Great Music #28

Hello there! Time for me to once again talk about some music I like. Got nothing else to say here. Let’s jump into the song!

So for today’s edition of “Great Music” we have something relatively new. Today we’re talking about Joe Bonamassa’s “Redemption”. Now, this isn’t the first time that Bonamassa has been mentioned/written about on this blog. As a matter of fact, I went back and checked, and this is the fourth time that he’s featured in a post of mine. For those who don’t know, Joe Bonamassa is an American blues singer/guitarist. I first discovered him a couple of years ago when spotify recommended one of his songs to me. And since then I’ve been a fan. Hell, his last studio effort “Blues of Desperation” made it quite high on my favorite albums of 2016 list. And now we are talking about his newest song (which I found out about today, and it’s been out for like a month, and I feel ashamed to be this late since I love his music so much). So here we have Joe making a song about seeking redemption… simple as that, the title basically describes it. The song has a cool mix of acoustic and electric guitar work, finding an interesting blend of blues, rock, and a pinch of country. It’s basically like something you’d hear in an episode of “Justified”. But yeah, as this series suggests, it’s another great song. From the chord progressions, to the instrumentals, to Bonamassa’s vocals, and to the awesome guitar solo that blends a bit of “Kashmir” with a bit of its own awesomeness. What’s also awesome with this song is that it helps announce Bonamassa’s next studio album (titled “Redemption”), set to be released on September 21st of this year. So yeah, a great song that gets me excited for a hopefully awesome album.

Have a good one and enjoy!

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“Spider-Man” E3 Gameplay Demo

More E3 stuff, woo!

So thanks to E3, we have a good look at some gameplay for the upcoming “Spider-Man” game. This was announced at E3 in 2016, and now we finally have a good look at some pretty exciting gameplay. So what’s going on in this little demo? Well, we see out beloved webhead (Yuri Lowenthal) attempting to stop a prison break where he runs into several of his old foes (Sinister Six, anyone?). And this demo gives us a decent look at the combat (very reminiscent of the “Batman: Arkham” games, awesome), and at the web-swinging. Sure, a lot of this sequence seems scripted, but it’s still a good indication of how the core gameplay is. And from what I understand, this will be an open world game, so you will get to mess around with your spider powers in the big apple. And the more I see of this game, the more excited I get. Coming from Insomniac (the developer behind the excellent “Ratchet & Clank” series), I expect a lot of fun to be had, especially with a character as enjoyable as Spider-Man. So I’m pretty excited for this game. “Spider-Man” is set to be released on September 7th of this year.

What are your thoughts on this? Are you excited for “Spider-Man”? And what’s your favorite movie/show/comic/game about Marvel’s beloved webhead? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments!
Have a good one and enjoy the video.

“The Last of Us Part 2” E3 Gameplay Reveal

Another E3 post? Another E3 post. There’ll probably be even more coming, so buckle up.

We finally have a look at some gameplay for “The Last of Us Part 2”. The game was revealed around November of 2016, and a lot of fans have been waiting to see a bit of gameplay for it ever since. Well, we finally have some thanks to E3. While I can’t say how much is scripted and how much is just legit gameplay, I can say that this looks good. It’s basically the same type of gameplay as the first game only with smoother animation, more graphical detail, and with Ellie (Ashley Johnson) taking center stage instead of Joel (Troy Baker). And if it’s just more “Last of Us”, then I am 100% up for it. The first game is one of my favorites, one of the best games to be released in the last ten years. For those unaware, “The Last of Us” is about a guy named Joel who has to escort a young girl named Ellie to a place because she’s seemingly immune to the zombie-like infection that has spread across the United States. It’s a super serious and emotionally charged journey and it packs one hell of a punch. “Part 2” picks up 5 years later aaaaaand that’s all she wrote. I wouldn’t be surprised if Naughty Dog (the developer) kept the plot under wraps until it’s released. So yeah, I’m pretty god damn excited about this. While it has no official release date, “The Last of Us Part 2” will probably be released in 2019.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for “The Last of Us Part 2”? And what do you think about the first game? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy the gameplay trailer.

“Kingdom Hearts 3” E3 trailer

More E3 talks comin’ your way. And if you don’t like it, then I don’t care… this is my blog, I can write about whatever I want.

