Thursday, February 12, 2015

Music: Original Song

If you're hoping to see the short films, don't forget that there many theaters show them on very short runs. The Detroit Film Theater, for example, only has two showings of the documentary shorts, and the second of them is tonight.

Because films with an Original Song nomination aren't strictly the most well received films, they can be harder to get access to. As such, I wasn't able to see Beyond the Lights or Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me.
    Original Song
  • "Everything Is Awesome" from The LEGO Movie
    Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
  • "Glory" from Selma
    Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
  • "Grateful" from Beyond the Lights
    Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
  • "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" from Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me
    Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
  • "Lost Stars" from Begin Again
    Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois

"Everything Is Awesome" might make more sense when you know that Shawn Patterson has a resume that includes The Ren & Stimpy Show and Robot Chicken and that it's performed by Tegan & Sara. This song is stunningly perfect in The LEGO Movie (which, my gravy, how was it not nominated for animated feature?). It's interspersed throughout with charming and infectious optimism. On a full listen-through, though, the pop-confection tends toward saccharine and wearing.

"Glory" is written by Common and John Stephens who is best known as the producer of The O.C., Gilmore Girls, and Gossip Girl John Legend. Legend's voice rises as in a hymn while Common intersperses with verses of rap touching on civil rights from Rosa Parks to Ferguson. It's beautiful and fitting, though one might feel that it isn't as evocative and visceral as expected for a film about Martin Luther King Jr.

"Grateful" is an optimistic "that which doesn't kill me makes me stronger" anthem. I'm going to be honest, it's all the things a well-polished studio song usually is, and that includes forgettable. Sorry Dianne, but I'm not morally allowed to say anything nice about your music after "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing."

"I'm Not Gonna Miss You" is a stirring song from Alzheimer's-stricken Glen Campbell and has all the depth and impact that I really wanted "Glory" to have. It's poignant and cuts to a very personal core that makes me incredibly disappointed to not be able to catch this documentary.

"Lost Stars" is the sort of song in the sort of movie that I dislike as a natural reaction; Begin Again won me over though. While just as polished (if not more so) than "Grateful," this is a haunting ballad that lingers past its welcome. Should we have expected less from a couple of New Radicals known for Natasha Beddingfield's "Pocket Full of Sunshine" and "The Game of Love" by Santana and Michelle Branch?

"Grateful" is the only song here that I just don't think is very good, and I think only "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" and "Lost Stars" really stand strongly on their own as well as offer fantastic compliments to their films. I think Glen Campbell will win. The song is great, but the backstory really will sell it. That said, I think "Lost Stars" is the better performance. What? If I'm not going to pick Tegan and Sara, I'll pick the songwriter from Michigan.

Will win:: I'm Not Gonna Miss You
Should win: Lost Stars

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