Saturday, February 25, 2012

VD's Final Oscar Predictions, Cuz Why the Hell Not?

Even though I haven't done ONE predictions post this season, for a full smörgåsbord of reasons, I feel like have to do a 'final' one. I've never done it this early (just past the 48 hour mark as opposed to within the last 24), but I'm bored. So here they are. Voilà. And Viola.

Best Visual Effects
Will Win: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Could Win: Hugo
Should Win: n/a / Harry Potter

Hugo doesn't make 100% sense as a winner, so I guess it's gonna be the first BP nominee in forty-one years to lose this.

Best Sound Mixing and/or Editing
n/a

I honestly don't fucking have a clue. I could see Dragon Tattoo winning both, or Hugo, or War Horse pulling a random Iwo Jima. I just don't know and I feel like I don't have the wherewithal to guess.

Best Makeup
Will Win: The Iron Lady
Could Win: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Should Win: :\

This makes the most sense as a 'career' prize for the Potter franchise, but they love going for actress-y prosthetics as much as genre/franchise films.

Best Original Song
Will Win: "Man or Muppet"
Could Win: "Real in Rio"
Should Win: "Life's a Happy Song"

The Rio BS WILL win, won't it. Oy vey.

Best Original Score
Will Win: Ludovic Bource, The Artist
Could Win: John Williams, War Horse
Should Win: The Artist

If they wanted to screw logic (which they like to do), I suppose they could go for Williams. Surprised there wasn't a 'HE WASN'T WON IN EIGHTEEN FUCKING YEARS' campaign tbqh, but it's a Weinstein tactic and he has the competition, so yeah.

Best Film Editing
Will Win: Anne-Sophie Bion/Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Could Win: Christopher Tellefsen, Moneyball
Should Win: Moneyball

Putting Moneyball in as the alternate has more to do with my personal esteem for it than thinking that it could (miraculously) win. This won't not match up with BP this year.

Best Costume Design
Will Win: Mark Bridges, The Artist
Could Win: Arianne Phillips, W.E.
Should Win: The Artist

IDK why people have been having seizures over this. It seems pretty clear to me? Despite the royalty porn of films too underseen and undervalued, the fucking BP frontrunner will sweep it up. *shrugs*

Best Cinematography
Will Win: Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life
Could Win: Guillaume Schiffman, The Artist
Should Win: The Tree of Life

If this is 'oooooh pretty and foreign, fuck off Chivo!' again, I...

Best Art Direction
Will Win: Dante Ferretti/Francesca Lo Schiavo, Hugo
Could Win: Hugo
Should Win: Hugo

This is a massive deserved no-brainer.

Best Animated Feature Film
Will Win: Rango
Could Win: Chico & Rita
Should Win: n/a

Seems about it.

Best Documentary Feature Film
Will Win: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Could Win: Pina
Should Win: n/a

Unsurprisingly I'm flying blind hurr.

Best Foreign Language Film
Will Win: A Separation
Could Win: In Darkness
Should Win: n/a

Unlike with, say, Waltz with Bashir's style, A Prophet's violence, or The White Ribbon's ambiguity, A Separation just seems to be too absolutely universally beloved. The only reason I can see it losing is, well, entirely political and unrelated to the film itself. It could happen. IDK.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: Moneyball
Could Win: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Should Win: Moneyball

Voting with my delusional but sustaining anything-but-The Descendants heart here. In all seriousness, TTSS seems like a legit threat.

Best Original Screenplay
Will Win: A Separation
Could Win: Midnight in Paris
Should Win: Bridesmaids (AS unseen)

NO GUTS, NO GLORY BTCHZ. The Artist winning this would be too much of a joke (it's just a cleverly modified version of what is essentially an early/mid-'30s MGM assembly line plot), and Midnight in Paris winning, when compared to Allen's multiple opuses that he couldn't win for, is ALSO too much of a joke. So even with what I said two blurbs ago, I'm going with this.

Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Octavis Spencer, The Help
Could Win: Spencer
Should Win: Jessica Chastain, The Help

No one wins at the last minute against someone who's been this dominant.

Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Could Win: Plummer
Should Win: Plummer

No one wins at the last minute against someone who's been this dominant. [x2]

Best Actress
Will Win: Viola Davis, The Help
Could Win: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Should Win: Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Meryl won the Globe, Viola the SAG, and then Meryl swooped in again for the BAFTA. In a pendulous motion entirely reminiscent of the '08 Actor race, I'm going with V-Girl for the Oscar.

Best Actor
Will Win: Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Could Win: George Clooney, The Descendants
Should Win: Brad Pitt, Moneyball

ANYTHING-BUT-THE DESCENDANTS.

Best Director
Will Win: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Could Win: Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Should Win: Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life

If they couldn't split it last year, they're definitely not gonna this year.

Best Picture
Will Win: The Artist
Could Win: The Artist
Should Win: The Tree of Life

It's a lock and for once, not an undeserved or awkward lock. I like this.

