It’s True. The “Pretty In Pink” Soundtrack Is Amazing.

written by C. Shardae Jobson

I’m so late.

I’m so late.

I’m so late!

Last week, I listened to the entire Pretty In Pink soundtrack. And months ago, I finally watched the movie on HBO Go. (For awhile, VH1 played it all the time. But I never could catch it at the beginning).

All that I’ve heard about how good the ’80s teen movie and soundtrack was were correct. The soundtrack is reserved as an impressive anthology of ’80s new wave, with magazines like Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly regularly including it in their “Best Of” soundtracks list. I purely knew of Pretty In Pink because of its cast, John Hughes, and perpetual adulation for its music for years. This summer, I finally joined the fandom.

pretty in pink

My infatuation was sparked by it being the 30th anniversary of its release this past February. It’s already been unfathomable for me to gather that 2016 marks 20 years of Arthur, Sublime, and The FugeesThe Score. But wow. 30 years of Pretty In Pink. It was 1986 then. The last year (after all the research I’ve done about the ’80s, and will continue to do) in that true neon decadence reigned in popular culture. That’s because heavy-hearted acknowledgment of tragic circumstances like AIDS, poverty, and the crack cocaine epidemic became more intro focus.

But I also shouldn’t imply that the good times had stopped rolling, pop culture or music-wise. Following 1986, music was maybe more of a smorgasbord than the motley of synth pop-rock and post-disco during the early half of the decade.

New Jack Swing and young adult R&B rose higher in 1988 (think: New Edition with new member Johnny Gill, former member Bobby Brown‘s solo Don’t Be Cruel, and Karyn White). Hair metal was reaching its zenith with groups like Poison and Whitesnake, (and a documentary was made in the process about this spectrum of rock’s hedonism, through Penelope Spheeris Decline of Western Civilization: The Metal Years) as awoken bands like R.E.M.and U2 were delivered pensive alternative. Starting in 1987, hip-hop began releasing, even more, albums, singles, and artists that would be legendary in the years to come like Paid In Full by Eric B. and Rakim, Public Enemy‘s debut Yo! Bumrush the Show and Salt-N-Pepa. And warm, cheesy pop continued as epic moments for women in music wrapped up 1989 with Madonna‘s Like A Prayer and Janet Jackson‘s Rhythm Nation 1814.


Pretty In Pink was the end of Molly Ringwald and John Hughes’ collaborative filmmaking. For three years, with Hughes’ screenwriting talent and stab at directing, and Ringwald playing one of his lead characters, together they re-shaped the teen market with Sixteen Candles (1984), The Breakfast Club (1985), and Pretty In Pink. There were the over-sexed comedies like Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Class, and Porky’s. Then there were Hughes’ films.

As an adult creator (amongst Hughes’ other screenwriting credits include Home Alone 1 and 2, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Some Kind of Wonderful), Hughes was young at heart. He was fully engaged into wanting to understand why at just no more than eighteen years of age, and as young as twelve, why adolescents treated heartbreak as gutwrenching as an adult. And failure or disappointment as the end of the world when they had a good thirty more years of experiencing flaky people and situations that will be categorically afflictive. Hughes tread teen life extremely tender footed. The Judy Blume of mainstream cinema.

What may had been most thrilling for Hughes as a writer was exploring the unique personalities he gave his imaginary friends. He gave underdogs and burn-outs their day, as arch nemeses were usually rich brats and good for nothing airheads. (Though Ringwald played a popular girl–who grew up in a span of Saturday detention–in The Breakfast Club, as did Lea Thompson in Some Kind of Wonderful. That role was originally offered to Ringwald).

The lead of Andie Walsh in Pretty In Pink is canonized as the demigoddess of “weirdo”, art school, “different” type girls everywhere. Loosely based on Ringwald herself, who stood out as the only teen queen with her distinguished red hair in the ’80s, Andie is creative, a music fiend, and total fashion plate. Though her kind of fashion get-ups are cavalier with the mixing of textures and flamboyant accessories; of course, most of her peers don’t get it. But any viewer of Pretty In Pink cognizes Andie as a true original. Same for her friend Duckie (played by Jon Cryer, who was resurrected on television through Two and A Half Men). He wore John Lennon sunglasses and a fedora with Converses.

