and ruthlessly suppressed again. In the Dining Hall, the single exhibition space that is normally open to the public, Weiwei offers visitors the chance to send an actual token of sympathy to political prisoners who are still incarcerated in various parts of the world—via postcards that are covered in symbols and birds of the prisoners’ respective countries and are pre-addressed. Aides working on the “Yours Truly” installation — some of the 47 trained to guide visitors through the exhibition — will put the cards in the mail once they’ve been written.

“Yours Truly” is an installation of postcards that visitors can write to political prisoners, pictured on Sept. 24, 2014. Katy Steinmetz for TIME

Weiwei plays with sound again in Cell Block A, where songs and speeches of the oppressed or imprisoned play out of each cell. Inside is a spare stool for a listener to sit, and outside is the name of the prisoner. Installing the speakers required using a hallway behind the block, as Haines and her team were not allowed to remove so much as a screw on the vents from which the sounds of “Stay Tuned” emanate.

One of the most uncomfortable and eerie no-go zones that visitors will be let into for the exhibition is the gun gallery, a narrow hallway where armed guards once walked above rooms of prisoners, ready to shoot if necessary at a signal from an unarmed guard keeping watch on the ground. This is the walkway from which viewers will see “Refraction,” a sculpture that looks like a metal bird stuck in mid-flap, unable to fly under a suffocating ceiling.

Visitors to @Large will be let into the Gun Gallery of the New Industries Building, which is normally off limits, pictured on Sept. 24, 2014. Katy Steinmetz for TIME

Much of the challenge in getting @Large off the ground, Haines says, was making sure not to disturb even the broken glass in window frames of the historic buildings as the team installed Weiwei’s pieces. (The park did, however, install Plexiglass to protect people from the shards.) Part of the reason the exhibition is opening in September, after the height of tourist season, is that marine birds like cormorants nest there during the summer, and “ecological resources” were not to be disturbed either. Still, the exhibition has led to change on Alcatraz; for the first time there will be WiFi on the island, which the artist wanted so that people could share experiences of @Large on social media. And Moore says that letting people into the specially opened spaces may prove a “pilot” for permanently opening them in the future. There is also hope, Haines says, that the exhibit will lure more locals to join the roughly 1.5 million visitors who boat to the island each year, Bay Area residents who might have some money burning in their pockets that could go to the National Park Service or local arts programs.

The bright colors and delicate shapes of @Large somehow highlight the drab, sad conditions of the prison, like a child holding a bright balloon in the middle of a blackened, post-apocalyptic landscape. “If you look at the actual objects, they’re layered but beautiful,” says Haines, who previously worked with Weiwei on an exhibition in which various artists crafted abstract homes for native animals of the Golden Gate area. Ai chose sweet, cylindrical blue-and-white porcelain houses, and For-Site hung them temporarily in the forest for screech owls.

For this project, Haines spearheaded the fundraising of more than $3.5 million dollars, so that it would not cost taxpayers or the overburdened Parks Service a dime. It won’t cost visitors anything either; access is free for people who book regular tours to Alcatraz through April. If there’s demand, Haines says, they may also organize a special boat just for Weiwei pilgrims.

“With @Large, the conversation has broadened to encompass more types of human rights around the world,” she says. “We keep upping the ante, clearly.”

TIME health

Dear Rob Schneider: Please Shut Up About Vaccines

The doctor is in the house: by all means, take vaccine advice from this guy
The doctor is in the house: by all means, take vaccine advice from this guy

State Farm dumps ad campaign after Deuce Bigalow's ignorant remarks about vaccinations

If there’s one thing I regret about the job I’ve done raising my kids, it’s that when it was time to get them their vaccines, I did not heed the wisdom of a man who is currently filming a TV series with a storyline titled “The Penis Episode, Part 2.” And if that doesn’t convince you about this deep thinker’s credibility, consider that his earlier body of work includes such powerful pieces as The Hot Chick, The Beverly Hillbillies movie and Deuce Bigalow Male Gigolo.

How’s that for a guy worth listening to? Not.

We are talking, of course, about Rob Schneider, the Saturday Night Live alum who parlayed a single character—Richard Laymer, the obnoxious office guy—into a career of small-bore, dropped pants, toilet joke movies, plus the occasional cartoon voiceover. Nothing wrong with those kinds of projects; they’re honest work and the checks generally clear.

But Schneider is at the center of a much-deserved storm this week, after State Farm Insurance announced it was pulling a new ad campaign featuring the comedian in a reprise of his office guy role, since—while the company whose job it is to help people live better, healthier, more fiscally secure lives wasn’t looking—its newly minted star has been popping off about (deep sigh here) the hidden dangers of vaccines.