So yeah. Any thoughts? Or anything.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

XMAS XMAS XMAS

For some reason, I just don't care. Well, for lots of reasons. Mainly the frustrating lack of snow. At least this exists. MERRY XMAS EV'RYBODY.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

VD's Best Music of 2010, Part VI

HAHAHAHA I KNOW IT'S EFFING DECEMBER! I KNOW. Would you rather I not ever do it? Although, who's reading this? Oh, whatever. I'm doing this for ME. I need to do that about something at some point. I don't know how to preface this further. Here are the previous parts of the list:

#21-#50#51-100

VD's Best Singles of 2010:
#1-#20


20. Hurts, "Stay"
Anderson/Hutchcraft.
I asked myself, when I first listened to his on Happiness, "Are they really trying to make an '80s power ballad right now?" Within a day, it was all I was listening to, and it completely sold me on the duo (even if it's not their best). It's so tender, and beautiful, and fun to sing along with. (And on a completely unrelated and subliminal note, the outro reminds me of parts of Hans Zimmer's score for The Prince of Egypt, which made me love it more.)

19. Selena Gomez & the Scene, "Round & Round"
Bolooki/Dobson/Halavacs/Kasher/Rudolf.
A truly amazing pop song from what was once an unlikely source. It's sly, sharp, a bit sexy, and even wonderfully thematic. I love that it's essentially a story song; the irritation of the heroine is so palpable and believable. I remember one review said this could usher her in as a mini-Kylie, which I really think is apt and a wonderful thing to say of her.

18. Robyn, "Indestructible"
Åhlund/Carlsson.
Was I worried that Åhlund was just going to add some beats to one of the most emotionally glorious songs I'd ever heard, like he did with "Hang with Me"? You bet your ASS I was! But somehow the final electronic product is about 90% as good, softening the emotion without actually taking away the impact. The synths are magically done, and even play very well with the remaining strings. All in all, such a highlight of a banner year for her.

17. Marina & the Diamonds, "Hollywood"
Diamandis.
Possibly the only song on The Family Jewels that isn't strictly about her - even if it seems to be about her one true obsession - which kinda gives it a nice diverting edge to its already incredibly amusing indictment of the toxicity of "the mess that's America". It's such a wonderfully produced, pleasurable satire, and a fair testament to her talents as a lyricist.

16. Scissor Sisters, "Invisible Light"
Hoffman/Lynch/Price/Sellards.
The first thing anyone heard of the Night Work era, and eternally the best. Did anyone expect them to come out with this sort of dark, sprawling electronica, and make it work? WITH A SPOKEN MIDDLE 8 BY IAN McKELLEN? There is not one subpar thing about this (even if it occasionally rips off Cut Copy). Bonus points: THAT VIDEO. Holy shit.

15. Freemasons feat. Wynter Gordon, "Believer"
Gordon/Hector/Horn/Small/Wiltshire.
There is no doubt that, as a rule, the Freemasons create the best dance music on earth, but they've just outdone themselves here. Their trademark use of disco strings is as energizing as ever and they DOMINATE the track. You know what sends this over the edge, though? Wynter. The girl is more or less a holy prodigy, and she needs to take over the world.

14. Cheryl Cole, "Promise This"
Hamilton/Jackson/Wilkins.
Evidently, after her incredibly muddled R&B debut, getting divorced and nearly dying, she realized what she needed to do: a fucking weird, hi-NRG love song that nonsensically uses a French nursery rhyme as its hook! The fact that it's even effective at all makes me believe it validates her non-Aloud career. Girl did well to listen to me and truly embrace what I so gracefully call 'FUCKYEAHDANCEPOP', especially to such a satisfying degree.

13. Florence + the Machine, "Cosmic Love"
Summers/Welch.
Paul Epworth's production, as he is known to do, is BREATHTAKING. Every single instrument is utilized to its most stunning potential, not least which, of course, Florence's voice. These are her most bombastic, most emotive, and possibly best vocals on the whole of Lungs. Its beauty is borderline existential, and then just to make sure we understand how good it is -- it has an extended harp outro. Thank you very much, Flo.

12. Kelis, "Acapella"
Guetta/Kouame/Riddick/Riesterer/Rogers.
Aside from "When Love Takes Over", I have no doubt this will remain the best thing Guetta has ever produced - and it's probably mostly Kelis' doing anyway! It hits every note like a bullseye, both as a praising of adoration for her newborn and as a dance anthem. Each second is a magically tribal, superb thing to behind.

11. Kylie Minogue, "Get Outta My Way"
Davidsen/Hansen/Secon/Sharpe/Wallevik.
Delicious, fun, immaculately produced dance-pop, with a biting, slightly whoreish wit. I wish pop music aspired to be like this much more often. It's totally tailor-made for Kylie and her personality as a performer, though, and she sells the hell out of it.