So thanks to E3 we have a new trailer for “Kingdom Hearts 3”, the latest part in the strange franchise. So what does this new trailer feature? Well, we see series protagonist Sora (Haley Joel Osment, yes really) going to different Disney worlds and interacting with the characters, giving us both cutscenes and gameplay. And really, this looks like more “Kingdom Hearts”, and that’s always a good thing. It also gives us a little shocker at the end about one a character from some previous games in the series going to the dark side. So yeah… shit’s gettin’ real, yo. My only problem with this trailer is the lack of sound effects, but I suppose it will be fixed before the game actually comes out.  I am also really happy, because unlike previous trailers, this one has an actual fucking release date! After years of “In development”, we have a release date! Am I hyped? You bet your ass I’m hyped for this strange Japanese mish-mash of Disney and “Final Fantasy”. I love this franchise, and I am super excited to see it continue. “Kingdom Hearts 3” is set to be released on January 29th, 2019.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for “Kingdom Hearts 3”? And are you a fan of this insane franchise like I am? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer.

“Devil May Cry 5” E3 Trailer

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen. Once again it is that time of year, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, more commonly known as E3, is in full force and trailers are coming out left and right. I know that there are those of you out there who aren’t into video games, but that won’t stop me from writing about them. I love video games, and E3 gives me plenty of trailers to talk about. So let’s get into it.

First trailer we’ll be talking about is for a franchise that I almost thought was dead. But after months of rumors and speculation, we finally have a trailer for “Devil May Cry 5”. The latest part in the Japanese hack n slash action series follows Nero (Johnny Yong Bosch), the protagonist from “Devil May Cry 4”, as he goes on a journey to kick some demon ass. We get CGI cutscenes and even small increments of actual gameplay. And it looks like it will be the fun, fast-paced, over-the-top style of the previous games with the same crunchy combat that fans love. And as a fan of “Devil May Cry”, I am excited for this new game. I love the world, I love the insanity of it all, and this just looks like it will be a lot of fun. “Devil May Cry 5” is set to be released in spring of 2019.

What are your thoughts (if you have any)? Are you excited for “Devil May Cry 5”? And do you like the other games in the series? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer!

Summer-y Songs Part 2

Greetings, dudes and dudettes! You may be wondering what the hell this is. Well, back in 2016 I wrote a little piece on songs that give off a summer-y vibe (with the contributions of some cool people), and for a while I’ve wanted to do a part 2. So now we’re finally here. I got some of my own choices, and I’ve gathered some suggestions from some really cool people, so now we can get started. Wanna know what was on that original list? You can find out by clicking on the platypus.

PLATYPUS.

Now, for lists I usually set up some basic rules, but I feel like it isn’t needed. This is supposed to be a more relaxed post, talking about summer-y vibes. So let’s keep it cool, y’all. No bitching, please. Also, the only real rule I’ve put on myself for this is that I won’t include any of the songs from the first list. With that out of the way, let’s put on our sunglasses, pour ourselves some cold drinks, and listen to some summer-y songs!

#1: The Dickies – Waterslide.

The first song on the list is “Waterslide” by punk rock band The Dickies. This was suggested by Nick (@nuthousepunks on twitter), and as the title suggests… it’s about a waterslide. Not much else that can be said there, it’s a fun and fast-paced song about going on a waterslide, which is something a lot of people do during the summer to have fun/cool off a bit. Really, not much that can be said about it.

#2: Weezer – Feels Like Summer.

Next up we have Weezer’s “Feels Like Summer”, as suggested by Jonny (@JonnyHoppus on twitter). The title explains it perfectly… it feels like summer. To be honest, while I don’t think it’s a bad song, it’s not the Weezer I like. I prefer the more old school Weezer. Maybe it’s my rock-based bias that’s speaking here, but it feels less like Weezer and more like… I don’t know something. Still, thanks for the suggestion, Jonny!

#3: K’naan & David Bisbal – Wavin’ Flag.

Our third song was suggested by fellow blogger Elena (@ElenaM52 on twitter, Elenasquareeyes here on wordpress). Yeah, I feel it. It has that sort of vibe that you can kind of expect from radio hits in the summer. It also helps that it has a Spanish singer in the form of David Bisbal, because that language always sounds hot and steamy… I mean summer-y. I remember hearing this on radio a few years back and actually kind of enjoying it (though it had no Spanish in that version, I think). so it’s another good pick for this list.