Take this observation from Dr. Bigalow, in a widely circulated video shot when he was campaigning against a California law that would have made it harder for parents to refuse vaccines:

“The efficacy of these shots have not been proven. And the toxicity of these things—we’re having more and more side effects. We’re having more and more autism.”

Or this one: “You can’t make people do procedures that they don’t want. It can’t be the government saying that. It’s against the Nuremberg Laws.”

It’s actually worth watching the entire jaw-dropping display, because Schneider somehow manages to thread the extraordinary needle of being wrong on every single point he makes. Remember in high school when they used to say it was impossible to score a zero on the SATs because you get a few points just for writing your name? Schneider, presumably, would have left that part blank.

And then there are the cringe-worthy Twitter posts suggesting he has been denied his freedom of speech:

For the record Rob, no, there is no government conspiracy to force vaccines on kids. No, doctors are not bought off by big pharma. No, vaccines are not filled with toxins. And no, this is not a free speech issue—it’s a public health, common-sense and, not for nothing, business issue, since State Farm, like any company, is free to sack a spokesperson who makes them look very, very bad. Simply quoting George Washington does not mean any of the great man’s wisdom rubs off on you. It just means you looked up a quote.

But as long as we’re in the quote game, how about one of your own, from your video harangue: “The government,” you said, “can’t make decisions about what I do to my body.” On this score, you’re right. So please do continue making movies that allow you to appear on posters with a towel on your head, seaweed cream on your face and cucumbers on your nipples. Maybe George Washington would have been pleased with you. State Farm? Not so much these days.

TIME Television

How to Get Away With Murder Is Everything You Love In One Show

"How to Get Away with Murder" stars Viola Davis as Professor Annalise Keating. Craig Sjodin—ABC

Shonda can't be stopped

Let’s look at the facts: it’s pretty likely that Peter Nowalk’s wildly enjoyable How to Get Away With Murder (executive produced by Shonda Rhimes), premiering Thursday at 10 p.m., will be a success.

The law school/court room/inside-the-criminal-mind drama is built to succeed: it’s an amalgam of the most addictive television out there in one, hour-long segment. That’s not to say that the show is derivative — it isn’t. Rather, Murder hones in on some of the best elements of shows — and movies — we love. (Please note that this is based on the pilot, so — as is common in Shondaland — all trends are subject to change.)

1. Scandal, of course, is the most obvious comparison. Both shows are about strong and emotionally complex (but distinctly not angry… sorry!) black women. More specifically, the show is about fixers who go in and out of morally ambiguous cases and make them all better by morally ambiguous means. It’s just that Olivia Pope (a political consultant) is doing it in a perfectly tailored long coat, while Annalise Keating (a lawyer and law professor played by Viola Davis) prefers a form-fitting red leather jacket.

2. Given Rhimes’ penchant for dark story lines, we also won’t be surprised if Davis also divines elements of Glenn Close from Damages. Her character, after all, was also a brilliant lawyer who often required her proteges to bend the rules for optimal results.

3. Just like Legally Blonde (or in this case… Legally Leather?), law students are competing for a prize. The top four students in Keating’s class will get to work at her law firm, complete with creepy associates who try to sleep with pretty law students.

4. They show their worth in lecture classes. If the pilot reflects the usual format of episodes, classes begin with Keating introducing her students to a client. Similar to House, students then must rush to find a treatment that will save said client’s life. Step-by-step, they recite different motives, defenses, and courtroom tactics that can lead to an acquittal. The unexpected argument is often rewarded.

5. In true ensemble fashion, the student cohort plays just as big of a role as the show’s headlining star. This is also because, in the first minutes of the first episode, the audience is let in on a secret: four star students are trying to get away with a murder themselves by ditching a body in the woods. (I Know What You Did Last Summer, anyone?) The pilot alternates between the students’ first week of classes to their scramble to hide their crime at the end of the semester.

6. The group of students will be bonded by their secrecy. Will Murder be Pretty Little Liars, but for adults?

7. Like Grey’s Anatomy, Murder revels in outlandish and overly-dramatic scenarios in real-life professions. It is different from other current law firm shows that try to have a steadier grip on reality. According to Nowalk, “I’m trying to write in the tradition of the legal thrillers of the ’80s and ’90s that they would make all the time that were just fun and juicy and jagged edge.”

Funny — we thought there was a little bit of Grisham thrown in for good measure.

