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My Top 10 And Year-End Write Up, Rambles, And Rantings
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• Posted by: Riley KZ
• Date: Tuesday, February 1, 2022, at 1:23 p.m.
• IP Address: xplr-69-168-160-155.xplornet.com

At the end of 2020, I don’t think too many of us would have actually thought 2021 would somehow be worse. Like, wow. Holy shit, eh?

Course, we’ll get into long-winded navel-gazing rambles eventually. For right now….MUSIC! Well, kinda.

As a couple people have already mentioned, most recently and awesomely sourly Jack, 2021 was a, at best, a divisive year when it came to discussing the quality of the scores. I was loud and adamant 2021 was the worst year for film music since I began listening, though I think in the end it was more so 2021 was the worst year for me being able to connect to my constant, life-long passions, film music being the primary one.

I really did feel, for a while there, my favourite kind of music was leaving me behind, and I just wouldn’t be able to enjoy the new stuff as much as I used to. Luckily, the year’s last 2-3 months didn’t just pick up its socks, it bent down, coughed, and yanked to high heaven. Of my top 10, only one solitary score came out before October (I don’t count Masters of the Universe, cause most of my love for that one came from the delayed release of Volume 2). Do I still think it was a weaker year, overall? For sure. No 5/5 star scores for me, and only one 4.5/5. But such is life, and I definitely thank the music heavens for Oct-Dec’s output.

Anyhoo….first off, the top 10, then my COTY pick, then the runner ups, thennnnnn the endless personal rambles for some skim-reading on the toilet for ya. I’m skipping “worst scores” this year; not because some people complain about it and refuse to be so negative, but because very few bad scores this year I actually sat through. Most of the time, if I was bored or pissed off by the halfway mark, I just said “adios muchachos” and that was that.

So here we go.

1. Rumble – Lorne Balfe

There was a lot of things about 2021 that surprised me. And the thing that surprised me the most had nothing to do with the world’s reactions to needles or how many people showed up to see the ghost of JFK Jr. wander around in Houston. It was that Rumble didn’t get ALL THE LOVE FROM Y’ALL. Score was an absolute delight from beginning to end, containing the rambunctious fun and energy of Steamboy with the silly, happy-to-be-here thematic glory of Chicken Run. On first listen I thought “Well, that was the best Trevor Rabin score I’ve ever heard that wasn’t composed by him”. On third and fourth listens, I thought “Wait, how is this not getting as much praise as John Powell’s stuff???” Seriously, its that fucking fun. It’s the only score this year I easily picked up on not just one recurring earworm of a theme, but several. It’s a joyful experience, something the universe desperately needs right now.

2. Army of Thieves – Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzarazo

Like Rumble, my two faves of the year were both completely unexpected (I almost skipped Rumble completely after seeing the album cover, and this one took me a while to get to after being so disappointed with No Time to Die and Dune). Also, I think the primary reason I loved them is purely because of an infectious, addictive, giddy joy. Army of Thieves doesn’t care if it irritates you or makes you shake your head; it’s just having a jolly good time, with some terrific themes, catchy electronic work, fun action set-pieces, and a general, quirky tone of “don’t give a shit” like Zimmer’s Sherlock Holmes scores (best evidenced with the trippy yodelling. Like, what the hell?!). Came out of nowhere as a big, undervalued, deeply entertaining surprise.

3. Lost in Space Season 3 – Christopher Lennertz

Well, hey, at least we can finally talk about a score most people seem to generally agree with. Season 1 was in my top 10 of that year, I believe, but for some reason I never returned to it, and I can’t even remember if I listened to Season 2. Stupid, stupid, stupid, because clearly there was a wealth of quality in these scores, and some of the stuff in this third album are among the best, old-school, orchestral adventure writing I’ve heard in years. Lennertz nails everything; the drama, the excitement, the awe. It’s bloody excellent.

4. To What Remains – Joseph Trapanese

I tend to really dig ambient scores when they’re pleasant, relaxing, and mellow. This is that pick of the year, a subdued yet beautiful score that actually had a recurring primary theme play throughout, which is a big ol’ gold star in my books. So far all I’ve seen are shrugs and yawns when associated with this sucker, and I guess I understand – certainly there’s no cue that’ll make you leap out of your seat or pump your fists. It’s just mellow, moody, and gorgeous; a perfect album to put on late at night when you need to work but your baby is sleeping in the room next door.