Pretty in pink

At the core of Pretty In Pink is the story of how privileged Blane McDonough (played by Andrew McCarthy, who, sidenote, looks more wildly handsome now than he did during his “Brat Pack” days) takes a liking to Andie. And while the attraction is mutual, because both carry the factors of their opposing worlds in an Illinois neighborhood (blue-collar, wealthy; underground, standard; unique style, basic AF), peer pressure and insecurities threaten to keep them apart.

That’s all I’m going to say about the film for now for those who haven’t seen it (watch it please). But there have been shades of Pink in movies and shows since 1986 like 2009’s 500 Days Of Summer (that also prominently featured a Smiths‘ song. More on the band later in my soundtrack review below) and The O.C.

pretty in pink

The first track off the official soundtrack is the most known of the set, “If You Leave” by the Orchestral Manoeuvres of the Dark. I think even those that recall when Pink was in theaters can’t recite the band’s name correctly. But this song is the “Don’t You Forget About Me” of the album. Kinda broody, sentimental, but instilled with a kind of “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me Yet” tortured charisma. You’d be colored a little cold-hearted to not like it “If You Leave.”

“Left of Center” by Suzanne Vega featuring Joe Jackson is terrifically cynical. As a ’90s kid, I can’t help but think of this as a godmother track to Fiona Apple and the whole Lilith Fair movement.

By far, the track I’ve repeated the most is “Get To Know Ya” by Jesse Johnson. I didn’t even know there was R&B on the soundtrack because since otherwise encircled by nine New Wave songs, those nine were all critics talked about when discussing Pretty In Pink‘s music.

Instantly I loved “Get To Know Ya.” It’s like R&B new wave. That smoky Minneapolis sound with lyrics like: “You’re not aware, but you’re part of my charade.” How did Johnson’s song go virtually unnoticed these last 30 years? I’m telling you. All reviews I’ve come across online failed to mention “Get To Know Ya” and it’s a shame. If it was good enough to make the Hughes cut, it’s good enough for all of us.

Johnson is an underrated talent of ’80s R&B himself. He was a member of The Time and in 1985 he released his solo debut Jesse Johnson’s Revue. He also produced and wrote for other artists of the decade such as Vanity‘s “Undress” for the film Action Jackson she starred in.

He remains a musician today and out of the songs I’ve heard from his catalog, “Get To Know Ya” is one of his best. In Pretty In Pink, it played for a 30 seconds in a house party scene. That was lame. But at least the full cut is on the official album.

Hughes was clearly a fan of Johnson too because he had appeared the year before on the official track list for The Breakfast Club.

“Do Wat U Do” by INXS is jukebox rock and anything with the late Michael Hutchence is a go. The fifth track is where the title was lifted from, “Pretty In Pink” by The Psychedelic Furs. The song originally came out 1981 and was on their album Talk Talk Talk. Ringwald was a fan of the band and brought this to Hughes’ attention who liked what he heard while in pre-production of the movie it would inspire.

Pretty In Pink

The Furs re-recorded and remixed it for the 1986 soundtrack. During an interview with MTV, for a Pretty In Pink premiere special, Hughes commented that they were a band that didn’t compromise. In his opinion, their outlook or way of music making was “harder and harder” to find in that, at the time, day and age. Can you believe that was said in 1986! So much good–great–music was still being released and about to be (If Erasure‘s The Innocents hadn’t been released until 1988, they certainly would’ve made the soundtrack cut). The music of the 1980s, in any genre, still rock any playlist or party today. Hughes’ opinion is more applicable thirty years later.

“Shell Shock” by New Order rockets with the band’s classic sense of astral goth pop. The repeated words of “It’s never enough” just seep into your brain until you realize the song is over. I’ll be honest in that the song initially felt like it nine minutes when I first heard it.

Belouis Some contributed “Round Round” and that is followed by my second favorite song off the soundtrack: “Wouldn’t It Be Good” by the Danny Hutton Hitters. I always lose my words when my ears come across a fantastic song. Just like “Get To Know Ya”, this one was just hitting all the musical spots. Because I listened to this on YouTube, I discovered that the version for Pretty In Pink was actually a remake of Nik Kershaw’s original 1984 release. They’re both great.

A favorite band of the outsider kids of the ’80s, Echo & The Bunnymen offered their beautiful “Bring on the Dancing Horses” and it was specifically written for Pretty In Pink.

