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Gen Z Approved! Music, Movies ‘n Media to Lift Your Mood

Written by Jaiden Arada, Converge multimedia journalism intern and Senior at Cherokee Bluff High School

Oftentimes, the stress of the real world can catch up to people. Meeting deadlines and staying focused help keep people on track with their daily lives. When life starts to feel like a routine, many people turn to escapism to help them cure their boredom. Escapism is a distraction from the real world that temporarily makes one forget everything around them to be fully immersed in what they are doing. It can be a great stress reliever and these mood-lifting media titles including movies, music and more are a great starting point worth checking out.


First is the romantic comedy 10 Things I Hate About You, starring Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles. This movie follows two different love stories, an older sister who wants nothing to do with boys and a younger sister who is a boy fanatic. Cameron, a new kid at the sisters’ high school, falls head over heels for Bianca, the younger sister. In order for Bianca to date, the older sister, Kat, must date too, according to their father’s rules. Cameron sneakily sets Kat up with Patrick, a guy who has no interest in being with a fierce woman like Kat. The story unfolds into a lesson about love, heartbreak and confidence for girls to speak up for themselves. 10 Things I Hate About You is perfect for a small gathering of comedy-loving friends.

Clueless is a classic for any nineties kids. As the protagonist Cher, played by Alicia Silverstone, lives her privileged life in California, the movie shows a glimpse of what her life is like. When Cher and friend Dionne are in gym class one day, they notice a new girl named Tai, played by Brittany Murphy. They call her totally clueless and they decide to “reinvent” her. This teenage movie shows the whimsical side of high school and how a diva from California can improve herself for the better.

Producing a movie where the entire plot takes place all in one day seems like a hard task to pull off. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off accepts this challenge and makes the movie an entertaining watch for all viewers. The movie begins with Ferris Bueller, a high school student who feels that school is a waste of time and thinks he should be spending his time living life. He has faked many sick days in the past to go on great adventures. This particular time, Principal Rooney is on to Ferris and tries everything in his power to catch him in the act. This movie shows adventure with Ferris having the time of his life with his best friend, Cameron, and his girlfriend, Sloan. It’s a good movie for all ages and has important messages about life throughout.

Starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, La La Land takes a modern spin on old, classic moviemaking. With the bright colors and upbeat music, there is a ton of symbolism to analyze if you are a movie nerd. The story is about Sebastian and Mia, characters who slowly fall in love and as they navigate their lives as adults in Hollywood. She wants to be an actress. He wants to be a jazz musician. The obstacles they face together in this movie leave an ending that no one watching was expecting. This movie will leave viewers pondering how strong ambitions can be and how it will affect their futures.

Combine a variety of love stories, add A-list celebrities and the equation equals Valentine’s Day. The movie features celebrities like Ashton Kutcher, George Lopez, Jennifer Garner, Bradley Cooper, Anne Hathaway and so many more! There are many different love stories in this movie, not even all of them are romantic. Everyone is connected in some way which leaves viewers trying to find clues as to who is connected to whom. This silly and upbeat film is perfect for a viewing party with friends as it is sure to get everyone laughing.


Taylor Swift is a versatile artist who has certainly made her mark in the music industry. With her nine album releases and the re-recordings of her older albums, she has created a name for herself in both pop and country music. This secretive artist always kept fans on their toes, waiting for new releases. Swift is now a very open person, telling stories through her music and connecting with her fans through her concerts and social media. Some of her best songs include “New Romantics,” “Getaway Car,” “Paper Rings” and “cardigan.” With so much variety, Taylor Swift has an album for everyone’s different states of mind.

Harry Styles has grown tremendously in popularity within the past couple of years. Rising to stardom a member of boy band One Direction, he has now made his own name for himself. With his colorful style and comedic interactions with his fans, Styles has been selling out arenas on his recent tour. His two albums have an interesting set of tracks on both. Ones worth mentioning include “Fine Line,” “Falling,” “Two Ghosts” and “Sign of the Times.” He is sure to put listeners on a good rollercoaster of emotions.

A rising star that has a name for herself in the pop music industry is Olivia Rodrigo. At just eighteen years old, she released an album that had the teenage population listening on repeat. She started out with acting but later pursued her passion for music. After she released her album, “Sour,” she has continued to work on music and fuel her love for singing. Honorable mentions on the album are the wicked “brutal,” the somber “traitor” and the melancholy “favorite crime.” This album is full of heartbreak and teenage angst that is destined to be relatable to teenagers.

Lizzo is an artist that is a great role model for women all over the world. Her message about body positivity is helping girls gain their confidence and self-esteem. She is very vocal about things that she cares about and is willing to put a comedic twist on the delivery. Her songs reflect that comedic but important ideology. Some meaningful mentions of her songs include “Like a Girl,” “Truth Hurts” and “Juice.” Lizzo is best for more mature audiences, as some of her lyrics are more explicit, but the message behind them is worth the listen.

Beginning as a Nickelodeon star, Ariana Grande has grown tremendously as a performer. She has had a tumultuous journey as a singer, facing many tragedies throughout her career, but she has channeled her hurt into her music and continues to keep a positive attitude. Many of her songs are melodic and upbeat, like “7 rings” or “thank u, next.” Some others are more sad, like “imagine,” her song about the late Mac Miller. She is now married and has been keeping her music positive and uplifting. I cannot wait to see what other kind of music she has in store!


Mario Kart is a game that unites tons of people. With the memorable characters like Mario and Luigi, the game was destined to bring game players from all over the world. Who would have thought that a steering game with cartoon characters would have the popularity it does? The game features many different levels and tracks based on the characters themselves. The game can be played as a single or multiplayer game, with up to 4 players. It’s a great game for bonding with friends and family using a little competition.

Sharing on social media is a great way to connect with friends and family that you don’t seen often. Instagram is a social media site that allows people to post pictures and comment on other people’s posts. It is a great tool for marketing with businesses as millions of people already have an Instagram account. With Instagram, the feed that a person sees is curated based on the content that they like. This helps businesses reach their target audiences. It’s also a great way for people to update what they are doing for their followers to see.

Time management is a struggle for a lot of people. Keeping up with everyday tasks and events can be a hassle. Timetree is a calendar app that can help with this problem. It is a digital, color-coordinated calendar and it alerts the person when the event is approaching. The calendar can be shared with other people so that they can add events and see what is coming up. It is a great tool for families to keep track of appointments, extracurriculars, meetings, etc.

Ever wonder what is going on in celebrities’ lives? People Magazine provides a glimpse into what that is like. The interviews always ask very specific questions to learn all about what’s going on in their lives. It is very interesting to read some of the issues they face. The magazine is formatted so that there is something different occurring on each page which creates an aesthetic look for the reader’s eye.

If traditional exercise is difficult, try the game Just Dance! It is a game where players follow along to the dance moves on the screen. Every year, a new version of the game is released with dance moves from the most popular songs that year. There are even extra versions that have different themes, like Disney-themed, to accommodate everyone no matter their taste in music. It is a great form of exercise—a type of aerobic cardio that will get one’s heart rate rising without even realizing it. It is perfect for a party game!