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Re: My Top 10 And Year-End Write Up, Rambles, And Rantings
• Posted by: ArborArcanist   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Tuesday, February 1, 2022, at 8:28 p.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: My Top 10 And Year-End Write Up, Rambles, And ... (Riley KZ)

> 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.

I knew it.

> 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.

I still don’t understand ranking above Dune, No Time to Die, or Family Business, haha! I found it good, but a bit too weird (hypocritically enjoys Tom and Jerry- wait, that’s Vikram’s line).

> 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.

Good year for Lennertz. Come to think of it, he’d be a good choice for one of the upcoming Marvel shows (again).

> 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.

…Spotify actually kept recommending this one for me.

> 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.

My #1. So good!

> 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.

Has there ever been a bad score for one of this guy’s films?

> 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.

Have you heard The Last of Us?

> 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.

I can’t believe I liked this… I keep saying this, but I was so so mad when Desplat got replaced.

> 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.

I’m with you- this and Rise of Skywalker badly need a full release.

> 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.

Good year for Chinese scores.

> 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.

Hell yeah!

> 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.

Hell yeah! Loved this.

> 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

Damn, I should get to Leonardo.


> 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.

Almost named him myself.

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


> 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.

*sigh*. Yup.


> 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.

Jesus Christ, I was anxious enough myself, with only grandparents to worry about.

> 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.

Oh dear… I’m really sorry that you’ve been undergoing that, and I hope you’re able to overcome it with your liver health intact. My grandfather actually contracted gout from heavy drinking.

> 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.

Good for you, starting therapy. Also, I actually am keeping some mice to feed to my mum’s snake. Go figure.

> 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.


> 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).

Ironically, I saw more new films than I ever have before. Between my gap year, loss of friends, and lockdowns, I kept up almost daily films for the entire stretch.

> 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?

If it makes you feel happy, it’s worth your time.

> 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.

…No Time to Die is top 5 for me, actually. I still love the “angry” Bond theme that Clem dragged so thoroughly through the mud.

> Oh, yeah…


> 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…

I dunno, as someone who got hooked on scores via Brian Tyler and Michael Giacchino just as much as Zimmer and Williams, I have been fairly content with the Hollywood scene. Indie films (outside of Korven and Mosseri) have remained annoying, but mainstream film music has been a lot of fun for me. And I always prefer too much music to too little (*grumbles about unreleased works*).


> 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 kind of fallen into my bubble, actively ignoring the climate deniers, vaccine skeptics, and Trumpists (why. We’re Alberta, not the US. If you’re gonna hero worship a Tory, at least make it O’Toole or Harper) in my circle. My mental health just can’t deal with it.

> 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.

I ended up watching The Social Network. To all those who said it was a dark prophecy? Yup. Score is still aggressively “fine” though.

> 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).

Trudeau: invents virus to control people. Ends up with minority government and pandemic caused inflation. Profit?

> 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.

Oh man, I don’t even know. We’ve almost become estranged from my uncle over a combination of transphobic comments about my cousin, and his vaccine skepticism. So I’d be one to take advice, not to give it. That being said, 83% of Canada has received at least one dose. That suggests the crazies are a vast minority here, which gives me comfort.


> 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.

This was actually the year that I listened to more new scores than ever before, partially because I was (for the first time ever) setting out to rank them at year’s end.

> 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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