5. Master of the Universe – Bear McCreary

So the first album came out, what, half a year ago or something? And I really dug it, just felt overwhelmed by it’s too-long run time, and never returned to it. When Vol 2 dropped, I put it off for quite a while, figuring it would probably be more of the same. It is, but it also isn’t, because Vol 2 is a dramatic improvement on all levels (and hell, the first volume was still in my top 10, so it’s not like it was remotely bad or anything!). Just a shit load of big, over-the-top fun, replete with a crap load of action, epic-ness, and some goofy rock elements just for kicks.

6. Benedetta – Anne Dudley

A super last-minute addition that I very much wanted to listen to again a couple times before placing it on here, but now I just wanna post this write up cause it’s taking me too damn long so I’ll put it at #6 and caller a day. Gorgeous yet dark, beautiful yet slightly twisted, with some of the best use of choirs I’ve heard in a very long time. The first couple cues alone were some of the musical highlights of the last two or three years for me, and if it had stayed on that path it might’ve been my #1 or #2 choice (some of the darker, more Gothic horror stuff didn’t appeal to me as much). Excellent album.

7. Maya and the Three – Tim Davies and Gustavo Santaolalla

First off, yes, I’m the only one here who loves Gustavo. However…this score ain’t on the top 10 because of him, who’s musical contributions to Maya are fun but not earth-shaking. No, it’s Tim Davies that’s the real star here, starting the (overlong) album with lots of authentic Latin panache and entertainment before culminating everything in the last third with some shockingly adept action/adventure material. The last four or five cues really reminded me of some Powell albums like Hancock, where all the build up suddenly combines and explodes with giddy good fun.

8. The Last Duel – Harry Gregson Williams

Has there been a single review of this score, regardless of length, that hasn’t mentioned Kingdom of Heaven almost immediately? Probably not, cause it’s almost impossible to separate the two. They sound SO similar, which is a great thing for HGW (and us) cause Kingdom is without a doubt his masterpiece, and Last Duel is like the calmer younger sister. Gone are the major epic action battle music, but there’s a ton of great stuff here otherwise, and its overall a more atmospheric, often gorgeous piece.

9. Coppelia - Maurizio Malagnini

What an eclectic, wonderful mesh of music this is! A ton of it made me think of an epic ballet, other stuff sounded like Patrick Doyle romance, others reminded me of Max Richter’s electronica. An odd duck, for sure, but I can see how it’s gotten so much praise, because who cares if there’s multiple styles of music if each style is done with so much care and intelligence? Damn good work – let’s cross our fingers that Malagnini’s next project is some massive Marvel flick or something, and we can really see the guy get out and play.

10. Black Widow – Lorne Balfe

So before Benedetta dropped Silent Night down a notch, Balfe was the first composer since, like, the days of James Horner who had three scores in my top 10 (which…Ok, might say more about 2021 than Balfe, but whatever). Black Widow’s album also suffers from being too long, but it contains one of the year’s best themes (one I actually prefer hearing in the quieter dramatic cues than the big stuff) and tremendous action tracks. One of the best Marvel scores I’ve heard in years.

And the runner ups:

11. Silent Night – Lorne Balfe

Here’s how I knew I liked this sucker more than I expected; the day after I heard it, I wanted to listen to it again. That doesn’t happen very often with new scores -- even something as wickedly awesome as Rumble takes a few days afterwards to get past the sugar rush and giver again. But there’s something to Silent Night I can’t quite put my finger on…something haunting, kinda mysterious, beautiful and moody and still oddly Christmasy. Really dug it.

12. To Olivia – Debbie Wiseman

Gorgeous thematic score that I listened to quite a lot in the beginning of the year. Romantic, gentle, and lovely; what’s not to like? Stick this sucker in when the sun is shining and the breeze isn’t blowing your entire house on to its side and you’ll find yourself smiling for half an hour straight.

13. Eternals – Ramin Djawadi

Someday, they will release an extended album of this score (seriously, the ONE fucking time Marvel DOESN’T release almost all the damn music), and it’ll probably be in my top 3 of the year. So much awesome action material and heroic renditions of that glorious main theme inexplicably got left off, which really pisses me off (especially because the main Eternals theme might be my favourite superhero theme in a decade). Anyways…the rest of the music is very good and very gorgeous, but I’m definitely docking this thing marks for the dopey, incomplete album.