#4: Greta Van Fleet – Highway Tune.

Hey, we’re finally at one of my picks! So here we have “Highway Tune” by American rock band Greta Van Fleet. This song has blown up since it was released last year, and for good reason. People have called these guys a younger version of Led Zeppelin, and I kind of agree. And don’t just take my word for it, Robert Plant himself have given these guys a thumbs up. Anyway, why did I pick this song for the list? Well, I felt like this list needed a bit more rock in it. Also, I imagine driving down a road on a hot summer day in this, just for fun, with your friends. Hell yeah.

#5: The Undertones – Here Comes The Summer.

This is the second song to be suggested by Nick, and again… kind of self-explanatory. It’s in the title. “Here Comes The Summer”. And it has a fun style that I could imagine being used in a summer activities montage in a movie, or at a party during the summer. Really, this just explains itself. Thanks, Nick!

#6: Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight.

The second song from the lovely Elena, and I do kind of get where she’s coming from with this… I think, she didn’t give a full explanation for why this was a specific choice. But if I get to throw my own thoughts into it, I feel like this song has a very chill vibe that could work well for summer nights, or if you’re just chilling by the pool. Overall, it has a cool vibe that definitely could work for a summer-y playlist.

#7: Santana – Oye Como Va.

The second pick from yours truly. And if you checked out the old list, you would know that I already included some Santana in that one. And I guess sometimes you have to have some returning players. And I am happy to once again include Carlos and friends in a list of mine. Last time it was the sexy “Smooth”, and this time it’s about the cool “Oye Como Va”. Once again playing into the Spanish/Latino stylings that I previously mentioned, this song I imagine when I see people in a town, sitting outside, whether just gathering some sun, or having a drink at the local café. Just a cool song for the summer.

#8: Walk The Moon – Shut Up and Dance.

The third song suggested by Elena (she gave me a handful of tracks, which is why she pops up so much here). And this is another good one. Like with “Wavin’ Flag”, it’s one of those tracks one can imagine being released during the summer, it just has that fun, relatively carefree style that fits that season. It’s a fun party track that I do enjoy listening to.

#9: David Bisbal – Ave Maria.

Hey, look who makes his second appearance in this list. First it was in one of Elena’s choices, and now in one of mine. That’s right, I chose the bouncy, Spanish pop song, going against what people usually assume my music taste is. But I can’t help it, this song is just so much fun, there’s just a  joyous energy to it that makes it so god damn infectious. And again, sexy Spanish singing.

#10: Pitbull feat Ke$ha – Timber.

The final tracks suggested by Elena, here we have the biggest hit to come from the rapper known as Pitbull. And like previous tracks, I could definitely imagine this playing at a party during the summer. It just has a fun bounciness to it that I think will get people moving on the dancefloor. The harmonica is also a nice touch. Thank you for these suggestions, Elena!

#11: Joe Satriani – Summer Song.

From here on out, it’s all my choices. And to kick this final bunch off, we have another one that just has it’s explanation in the title. It’s called “Summer Song”… I don’t need to say more. You know, other than JOE SATRIANI IS AMAZING… Good guitar playing tends to win me over.

#12: Ricky Martin – Livin La Vida Loca.

That’s right, more Latino vibes comin’ at ya! Not my fault that songs with Latino stylings fit the summer so well. But what else can I say? You’ve heard this song, your dead great-great-grandmother has heard this song, everyone’s heard this song. It’s one of those that has stuck with me for almost my entire life, and I still love it. It’s slick, sexy, and just cool.

#13: Christian Kane – Fast Car.

Here we have “Fast Car”, originally recorded by Tracy Chapman, covered here by actor/musician Christian Kane. While Chapman’s relatively minimalist style works incredibly well for the song, I still kind of prefer Kane’s version. The added instruments, combined with Kane’s voice makes for a damn fine little country-ballad. This is also kind of the antithesis of “Highway Tune”. While that song could fit for fast and fun driving at higher speeds, “Fast Car” (despite the title) feels more like a song meant for slow cruising along a country road.

#14: Brad Paisley – River Bank.

The original list ended with a Brad Paisley tune, so why not let this one do the same? Last time we ended with “Water”, a song about how the titular element could be used for fun during summertime. Today we wrap things up with “River Bank” , a song about going to the river and just havin’ a grand ol’ time, y’all. I’ve made it clear on a couple of occasions here that I love Brad Paisley, so I’ll take any chance of including his music on a list.

