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Re: My Top 10 And Year-End Write Up, Rambles, And Rantings
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• Posted by: Soundtracker94
• Date: Wednesday, February 2, 2022, at 6:17 p.m.
• IP Address: mta-70-125-164-201.stx.rr.com
• 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?

For me personally, 2021 was fine-ish. Granted it still meant largely staying at home and such, but things seemed to be better than 2020 around here at least. Well, except for that winter storm about a year ago.... ugh.

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

YAY... 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 think that last bit is most accurate in this case. I will admit it took 2021 a long while to finally kick into high gear, but "worst ever" or "worst since I've been a fan"? Heck no.

> 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.

I'd have to kinda agree it wasn't as strong of a year as the final three of the 2010's, but there were still plenty of really good efforts put out throughout the world of soundtracks (see my Top 20). To go on a tangential path for a moment: I don't think there's been a truly "bad" year of scores since I started keeping rigorous track of new releases in 2016 or so. I expect there might be at some point down the road, but for now... nope.

> 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.

Pretty much my methodology nowadays as well. If it's an album I really don't like, I usually try to give it a handful of tracks before abandoning it. I have a section in my Word document titled "Unfinished (Crap)", after all. tongue

> So here we go.

Oh good, finally. I was about to abandon this post if it continued like this.... wink

> 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.

So I gave this another try last night after initially reading this post and... nope. Sorry, mate, but this is just totally not my kind of score. I'll admit it has several catchy themes and that it's probably the most "fun" I've heard from Balfe in a while, but... yeah. WAY too kinetic and insane in that very kiddie way for me. Guess this is for me what most animation/comedy scores are for you. tongue

> 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.

It's fine. Glad it clicked with you so hard, but there were so many other scores that hit me where it counts last year that Army... is probably in the 50's or so if I ranked stuff that high.

> 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.

Well here's one we agree more on. smile Really solid wrap-up to Lennertz space saga, though I hardly remember anything from S2. Now that it's concluded, I should probably go back and listen to all three albums.

> 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.

I don't remember if I listened to this or not... *checks*... doesn't look like it. Might have to give 'er a try. Mellow, ambient scores are sometimes my jam... just depends on what's in them.

> 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.

This one obviously just missed being in my Top 10, but yeah. It's a lot of fun with Part II being a vastly better album experience than the first. Pretty much agree with everything here, surprisingly. :o

> 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.

As I said when you were scolding us for not hearing it... it's fine. Has all the minor key, Gothic-y choral stuff that I like but never really broke into "awesomesauce" territory. Still, very solid.

> 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.

Never got around to this one. After a point last year I just had to call it quits with scrambling around listening to stuff I had missed as everything started sounding very "meh" to me. Might try this in a month or two, though.

> 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.

Last Duel is in the 20's somewhere for me and would have made it into my list if I wasn't also including TV, anime and video games. Dark, beautiful and continuously captivating... it's great.

> 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.

I liked this but didn't love it like so many. As I told Vik (much to his dismay), so much of this felt too much like a Classical work for me to be able to accept it as a "film score". That's by no means a knock on Malagnini's talents or work for this project, but just my own personal opinion. Still, a lovely piece and one that I'm glad we have.

> 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'm curious how many years, exactly? Black Panther remains a very good work in the genre and that's only 3 years ago. As for Widow, it's probably the second or third best MCU film score from 2021. I still think Eternals is the best with Shang Chiduking it out with Widow for 2nd/3rd spot.

> 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.

It was fine. A one-off for me, but don't have any major complaints.

> 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.

So glad you adored this score along with the rest of us. It's really quite lovely.

> 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 kinda did the same (RE: the album affecting the placement), but still the album as-is is a wonderful listening experience.

> 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.

Yeah, this didn't *quite* connect with me the way I wanted it to. Came very close (heck, it made my Top 20), but it was just missing that extra something. Still, so glad to see (hear?) Franglen is such a solid composer in his own right after Magnificent Seven and the abysmal Peppermint.

> 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).

Were you, Riley? Were you REALLY? wink

> 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.