14. The Curse of Tarandot – Simon Franglen

A damn fun adventure score that occasionally has these wonderful glimpses of Horner-isms that really made my heart happy. I kinda wish I loved the score even more than I do; some cues on this lengthy album I think we could’ve done without, and as a whole there’s some major Horner element missing – a big emotional component, perhaps, or a super memorable theme. Either way, it’s a lot of fun, and I quite enjoyed it both times I listened to it.

15. Gunpowder Milkshake – Frank Ilfman

I avoided this one almost all year (despite reading all your posts and reviews; I was joking when I posted about not seeing all of that, dang it folks haha). I think the only reason I took so long was because of the title and I kept hearing “Morricone-style”, which made me think it would be a parody or comedic score. It’s not; some of the year’s best action music is here, certainly among the most creative. The score is all over the place in the best kind of way, and is highly entertaining.

16. The Champion of Auschwitz – Bartosz Chajdecki

Cheers to Craig for pointing out this score in his write up as it became a very last-minute addition to mine (I should also point out that if I heard the full scores of some of the ones he sent me a 15 min suite of, there would be a lot more of them on here too). The suspense and darker material wasn’t hugely enjoyable, but every time that cooing, wordless choir showed up, I was in love. Damn solid drama score.

17. Me and My Fathers – Gordy Haab

Cheers to Craig Round #2 for sending me a fantastic suite of this score, one of the few I was able to find the full CD of. He definitely picked the best bits, but the rest of the quite short album is still very good, and the fact that he scored this sucker in like a week is freakin’ impressive.

18. La Panthere des Neiges – Nick Cave and Warren Ellis

Don’t expect this one to show up on many other lists (so far, it hasn’t). Ever since Assassination of Jesse James I’ve desperately longed for these two to show that kind of promise, something elegiac and beautiful and melancholy like James (or even The Road). This is the closest they’ve come in a decade; it’s not perfect, and still too much dissonance, but when they focus on nice dramatic cues it’s really quite lovely.

19. Wrath of Man – Chris Benstead

If this was a 35 min score, just focusing on that surprisingly effective earworm of a main theme, then this would be in my top 10 for sure. Certainly it’s the score I found most effective in context, really giving the movie a tragic underbelly it wouldn’t have had without it. The album is waaaay too long and littered with unpleasant drones, but that theme….damn, I love that theme. Dark, atmospheric, moody, and shockingly catchy – pare this sucker down to half an hour, and it’s a (depressing) winner.

20. The Choice II – Khaled Al Kammar

Cheers to Hasan for letting me hear this sucker before it finally came out over here, cause damn it’s a gooder. Some of the more tense, dissonant cues are “meh”, but other tracks contain epic, damn good action writing and some almost Media Ventures style power anthems. Oh, and cello’s. Yummy.

And some other stuff I liked this year…

Arctic Tale – Alex Heffes
The Ice Road – Max Aruj
Crisis on Infinite Earths – Blake Neely, Daniel James Chan, Nathaniel Blume, Sherri Chung, Keyser Soze
Immortals Fenyx Rising (one of the albums that counts as 2021 and not 2020) – Gareth Coker
American Underdog – John Debney
Music Got Me Here – Stephen Endelman
Fatherhood – Rupert Gregson Williams
Red Notice – Steve Jablonsky
Call of Duty: Vanguard – Bear McCreary
Finch – Gustavo Santaolalla
Syberia: The World Before – Inon Zur
Raya and the Last Dragon – James Newton Howard
Jungle Cruise – James Newton Howard
Leonardo Vol. 1 – John Paesano
A Boy Called Christmas – Dario Marianelli
The Secret: Dare to Dream – George Fenton
Come True – Electric Youth
The Most Reluctant Convert – Craig Armstrong
The King’s Man – Matthew Margnuson
Spider-Man: No Way Home – Michael Giacchino
Pig – Philip Klein and Alexis Grapias
Son of the South – Stephen Arguila
Cruella – Nicholas Britell

COMPOSER OF THE YEAR – Lorne Balfe

Well…no shit, really. It wasn’t even a contest. Three of his scores in my (almost – Benedetta knocked one out at the last minute) top 10 with also a begrudging admiration for elements of Wheel of Time, Dopesick, and The Tomorrow War. Blew away every other contender, especially since JNH and Zimmer disappointed me as much as they excited me. Bear McCreary was probably the next closest pick but ultimately, nah…this was Balfe’s year. Dude fucking nailed it – and for three completely different scores in three completely different genre’s, well, that’s pretty goddamn impressive.

