'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse' thrills in every dimension : Pop Culture Happy Hour The new animated film Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is the sequel to the Oscar-winning Into The Spider-Verse. It continues the story of Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), as he battles a new villain, The Spot (Jason Schwartzman). The stakes grow as Miles and Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) face greater conflicts as they traverse the multiverse.

'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse' thrills in every dimension

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1176735268/1199263367" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


The Oscar-winning animated film "Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse" introduced us to Miles Morales, a Brooklyn teenager who becomes Spider-Man. He soon meets various spider-people from other dimensions of the multiverse.


In the new sequel, "Across The Spider-Verse," Miles travels, well, across the multiverse to battle a new villain and encounters even greater threats along the way. I'm Aisha Harris.

THOMPSON: And I'm Stephen Thompson. Today on NPR's POP CULTURE HAPPY HOUR, we're talking about "Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse." Joining us today is Daisy Rosario, senior supervising producer of audio at Slate. Hey, Daisy.

DAISY ROSARIO: Hey, Stephen. How's it going?

THOMPSON: It's going really well. Also with us is iHeartRadio producer and host Joelle Monique. Welcome back, Joelle.

JOELLE MONIQUE: Hi, Stephen. How are you?

THOMPSON: It is a pleasure to have you both here. So "Across The Spider-Verse" is, of course, a sequel to 2018's "Into The Spider-Verse." That movie introduced us to a new animated Spider-Man, Miles Morales, a Brooklyn teenager voiced by Shameik Moore. Miles becomes Spider-Man after he's bitten by a radioactive spider. We all know that story by now. But his story is more complicated than that. At the time Miles is bitten, there's already a Spider-Man, but he gets killed trying to save Miles from supervillains. Soon, Miles encounters various spider-people from other dimensions, and many adventures ensue. "Into The Spider-Verse" was a commercial hit. Critics loved it, and it won the Academy Award for best animated feature. Now its sequel tells an even grander story.

"Across The Spider-Verse" brings back a few of the original alternate-universe spider-folks, most notably Gwen Stacy. She is once again voiced by Hailee Steinfeld. Early in the film, Miles battles a supervillain called The Spot, voiced by Jason Schwartzman. But the stakes grow even higher as Miles and Gwen travel across the multiverse to face greater conflicts as they encounter many other spider-people, including Miguel O'Hara, voiced by Oscar Isaac, and Spider-Woman, voiced by Issa Rae, among many others. "Across The Spider-Verse" expands on the ambitious, colorful design palette of its predecessor, and it's written by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and David Callaham. Lord and Miller worked on the first film as well as other beloved properties like "The Lego Movie." This film was directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers and Justin K. Thompson. It's in theaters now. Joelle Monique, I have barely scratched the surface of what is going on in "Across The Spider-Verse."


THOMPSON: There are so many characters and so many dimensions and so much going on. What did you think of the movie?

MONIQUE: Oh, my God, I had such a good time watching this movie. It pushes so much past the first film in ways that are completely surprising, in ways that you were like, how could they possibly have done this? I didn't go in with a high bar because I didn't want to be disappointed, but it exceeded almost all of my expectations anyway. There's a few things I think I might have tightened up just a little bit. Some of the action sequences are chaotic, to say the least. However, I think this film has such rewatch power. There's so much you want to go back and observe all the little, like, corners of the frame to see, like, which Easter eggs and which spider-people did I miss? And it is really spectacular. And the use of watercolor in an animated film - it's done so well here, particularly as it pertains to Gwen Stacy, who kind of gets to take over the cold open of this film. It's beautiful and heartbreaking and then inspiring. It's so lovely. I really enjoyed watching this movie.

THOMPSON: Wonderful. Thank you. What did you think, Daisy?

ROSARIO: I enjoyed it a lot, but it took me a little while to get there, which was surprising for me. I mean, I definitely also tried to go in without high expectations. I do love the first one so much. And, you know, I liked it a lot, but I was frustrated by what felt like a slow start for me. Like, they just have created such a rich, beautiful world in Brooklyn that Miles inhabits that just feels great. And it does take a little while to get there in a way that just, energywise, to me was, like, a bummer. There's some beautiful stuff going on, but there's, like, a long opening sequence that I kind of wished was just, like, a little shorter, like, even though it was visually beautiful. And I think I probably honestly maybe wouldn't even have thought about that as much if we weren't surrounded by adorable, tiny little Miles Moraleses in the screening. Like, there were just cute little kids in their outfits. And I was like, yeah, these kids were raring to go, and then we went into a thoughtful meditation on a relationship. You know, so there are things I loved about it. I love it. I think it's gorgeous. I also can't wait to rewatch it. The animation is truly stunning. Like, they really did find the next level to push that into. But I did feel like it just had, like, a slow start that I found frustrating.