---------- Top ten, WHOO! ----------

10. Hurts, "Wonderful Life"
Anderson/Cross/Hutchcraft.
They're damn smart songwriters, and they know how to work with what they have in spades. As incredibly depressing as it is, it's never numbing, and it's quite hopeful, frankly. With those stunning synths and basslines, by the end, you can REALLY feel that this is special, and definitely a sign of brilliance.

09. Kelis, "4th of July (Fireworks)"
Burns/Fischer/Kouame/Leroy/Morris/Munson/Rogers/Scheven.
Like "Acapella" (and literally the rest of Flesh Tone), her lyrical intentions are as tangible as ever, but it's blatantly the song's soul. Its strength, however, is the swirling, ambitious, electro-house epic in which it's contained. Somehow it's never flat, or boring, or familiar, and for that it's pretty much the best song on the album.

08. Lady GaGa feat. Beyoncé, "Telephone"
Daniels/Franklin/Germanotta/Jerkins/Knowles.
It gets points for how obsessed I was when The Fame Monster leaked and when the video came out; it gets points for Darkchild doing some of the best production work of his career; it gets points for still being such an 'EVENT' moment in pop music; it gets points for the fact I'm not sick of it. Add them all up, and it's #8. For a song I was primarily interested in two years ago...well, you can see how obsessed I was.

07. Kylie Minogue, "All the Lovers"
Eliot/Stilwell.
There was my life before 2:29, and there is my life after it. Sums that up, don't it? Even beyond that, it's just...euphoria, al the way through. This was the moment I really started to care about her, and it's most assuredly one of her best. KYLIE, YOU ANGEL, I LOVE YOU.

06. Janelle Monáe, "Cold War"
Irvin III/Joseph II/Robinson.
Janelle is one of few active musicians I'd emphatically call a genius, and this is the best proof there is for that. I've tried to describe WHY, but it proves its own brilliance without me having to rationalize it.

---------- TOP FIVE TIIIIIIIIIIME! ----------

05. Armin van Buuren vs. Sophie Ellis-Bextor, "Not Giving Up on Love"
de Goeij/Ellis-Bextor/Nervo/Nervo/van Buuren.
I truly believe one of the smartest moves of Sophie's career has been teaming with Armin for this. She's done disco to death, and some other electronica, so it's not exactly odd that she'd try on this sort of full-on, euphoric trance - and it suits her unbelievably well. As fantastic and anthemic a love song as I've EVER heard, it absolutely reshaped and redefined the end of last summer for me - especially the extended version, which definitely gives more and more credit to van Buuren. It just truly makes me happy to be alive, to feel the euphoria, and the few songs that accomplish that are always closest to my heart.

04. Marina & the Diamonds, "I Am Not a Robot"
Diamandis.
Even though it first hit me hard in 2009 on The Crown Jewels EP, I'm so glad it was re-released, because it's only grown more and more beautiful with the passage of time. Marina is a stunning vocalist, and PERFECT lyricist, and this could be her crowing glory in both regards. My favorite part, though, may be the resonant duality of who it's directed at; the listener or the singer herself. I still cry.

03. Marina & the Diamonds, "Oh No!"
Diamandis/Kurstin.
For a long time, "I Am Not a Robot" and this were pretty neck-and-neck, and I was almost going to tie them. But one day, I realized it was as perfectly suited to Marina's personality and ambition as anything she might ever create, and it must be even just a tiny bit better. I mean, one of the reasons why I adore The Family Jewels so much is because of how well it works as a statement of who she is, what she wants and how she's gonna get it, and this - a track that had to be added on after the last minute - exemplifies that to the highest degree. And this is before we even consider Greg Kurstin being involved at all.

02. Robyn, "Dancing on My Own"
Berger/Carlsson.
Melodic, self-destructive torch songs are one of the major things to love about pop music, and no one alive is better at performing them than Robyn. Her formula of sweating (and sobbing) those time-tested feelings on the dance floor has proven especially fruitful: "With Every Heartbeat", "Be Mine!", "The Girl and the Robot", and this, what is, possibly, her crowning achievement. Berger's synths engulf the strobed heartache of the lyrics, creating a rare, almost transcendent convergence of elements into a FUCKING GOOD SONG.

Aaaaaaaaad nowwwwwwww...

*druuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum*

*roooooooooooooooooooll*

*plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz*

*brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaappppppppppp*


...

...

...

01. Sophie Ellis-Bextor, "Bittersweet"
Ellis-Bextor/Robinson/Small/Stannard/Wiltshire.
My dominant favorite wasn't ever going to anything else but my dominant favorite. It's still the most-played song in my iTunes, and the cover is still my Twitter background a year and a half later. Icy, playful, absolutely thumping, even emotionally honest - and oh, sweet lord, how I love her accent. It was instant adoration, and constant adoration at all. This list has existed as a draft for quite a while now, and never once did I feel "Bittersweet" was anything less than my song of the year. Forever and ever. Amen.

Fin.