The Smiths’ “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” is the finale. It’s as heartbreaking as it sounds. Lead singer Morrissey is a lot of things that can be boxed as irascible. But dammit, that guy sure knows how to evoke and encapsulate pain from the inside out with his vocals and songwriting. It’s even more effective in being under two minutes.

I was willing to purchase the anniversary edition of Pretty In Pink on vinyl. It’s selling point was that the music was remastered onto a gorgeous pink picture disc. But I headed over to the always dependable Cheap Thrills record store in Dedham, Massachusetts instead to get the original analog pressing for that true blue 1986 feel.

I recently had the pleasure of talking about the impact of Pretty In Pink with Tim, an employee of another amazing record and vinyl shop, Mystery Train, in Gloucester, Massachusetts. We got on the subject because I was looking for The Breakfast Club soundtrack and he recalled not seeing it for a few weeks in Train, but that he had preferred Pink‘s music over it. He excitedly disclosed that the film meant a great deal to him and that it introduced and guided him to the music he still loves today because of its New Wave strong tunes. He also co-signed my belief that “Get To Know Ya” is absurdly overlooked and that Johnson is an awesome talent.

I thought it was very telling that as a guy, who was a teen when Pink was released, treasured a film and soundtrack with a red-haired girl as the protagonist and inspiration. Tim confirmed how iconic and lasting Pretty In Pink is. We all can somehow see ourselves in characters like Andie, Duckie, and maybe even Blane. And with such a great soundtrack alongside these characters, Pretty In Pink is a rarity package of teen honesty in which an adult can appreciate years later.

“The music in Pretty In Pink was not an afterthought. The tracks on this album and in this film are there because Howie Deutch and I believe in the artists, respect the artists and are proud to be in league with them. Endless thanks to them all and to David Anderle, the best friend and ally anyone venturing into the blur of film music could ever have.” -John Hughes, 1986

Today, August 6, marks seven years since Hughes passed away, of a heart attack, in 2009. Pretty In Pink remains a classic in its own bright right.

Let’s continue honoring it in making sure “they” *DJ Khaled voice* know that they didn’t break us.

Thanks, John.




A Closer Look At The “Clueless” Soundtrack, 21 Years Later

Twenty-one years ago, if wasn’t just the kooky dialogue or fashion that stuck with me from Clueless. Its official soundtrack is equally as disarming.

Before the screen read “Clueless” in the packed movie theater I was in, The Muffs‘ “Kids in America”, a guitar-pop, contented jam, featuring the extremely crushed rocks vocals of its lead singer, Kim Shattuck, rolled in preparation of the California kids being California kids montage: hanging by the pool, driving in jeeps, going shopping. Normally, such a scene would’ve rendered as vapid to viewers. But here it streamed as unapologetic fun.

Music was central to Clueless and its become clearer in the years since the 1995 comedy has been christened a ’90s classic and a glittering gem of 20th-century film. (Written and directed by Amy Heckerling, who also scribed 1982’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High, she oddly went on to have a low profile in Hollywood. Having occasionally directed television episodes and smaller films, she’s currently involved in the musical adaptation of her aforementioned “existential” showpiece).

Some of Clueless’ funniest scenes were introduced by or included familiar tunes. Such as when Murray, played by Donald Faison, nearly strutted towards his girlfriend Dionne (Stacey Dash) and her bestie Cher (Alicia Silverstone) in baggy jeans to Salt-N-Pepa‘s “Shoop, shoop de doop, shoop de doop…” Or before that, when Cher selected clothes through a computer program that contained pictures of her entire wardrobe, in addition to a revolving bar within her closet (most likely a tribute to the 1985 film Girls Just Wanna Have Fun in which this futuristic manner of picking out the outfit of the day originally occurred for Girls’ character Natalie Sands). And as the Beverly Hills teen settled on the now time-honored yellow, black, and white plaid skirt set, David Bowie‘s “Fashion” quietly approved in the background. The most emblematic scene, involving music, was when the very missed Brittany Murphy, as Tai, gleefully shook herself at a party “in the Valley” to Coolio‘s “Rolling With The Homies.”