So that was Summer-y Songs Part 2! Once again, big thanks to Nick, Jonny, and Elena (twitter profiles linked throughout the post if you wanna follow them) for providing some suggestions for the list, I really appreciate your participation! But I also wanna hear from you, the reader. What’s a song that gives you a summer-y vibe? Leave any suggestions like that in the comments!
Have a good one!

Great Music #27

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen of the internet! It’s time for me to ramble about some music that I like again. I should probably also try to do more of these, as you guys seem to enjoy them. Anyway, let’s get into the song.

So for today I chose an odd little song. Not odd in the sense that it has weird lyrics or wacky noises in it, but odd in the sense that it mixes a couple of styles that one wouldn’t think could mesh very well… but somehow it worked and sounds pretty cool. The song in question is “Long Hard Times To Come” by Gangstagrass and T.O.N.E-z. Now how was I introduced to this odd song then? Well, I was introduced to it through the American action-drama series “Justified” (AKA my favorite show). “Long Hard Times To Come” is the show’s opening theme, and that makes it difficult not to notice it and remember it. It’s one of those songs that just kind of fits its show pretty perfectly. I guess I should explain what the show is about to justify (HAHA!) this pick. “Justified” aired from 2010 – 2015 and is about US Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) as he’s transferred from Miami to his old home in Kentucky after he shoots a bad dude. And after Raylan arrives in Kentucky, we follow him as he, and his colleagues, work to take down various criminals that cause trouble in the area. It’s a show filled with great characters, snappy dialogue, badass action, and top notch acting. I absolutely love it. It’s kind of like a modern day western in how Raylan has that old Clint Eastwood cowboy swagger about him, even though it’s the modern day. And that’s why the theme works so well. It has the bluegrass sound one could expect from the southern hillbilly/cowboy stuff, but then it also has the rapping that fits the more modern crime stuff. It’s an interesting mix that makes for one of the most memorable theme tunes in recent years. A great theme for a great show.

Have a good one and enjoy!

My Star Wars Story

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen and potential space aliens. Today I wanted to do something a little bit different. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, and with today (the 4th of May) being Star Wars day, I thought now would be as good a time as any to do it. I’m about to share with you my Star Wars Story. No, not my pitch for a spinoff movie for the franchise, but just my experience(s) with “Star Wars”. Where it began, where it went, and where it is. So let’s just jump into it.

For the cave dwellers who just found out about the outside world, “Star Wars” is a franchise started in 1977 by American director George Lucas with it’s first installment… “Star Wars” (I refuse to call it “A New Hope”). The movie was a smash hit, making all the money, and becoming one of if not the biggest franchise in all of history with sequels, prequels, spinoffs, novels, video games, toys, tabletop games, sex toys (yes really), and so much more. “Star Wars” has pretty much taken over the cultural world, and it’s influence can be felt throughout most media. With that out of the way, time for the bit I originally promised.

The year was 2003. Or 2004, I am a bit unsure on the exact year. But I was six years old. I went to the store with my dad to get some groceries. When we were getting close to the register I had a look at the magazine shelves, which of course both had magazines and a few comic books. I noticed a “Donald Duck” comic there with a weird and interesting cover, and with some odd toy following along with it. I (like the greedy little shit I was) asked dad if we could buy the comic, and he said yes. So it came along with us, and when we got home I asked what this weird stuff with the cover and the toy was. He explained that it was “Star Wars”, and the toy was a small, plastic lightsaber. I, not having seen “Star Wars”, asked what “Star Wars” was. He said it was a movie, and then he went to a shelf and picked up a VHS tape. That tape of course being “Star Wars” (recorded from a TV airing). He sat my butt down, put the movie in the VHS player, and I say for two hours and was in awe of everything I saw. I was engrossed by the music, the characters, the visuals, the visual effects… it was absolutely amazing. It was like having an epiphany. Then of course “Star Wars” became a big thing for me. Luckily for me, we had “Empire Strikes Back”, “Return of the Jedi”, and “The Phantom Menace” (shut up, I was a kid) recorded as well, so I had more movies to watch afterwards.