And now, for the navel-gazing, endless ranty personal shit no one wants but dang it, I CAN’T STOP MYSELF mwuahaha.

YEAR END RETROSPECTIVE OF THE SWIRLING MADNESS THAT WAS 2021

I’m gonna succinctly address how 2021 felt in the form of haiku:

The year was shitty
Except for my baby
I don’t know haiku.

2020 was rough, obviously. Roughest year I think most of us alive can remember. And yet, that year ended, for me at least, with hope. Vaccines were on the horizon. Trump didn’t win. Wife was pregnant but still healthy. We moved to a farm house, something she always wanted, and I didn’t have to deal with the douchiest neighbours and their demon dog anymore.

Things were looking up! Hell, even my normally crotchety year-end write-up was trying not to pick fights or be all doom and gloom; at one point I said “I can’t be a critical ass anymore” (I think it was Bennett who wrote a hundred LOL’s to that, whoops) and even tried so hard to be the middle man and say “can’t we all have peace and be friends” that I even apparently defended Fox News and Trumpians (not my intention, of course, but that’s definitely how it came across).

And then, like, a week later were the Jan 6 riots. And then a month later I suddenly realized wait, not everyone wants the vaccine immediately? And many will actually fight against it to the point of losing jobs and families and dare I say their own health over it? And this will cause so many stirs and arguments and vicious, terrible fighting among strangers, friends, and families that just going to the grocery store or logging into Facebook will feel like I entered The Darkest Timeline?

Well, then. So much for optimism.

BABIES ARE TOUGH

My baby was born in late March. It was spooky as all hell; you don’t understand fear until you have a child born during a fuckin pandemic with looters and rioters petitioning outside your window (yes, just a couple hours after my first baby was born and I was on cloud nine, an anti-masker yelled at me for being a sheep and wearing my mask. In a hospital). But just the idea of this hanging cloud over my head, I mean, I was already super scared of Claire’s health and my wife’s health, but being told there’s this killer cloud of viruses hanging around that could strike at any minute? No one could visit, everyone had to mask at all times, and the darn stinker was 2 weeks late to top it all off? Shat. My. Pants.

Luckily, it all went fine, and knock-on wood she’s still healthy and happy and adorable. But has anyone else here started raising a brand-new skipper during all this nonsense? Fuck me. I didn’t realize just how shitty and tough it was going to be. Not just with trying to be polite about our wishes with friends and family, many of whom were or still are anti-vaxxers (luckily I have found that the majority very much respect our nervousness when asking to please wear a mask if you hold her for the first couple months…we just had to word it right and not offend them, and truth be told lots of them preferred not to hold her anyways just in case).

No, I mostly mean how tough being a stay-at-home parent would be during lockdowns, restrictions, mandates, and a shitty ass virus that keeps coming back wave after wave. When the wife went back to work, I hadn’t realized how goddamn alone I would feel. Because when I always told her I’d be the stay-at-home parent and she’d be the working one, I also always assumed the world would be, y’know…normal. I could drop her off at daycares three days a week. I could bring her to friend’s houses and get visits and breaks. Take her to kiddie pools and play areas and all that shit.

Guess how much of THAT exists during 2021? Next to freakin’ nothing. Daycares are too scared to bring in new kids, and I’m scared to put her in em (two of my very young nephews got COVID from their daycare, and it was a nightmare). Almost every time I’ve made plans to visit someone, they get sick and I have to stay home. Apart from my parent’s house and brother-in-law who lives nearby, I’ve seen zero friends and family since September. Just me. With a baby. Who refuses…to ever…fucking…nap.

