Fresh releases for the spring semester

Octavia Spencer as Poppy Scoville-Parnell stands in front of police car.
Octavia Spencer stuns as Poppy Scoville-Parnell in the third season of Apple TV+’s drama series “Truth Be Told” premiering on Jan. 20.

Campus is once again bustling after the return of tens of thousands of students for the spring semester. Four months of classes, clubs, jobs and hopefully a lot of fun await Trojans. Still, the return, especially the first week, can be hard.

For some people, school is the greatest place to be — always busy, always social. However, if you find yourself with the all-too-familiar pit in your stomach reminding you that you have to wake up at 8 a.m. and interact with a whole group of new classmates rather than just stay in your pajamas and bother your mom for the day, sometimes a few exciting upcoming releases can provide some comfort that the semester is indeed survivable. 

Between long-awaited albums and exciting debut novels, this semester is expected to be one of nonstop excitement. 


“Five Easy Hot Dogs” by Mac DeMarco — Jan. 20

After rumors of retirement, Mac DeMarco is back. The indie-rock artist, known for the hit songs “My Kind of Woman” and “Chamber of Reflection,” announced a new album, “Five Easy Hot Dogs,” last week.  

DeMarco recorded the album during a winding road trip he took from Los Angeles to Utah. Spanning from Gualala, California to Vancouver, British Columbia, each track is named after the city in which it was created. The largely instrumental album explores his experiences in each city. Clunk Magazine described the album as “gonzo music,” referring to journalist’s Hunter S. Thompson’s humorous and personal approach to storytelling.  

“Raven” by Kelela — Feb. 10

R&B and electronic artist Kelela Mizanekristos, who creates music under her first name, is finally dropping an album after a five-year hiatus. “Raven” comes after Kelela’s critically-acclaimed debut album “Take Me Apart.”

Kelela describes her new album as “an affirmation of black femme perspective in the midst of systemic erasure and the sound of our vulnerability turned to power.” She is hoping to show dance and club music as an important Black art form. 

Singles such as “On The Run” promise the club production she is known for while continuing to push the boundaries of R&B music. 


“The Shards” by Bret Easton Ellis — Jan. 17 

With “The Shards,” the author of “American Psycho” returns to writing after a 13-year break. 

“The Shards” is another serial killer story, this time following a group of extremely privileged preparatory high school kids in Los Angeles. Narrator Bret and his friends begin to draw the attention of the killer on the loose. Bret as a character is kind of the worst, being unlikable and pretentious, but that’s what makes Ellis’ writing so captivating. Reality begins to distort in Bret’s mind, keeping the reader drawn in with a classic unreliable narrator. 

“Your Driver Is Waiting” by Priya Guns — Feb. 28

Debut author Priya Guns reinvents the world of “Taxi Driver” (1976) in “Your Driver Is Waiting.” A hilarious and dark satire, the novel follows a rideshare driver, Damani, who is a queer woman of color, as she enters a relationship with one of her passengers, a rich white woman. 

Through turmoil in both their relationship and the world around them, Guns questions the allyship of white activists. Guns’ novel is the perfect book to add to your want to read list. 


“Poker Face” — Jan. 26 – March 9

Starring Natasha Lyonne of “But I’m a Cheerleader” and “Orange is the New Black,” “Poker Face” is a mystery series from “Knives Out” creator Rian Johnson set to release on Peacock. 

Charlie Cale (Lyonne) has the ability to tell when people are lying. Each of 10 episodes is an individual mystery that Cale attempts to solve. The cast includes a-listers such as Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (500 Days of Summer) and Adrien Brody (The Pianist).

With Johnson’s clear knack for entertaining and satisfying mysteries, great things are expected to come from this series.     

“Truth Be Told” Season Three — Jan. 20 – March 24

Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) returns as Poppy Scoville-Parnell for season three of Apple TV+’s drama series “Truth Be Told.” Scoville is a true crime podcaster who investigates and solves the crimes she podcasts about. It’s like “Only Murders in the Building” but much more serious. 

As “Truth Be Told” is an anthology series, the show investigates a new crime each season. According to Variety, this season sees Scoville tracking a sex trafficking ring with the help of a school principal played by Gabrielle Union (Bring It On). 

Spring semester is in no way lacking exciting releases, with many more sure to be announced in the coming months. Plus with shows, movies, art and music being created on campus, there is no shortage of excitement and entertainment.