THOMPSON: I did not have that reaction. Aisha, what did you think?

HARRIS: So I've been co-host on this show for almost three years at this point, and this might be the first episode around a superhero movie that I have ever been on.


HARRIS: So this speaks to how much I really loved the first film. I am not a superhero person, and the only ones I've rewatched of the superhero films are, like, the original "Batmans", like, the - Tim Burton's and "Black Panther" and now "Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse." And I really loved the first movie, and the second movie had to do a lot. I mean, this is an issue that any sequel to a first movie in a franchise, especially one that is so groundbreaking, has to face. They took this story that so many people are familiar with and a lot of people, like myself, were probably fatigued with and made it so interesting, made it one of the most gorgeous movies you will ever watch. And all the little details and the way that you have this Afro Latino kid who is so vividly rendered. And his world around him and his relationship with his parents and with his uncle - like, it's so beautiful. And I think part of what makes this sequel so good is the fact that it somehow manages to deepen all of these levels and all these emotional arcs. I think partially that might be why this movie is so long.

And yes, there are very long action sequences, and I could have maybe cut a few of those down. But there's also very long, like, emotional arcs and beats in this movie, including this really great several minutes of, you know, his father and his mother and a fight they have and a whole sequence around the fact that they feel as though Miles is not telling him something. And the interactions they have, including like, them looking at him sideways when he's like - when he says something, like - you know, like any kid who's getting a little sassy - they, like, look at him, and he's like, I know. I love those little moments.

And I think that's, for me, what makes this so rewatchable, even more so than the cameos and the - you know, the fun references and the callback to the first film where someone just says, yeah, I think it's a Banksy...

ROSARIO: Banksy.

HARRIS: ...After, like, a giant thing has fallen - you know, I love those moments, but I think what makes it work so well for me is the fact that we really get a deeper understanding of the relationship between Miles and his dad, and also, even more so than in the first movie, Miles and his mom.


HARRIS: I really liked it. I agree there were some moments that could have been shorter, and it takes a little while to really get going. But I think this is a very solid sequel, and I think this might be the best superhero franchise ever, says I, the person who does not watch superhero movies.


MONIQUE: And again, they really push the story. I feel like a lot of superhero movies will be like, OK, whatever we did last time, we got to completely just move on; like, that's in the past; like, bring in a new, like, schtick or fancy thing to, like, really give the - they said no. They said, let's dive deeper into the consequences of the first movie. Let's make everything that happened then have such large impact. And then I'll also say, the new characters they brought in - oh, my God. We get Spider-Punk, who - if you're not a Spider-Man fan, it's totally OK.

ROSARIO: Love, love, love, love.

MONIQUE: There's a lot of different versions of Spider-Man. Daniel Kaluuya plays a British Spider-Punk, OK?

HARRIS: Who looks like Basquiat.


ROSARIO: Yes. He looks so much like Basquiat.

MONIQUE: He's so cool and irreverent and fun. And immediately, when he comes in, he, like, brings this burst of energy where you just, like, want to follow this guy off a cliff. He's just that cool. And then on top of that, Jason Schwartzman comes in and plays the new villain who's so funny and weird. This guy is a scientist who kind of got caught up in a weird situation. He's still so human and grounded. He's not trying to be a villain. He's just trying to survive and how to be a person in this new body, and that is so fascinating and interesting. And Jason Schwartzman is just very, very, very funny in this role. And I was like - I wanted more - like, you get a lot of that character. I still wanted more. I wanted more of everybody. I was like - walking out, I was like, I need 20% more Spider-Punk. I need, like, 10% more of the Spot guy. But I also want all of the dads, like, maybe 8% more. I really loved all of the characters. They're just really fun.

THOMPSON: I'm glad you brought up both of those characters. I think the one thing you didn't mention about Spider-Punk is how he's animated.

MONIQUE: Oh, my God.