A majority of the music I heard in Clueless, I still haven’t heard anywhere else. And I treasure that about the soundtrack. The hilarious scenarios and the music are defined by each other and great movie soundtracks do just that. You don’t play a song off of Saturday Night Fever without thinking of John Travolta in that grungy dance studio or the local club in his polyester suit in Brooklyn. And it’s because of Pretty Woman“King of Wishful Thinking” by Go West is forever ingrained in my category of fantastically cheesy, so damn good pop songs. The list goes on. “Don’t You Forget About Me.” “I Will Always Love You.” “Iris.” “Kiss From A Rose.” “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” I think the first soundtrack I personally regarded was Grease. Today, packaged soundtracks aren’t as big at all. Up until at least the year 2002, consumers were as eager to cop the latest movie soundtracks as they were regular releases by top and just about to blow acts. But that was also because these compilations were good. Even if you hated the film it was attached to. I despised Garden State (though I commended Zach Braff‘s filmmaking debut effort). But I’m sure glad he included Frou Frou‘s “Let Go” in it. Music is still created with a film in mind, such as Lady Gaga‘s “Til It Happens To You”, but usually released as singles.

This year, I finally bought the Clueless soundtrack, now accredited as “cult” for its surprisingly well put together mix of jocose throwbacks, delirious dance tracks and rock acoustics. Instead of getting the standard compact disc, I chose to make the most out of one of my top childhood memories and bought the special edition vinyl. Sides 1 and 2 are covered in a picture disc of yellow plaid, similar to Cher’s ensemble. (And this particular vinyl was exclusively manufactured for Urban Outfitters. Naturally). That rainy night when returned home with it, I immediately placed it in the record player, ready for it to be 1995 again. And I’m always ready for it to be 1995. (Though in retrospect, it was all about the CD player back then).

In 2015, blogs eagerly wrote introspective reviews of the fourteen set track list in commemoration of Clueless‘ 20th anniversary. For Stereogum, their writer figured that the soundtrack: “For older fans, it’s a throwback, and for younger ones like myself, it encapsulates an era that we missed out on.” (Girl, let me confirm the phenomenon of the mini backpack for you). Billboard uncovered that there were covers of tracks from the 1960s and ’70s. Like Flamin’ Groovies “Shake Some Action” that was inflated with alternative rock but held the same Venice Beach vibes, by the group Cracker. “All the Young Dudes” was written by Bowie (very evident in the original) and sung by Mott the Hoople in 1974. But for ’95, it became glorified grunge with an amplified chorus through the band World Party. (In the film, it perfectly played right at the start of Cher’s diatribe on not understanding “how guys dress today.”)

The soundtrack remains a highly good time. “Here (Squirmel Mix)” is an underrated, firecracker track by the undervalued trio of Luscious Jackson. It was a fantastic find by Clueless‘ main music supervisor Karyn Rachtman. Another major score was Radiohead‘s “Fake Plastic Trees“, and Clueless presented the purely acoustic version of the group’s original song from their acclaimed album The Bends. It’s subtle bad-ass coolness at its ’90s finest when one of the most revered bands found its way onto the musical platform of a deliciously campy movie. Thankfully, it was also queued up effectively when Cher came to a crossroads.

“Change” by Lightning Seeds ran for literally a minute but was hard to forget. Charged up when Cher reached queendom at Bronson Alcott High School, the lyrics celebrated individuality and freedom. I especially loved the lyric of: “You’re never going to be like all those fools. You’re coming out tonight.” The lyrics were sung with great bliss by lead singer Ian Broudie. The track is rivaled by the flagrantly euphoric “Alright”, performed by Supergrass.

There are some underwhelming selections too and I’m referencing “Mullet Head” by the Beastie Boys and “Need You Around” by Smoking Popes. “My Forgotten Favorite” by Velocity Girl is good but I myself forget about it unless I’m listening to the soundtrack. Same goes for Counting Crows‘ “The Ghost In You” which is also satisfying enough.

Clueless gave viewers a jolt of big ass trumpeted ska music with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The band played themselves as the headliners at a party Cher and her sort of boyfriend Christian went to. Formed in Boston, the Bosstones had been making music since 1983. Their time had come when Heckerling yearned for them to record for the soundtrack (“Where’d You Go”) and also make a cameo. “Where’d You Go” was from their 1991 EP of the same title. Pumped up for its 1995 rebirth, the results were a blast.