Few years later, and thanks to the TV and also my friend, I got to see “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith” as well (shut up, I was a kid). “Star Wars” was a huge part of my life. I watched all the movies that I could and I played several of the video games. This was more than just some silly sci-fi franchise to me… it was a huge fucking part of my life. As I got slightly older I began seeing the ups and downs of certain parts of the franchise. Most notably was when my friend showed me the animated “The Clone Wars” movie at his place once. I could tell that it wasn’t great. But I also didn’t care fully, because I was simply in love with this franchise.

Another few years go by and I am in high school (around 17 years old). Something has happened. While I haven’t fallen out of love with “Star Wars”, I just haven’t had the same kind of obsessions about it as when I was younger. Admittedly I also didn’t exactly watch the movies much around that age, making my love fade a bit into the background. It’s more or less just gathering dust at this point. Then November 2014 comes around and we get our first trailer for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”. Now, regardless of your opinion of that movie, you can’t deny that the hype was massive when it was first officially unleashed upon the world with that trailer.

This was big. The first new “Star Wars” movie in nearly ten years (“Clone Wars” doesn’t count). And that’s when something in my head kinda clicked. This franchise that I had grown up with was coming back. A new movie to look froward to… something that I almost never had the privilege of as a kid. It was such a huge thing. My love started reigniting. But there was still something missing…

Skip ahead to late 2015, and “Force Awakens” is finally coming out. I watch it opening night with several friends. That’s when it truly clicked into place for me. The first was the lighter being used. But this was the lighter igniting the candle. It was a great experience. And of course it was made clear that we were getting even more movies in the series. We got the franchise back (and helped it in making all the money), and we were gonna get more movies. It was quite an exciting time to be a fan of this franchise.

So now we go into the present. What are my current thoughts on it all? I still love “Star Wars”. Are we getting close to over-saturation in terms of movies? Maybe a little, but I still look forward to seeing what this franchise will give us. New movies, new games (admittedly from the wrong publisher), new novels, new comics, new shows… so much “Star Wars”. It’s even more stuff for us older fans, and some new, introductory stuff for newer fans who came in through “Force Awakens” and such. It’s really the perfect time to be a “Star Wars” fan. You got your old stuff, and you’re getting some new stuff.

Speaking of “Star Wars”, here’s a link to an episode from last year of the We Have a Hulk podcast (friends of mine) where I, together with some other cool people, take a “Star Wars” quiz. You get to here arguing, voices, noises, and just a bunch of people having fun. I had a lot of fun doing it.

https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/wehaveahulk/episodes/2017-05-04T16_49_05-07_00

And that’s about it. I really just wanted to give you my story on how I got acquainted with this amazing franchise, as well as just gush about “Star Wars” in general. So yeah… May the fourth be with you.

Great Music #26: International Women’s Day Edition

Hello there, my friends! Welcome back to “Great Music”, the series where I talk about songs I like. The series that has been dead since… *Checks blog*… July 2017, holy shit. Well, now we’re back. And this is a special one. Because I am writing this on the International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate half the world’s population, a day to celebrate those amazing females in our lives and all over the world. And I decided to do that by doing a post about some great songs by female musicians. Now, this isn’t a top ten or something like that, it’s just a selection of various songs sung/performed by women. No rankings… just good music. So let’s have a listen at these awesome women and their songs.

Song number 1: Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – I Love Rock n Roll.

You know how I said these weren’t ranked? Well, I sort of lied. And by that I mean that this is my favorite song picked out for this list. I won’t rank all the songs… just putting my favorite of them all first. Now that we’ve gotten that disclaimer out of the way, let’s talk about this song. Originally recorded by The Arrows in 1975, this song was popularized by Joan Jett in 1982. Not long after Jett’s previous band, The Runaways, split up, she went and formed her own band (Joan Jett & The Blackhearts). They went on to become quite successful, properly starting this good run in 1982 with their awesome cover of “I Love Rock n Roll”. I don’t think I need to explain this choice, as anyone that’s heard the song would understand why it’s so good. But I’ll just say that it’s a cover that surpasses the original thanks to the badass attitude of Joan Jett. It’s an awesome song.

Song number 2: Alannah Myles – Black Velvet.

Next up is “Black Velvet”, a song from the eponymous debut album of Canadian singer Alannah Myles. What we have here is a song that is heavily steeped in blues-rock, but with just a tinge of pop, giving it a really cool sound that is complemented by Myles’ stunning vocals. It’s one of the coolest songs I’ve ever heard and it’s one I highly recommend.