THOMPSON: He's, like, clipped out of a faded zine.

HARRIS: Yeah, very '90s.

MONIQUE: He's like a walking, living zine.

THOMPSON: He's washed out in a way that's completely different from every other character. And so he's kind of almost like a paper doll in his scenes, and it's - he's so visually striking. And each character has a different kind of animation palette to them in ways that deepen and enrich those characters. Also with The Spot, the Jason Schwartzman, you know, character, he's funny. He's silly, and Spider-Man's bantering with him, and there's this whole kind of running gag about like, you're just a villain of the week. And then you realize the nature of The Spot's power, A, lends itself to these wildly kinetic and creative fight sequences that look unlike anything you've seen in a superhero movie before, and, B, are funny and, C, more serious than they seem. He is a bigger challenge than he seems. And so, like, each character has an extra layer of thought put into it. And I think that is what I loved about this film.

I had a little bit of the opposite of Daisy's reaction. I was completely hooked into this film for probably the first 90 minutes where - until I started to really feel the bloat a little bit. I think this movie has more kind of third-act problems where it's throwing on one or two too many action set pieces to the point where the cumulative effect can be a little bit exhausting. But, my God, from minute to minute, I sat there thinking things like, why aren't all movies like this?


HARRIS: Seriously.

THOMPSON: Is this the best superhero movie I've ever seen? Why are there bad animated movies?

MONIQUE: Why are there bad animated movies is a good question after...

ROSARIO: That's a great question.

MONIQUE: ...Watching this because the range of styles...

THOMPSON: This to me uses the idea of animation to its full potential. I don't want to be one of those people who makes the mistake of crediting just one person or just one team. Because of how strong this script is and how sharp, and funny, and smart and thoughtful this script is, it's very tempting to be like, Lord and Miller - because Lord and Miller made "The Lego Movie" and "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs." These guys are so good that it's really easy to say, it's Lord and Miller. They didn't animate it.


THOMPSON: A whole team animated this thing. There are three credited directors on this thing, and it is directed beautifully.


THOMPSON: This is a creative team working to its full potential. Do I have a couple of quibbles with it? I think I probably would have just bladed out a whole action set piece that takes place as a rocket is taking off because it just feels like it goes on for 20 minutes.


THOMPSON: But what am I complaining about? There's too much great movie here.


THOMPSON: That's my big beef with this film? I loved this film. I just - I could walk out of the theater and right into another theater showing "Beyond The Spider-Verse," the next sequel that's supposed to come out that they were kind of making somewhat concurrently with this film, and just soaked up another 2, 2 1/2 hours of these filmmakers working at their peak capacity.

MONIQUE: I think everyone immediately after the film was like, when's the next one? Like, how many months do we have to wait?

ROSARIO: Right? You have a team that - where everyone across the board is working at the highest level. Nobody is showing up at 75%. Like, when it is fan service and things like that - which again, I think this part is something that Lord and Miller do well. Like, they make sure that it actually feels tied in thoughtfully, or they slip it in at, like, the right moment as opposed to just, like, shoehorning things in. And I do think that that part is, like, a mark of their work that is really smart. That's why they've been able to be so clever and creative with these IPs like "21 Jump Street" and "The Lego Movie" that people had wildly low expectations for.

You know, as I sat with it too, it's like, I think I would be less bothered by some of what still, like, to me felt a little like some slowness towards the start - like, there was a part of me that was just like, where is Miles? Are we, like, changing the point of view to a different character too much? And that made me antsy because it was such a special world...


ROSARIO: ...That they created. Immediately, like, we were in a different world, which I get - the multiverse or the Spider-Verse. But what my concern was more that, like, we were not going to get as much of, like, some of the special points of view in this. And that was a lot of where my, like, anxiety with some of it came.

HARRIS: Yeah, it takes some time. For me, it really came alive once Miles was sort of repositioned as the center.

ROSARIO: Yeah. Same.

HARRIS: Another hurdle that this movie had to overcome was the fact that we are in a multiverse.


HARRIS: Just this is the world we're living in now as consumers, where every big franchise seems to have multiple dimensions and multiple universes. And it's like, there's a fatigue, I feel, about that.


HARRIS: And what makes this so special, without spoiling it too much, is that this multiverse within "Across The Spider-Verse" is very, very specific.


HARRIS: But I loved the fact that they are questioning sort of, like, who belongs in these universes.