Heckerling recently joked that “Supermodel” may had “been the death” of Jill Sobule‘s career. Sobule was notable (and still so) for her song “I Kissed A Girl” (The original sentiment was later masked by Katy Perry‘s own 2008 interpretation. But Perry was a lot more gratuitous than thoughtful). And similar to that unexpected hit, “Supermodel” was bouncy. In the film, it played during a pivotal point: the dawn of Cher and Dionne’s “project” of transforming Tai from awkward stoner to a Contempo Casuals Betty. The lyrics were like a parody of every other young woman’s dream of being beautiful and coddled because of it. But it was additionally sincere in its wishes of: “I’m going to be a supermodel. Every one is going to dress like me. Just and see.” It was a clear reflection of the supermodel influence, then in 1995 at its height, and ruled by the glamazonian likes of Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and icon for the ages, Kate Moss.

And the one song missing from the official soundtrack listing?

Watching it now, No Doubt‘s “Just A Girl” doesn’t escape the ears. It’s on as Cher drove herself to Dionne’s house before school in one of the beginning clips. But at the time of Clueless’ filming in 1994, the band were unknown, their debut had flopped, and they had completed their sophomore disc Tragic Kingdom.

Rachtman discovered No Doubt during her time as VP of soundtracks at Capitol Records, the same label the Southern California fivesome-cum-quartet were on. As revealed during an interview with Flavorwire, while the head of Capitol, Gary Gersh, approved of “Just a Girl” in the film, he refused to have it be on the official track list. Clueless was released in theaters in July 1995. “Just a Girl ” two months later. Tragic Kingdom went on to place No Doubt on the musical map and has gone diamond in sales, aka, ten million records sold, in the U.S. alone.

For years, I’ve also wondered why General Public‘s “Tenderness” was nowhere to be found on the tracklist. The 1984 song was chosen for the ending credits. I have yet to forget its dreamy composition. I still play it from time to time on repeat. I now however see that the soundtrack, though paid homage to the decades before, especially the 70s, aimed to be fitted for the 1990s.

The Clueless soundtrack embodied the ’90s colorful era of music that was both hard and soft. The songs are timeless not because they can compete against Purple Rain or A Hard’s Day Night. The fourteen tracks have stood the test of time twenty-one years later because they are true to the film’s indisputable quirkiness. And the remixing of said tracks from rock’s past are unique. For fans, their emotional ties to the bygone days of plaid skirts, The Cranberries on MTV, and when cell phones were still a just some creative’s crazy idea of communication, are the days all of us wish we could still come back for.

And here’s hoping it never says “R.S.V.P.” on the Statue of Liberty.”


rupi kaur

Rupi Kaur’s “Milk & Honey” Collection Soars In Its Pain & Triumph To Freedom

I first described Rupi Kaur‘s book of poetry Milk & Honey as “heartbreaking.” But the use of that word seemed obvious, almost trivial. A majority of the circumstances crystallized through her beautiful descriptions were absolutely heartbreaking in narration. And that word is often a go-to because of how it quickly it blankets moments or feelings that while somber, have a level of whimsy, sugar, or nostalgia. Kaur’s work is also truthful as hell. At times, her poems are damn gutting. Like an adult scolding verbal heat on a child. Or those looks in the mirror when you were desperate for respite, but all you saw were the mistakes you made. Not at all remembering that redemption was possible.

All the poems are untitled in Milk & Honey but separated into four categories: “the hurting”, “the loving”, “the breaking”, and “the healing.” All stages of love, lessons, and growth.

I first found Kaur on Instagram where she posts either published or soon to be published poems. Occasionally, the poems are in accordance with current events (such as her somber tribute to the recent victims of American police brutality, the Pulse nightclub shooting and further terrorist attacks overseas). Also on view are personal photos and illustrations that are presented as vignettes of her imagination and life chapters. I was enraptured by the start. I somewhat (hopefully) gathered that Kaur and I were in the same age bracket and it is her ability to break down the fourth wall and talk to readers as if she’d been aware of our hurdles, dreams, inner thoughts, and halts all along I found truly astounding.