Song number 3: Fleetwood Mac – Dreams.

Now, while Fleetwood Mac is made up of 60% male members, there’s no denying that it’s female members, Stevie Nicks & Christine McVie, contribute a ton to the band. And “Dreams” is a very big showcase for that. Written and sung by Nicks, this song is one of two songs from Fleetwood Mac’s amazing “Rumours” album that is about the breakup of Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham (the other one being “Go Your Own Way”). And this is a fantastic song with some of the most beautiful vocals I’ve ever heard.

Song number 4: Samantha Fish – Blood in the Water.

Followers of mine with a good memory might remember that this isn’t the first time that Samantha Fish (and this song) has appeared on this blog. She also appeared on my favorite albums of 2017 list (TWICE!). And this is the song that I used as sample for the list. She has a good amount of great songs, but this is one that has just stuck with me. Plus, it’s one of the few I know that I could find a good, not live, youtube vid for. But yeah, this is a great song. Fish is a blues singer with some really great and surprisingly diverse tracks in her discography. Taking some inspiration from country and even a little bit of folk music in this song, she creates a really cool sound with some interesting lyrics. Highly recommend this song and the rest of her discography.

Song number 5: First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar.

Here comes a band that comes from the same country as me. First Aid Kit is a Swedish folk/country/rock/pop/something band that I love. They have such a unique and awesome sound that has made them insanely popular. From their stunning harmonies, to the solo vocals, to the instrumentals, their music is just fantastic. And “The Lion’s Roar” is one of their best.

Song Number 6: Garbage – The World is Not Enough.

This band is Garbage. You may now reluctantly laugh. Jokes aside, this song is great, and I honestly can’t think of any artist being able to do it as well as they did. Led by Shirley Manson, Garbage is an alternative/rock band form the 90s that I have mixed feelings about (some good songs, some less than stellar ones). But I can safely say that “The World Is Not Enough”, the title track from one of Brosnan’s “Bond” movies, is one of their best. From the pseudo-electronica instrumentals, to Manson’s vocals, this is an absolutely stunning song and one of my favorite “Bond” themes.

Song number 7: Sandi Thom – I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker.

This really takes me back. I first heard it on the radio around 2006, and it has just sort of stuck with me since then. This is a song with some social commentary in it’s lyrics, but none of it is overbearing. And even if you don’t care about the lyrics themselves, you can still appreciate Thom’s fantastic vocals, combined with the mainly acoustic instrumentals. Recently she’s taken a slightly more blues-y approach (which I love), but I think this pop/folk tune is the one she will be most known for, and I am completely okay with that. Because this is a beautiful song.

Song number 8: Vera Lynn – We’ll Meet Again.

Can’t forget the classics. Very well known for it’s use in “Doctor Strangelove”, this song by English singer Vera Lynn is one of the most well known songs of the 20th century (and probably of all time). Taking a very optimistic approach, this song warmed the hearts of many during some tough times during the last century. And who wouldn’t get happy after listening to this song. It’s one of those that I can’t help but smile at when I hear it… and I’d assume that you readers might be the same.

Song number 9: Pink – Fuckin’ Perfect.

I’ve kept my swearing under control pretty well so far during this post. So I’m jsut gonna take this opportunity to say fucking-fuckity-fuck. Now, “Fuckin’ Perfect” is one of my favorite songs. I’m a fan of Pink in general, she’s one of my favorite artists of all time, and this song might be her best. The song is about a woman who goes through a tough and kind of horrible life, only to come out on the other side a much stronger person. It is inspiring, and it features some gorgeous vocals from Pink, and some of the best instrumentals on any of her songs. And to any potential prudes out there… there is a version of the song with no F-bombs in it, but I don’t think it’s as powerful as this version. This song is fucking perfect.

Song number 10: Amy Winehouse – Back to Black.

A song about sadness and going back to one’s old ways, from a musician who was taken from us way too soon? Oh my. That’s right, the tenth song on this list is Amy Winehouse’s (R.I.P) “Back to Black”. A haunting yet still catchy tune with some great lyrics, Winehouse’s stunning voice, and one of the catchiest piano hooks I’ve ever heard. This song is tragic, especially when you look at what happened to Winehouse later in her career. An amazing song from an amazing artist.