HARRIS: And are you in the right universe? What is happening here? And it's also kind of questioning, you know, like, how is Miles - like, is he special within his own world? Is he special within the wider universe, which is, I feel like, a question that so many kids especially have to deal with - like, you know, whether it's, like, special programs or feeling as though you don't belong in this school or, like, maybe I didn't deserve to be here. I just think Miles just feels so relatable. Even the way he's drawn, the way he kind of moves his body, like, it feels so real.


HARRIS: And I think that that's something that a lot of kids especially will be able to appreciate. And did this feel a little bit older to you in terms of the audience it was going for? Because I definitely felt like it was - it's PG, but it felt like a sort of higher-rated, like, kind of bordering, teetering on PG-13 because, like, the Spot has jokes about his holes.


HARRIS: I'm just saying.


ROSARIO: Yeah. There's a lot of...

MONIQUE: Extremely subtle. It will go over your child's head. What's going to be great about the series is it really grows with Miles.


MONIQUE: If the first film is for, like, your middle school to grade school kids, then this one really feels like, you know, a high schooler might really, like, identify and connect with this, like, era of Miles. They released a ton of trailers sort of showing that rooftop conversation between Miles and his mother and this, like, this idea of, like, you're holding something back from me and the parents freaking out. Like, am I doing a good job? Am I connecting? Am I doing everything I - like, I think if you're a parent, too - I'm not, but I think if you're a parent, you would also really identify with a lot of the struggles of these characters of how do I make a space where my child feels comfortable telling me the things that they might be nervous about, and how do I make sure that I'm setting a foundation for them to go out into the world and do really well?

And I think that if you have a very loving relationship with your parents, this is probably a conversation at some point, or maybe many points, you've had to have with them about what does it mean to go off and be your own person, to be an individual outside of these people who love you and raised you and spent so much time with you? And gosh, for a kids' movie to sort of tackle that and find it important and sort of be on the kids' side in a very clear way, I thought was really brilliant.

I also really - like, you know, within that conversation of, is Miles special and important and unique in his own right, there is a sliver of a conversation that I have a feeling is going to get picked up in the second movie of, how do fans feel about these new characters taking on these old mantles?

HARRIS: Yes. Absolutely.

MONIQUE: It's so subtle, but it's very much an articulation because there was a lot of pushback. Who is this Miles kid? He's not really Spider-Man. He hasn't gone through all the same things that, you know, we've known a traditional Peter Parker to have gone through. Why does he get to be here? And. Of course, as we see - you know, we just had come out through "The Little Mermaid" and a bunch of other stuff, people get uptight when we've switched the race of a character, when we give a new personality a mantle. And so to sort of tackle that, again, subtly, not in a way that overtakes the movie, it's just woven into the narrative in such a lovely way, I think, especially because so many people do love Miles. Like, this is the guy. He's so cool. Like, we are very, very lucky to live in a world that has a Miles Morales character. Appreciate it. Yeah.

THOMPSON: (Laughter).

HARRIS: There's a specific line that might be a little bit too spoilery, but that one character does say to Miles. I don't think it's subtle, but I also think, like you said, Joelle, it works really well, was woven in so that it doesn't feel like a after-school special.


HARRIS: But when it was said to him, I was like, oh, this feels like it's coming out of - straight out of one of those, like, kind of racist fans. Like, you're not - not my Spider-Man, that kind of thing, you know?


THOMPSON: Oh, my God.

HARRIS: So I loved that nod to that kind of fandom. And I - so curious to see how that plays out in the next movie.

ROSARIO: No, it just also feels so true to, you know, the first movie as well of, like, anybody can be under the mask. It's part of the DNA of these movies, inherently, at this point as well.


ROSARIO: And that really makes all the difference.

THOMPSON: Now, you guys have alluded a couple of times - and I kind of want to close with this - this is a different kind of sequel. This is a sequel that is Part 1 of a two-movie sequel to the first one.


THOMPSON: This movie does not end on a typical ending point. It is more of a halfway point. I don't think that's a spoiler. I think that's actually an expectation setter.


THOMPSON: There's a lot more story to tell, right?

ROSARIO: Oh, definitely.

HARRIS: Yeah, absolutely. I had forgotten, or maybe I didn't even know. I'd missed the memo that they'd announced...