TIME Music

Hear Swedish Singer Laleh Go ‘Boom': Song Premiere

Laleh Pourkarim
Rickard L Eriksson—New Art Production AB

The Iranian-born Swedish pop singer is readying her new EP with a song that's not about death

Iranian-born singer Laleh (pronounced La-ley) has been putting out records in her home country of Sweden, where she scored a European hit with “Some Die Young,” for nearly a decade. Now, the songwriter-producer is setting her sights on the states with her upcoming EP, Boom (out Sept. 30).

Opening with dreamy piano chords and a simple dance beat, the EP’s title track, premiering at TIME today, doesn’t sound so explosive right away. But give it time, and Laleh’s hypnotizing harmonies eventually build into something worthy of the title “Boom.”

“Something happened to me while writing this song. I suddenly froze, and the lyric ‘leave the dirt in the earth to bloom’ came to me,” Laleh says of the track. “I like the image of leaving the past in the hands of the earth and the soil, and letting it make a flower out of it.”

Though the singer says fans often think many of her songs are about death — “Some Die Young” was particularly embraced after the 2011 terrorist attacks in Norway — she says the lyrics of “Boom” are actually about the opposite.

“‘Boom’ is really about life and leaving life alone; leaving it in the solid; in the dirt to bloom,” Laleh explains. “I love life more than anything, therefore I understand death.” Hear the track below:

TIME Television

Watch Kelly Ripa Explain Her ‘Belfie’ Mishap on The Late Show

Belfie combines the words 'butt' and 'selfie'

Kelly Ripa said this was the first time she had sent a semi-nude photograph of herself. Unluckily for her, her first attempt ended up in the wrong hands.

Ripa told David Letterman on The Late Show Wednesday that she accidentally sent a selfie of her butt (also called a ‘belfie’) in her underwear to her in-laws. She had meant to send it to her husband, Mark Consuelos.

Her in-laws responded with “you look great, may God continue to bless you.”

TIME Books

R.L. Stine: Twitter Is “Really Good For My Ego”

St. Martin's Griffin

The prolific YA author known for scaring kids senseless throughout the '90s is back with a brand new 'Fear Street' novel: Party Games

It’s a safe bet that anyone who grew up in the ’90s has been frightened by R.L. Stine at one point or another. The mastermind behind the hugely successful Fear Street series, which sold more than 80 million copies during its run, as well as the iconic Goosebumps series, was responsible for introducing a generation of kids to horror novels.

Now, Stine is back and resurrecting the Fear Street franchise with an all new book Party Games (out Sept. 30), in order to scare a whole new generation of teens (as well as some now-grown long-time fans). TIME spoke with Stine about the original series, spending time on Twitter and why it’s okay for adults to read YA.

TIME: When you started writing Fear Street books back in 1989, what was your motivation for writing a horror series about teenagers?

R.L. Stine: I had been funny up until then. I never really planned to write horror. I had done one horror novel for teenagers called Blind Date and it was number one on Publisher’s Weekly best-seller list. I thought, Wait a minute, what’s going on here? Because I had never been close to that list before! I thought, Wait, I think I’ve stumbled onto something here that kids really like. And that’s when we decided we’d try to do a monthly series.

Horror has a lot of sub-genres. How would you classify Fear Street’s brand of horror?

It was teens in terror. And in the beginning, we didn’t even kill anyone. We started off kinda slow but then I discovered that everyone loves to see teenagers get killed. They love that!

But I would say about half the Fear Streets were supernatural. Or they would just be horrible dilemmas. One of the very early ones I remember was called Missing, [where] these two teenagers come home from school and their parents never come home. They’ve vanished. At first they think it’s great, but after a night or two they get really worried. And they call where their parents work and they’ve never heard of them their. So they realize something really bizarre is going on. There are a lot of stories like that.

And then there was this whole historical aspect of Fear Street. We did the first trilogy of the Fear Street saga — those were three of the best books, I think. They were the most popular. It went back in history, all the way back to the colonial days and how Fear Street became Fear Street, this cursed place. There were the two families, the Fears and the Goodes, and this horrible wicked feud they had over generation after generation. And so we had this real back-story.

Why did you stop the series? And what made you decide to bring Fear Street back?

Well, I thought I had killed off enough teenagers. I did about 80 of them and we had a spin-off series and the sagas. I just wanted to do something new. I’d sort of run out of stories. And now I see horror is popular again in many ways. I always think that in scary times horror becomes popular.

Why do you think that is?

I think it’s just a way that people [deal] with anxiety about the real world. I think now, well, it’s not a great time. There’s not a lot of good news. I think it’s led to the real resurgence in horror.

Also, I’m on Twitter and everyone on Twitter, they’re all in their twenties and thirties, and they’ve been begging me to bring Fear Street back.