Song number 11: Adele – Skyfall.

Could any list of great female artists really be complete without Adele? And it’s another “Bond” theme? It was between this and “Rolling in the Deep” for me. But I went with this because I’m a sucker for these kinds of ballads. I haven’t seen “Skyfall” yet, but this song is one of the main reasons why I actually might check it out soon.

Song number 12: Annie Lennox – Into the West.

Another movie song? Yes, but that’s just how it goes sometimes. And Annie Lennox is amazing, so shut up. Also, “Lord of the Rings”. This is the song used at the end of “Return of the King”, the culmination of that trilogy of films. The epic finale to the masterful trilogy. It’s my favorite of the series. And this song is a fitting end theme for it all. Emotional, sweeping, beautiful… it’s simply amazing. Lennox’s vocals here fucking amazing. Yes, “Sweet Dreams” is also great, but this is a better showcase of Lennox, in my opinion. I almost get teary-eyed when I listen to this song.

And that’s the end of my list. Of course there are many many many more awesome female artists out there, but I don’t have the time to make a list featuring a million songs here. So if you have any further suggestions, leave them in the comments. Some of your favorite female artists/bands/songs, leave them in the comments.
Have a good one.

Academy Awards 2018: Best Music Nominees

Hello there, ladies, gentlemen, and space aliens. The Oscars are not far away (as of writing it’s less than 24 hours to it), so to celebrate that I have teamed up with a bunch of other bloggers to talk about the various categories, and give our thoughts and predictions on them. When it was time for me to choose, I chose the music categories (which had been lumped into one), because of my undying love of music and occasional analysis of it. I also chose it because I haven’t seen all the movies yet, so this is one I can do from the comfort of my own room (thank you, spotify!). So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Best Original Score
The first category we’ll go through is best original score, the category celebrating the works of the composers who work so hard to help us get immersed. So here are the nominees.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – John Williams.

First up we have the one and only John Williams and his music for the latest entry in the “Star Wars” franchise. And this really has everything that you’d expect from “Star Wars” music at this point. Big brass, tense strings, catchy melodies. And whereas the score for “Force Awakens” was damn good, it doesn’t really hold a candle to “The Last Jedi” (not comparing the movies, just the music). There are throwbacks to the previous movies in the series throughout this score, but none of it feels like forced (HA!) pandering, but rather fun inclusions to make it all feel a bit more connected. But as great as the music here is, I don’t think it has a chance in this Oscar race. Would I be made if it won? No. But we’ve heard these stylings before, and I feel like it doesn’t have the same chance at the gold due to that.

The Shape of Water – Alexandre Desplat.

Our second entry is the score for “The Shape of Water”, the latest weirdness from Guillermo Del Toro. As of writing this, I have not seen the movie, so I can’t comment on how well the music works within the movie. But I can comment on it as it’s own entity, and I can safely say that this score is fantastic. It takes a couple cues from old school John Williams, and even a bit from Wes Anderson’s movies (which is funny considering Anderson has worked with Desplat before). But it does a lot of unique things to give it a really odd, yet beautiful sound that works for this kind of odd love story. I’d say this has a very good chance of getting the Oscar.

Phantom Thread – Jonny Greenwood.

Here we have the score for “Phantom Thread”, the latest movie from Paul Thomas Anderson, and the final movie of actor Daniel Day Lewis. This score relies heavily on piano and various string instruments (violin being the most prominent). It creates an emotionally charged sound that evokes a lot of dramas from the 70s (I notive a little bit of “Godfather” in there). This score has a pretty good chance of taking the Oscar, though I’m not 100% sure if I want it to. I’m a little split on it.

Dunkirk – Hans Zimmer.

So here we have a score from one of my favorite composers, for a movie by one of my favorite directors. Yet I have somehow not seen “Dunkirk” as of writing. But what we have here is an intense and very unique score that makes use of not only your typical orchestral sounds, but also a ticking clock and a few other sounds that I can’t identify that easily. But I must say that this sounds fantastic, and it makes me tense up a bit, without the visuals of the movie. Zimmer catches the horrors of war incredibly well with his music, creating a haunting but also beautiful sound that drills itself into my bones and makes me feel like I’m in this horrible situation. So I’d say Zimmer has a good chance at getting the statue.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Carter Burwell.