The Morricone-esque part is mostly in the creative non-traditional instrumental palette and of course the track "Goonfight at the Gutterball Corral". Anyway, glad you finally listened to it and enjoyed it. It's a lot of fun for an unfortunately meh film.

> 16. The Champion of Auschwitz – Bartosz Chajdecki

> 17. Me and My Fathers – Gordy Haab

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

> 19. Wrath of Man – Chris Benstead

> 20. The Choice II – Khaled Al Kammar

Totally missed all of these. Might go check them out sometime this year, though.

> 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

Glad to see Cuella, Syberia, Raya and Myths of the Eastern Realm here but very disappointed there is no Green Knight, Claret, Godzilla: Singular Point or Belle.

> 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.

Well, given your Top 20, this only seems natural. Can't complain much as he did have a very solid year.

> 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.

I don't know much about haiku
But that ain't
For Realz

> 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)

I don't recall exactly, but sounds like me. XD

> 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).

In a roundabout way, but we forgive you. wink

> 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.

I guess I'm in the very lucky minority (sadly) that largely missed all the drama regarding the vaccine and in-fighting, etc. The majority of my friends and family are all on roughly the same page with that stuff, so no major fallout from someones choices. Also most of the people at the establishments I frequent around here seem rather cool about things, which greatly helps.

> 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).

Very, very happy that the Da Baby and the Wife are doing well and that y'all are surviving through all of that. That said.... good grief.

> 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.

Aye, just as an almost innocent bystander to friends and family friends that have become new parents... it's kinda a new hell all of it's own.

> 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.

*See above comment*

> 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.

It's OK to vent about your frustrations and such, healthy even. Complaining only enters into the equation when that is ALL you are doing or it dominates any conversation to an unhealthy degree.

> 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”.

LOL!!

> 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.

Oh man... had no idea all that was going on. frown Don't know really what to say, but... hope things improve for you, man. We're definitely on your side through this.

> 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.

*See my comment earlier about complaining*

> 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.

I have honestly been doing this with films for years. Always try and give it a good 20 minutes or so to get a feel of what the whole is like, but if it's not connecting with me/it's clearly bad, I don't waste my time on it.

> 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.

I can easily imagine having a baby around would greatly diminish listening time.

> 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).

*long, annoyed sigh at the parenthesis part ensues*

> 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).

Given all the things you've mentioned going on with you and yours, it makes perfect sense that you really need/crave "comfort food" in your entertainment. No real shame in that, especially given all the above you've mentioned.

> 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?

*see my above comment*

> 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.

Well, it does explain some of your more extreme rants in 2021, which did feel a bit... intense... at times. That said, I (and I'm sure everyone else) is just extremely glad you're still with us and hanging on.

> Oh, yeah…

> WHAT ABOUT THE SCORE???

YEAH? WHAT ABOUT IT????

> 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).

What about me?? WHAT ABOUT ME????

> 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.

I agree with Vik... that analogy kinda lost me.

> (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).

Makes sense more than that sweater analogy. wink

> 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).

I don't think the studios will go "no more soundtracks", as there is clearly some market for it even if everything is just put out digitally.

> 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.

I think everyone knows this by now, but for the record:
If I recommend something (either here or on Soundtrack-Universe), it's because it can be found by "the common man" either on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify or YouTube. I never review/recommend anything that everyone else can't get a hold of in some fashion. smile

> 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…

Very glad to hear you're not as down about new scores as you were. I kinda felt it was just a phase (cue "it's not a phase, MOM!!!"), but glad to be proven right for your sake.

> 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.

I really don't know what to tell you or recommend for this segment. As I mentioned earlier, I've been most fortunate to not have to deal with all the fallout and torn relationships through this crap so... can't really give any thoughts.

> 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.

No problem, man. Glad you stuck it out and that it paid off for you. And of course, always happy to offer recommendations... if I have any. wink

> 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.

Love you too, Riley. Sincerely hope things improve for you and yours throughout the coming year. And of course, look forward to seeing you around.



Soundtrack-Universe



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