Music Video Of The Day: God’s Gonna Cut You Down (2006, dir by Tony Kaye)


This is a case where I like the song more than the music video.  This video was actually filmed three years after Johnny Cash’s death.  As far as “official” music videos are concerned, I always feel like a musician should have some sort of say into how their music is visually interpreted.  Obviously, Johnny Cash wasn’t around to have anything to say about the video for God’s Gonna Cut You Down.

Since Cash wasn’t available, director Tony Kaye filled the video with cameos from other actors and musicians, a few of whom (though not many) were previous Cash collaborators.  Among the celebs who make an appearance in this video: David Allan Coe, Patricia Arquette, Travis Barker, Peter Blake, Bono, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Depp, the Dixie Chicks, Flea, Billy Gibbons, Whoopi Goldberg, Woody Harrelson, Dennis Hopper, Terrence Howard, Jay-Z, Mick Jones, Kid Rock, Anthony Kiedis, Kris Kristofferson, Amy Lee, Adam Levine, Shelby Lynne, Chris Martin, Kate Moss, Graham Nash, Busy Philipps, Iggy Pop, Lisa Marie Presley, Q-Tip, Corinne Bailey Rae, Keith Richards, Chris Rock, Rick Rubin, Patti Smith, Sharon Stone, Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, Brian Wilson, and Owen Wilson.  Some of the celebs — like Dennis Hopper and Kris Kristofferson — seem like they naturally belong there.  Others seem so out-of-place that you’ll want to throw something.  You know how that works,

God’s Gonna Cut You Down is a traditional folk song.  I’ve heard countless versions of it.  I prefer Cash’s version to the more traditional gospel arrangement but, then again, I tend to find gospel music to be dull in general.  Cash’s arrangement brought new life to an old song.

Enjoy!

2018 in Review: Lisa’s 10 Favorite Songs of 2018


It’s time to continue to my look back at 2018 by listing my ten favorite songs of the year.  If you want to see an example of how varied our tastes are here at the Shattered Lens, compare my picks to Necromoonyeti’s picks for the top 20 albums of 2018.

See, that’s one thing that I like about this site.  We’ve all got our own individual tastes!

Anyway, here are my picks.  I’m going to post them now and then I’ll probably spend the rest of the week getting laughed at whenever I leave my office here at the Shattered Lens Bunker.  But that’s okay!  I love everyone!

  1. The Underground by Hardwell and Timmy Trumpet

2. Get Your Shirt by Underworld and Iggy Pop

3. Boom by Tiesto, Gucci Mane & Sevenn

4. Carribish by ADI

5. Like I Do by David Guetta, Martin Garrix & Brooks

6. There Was A Time by Kedr Livanskiy

7. The Middle by Zedd, Grey, and Maren Morris

8. One Kiss by Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa

9. I’m Upset by Drake

(I have to be honest.  This is one that I pretty much like exclusively because of the Degrassi-themed video.)

10. The Tired and The Hurt by Moby

That’s it for music!  Up next, either tonight or tomorrow, 10 good things I saw on television in 2018!

Lisa Looks Back At 2018:

  1. 10 Worst Films of 2018
  2. The Best of Lifetime
  3. The Best of SyFy
  4. Ten Favorite Novels
  5. Twelve Favorite Non-Fiction Books

 

Music Video of the Day: Get Your Shirt by Underworld & Iggy Pop (2018, dir by Simon Taylor)


Some youtube commenters are already predicting that this will be the theme song of Trainspotting 3.  Personally, I have my doubts as to whether there will ever be a Trainspotting 3 (if just because it took 20 years to get the 1st sequel and you have to wonder just how much long Sick Boy’s going to be able avoid either getting murdered or sent to prison) but still, I love this song and I love this video and therefore, it’s our music video of the day!

This is off the upcoming Teatime Dub Encounters.

Here are the credits for the video, as listed on YouTube:

Video by Simon Taylor (tomato)

Choreographer and Dancer: Carys Staton

Dancers Charley Logan & David Ledger

DOP Matt Broad

Post production by Jan Urbanowski

Men’s clothes by WorkNotWork

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: Lust for Life by Iggy Pop (1996, dir by Danny Boyle)


Hi everyone!  Lisa here with today’s music video of the day.

Lust for Life, which was co-written by David Bowie, was originally released in 1977 but it didn’t become a hit until it was used in the 1996 film Trainspotting.  The director of Trainspotting, Danny Boyle, also directed this video, which is basically scenes from the movie mixed in with footage of Iggy Pop performing.

Appropriately for a song that would become the theme to Trainspotting, Lust For Life is a song about heroin addiction.  (The majority of the song is told through the eyes of Johnny Yen, a character created by noted heroin aficionado, William S. Burroughs.)  Because of the song’s rousing chorus, it has regularly been used in advertisements for things that have absolutely nothing to do with heroin.  For instance, it was used to promote Royal Caribbean Cruises.

The recent Trainspotting sequel featured The Prodigy’s remix of Lust for Life.  Sadly, this one doesn’t come with a music video but you can listen to it below:

Enjoy!

Film Review: Song to Song (dir by Terrence Malick)


You’re watching a movie called Song to Song.  It’s about beautiful people in a beautiful city.

In this case, the city is Austin, Texas.  The people are all involved in the Austin music scene and they’re played by actors like Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman, Michael Fassbender, and Cate Blanchett.  A good deal of Song to Song was filmed at the Austin City Limits festival and several real-life musicians appear as themselves, though only Patti Smith is on screen long enough to make much of an impression.  To be honest, both the music and Austin are almost incidental to the film.  Though the movie was sold as an Austin film and it premiered at SXSW, it could have just as easily taken place in Ft. Worth.