Even though no one's actually reading this, and it's all irrelevant anyway, I still like feeling validated. Just so you know. As I'm sure you do.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

VD's Best Music of 2010, Part V

I don't really like being negative very often. I get that being bitchy sells more tickets, especially as a homo, but it just doesn't come as naturally for me as it does for others. I am not without vitriol, though. There are always worthy things to despise! And for the music of 2010, there was more than enough. So, finally continuing my best-of series with the complete obvious, LET'S LIST WHAT GAVE ME A CONNIPTION LAST YEAR! Hopefully y'all will agree with me. Also, most of this will probably be stream-of-consciousness, so be warned.

VD's Worst Singles of 2010

10. Timbaland feat. Katy Perry, "If We Ever Meet Again" US #37, UK #3
The major thought I always have is that this would work so much better as a campy '70s-style disco ballad. Instead, we get Timba not even trying to make something even worthy to be copyrighted (THE BEATBOX UNDERSCORING), and Perry wailing for no reason, all leading to nothing. Oh, and that fucking outro.

09. The Saturdays, "Missing You" UK #3
The autotune. The overbearing production. The fact that the song itself is very awkward and VERY psychotic. It's all just fucking ridiculous. I love them, but they really need to learn 'consistency'.

08. The Wanted, "Heart Vacancy" UK #2
"All Time Low" was very nearly going to be on the list, but I just don't hate it enough. This, on the other hand, is one of the most contemptible ballads anyone has ever created. Why do they exist? Who wants them to exist? None of them are even cute enough to justify being in a boy band - and that's before we even consider the reason I hate the song so much is because of their asinine vocals. Just, fuck off, boys.

07. Ke$ha, "We R Who We R" US #1, UK #1
Now, I like Ke$ha - I've said it before, I'll say it again. She has some good songs and an adequate amount of talent. But this is just an insulting mess. How dare you claim to have written this in solidarity with gay youth when ALL it is is a boring continuation of your typically slurred, party-whore manifesto, bitch? I have so much disgust for this.

06. Yolanda Be Cool vs. DCup, "We Speak No Americano" US #29, UK #1
Why, God, why?!

05. Ke$ha feat. 3OH!3, "Blah Blah Blah" US #7, UK #11 /
05. 3OH!3 feat. Ke$ha, "My First Kiss" US #9, UK #7
I'm merging them into one gross clump because, well, they are one gross clump. Without the guest spots from each other, they'd be horrible enough, but nooo, they decided to be a cyclical wheel of aural decay. I mostly blame 3OH!3, since at least K$ is capable of some kind of quality (and doesn't have a date rape-ish fratboy approach to music, ugh).

04. JLS, "The Club Is Alive" UK #1
The club is aliiiiiive, with the sound of muuuusic.
Who's that girl in the spotlight, ooh, cuz she turns me on.


Says it all, don't it.

03. Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg, "California Gurls" US #1, UK #1
Now, what do I hate most about this - Dr. Luke plagiarizing his own melody for "TiK ToK"? Its vapidness being able to swallow small planets like a black hole? That it's become a sort of standard for modern American dance-pop? Because Snoop Dogg actually makes it worse? All valid options, and they're all options that don't even mention Perry. If I start adding her to the equation, I could add at least fifty more, and then I'd have a stroke cuz this is one of the most successful songs of the last decade.

02. Usher feat. will.i.am, "OMG" US #1, UK #1
I am instantly filled with an enormous amount of despair whenever I even think of this song, so I just...can't blurb it out. Fetal position, etc. Excusez-moi. Besides, what I have to say next probably applies anyway...

*druuuuuuuum rollllllllllllllllllllll*

01. The Black Eyed Peas, "The Time (Dirty Bit)"
US #4, UK #1 (still cannot believe it didn't go #1 here - the only positive about it, at all)
That will.i.am is almost entirely responsible for my two least favorite tracks of the year is...really sort of a given, isn't it? He is the main nadir of the entire music industry, and that it follows him so blindly is so irritating and tiring. He's a monster, and this is perhaps his worst creation to date. Of course it starts with the sample. Now, I was born in 1993; the last thing I'd have for Dirty Dancing is respect, but, JESUS CHRIST, WHY? A terrible idea for the entire basis of a song made worse by its execution. Somehow, the sampled chorus ISN'T THE WORST PART. Once the empty house noises dominate it, going through the other random members of the group (WHAT IS THE POINT OF APL.DE.AP) doing random, worthless verses, the urge to jump out of the nearest high-rise window is completely blaring. And why, exactly, are Fergie's vocals so modified so much in every BEP song? I remember the first time I heard "Boom Boom Pow", I thought they had replaced her with some random bitch. But, nope. And it's still the same feeling.

This is the kind of shit that'll make people happy once dance music goes out of style again - it belittles an entire overlapping genre of music and all who like it, or even listen to it. Go to fucking hell, will.i.am.