I shouldn’t complain. She’s wonderful and healthy and that’s the most important thing. But it’s wearin’ on me, folks. Last year I admitted the COVID year basically made me become a full-fledged alcoholic with all the full and part time jobs being destroyed and the stress of everything. I also said I was encouraged because I knew I couldn’t maintain that once Claire was here. Well….unfortunately, turns out that didn’t happen at all.

Cause now ,after an eight hour shift, sometimes the fourth in a row when I haven’t even left the house, booze is like a beautiful salvation at the end of the day. “Oh look honey there’s your mom TAKE HER PLEASE I NEED THE VODKA AND NINTENDO HOLY FUCK”. And then of course, my other full-time job is running my media business – right when I most need to relax, I often have to go out on a shoot or edit or post or plan or make calls etc. And half the time, to get through that, I feel like I need a few stiff drinks just to stay awake during it all. It’s scary how consistent and bad it is; recent blood work showed evidence of liver damage, and I really need to cut back or stop completely. But I don’t know if I can. I’m too goddamned stressed and, for lack of a better word, lonely as all hell.

Plus, 2021 delivered another shiny loonie on the skid mark of life’s underpants – a brand new phobia, one that is actually so crippling I’m starting therapy for it next week. Turns out, I’m very, very afraid of mice. Didn’t know that, of course, until moving into this old frickin farm house. Just the sight of a dead one in a trap sets off my tourettes for 5-7 hours. The live ones, don’t even get me started. So now I’m not only stuck inside because leaving is dangerous for my kid or others, but I’m also stuck in a house I’m constantly terrified of being in. Fun times.

Again, though, I know I shoudn’t complain. I wouldn’t trade her for anything. And a LOT of people out there right now have it much worse than being constantly terrified about vermin or having to play with a fussy 10-month-old every day by themselves. She’s lovely. Just, y’know, makes me wanna tear my hair out.

WHY SO SERIOUS???

I was whinier than usual this past year. And that’s probably saying an awful lot. I swear I don’t ever MEAN on doing it, or PLAN on being bitchy. I just…I dunno. It really felt like the arts were passing me by this year. I can’t tell you how many new movies and scores I got 15-20 mins in and then said…nah, I’m done. I’ve never been like that before. Especially when I had the weekly reviewing movies job, I always powered through and made sure I saw the whole flick before passing judgement.

Now, with that one in the shitter, I found that I could suddenly just….turn off something that wasn’t speaking to me. And rapidly that bled over into scores, which used to be a very rare occurrence as well. Score listening time is now something of a commodity, something rare and frequently broken up into stops and starts. Before, I’d accumulate as many new scores as I could and power through them on a daily basis; when I had an actual 8-5 job as an editor, I’d power through 10 scores a day, easy. Last couple months I’ve been lucky to hear half of one every day or two.

And I think all of that effected my love of the arts, plus probably a general apathy and furious anger directed towards my fellow men out there in this good world (have I mentioned yet how many times people have come to my house and gotten mad at me for not signing an anti-vaxx petition? And how one of them flat out said I was a bad father and destroying the country for my kid? Which was also, unironically, a couple weeks after a bunch of them sat outside the local grocery store coughing on anyone walking in with a mask on? So stupid; the grocery store is literally right beside the police station. It didn’t last long, but man it pissed me off. Rural, right-wing towns have become very interesting, to say the least. And yes, I know not all freedom of choice advocates or anti-vaxxers are like that, and many are perfectly polite through all this. I’m just sayin’ that down here, it’s been rough).

Whatever the reason, I’d listen to new stuff, or watch new stuff, and just felt….nothing. Then I’d go rewatch Goodfellas or Face/Off or relisten to a Rabin or a Horner or a pre-DK Zimmer, and I’d just feel so much dang better. This is the first time in my life I sought out way less fresh art (as in, even old stuff I hadn’t experienced before) and continually just kept focusing on the same things that comforted me, over and over again. I literally can’t tell you how many times I watched Moneyball, Rope, Glengarry Glen Ross, Molly’s Game, and Margin Call this year (talky screenplays comfort the heck out of me, not sure why).

I also can’t tell you how many times I re-listened to stuff that aren’t even necessarily my ultimate faves, but I just kept going back to when stressed, like Badalementi’s The Straight Story. I think that had more plays than anything else in 2021 for me, and I can’t really understand why, except…it felt good?