The film is made up of short, deliberately obscure shots.  The camera never stops moving, floating over images of sunsets, sunrises, and oddly empty streets.  Because the film was shot with a wide-angle lens, you’re never not aware of the expanse around the characters.  At times, all of those beautiful film stars run the risk of become specks on the landscape, as if the film itself is taunting the characters for thinking that they are more important than nature.

Who are the characters?  It’s not always easy to say.  There are plenty of voice overs but it’s rare that anyone directly states what they’re thinking or who they are.  When the characters speak to each other, they mumble.  The dialogue is a mix of the banal and the portentous, a sure sign of a film that was largely shot without a script.  Eventually, you turn on the captioning so that you can at least understand what everyone’s muttering.

Michael Fassbender plays Cook.  Cook appears to be a music producer but he could just as easily be a businessman who enjoys hanging out with and manipulating aspiring stars.  People seem to know him but nobody seems to be particularly impressed by him.  Cook spends a lot of time standing in front of a pool.  Is it his pool?  Is it his house? It’s hard to say.  Cook is obsessed with control or maybe he isn’t.  Halfway through the film, Fassbender appears to turn into his character from Shame.

Ryan Gosling is BV.  BV appears to be a lyricist, though it’s never made clear what type of songs that he writes.  At one point, you think someone said that he had written a country song but you may have misheard.  BV appears to have an estranged relationship with his dying father.  BV may be a romantic or he may not.  He seems to fall in love easily but he spends just as much time staring at the sky soulfully and suggesting that he has a hard time with commitment.  BV appears to be Cook’s best friend but sometimes, he isn’t.  There’s a random scene where BV accuses Cook of cheating him.  It’s never brought up again.

Rooney Mara is Faye.  Faye contributes most of the voice overs and yet, oddly, you’re never sure who exactly she is.  She appears to be BV’s girlfriend and sometimes, she appears to be Cook’s girlfriend.  Sometimes, she’s in love and then, just as abruptly, she’s not.  She may be a singer or she may be a songwriter.  At one point, she appears to be interviewing Patty Smith so maybe she’s a music journalist.  The film is centered around her but it never makes clear who she is.

Natalie Portman is Rhonda.  Rhonda was a teacher but now she’s a waitress.  She might be religious or she might not.  She might be married to Cook or she might not.  Her mother (Holly Hunter) might be dying or she might not.

And there are other beautful people as well.  Cate Blanchett plays a character named Amanda.  Amanda has a relationship with one of the characters and then vanishes after four scenes.  There’s an intriguing sadness to Blanchett’s performance.  Since the first cut of Song to Song was 8 hours long, you can assume her backstory was left on the cutting room floor.  (And yet strangely, it works that we never know much about who Amanda is.)  Lykke Li shows up, presumably playing herself but maybe not.  Berenice Marlohe and Val Kilmer also have small roles, wandering in and out of the character’s lives.

There’s a lot of wandering in this movie.  The characters wander through their life, stopping only to kiss each other, caress each other, and occasionally stare soulfully into the distance.  The camera seems to wander from scene to scene, stopping to occasionally focus on random details.  Even the film’s timeline seems to wander, as you find yourself looking at Rooney Mara’s forever changing hair and using it as a roadmap in your attempt to understand the film’s story.

“I went through a period when I thought sex had to be violent,” Rooney Mara’s voice over breathlessly explains, “We thought we could just roll and tumble, live from song to song, kiss to kiss.”

As you watch Song to Song, you find yourself both intrigued and annoyed.  This is a Terrence Malick film, after all.  You love movies so, of course, you love Malick.  Even if his recent films have been flawed and self-indulgent, he is a true original.  You want to support him because he’s an artist but, as you watch Song to Song, the emphasis really does seem to be on self-indulgence.  The images are beautiful but the characters are so empty and the voice overs are so incredibly pretentious.  Should you be mad or should you be thankful that, in this time of cinematic blandness, there’s a director still willing to follow his own vision?

At times, Song to Song is brilliant.  There are images in Song to Song that are as beautiful as any that Malick has ever captured.  Sometimes, both the images and the characters are almost too beautiful.  The music business is tough and dirty but all of the images in Song to Song are clean and vibrant.

At times, Song to Song is incredibly annoying.  It’s hard not to suspect that the film would have worked better if Natalie Portman and Rooney Mara had switched roles.  Mara can be an outstanding actress with the right director (just check out her performance in Carol) but, in Song to Song, her natural blandness makes it difficult to take her seriously as whoever she’s supposed to be.  Portman has much less screen time and yet creates an unforgettable character.  Mara is in 75% of the film and yet never seems like an active participant.

At times, the film is annoyingly brilliant.  Malick’s self-indulgence can drive you mad while still leaving you impressed by his commitment to his vision.

And then, other times, the film is brilliantly annoying.  Many directors have mixed overly pretty images with pretentious voice overs but few do so with the panache of Terrence Malick.

Even fans of Terrence Malick, of which I certainly am one, will probably find Song to Song to be his weakest film.  Even compared to films like To The Wonder and Knight of Cups, Song to Song is a slow movie and there are moments that come dangerously close to self-parody.  Unlike Tree of Life, where everything eventually came together in enigmatic poignance, Song to Song often feels like less than the sum of its parts.  And yet, I can’t totally dismiss anything made by Terrence Malick.  Song to Song may be empty but it’s oh so pretty.