-----

Yay, being negative is fun! (YEAH, I did eleven. Suck it.)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

We're Gonna Find Our Rhythm, Enjoy the View

As many of you should know, I am an immense fan of many female pop musicians. (Pretty much all of them. Except Katy Perry.) Sometimes it's irritating, because fan wars come like breathing to pop addicts, and I don't want to necessarily choose a side between pop star A and pop star B, especially when I adore them both (o hai Britney/Gaga). I don't stan very well, or consistently. BUT, if I had to choose one for whom I would forsake all others, it would most definitely be Sophie Ellis-Bextor. She's a gorgeous, brilliant artist, and...well, she's become a bit of an underdog, hasn't she? As saddening as it is, I always love placing the bulk of my support behind someone very deserving who really needs it.

And she really needs it. So.

BUY HER ALBUM.

And if you're not in the UK, IMPORT THAT BITCH. I preordered! In April!

I know I'm not even done with 2010 (working on that, promise), but I can say with blind, fanboyish certainty, Make a Scene will probably be my dominant favorite of 2011. It has no low points, and it's exactly what I crave from a pop album. IT SHOULD BE EVERYTHING YOU CRAVE, TOO. The amount of joy I receive from it is stunning, and it basically gives me a reason to live. Sophie Ellis-Bextor gives me a reason to live.

And here's the newly-released video for the BRILLIANT single "Starlight" that proves my point about her needing as much help as she can get:


I LOVE YOU, SOPHIE. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.

I'm starting to feel like a Christian, pre-Edict of Milan. But I mean, I'd gladly be eaten by a lion if it meant Sophie could have a hit. *shrugs*

Also, this all sounds so condescending, doesn't it! Oh well. x

Note: this really isn't meant to be condescending. Just nonsensical and whorey.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

In Which I Turn 18

I'm terrified of being an adult. I'm self-medicating consoling myself with this.


SAVE ME SOPHIE. (I AM a real tough girl.)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

VD's Best Music of 2010, Part IV

I'm still doing this! Yeah, I know.

This is the continuation of the singles list. It's only #50 through #21 because I want things to be dramatic, for...some purpose. I don't like doing things like this all at once, as I'm sure devotees (all 4 of you!) know. It's probably for attention reasons that I ultimately squander. There's a BONUS here, though: I've added blurbs. I KNOW! They're stream-of-consciousness-as-I-listen-to-the-songs, and generally unpolished - really, what of my writing ISN'T? - but they're enough. The ones for the top 20 might be meatier*, hopefully. Anyway, I'm really becoming proud of this. I, again, don't know why. I do know that I want READER INPUT.

Okay? Okay.

Let's restart this bitch!

VD's Best Singles of 2010:
#21-#50


50. Alcazar, "Headlines"
For being mindblowingly gay, and for incorporating those amazing strings.

49. Two Door Cinema Club, "Come Back Home"
Definitely my favorite song on their album. It's not exactly upbeat, but it's so cleverly put together. And it's always a miracle when I embrace something even THIS guitar-driven.

48. The Ting Tings, "Hands"
I'm sad that we're probably still far away from the record, because this is SO PROMISING. Almost progressive from their debut stuff, without losing their spirit.

47. Scissor Sisters, "Any Which Way"
Fun basically is the best way to describe it - and then Ana Matronic's solo bit even shoots that straight up. I love how it ends chaotically.

46. Kanye West feat. Dwele, "Power"
Sonically fucking masterful. The samples, content, his rapping, even and especially the mixing are all, well, EPIC.

45. Robyn, "Hang with Me"
It's not perfect (and it works better acoustically, and edited, and remixed), but Klas Åhlund's synthwork is never to be undervalued. It works if only because of that.

44. Miranda Lambert, "Only Prettier"
Miranda is a lyrical and vocal genius, and this is a prime example. Deliciously cheeky.

43. Example, "Won't Go Quietly"
I wish I knew about this before "Kickstarts" (#64) hit it big, since this is so much better; a brilliant little piece of electro house.

42. Ellie Goulding, "Starry Eyed"
It's so lightweight, and short, and not at all the best way to show off Ellie's talent, but MAN, can it induce endorphins or what?

41. Crystal Castles feat. Robert Smith, "Not in Love"
OH LOOK I WANT HIPSTER CRED. But seriously, this was a great idea of a collaboration done as stunningly as it possibly could have been. Everyone legitimately wins.

40. Selena Gomez & the Scene, "A Year Without Rain"
My love of Selena Gomez in 2010 should be shameful. I mean, the Dr. Luke/"TiK Tok"/"California Gurls" middle-eight? AND YET, the rest is some frankly beautiful dance-pop.

39. Joe McElderry, "Ambitions"
"Is it because he's hot?" I ask myself sometimes. But no, this is genuinely good, especially considering it's a cover. (It's only partially because he's hot.)

38. Alexandra Burke, "All Night Long"
The single version with Pitbull is fine, but it's too hard-edged for my liking. The original album version is so smooth and satisfying, and her vocals are absolutely ace.