Hey, finally a movie I’ve actually seen! But yes, the final score nominated for an Oscar is Carter Burwell’s score for Martin McDonagh’s masterful “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”. At times sounding like a western, at times sounding like an emotional drama, Burwell’s score perfectly captures the tumultuous journey of Mildred as she tries to get justice for what happened to her daughter. The music follows her arc perfectly, from the badass and cool, to the intimate and emotional. But as much as I love the music of “Three Billboards”, I doubt that it will take the Oscar. Would I be happy if it did? Hell yeah. But nothing about it really says “I can and will grab that Oscar” like some of the other contenders did.

Biggest chance of winning: The Shape of Water.
My pick: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

So those were the original scores. Now moving on to the second half.

Best Original Song
Time for the category that celebrates specific tunes made for the movies we watch. It’s an interesting category that I don’t fully understand the point of, but I won’t say no to a bit of music. So let’s go.

Mystery of Love – Sufjan Stevens – Call Me By Your Name.

First song on the list is “Mystery of Love”, a song from “Call Me By Your Name”, a movie about sexual discovery rather than identity theft (missed an opportunity there, yo). Written and performed by Sufjan Stevens, it almost feels like something that you’d hear from José González, but with a slightly bigger lean towards the pop side of it all. And I must admit that this song is pretty damn good. As the title suggests, it talks about how weird and mysterious the concept of love actually is. It has an interesting and unique sound that I like listening to. Do I think it has a shot at the Oscar? Hard to say, really. Would I be okay with it winning? Sure. I’m just unsure how the Academy would vote on it. Some songs/movies are easier to pin the chances of than others, and this one’s a bit challenging to pin down.

Mighty River – Mary J. Blige – Mudbound.

Here we have a song from a movie I’ve actually seen. “Mighty River” is part gospel, and part radio ballad. And it strikes a good balance between the two to make a song that is pleasing for the ears while still having an interesting and somewhat unique sound, at least for the current music industry. It also evokes those big, emotional songs you could hear in various movies from back in the day. Like “My Heart Will Go On” or that Faith Hill song from “Pearl Harbor”. So I’d be perfectly fine with “Mighty River” winning… shit, I’d say it’s chances are good.

This Is Me – Keala Settle – The Greatest Showman.

So here we have a pop song from a musical about P.T. Barnum, a man who wasn’t a very good person… but they still decided to make a colorful musical about him and his circus. False depiction of a historical figure aside, how is this song? Pretty good. It’s a very radio-friendly pop song that still manages to elevate that with the help of some solid crescendos and a slightly more old school approach. Do I want this to win? Not really. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, but I don’t think it does anything that makes it worthy of that prize. It’s a little bit too… generic, in my opinion.

Stand Up For Something – Andra Day feat. Common – Marshall.

Here we have a song from the Thurgood Marshall biopic “Marshall”. This is a pop song with a good amount of soul thrown into it to create a sound that I really enjoyed listening to. Plus, the lyrics about standing up for a cause are somewhat inspiring, especially when delivered by Andra Day’s gorgeous voice. There’s also a short bit where Common raps, and it’s really good. Do I think this song has a chance? Maybe. It definitely has a foot in the door, but it’s hard to say how much that will help in terms of actually winning. Let’s say the chances are pretty good.

Remember Me – Benjamin Bratt/Kristen Anderson-Lopez/Robert Lopez – Coco.

The final song on the list is “Remember Me (Ernesto De La Cruz)”, a mostly upbeat and energetic song from Pixar’s latest film, “Coco”. The lyrics are good, the the instrumentals are good, it’s very personal to the writers… and it’s sung by the great Benjamin Bratt. Yeah, this is great. I haven’t seen “Coco”, but this song has made me want to check it out even more. The chances for this to win are pretty good, and I wouldn’t be mad if it did. ’tis a good song.

Biggest chance of winning: Mighty River.
My pick: Mighty River.

So those were the original song nominations.

And those were all of the music nominations from the Oscars, and my thoughts on them. But now I wanna hear from you guys, which score/song do you think should/will win? Please leave any and all answers in the comments, I really wanna hear from you guys.

The people I collaborated with on this:

Plain, Simple Tom.

Through the Silver Screen.

Angus McGregor Movies.

QuickFire Reviews.

Fivethreeninety.

Perks of being Nath.

Have a good one.