HARRIS: ...That this was going to be actually - like, more or less end on a cliffhanger. So at one point when it was like maybe the fifth or sixth, like, fight in just a few minutes, I was like, this is not going to wrap up, like, at least not in the way that I expected. And I was like, eh, OK.


HARRIS: But, you know, I wish I had known or remembered going in that that was going to be the case, so...

ROSARIO: Same. I didn't know. And so it was a little frustrating in the moment. I was even talking to PCHH producer Mike Katzif after the screening, and I was, like, describing how it was - it felt to me like when I was reading the last "Hunger Games" book, where I was like, there's not enough pages.

THOMPSON: Oh, yeah.


ROSARIO: Like, I kept looking. Like, and if I had the heads-up, I would have not been frustrated.


ROSARIO: But I missed the memo as well.

MONIQUE: I was teetering between, is this a very brave decision or a return to just great filmmaking? It's a trilogy.



MONIQUE: We used to really be excited to get into a trilogy, and we sort of understood that, like, OK, at the end, they're going to leave a whole lot of space for, like, this next adventure. If we think of our "Empire Strikes Backs" or, you know...


MONIQUE: ...Like, instead of leaving you with a lesson learned, it really challenges the lessons Miles learned in the first film, like, really ends with being like, are all those things you thought you understood about yourself and about the world true? And when confronted with large hurdles, are you able to sort of stick to your guns and believe in yourself in a way that is meaningful and can be impactful? And I really loved the ending the more I think about it. It was a challenge to take in the moment because you're so just, like, that's our baby. We need him to be OK (laughter). Is Miles all right? Is he safe? What's going to happen next? Immediately, I know I have to buy another ticket 'cause I have to know how the story ends. And it's really wonderful.

THOMPSON: Oh, yeah. I mean, I will say, at last frame of this film, I threw a fist in the air in triumph. So...

HARRIS: Yeah. Hell yeah.


HARRIS: Freeze frame.


THOMPSON: All right. Well, we want to know what you think about "Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse." Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/pchh. Up next, what is making us happy this week?

Now it's time for our favorite segment of this week and every week. What is making us happy this week? Joelle Monique, what's making you happy this week?

MONIQUE: OK. So the world is crazy, and Lord and Miller have a different project that came out (laughter) It's another animated project. "Clone High," which, if you were a teen in the late '90s, early 2000s, you probably remember is that weird show on MTV. The core idea of it is a scientist digs up a bunch of very famous people, clones them and puts them in a high school as a way of, like, using all of their brainpower to make a better Earth or something. But mostly it's just - was a comedy. And in the remake, they were like, what if we compared late '90s, early 2000s teenagers versus Gen Z teenagers and put them in the same high school and had them try to figure out, you know, what does it mean, not just to be a teenager, but, like, who do we want to be as people?

And they bring in people like Frida Kahlo and Harriet Tubman, and they're now the cool kids. And hot Cleopatra from the early 2000s is confused as to how these girls with body hair could be appreciated for who they are as people. And they have to deal with these things. And it's so brilliant. I had no idea what to expect. Bill Lawrence, who's also the showrunner for "Ted Lasso" and creator of "Scrubs," partnered with Lord and Miller when they were very young and starting in the industry. So all of them have come back, brought their brains together to create this show, and it's just delightful. So that's "Clone High." You can find it on Max, formerly known as HBO Max.

THOMPSON: Lovely. Thank you, Joelle. Daisy Rosario, what's making you happy this week?

ROSARIO: Well, I've got two things. And one, I know, started as something that made you guys a little sad, but I feel like it would be remiss to not acknowledge that I now have the great pleasure of working with former POP CULTURE HAPPY HOUR producer Candace Lim...


THOMPSON: So jealous.

ROSARIO: ...As she is the new co-host on a show that I work with over at Slate, which is called "ICYMI," "In Case You Missed It." It's our show about internet culture. I do also want to acknowledge we had two fantastic people who listen to both of our shows because we had a couple of listeners that sent in emails like, I have a guess. I noticed that POP CULTURE HAPPY HOUR announced that Candace Lim was leaving, and you guys announced that you made a hire. So - and I just - shout-out to listeners in general. Love that. Love anyone who feels so invested in the work that we make.

HARRIS: I'll never forgive you, Daisy.

THOMPSON: For the POP CULTURE HAPPY HOUR cinematic universe, we needed to expand.