37. Róisín Murphy, "Momma's Place"
She's such a badass motherfucker, unf.

36. Rihanna, "Only Girl (In the World)"
I've loved her for years now and I NEVER expected something like this. It's almost anthemic, and THE PULSING SYNTHS ARE AS MAGNIFICENT AS IT GETS.

35. Kelly Rowland 'feat. David Guetta', "Commander"
Poor Kelly Rowland. She puts out an absolute monster like this and gets nothing in return. The extended version, in particular, is completely outstanding.

34. Goldfrapp, "Believer"
It's all about those synths, man (isn't it always?). The chorus is almost diabetic, it's so synth-sweet. It's like Alison tailored it JUST FOR ME. Nom.

33. Natasha Bedingfield, "Touch"
I've always loved her (even when against reason), but I never expected this to dominate my spring/early summer like it did. I also didn't expect the album its on to subsequently blow so hard, though that's neither here nor there.

32. Sky Ferreira, "One"
Bloodshy & Avant's production IS the song for all I care, it seems. It's so gobsmackingly breathtaking and sometimes even unbelievable. Despite that, I do hope great, great things for Sky. (DO MORE STUFF WITH B&A!)

31. Paloma Faith, "Smoke & Mirrors"
It was one of my immediate favorites of hers, so I'm glad that it was chosen as the random last single, if only so I rank it this highly. Very retro, and damn cathartic.

30. M.I.A., "XXXO"
It's almost odd that this is an M.I.A. song, but it's such a witty, amazingly put-together song that ultimately it makes sense, even in a nonsensical era for her.

29. Goldfrapp, "Rocket"
How is this not ACTUALLY a song from the '80s? Few songs on the list made me cream myself at first listen, and oh boy this is surely one of them. And, yes, IT'S BECAUSE OF THOSE LIFE-CHANGING SYNTHS. (They ARE the song, after all.)

28. Crookers feat. Róisín Murphy, "Royal T"
THIS IS MY FUCKING JAM. It's quite apparent that Ms. Murphy, without an album or perhaps even any effort, can basically be a dominatrix of awesome or something, isn't it? I'm STILL obsessed with this thing, and it just builds and builds to greater heights.

27. Groove Armada feat. Fenech-Soler & SaintSaviour, "Paper Romance"
So incredibly huge, with every second of it being spectacular.

26. Alphabeat, "DJ (I Could Be Dancing)"
I've already officially listed the single version as a remix, but whatever, this is for both. It's such a truly straightforward, fun gem of a pop song, the kind that just (almost) aren't created this well anymore.

25. Adele, "Rolling in the Deep"
I first heard it when I was putting the list together, and somehow as I kept putting off finalizing it, it just kept rising, and fast. Adele is officially the love of my life, oh my god.

24. Marina & the Diamonds, "Shampain"
I loved it as a demo, but then she had to reshape it, with the magical help of Pascal Gabriel and Biffco (♥), into an electropop whirlwind that I ADORE. She's too much of a talent to handle. And trust me, I won't stop saying that.

23. Lady GaGa, "Alejandro"
Did the video being so overblown and without any reason deflate my opinion of the song? Not really, surprisingly. It's still an infectious piece of work. Plus, synths+strings, baby.

22. Selena Gomez & the Scene, "Naturally"
Way before it wonderfully became an international hit, it was hidden on a crappy pop rock album (of which Selena's learned to grow away from), and I'm pretty sure I found it first. But who's counting? LET'S JUST DANCE.

21. Take That, "The Flood"
I'm too young and/or American to know what Take That was before they teamed up with Stuart Price, so I was caught COMPLETELY off guard when this came out and blew my face off. Lush, stirring, epically beautiful - I'm still amazed by it.

Coming Soon: Promotional whoring, albums, and the rest of THIS shizz. Anyone wanna take a bet on how it unfolds? Or even thoughts on how it's been thus far? Or how your breakfast was? *crickets* Oh, shut it.

* - don't hold me to that.

Monday, February 28, 2011

An Immediate Reaction



FUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK YES.
(Even if I got the prediction wrong.)

I also liked how giddy Annie was the whole evening.

I have nothing else to say, really. Because I am a polite optimist*.

(* - I am not a polite optimist.)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

VD's Final Oscar Winners Predictions

LIKE IT OR NOT, we're here once again. There's still about 24 hours till showtime, and I couldn't put this off wait any longer. These aren't really going to change or anything; my thoughts are pretty cemented. I think it's a pretty good year overall, and I somehow managed to love the vast majority of the BP nominees, which impresses me. Shut up.

As is customary, I don't even try to do the short categories, so here are my predictions for the other twenty-one categories! YAAAAAAAAAAAAY.

Updated with Winners
14/21 - 66% correct
(I haven't done this badly since 2007's 12/21 score.)