What do they say?

Oh, “we loved your books when we were kids” or “I wouldn’t be a writer today if it wasn’t for you” — I mean, wonderful things! That’s why I’m there. It’s really good for my ego. And I had all these people asking me for Fear Street. So one night on I just decided to be honest and I said, “You know, I thank you for all your interest in Fear Street but after all this time I really don’t think any publisher would be interested.”

And then I got this tweet from Kat [Brzozowski] from [Thomas Dunne, an imprint of] St. Martin’s Press who said, “Well, I’d be interested. Why don’t we talk?” Like 10 minutes later! We had lunch and I said I would love to do a bunch of them. And now it’s happening — all because of Twitter.

Your new book Party Games has been described as Fear Street for the 21st century. What does that mean?

People aren’t walking around with Walkmans or something. I try to keep up with things, you know. [But] I think horror doesn’t change. I always say the fears don’t change at all. It’s just the technology changes and the way we talk to people changes. But the fears — being afraid of the dark, being afraid that someone is lurking under your bed or in the closet — those things never change. So in that way, it’s the same old Fear Street I think.

What kind of horror do you like to read? Who are your horror idols?

I think Stephen King is a great storyteller and I think he’s written a couple of horror novels that are just amazing. Pet Semetary is just a favorite of mine. I think I’ve stolen that plot at least four or five times! And Misery, that’s an amazing book, I think.

Then there’s a Ray Bradbury book that I always recommend to kids. I think it’s an amazingly underrated horror novel and it’s called Something Wicked This Way Comes. It’s very creepy. It’s about this boy in the Midwest — and I grew up in the Midwest, I’m from Ohio — and this boy sneaks out of his house late at night and goes down to this empty lot where a carnival is setting up. He’s just so excited to see this carnival being set up and he doesn’t realize it’s maybe the most evil place on Earth and he’s being drawn into it. It’s wonderful.

YA has also had a resurgence and a newfound popularity with adults. But then you have some naysayers who believe adults shouldn’t be reading books for teenagers. What do you think of that?

Well it started with Harry Potter, didn’t it? I think like 40% of the Harry Potter readers were adults and a huge percentage of the Twilight readers were adult women. I think it’s for a couple of reasons. They’re plot-driven and you get right into the story without all this extra stuff. I think a lot of adults don’t have a lot of time to read or don’t choose to spend a lot of time reading and these books get right to it. I think that’s a big part of it. I wouldn’t say don’t read them. I really don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think it’s a bad thing if kids aren’t reading them. But there are just a lot of talented people in YA fiction these days.

There’s also a tremendous urge not to grow up. It goes back to the world being a scary place. Most adults don’t want to be adults. It’s a way of prolonging childhood. This is very deep for me!

I like it! Do you ever get the feeling that by writing YA you can revel in youth?

In some ways. Writing is sort of a game for me. It’s a challenge to see how many surprises I can get into a book and, at this point, how I can do stories and not repeat myself. And every one of my chapters ends in a cliffhanger, so how to come up with new chapter endings that I haven’t done before.

So there will still be cliffhangers in the new books?

Yes. A lot of writers think it’s a cheap gimmick, but I think it’s a really good way to get kids to keep reading. That’s the whole point of these books — to get people to enjoy reading. That’s really all I care about. It’s all about just discovering how much fun reading can be.



Watch Belgian Superstar Stromae Decode His Biggest Music Videos

The European mega-star describes the vision behind his eccentric music videos

What does it take to become one of Europe’s most sought-after artists? Perhaps a mega-single that topped the charts in more than 20 countries. And if that’s not enough, two number one albums, countless awards, a successful clothing line, viral YouTube videos, and a sold out U.S. tour might do the trick.

But Belgian singer and composer Stromae’s international success lies not just in his ability to write clever lyrics and produce catchy beats – his allure also rests on the utter strength of his music videos.

Stromae’s video offerings are laced with metaphors and treated with deep – and sometimes even uncomfortable – imagery. Take, for example, last year’s “Papaoutai,” a song about sons growing up to be just like their fathers. Stromae plays a father whose son wants to interact and do things that fathers and sons do. But Stromae’s character doesn’t move; he’s static, literally like a mannequin. Pretty soon, his son learns to be just like him. “Even if you hate [your father], you will be exactly like him,” Stromae explained to TIME. “But even so, that’s a beautiful thing.” “Papaoutai” now has close to 200 million views on YouTube.

Watch above as Stromae explains the metaphors and imagery in three of his most successful music videos, “Papaoutai,” “Tous Les Memes,” and “Formidable.”

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