This is a long way around the fuzzy puddle to somewhat apologize for my downer and cantankerous behaviour. It probably crossed the line a few times into “seriously, dude, shut the fuck up, I enjoyed No Time to Die just fine”. Everything felt off this year, even with my heart exploding on a daily basis from baby snuggles. Luckily, as I mentioned, the last three months were fantastic for music, just a constant stream of really good scores that may become ultra-favourites someday, who knows. Gave me a bit of hope, at least.

Oh, yeah…

WHAT ABOUT THE SCORE???

I don’t know if I’ve ever written one of these self-serving, way-too-much-info year-end posts without complaining about the lack of themes, or how nothing sounds like it used to, etc. So yeah….would I like to repeat that? Sure. I still think too many producers, directors, and studios these days limit their composers to how much old-school melodrama, romance, and orchestral adventurous thematic wonderfulness can be in a modern score (particularly in Hollywood; listen to Craig and Jon, they’re onto something with international scores. Just a shame I can find so few of them).

But I dunno….at the end of this year here, when so much other shit is going on, I guess whining about the overabundance of dissonance in Dune is kinda like being cold and complaining that my sweater is itchy. We do still have lots of good music, yes. I was doom and gloom for a while, but like almost every other year, 2021 did eventually deliver some gooders.

(Having said that, it definitely helps when it’s a year like 2020, and within the first couple months we saw some masterpieces like Call of the Wild and Way Back (damn rights). Cause then the dry spell didn’t keep going and going of “oh my god, why is nothing clicking for me?” Stuff already HAD clicked for me, so it felt a little easier to deal with).

I still wonder, and worry, about the future of film scores. Especially now that the industry is in a complete shit-show wack-a-mole. Will every TV show score now all contain 8 hours worth of albums? Or what if movies primarily get so focused on streaming, many studios just say “ah fuck it, no one buys instrumental music”, and we suddenly get way less albums released of our favourite thing? When something as massive as THIS changes a huge industry, every single facet gets impacted. I do feel incredibly hopeful that my fave score of the year, Rumble, was basically composed and recorded in a million different lock-down, social-distancing parts; it sounds great, and you can’t hear any compromises (unlike, say, Godzilla vs Kong).

But man…I dunno. I can’t argue or disagree when people wax nostalgic for the kinds of scores and movies we “used” to get. I also can’t really fight back when people disagree and say there’s all sorts of great music these days. Always will be, just…different, and from different places. Like Craig’s post compounded, old timey Hollywood style music is all over the place, but it’s definitely a stinger that it’s not always coming from Hollywood films; the small few of his fave scores for this year I’ve been able to find showcase that problem. We all can’t be part of IMFCA haha.

A few months ago, before a bunch of excellent stuff suddenly kept popping up, I posted that I was worried I was losing the love for new film scores. Jon mentioned I might just be a glass half empty kind of pessimistic person, and that’s quite possible. I wasn’t trying to be a bummer; I was legitimately worried on how things were going, even though I complain about that apparently every year (don’t go deep diving on this Ahn, you cheeky fucker, I know I do it!). Luckily, I don’t feel that scared or spooked like I did back in the summer. For film scores, that is…

LOOKING AHEAD

To go back to “the world overall” for a few seconds…I don’t know if I’ve ever felt as unsure about the future, even just the next 12 months, as I have right now.

I think yes, in a way, we’ll all soon start to feel some normalcy return. COVID’s not going anywhere, but by most accounts it does seem like we’ll have the risks lowered so that it can be treated just like a normal shitty flu. Omnicron has been a miserable bitch, infecting a good 70% of my closest friends and family in the last month alone (vaxxed and unvaxxed alike; though I must be honest with my own personal experiences in that the only ones that had to go to ICU were the latter).

But the fractures that have occurred; the broken friendships, the damaged families, the strained relationships and all around feelings of “fuck you man”….I just don’t see those repairing too quickly or easily. This wasn’t a matter of someone you love voting for Trump, where you could just brush it off as “well you’re brainwashed, let’s talk again in four years when he’s in jail for inciting an insurrohhhh never mind”.

Cause man, shit got PERSONAL this year. It’s one thing to disagree with someone, but to honestly think that friend of yours is damaging the entire country, or that family member blatantly not giving a shit about keeping you healthy…that stuff stings, and stings long.