Best Picture
Will Win: The King's Speech
Could Win: The Social Network
Should Win: Black Swan

It would be a rather beautiful miracle if TSN grabbed it back, but of course that's not gonna happen so, everyone, just live with it.

Best Director
Will Win: David Fincher, The Social Network
Could Win: Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
Should Win: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan

The British biggies are always weaker with this, so Fincher really SHOULD PROBABLY WIN IT.

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Will Win: Colin Firth, The King's Speech
Could Win: Colin Firth, The King's Speech

Should Win: James Franco, 127 Hours

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Will Win: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Could Win: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Should Win: Natalie Portman, Black Swan


Yay redundancy!

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Will Win: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Could Win: Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech
Should Win: Christian Bale, The Fighter

To be honest I don't see Rush winning even if TKS won LITERALLY everything else. Bale is just too goddamn strong.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Will Win: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Could Win: Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech
Should Win: Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

If Steinfeld wins this, I will fuck a girl, I swear to god. NOT HAPPENING.

Best Original Screenplay
Will Win: David Seidler, The King's Speech
Could Win: Christopher Nolan, Inception
Should Win: Christopher Nolan, Inception

British BPs, even if they lose Director, nearly always win for their writing. AMPAS don't care 'bout Chris Nolan anyway.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Could Win: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Should Win: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network


Sorkin losing this would be the single most scandalous snub in QUITE a while, considering he's won everything and undeniably deserves it.

Best Animated Feature Film
Will Win: Toy Story 3
Could Win: Toy Story 3
Should Win: Toy Story 3


*yawns*

Best Foreign Language Film
Will Win: In a Better World
Could Win: Incendies
Should Win: n/a

Outside the Law seems like it COULD be the Departures/Secrets of the year, but without a heavily known frontrunner or two for it to beat (Biutiful doesn't count - though it does tonally), I'm not sure treating it like that would work. Not a great theoretical year.

Best Documentary Feature Film
Will Win: Inside Job
Could Win: Exit Through the Gift Shop
Should Win: n/a

I don't care if I'm being too obvious; I also don't really care.

Best Art Direction
Will Win: Eve Stewart, The King's Speech
Could Win: Guy Hendrix Dyas, Inception
Should Win: Guy Hendrix Dyas, Inception
Actually Won: Robert Stromberg, Alice in Wonderland

I really wish the gay porn thing came out sooner, but it's not an undeserved win. Inception is so much FUNNER though.

Best Cinematography
Will Win: Roger Deakins, True Grit
Could Win: Wally Pfister, Inception
Should Win: Matthew Libatique, Black Swan

God help us if Deakins doesn't win. But I REALLY don't think he'll lose to TKS? That would be way too indulgent a win. Inception, backed with incredible work by a DP that THEY WON'T STOP NOMINATING, is more likely to steal it.

Best Costume Design
Will Win: Colleen Atwood, Alice in Wonderland
Could Win: Jenny Beavan, The King's Speech
Should Win: Mary Zophres, True Grit

Nathaniel's touting of the 'Atwood and Sandy Powell only win when the other is nominated' formula rings too true, tbh. It made a billion dollars, and she's AT LEAST never won for a Burton film. TKS isn't flashy or colorful or corset-y.

Best Film Editing
Will Win: Angus Wall & Kirk Baxter, The Social Network
Could Win: Tariq Anwar, The King's Speech
Should Win: Andrew Weisblum, Black Swan

I actually trust TSN winning this. But who knows.

Best Original Score
Will Win: Alexandre Desplat, The King's Speech
Could Win: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, The Social Network
Should Win: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, The Social Network


This would be one of the easier things for TKS to pick up in the event of a sweep; Desplat's overdue (but for this?). I hope Reznor/Ross can sneak this, though. That would be fucking amazing.

Best Original Song
Will Win: "If I Rise", 127 Hours
Could Win: "I See the Light", Tangled
Should Win: "I See the Light", Tangled
Actually Won: "We Belong Together, Toy Story 3

I REALLY HAVE NO CLUE. This is the lamest thing ever.

Best Make-Up
Will Win: The Way Back
Could Win: Barney's Version
Should Win: n/a
Actually Won: The Wolfman

Sorry, THIS is the lamest thing ever.

Best Sound Mixing
Will Win: True Grit
Could Win: Inception
Should Win: Inception


I'm going with TG since it won the CAS. IDK.

Best Sound Editing
Will Win: Inception
Could Win: True Grit
Should Win: Inception

I guess.

Best Visual Effects
Will Win: Inception
Could Win: Inception
Should Win: Inception


Well this is a bit blatant, innit. Plus, it's been forty years since a Best Picture nominee nominated for its special effects has lost to a non-nominee. In case it qasn't clear enough that it's not gonna lose.

So, everyone's thoughts? Blah blah.

Friday, February 4, 2011

VD's Best Music of 2010, Part III

This is probably the most uneventful portion of the countdown, but I felt it needed to be done anyway - for all the underdeveloped and mismanaged little tracks out there. Yup, I'm doing b-sides and bonus tracks now! FUN!!!