Before Milk and Honey, the poems I read on Instagram gave me enormous Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison vibes. Poems and stories obviously written so well, no English professor could deny that, but greatly authentic in their language. (In Milk and Honey, Kaur also wrote a poem in homage to fellow young poet Warsan Shire, who gained recognition this past spring, after Beyonce included her poems for the Lemonade visual album). It’s like real-life poetry versus verbose, Shakespearian prose.

“Back in November of 2013, what moved me to share was the idea that I was tired of being quiet. I felt like, for the first time ever, what I had to say was so much more powerful than my fear of what people might think. It was almost as though I had no choice. It seemed more important for me to express solidarity with women going through similar struggles than to continue being that “polite, shy, quiet girl”. -Rupi Kaur to the Huffington Post, January 2015

The first part “the hurting” is a stunning set surrounding abuse in every form. From certain poems, it felt like a pocket knife was repeatedly stabbing me in my thigh and it made me only imagine how actual survivors of certain situations must’ve felt. Kaur, like her aforementioned predecessors, is a controversial writer. She doesn’t shy away from taboo subjects, nor is she disrespectful when talking about them. She is simply frank and her words can be graphic. This is the literary result of when writers return the voices to many that were pushed to silence by victimization and public shame. Their once corroded identities no longer behind the closed door.

I can’t tell if my mother is

terrified or in love with

my father it all

looks the same

(pg. 40).

It is possible that Milk and Honey began with “the hurting” because, once more, reality, is the biggest motif here. Pain is real. Your tears are not fake. Your heart is literally hurting. But it gets better. It has to.

Second is “the loving”, where a lot of fervid snapshots of love, lust, and especially sex are contained. Sex, not so much when you are having it while in love but when you are trying to use it as a means to fix or alter a situation. Sex in this segment also transpires as a competition and a misleading one at that. Sex is powerful but needs true love to survive.

Again, most of the poems here are graphic enough to make even those of us well past the mid-20s blush. You’ll grimace not because it’s gross or unnecessary of Kaur to have commented. It’s because you’ve been there and understand.

It’s big of Kaur to be so open about sex not just due to her age (she was born 1992, so I’m officially older than her) but also in recognizing her heritage as an Indian. While the Asian nation has sex symbols in their own whirl of celebrity culture, through Western eyes, it appears that sexuality remains paper-bagged. In Kaur’s art, sex is not hidden whether handled with love or scarlet lettered. It is as present as breathing. I found this to be very brave about Kaur as she is a proud Punjabi woman.

Third, “the breaking.” A combination of the first two in which specific decisions are fraying. Do I stay (hurt) or do I go (and regain a sense of self)?

i didn’t leave because 

i stopped loving you

i left because the longer stayed

i stayed the less 

i loved myself

(pg. 95)


don’t mistake

salt for sugar

if he wants to

be with you

he will

it’s that simple

(pg. 84)

“the breaking” features a few paragraph, short-story based material that mainly focused on the aftermath of official break-ups. The denial, the odd amalgamation of relief and depression, the denial.

Right before we head into “the healing”, there is a two-page, impressively broken down examination of why some people inevitably leave us hanging. It’s areas like these in Milk and Honey that elicit the word heartbreaking. The nostalgia of when you were someones. The sugary proclamations of “you’re the one” and “the love of my life” from said heartbreakers. The sadness you felt when they weren’t around because they simply had to go to work. On page 140 and 141, Kaur uncovers the underside of what truly went on when the same person that claimed they had looked for us their whole life, were so quick to walk out the door and never return:

and after all this. after all of the taking. the nerve. isn’t it sad and funny how people have more guts these days to undress you with their fingers than they do to pick up the phone and call. apologize. for the loss. and this is how you lose her.


Lastly, ” the healing” the most mellow part of a highly spent book. This sphere encourages the reader to classically hang in there. Keep pushing. Healing takes time but to a degree, you have time to rebuild. Just make sure that you do.

Loneliness is a sign that you are in desperate need of yourself.

(pg. 153)

I closed Milk and Honey with a full heart instead of a heavy one. I additionally couldn’t help but ask myself, in regards to my own life, were past mistakes or regrets truly unavoidable? Or were those junctures really just a matter of life?

Milk and Honey is substantive to the writers and books that came before Kaur encapsulated the first 21 years of her life. Still, Kaur’s raw revolution is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings of a generation, and a current generation in urgent need of reminders that it’s okay to not be social media perfect.