I keep thinking about that, and keep wondering when the turning point will be. Because clearly, we’re never gonna have the easy resolution of “I told you so”. Not with this. Any quote unquote victory for EITHER side of this issue will forever be met with “fake news, that’s not what’s really happening”. So we may never get the clear cut endings to this, unlike with other things when time usually mellows and truths come out. That may never happen here.

So….what do we do? This is an open-ended question, because I’m genuinely curious what people around here think. For over a decade now I’ve come here on a daily basis to inquire your opinions on music and movies and Edmund’s schlong, so now I come to ask – how do you think we can repair the damages done this year to our friends, our families, our business associates, the people we work with, our clients, our kids, etc? Because I doubt any of you can honestly say there hasn’t been at least one person you’ve cut out or had to ignore in your life because they shared vastly different opinions than you (especially oversharing, every fucking day, on Facebook).

I’ve long hated social media, but 2021 proved to me it’s probably a cancer on this earth. Which is sad, because technically speaking something like the Scoreboard counts as such, and I wouldn’t trade this place for damn near anything. But when I have friends I’ve known and loved my entire life saying they don’t want to see me ever again because I re-posted someone’s satirical Facebook thing comparing freedom of choice methodology to refusing winter tires….I just gotta wonder if this social media shit has ever been worth it.

Looking ahead I see another year of confusion, anger, and convoy’s. And that sucks. But at the same time, I see my little girl growing up, I see us maybe moving out of this scary as fuck mouse house, I see my therapy sessions hopefully helping with the phobias and the addictions, I have….yeah, I have some optimism (watching Shawshank again last night might’ve helped). I’d just like some advice from you folks on how you’re planning on dealing with not just a post-COVID world, but a post-fightaboutvaxxandfreedoms world.

For example - my uncle was a hardcore anti-vaxx, anti-mask, COVID is a fake virus invented by Justin Trudeau to control us person. He got COVID and didn’t tell anyone for two weeks until the hospital finally told him he was quite possibly going to die and absolutely needed to let at least one family member know about it. Even then, he texted us telling us it wasn’t COVID at all and the doctors were trying to kill him. My dad’s a doctor. My wife’s a vet (who was giving COVID vaccines, supplied from a branch of Pfizser, for several years to cows and dogs before the pandemic began. Weird how THAT is never pushed on Facebook). So those kind of attitudes really offended them. I still haven’t talked to my uncle, other than sending him an unreplyed email saying I was happy and grateful he finally got released from the hospital a month later. But apart from that…I don’t know what to say, really. None of us do. Because as soon as he got released he went back to his church saying it was all fake and the medical community is trying to brainwash and kill us all (according to my other uncle who went with him that is).

That’s the kind of thing I mean about coming back from all this. Five years down the road when (hopefully) all this shit is a memory, I don’t want to still be thinking about that when I see him, and I don’t want him to be thinking about how we reacted or scolded or insulted or however he feels now either. I used to really believe that people were inherently good and caring, and I very much want to continue thinking that. So for you all – people I’ve barely met but care about a silly amount, who I think are the definition of inherently good (apart from the collective shrugs about Trevor Rabin, but whatever) – what’s your tactic? Genuinely curious to hear your thoughts on moving forward.

WRAP THIS FUCKER UP

Annnnnyways, I better get goin’. Normally I like writing all my year end write ups all at once, but of course now this thing has been broken up into a week and a half worth of writing whenever I get a moment’s chance, so who knows how all over the place it was. But I’ll end it by saying this:

2021 gave us some very good music. It took a bloody long time, but it eventually got there. My apologies for spending most of the year bitching and waiting for that turn around, and my thanks for sticking with me and pointing out/recommending as often as you all do.

Thanks to Clem for the great site and community (and new reviews, holy shizzah! He’s rockin it!). Thanks to Craig for always putting these year end things together as well as sending me some wonderful suites of international music. Thanks to everyone contributing to the Board with year end lists, I absolutely love reading everyone’s write ups. And thanks to all my Scoreboard buddies, both the ones I’ve known for ages and constantly drop the ball with when it comes to helping with troll accounts and sending Christmas messages, as well as the new ones that showed up this year to be properly Rabin-ized, as I like to call it.

Love ya all, good luck with 2022. We need it.




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