I love b-sides; I wish more artists actually did them, especially when they're more than worthy of their existence. And not just like, British people. Bonus tracks, as well, can just as easily be lazy and unnecessary (hence why they're 'bonus') as overwhelming brilliant (aka WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEM/THE LABEL/GOD etc). I feel when they need to be heralded, that is exactly what should happen.

This is gonna be odd.

VD's Best B-Sides of 2010

10. Scissor Sisters, "Sex Exciter" ("Any Which Way")
It's basically an afterthought, but what a delicious little afterthought. That's co-written and contains backup vocals by Allison Goldfrapp. WIN.

09. Alex Gardner, "Superfree" ("I'm Not Mad")
His breathy vocals more or less make this. He's a fucking sexy talented lad, I wish fate would be kinder to him.

08. Delphic, "Sanctuary" ("Doubt")
I don't listen to Delphic enough. Somehow I can more easily recall this song more easily than a lot of the album. I'm not exactly sure what that MEANS but anyway.

07. The Saturdays, "Ready to Rise" ("Missing You")
Eons better than the A-side. That chorus is FIRE. Good lord the Sats are so inconsistent, it's stunning sometimes, really.

06. Hurts, "Confide in Me" ("Stay")
A live cover of Kylie's dark masterpiece, and they definitely do it justice. Completely stunning, and an interesting masculine version of it, too. (See also - I never would've expected them to be so into each other.)

05. Kylie Minogue, "Go Hard or Go Home" ("All the Lovers")
Basically simple cheese, but it's just blissfully Kylie.

04. Joe McElderry, "If You Love Me" ("Ambitions")
I understand why it's a b-side (it's a bit inconsequential, innit), but I wish the album had a few more full-out electropop rush spots like this.

03. Sophie Ellis-Bextor, "Sophia Loren" ("Bittersweet")
Odd that this was gonna be the still-unreleased album's lead single at one point. It's so disarmingly lightweight and CUTE. The synths are so bouncy, the lyrics so thematically clever and easy-to-swallow for a love song. Also, Cathy Dennis! DISCO DISCO ITALIANO.

02. Cheryl Cole, "Just Let Me Go" ("Parachute")
Possibly the single best moment of the 3 Words era, entirely because of how 'FUCK YEAH DANCE-POP' it is - a philosophy she fully embraced on her follow-up (which greater results). It's dark, and a bit emotional, albeit in its icy, dancefloor intoxicated form. Quite impressive.

*druuuuuuuuuuuuuuum roll plz*

01. Hurts, "Affair" ("Wonderful Life")
True story: I bought the CD single just to own this. Six and a half minutes of swirling, depressingly romantic, purely retro synthpop that makes my heart FLUTTER every time I hear it. So fucking beautiful.

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VD's Best Bonus Tracks of 2010
(aka an excuse to talk about the #1)

05. Savage Skulls & Douster feat. Robyn, "Bad Gal"
(from the iTunes version of Body Talk Pt. 2)

This is, as far as I can tell, the only place this track has officially shown up - which is odd, since there's a video now. It's a fantastically out-there track; Robyn is used expertly. I wish she'd do even more of these 'vocals for DJs/producers spinning gold' things. Cuz, I mean - my god, UH-OH.

03/04. Kylie Minogue, "Mighty Rivers" & "Heartstrings"
(from various and unconfirmable international versions of Aphrodite)

"Heartstrings" is probably better, but it seemed fair having them tied. They're both Xenomania-produced and they're both unfairly relegated. Sigh, they just haven't had a good run since Girls Aloud disbanded went on hiatus, even when they're putting out BEAUTIFUL work.

02. Alphabeat, "Telephone/Bad Romance"
(from the UK Amazon pre-order version of The Beat Is...)

The Beat Is... has four (!) bonus tracks overall, and this one is clearly the best, A wonderful mashup of two individually amazing GaGa songs (which assumedly only exists because they were The Monster Ball Tour's opening act for the UK leg). Stine's disturbingly crystal clear pronunciation of everything really makes it.

*anticlimactic rim shot*


01. Ellie Goulding, "Lights"
(from the iTunes version of Lights)

This is a perfect, perfect song, and I can't believe it WAS a bonus track. It blows everything else out of the water, and still does even after the re-release (Bright Lights) actually made the album better. I was debating whether to even classify it as a bonus track anymore, since it's the next single (to be released...at some point), which an AMAZING VIDEO and a not-terribly done remix (love the added drums) and those gloves. But it wasn't a single in 2010, WAS IT? Well it almost was. Either way, it counts. NOW BASK IN ITS BIFFCO-SANCTIFIED GLORY.

Note: I wouldn't be surprised if it ended up being my #1 of 2011.

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So, yeah. Another part down; next up should be MORE IF NOT ALL OF THE SINGLES LIST. Be sure to look out for that sometime before July!