ROSARIO: And then the other thing that I'm loving and that I've really been enjoying is a series of books called "The Thursday Murder Club" by a British writer named Richard Osman. He is a, you know, kind of quiz show, TV presenter guy over there, writes these cozy mysteries that are set in a retirement community. And they are so charming. They're about murder.

THOMPSON: So many cozy mysteries are.

ROSARIO: They are a genuine treat to read. So if you like a good mystery, but also want to, like, laugh and go, aw, "The Thursday Murder Club" books by Richard Osman are definitely for you.

THOMPSON: Wonderful. Thank you, Daisy. Aisha Harris, what's making you happy this week, buddy?

HARRIS: Well, there is an entire genre of podcasts that has arisen in the last decade or so and become very, very popular where - red-pill, Black-hosted shows, which often feature a rapper who had, like, one hit maybe 20 years ago and is now known for giving, quote-unquote, "relationship advice" that's really just caveman mentality about gendered roles in hetero relationships. Like, that's a thing, right? And it's - they're very popular, and I hate them so much, which is why I love the comedian Mel, who goes by @TheBaddestMitch on TikTok and on Twitter. She has this whole series of short videos called "Misogynistic Podcasts Be Like."

And what I love about this is that, in any given clip, she's playing three different characters. There's that rapper host who, like, has nothing but terrible things to say. Then there's the hype man who contributes nothing but, like, adlibs, things like bro and that's crazy. And then there's the lone woman co-host who, like, cosigns on all the misogynistic junk that these guys are spewing. It's just great. And I want to just play a short clip from one of those moments. Just have a listen. It's ridiculous.


MEL MITCHELL: I don't want a woman with a degree anyway because once they start law, they think they know too much. They think they know everything. Like, once a woman has the education to know Algebra I, she's done.

Hey, dog.

As a female, like, y'all got to understand, like, a lot of that stuff is not feminine. Like, I'm just in my feminine energy right now.


ROSARIO: Brilliant.

MONIQUE: So good.

HARRIS: I just love what she's been able to do because even in some cases it's, like, parody, but then if you go and actually watch some of the actual podcasts that she's, like, lifting line for line...

ROSARIO: Yes, yes.

HARRIS: So it's both sad but also, I'm so glad that we have comedians like her really, like, just calling it out and challenging it. So that's - you should definitely follow Mel @TheBaddestMitch, and look for her series "Misogynistic Podcasts Be Like."

THOMPSON: Nice. Thank you, Aisha. What is making me happy is Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" I maintain is maybe the best song ever written.

HARRIS: It's perfect.

THOMPSON: And the country singer Luke Combs released a cover of "Fast Car," and the first time I heard it on the radio, I cocked an eye and sort of glared suspiciously. Why is Luke Combs covering "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman? What gives you the right, et cetera? But it's beautiful. It clearly, deeply respects the source material to the point where Luke Combs, who's a big guy with a beard and a guitar, does not change the line, so I work in a market as a checkout girl. Let's actually hear a little bit of it.


LUKE COMBS: (Singing) You got a fast car. We go cruising, entertain ourselves. Still ain't got a job, so I work in the market is a checkout girl. I know things will get better. You'll find work, and I'll get promoted, and we'll move out of the shelter...

THOMPSON: So I'm delighted to hear this song given the respect that it's due, available to new generations of people. Is it as good as having actual Tracy Chapman appear on country radio? It is not. But the fact that people are rediscovering her, the fact that this song is so deeply respected makes me very, very happy. It made me dig out Tracy Chapman's brilliant 1988 self-titled debut and listen to it again for the 600,000th time - made me very, very happy. And that is what is making me happy this week. If you want links for what we recommended, plus some more recommendations, sign up for our newsletter at npr.org/popculturenewsletter. That brings us to the end of our show. Joelle Monique, Daisy Rosario, Aisha Harris, thanks so much for being here.

HARRIS: Thank you.

ROSARIO: Thank you.

MONIQUE: Thank you.

THOMPSON: This episode was produced by Rommel Wood and Hafsa Fathima and edited by Mike Katzif. Our supervising producer is Jessica Reedy. And Hello Come In provides our theme music. Thanks for listening to POP CULTURE HAPPY HOUR from NPR. I'm Stephen Thompson, and we will see you all next week.

Copyright © 2023 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.