August 9th, 2019: Tuning In... (aka the What's Jammin' Story)
Updated: Aug 21, 2019
Want to listen to this entry? Check out the Podcast Version of "Tuning In... (aka the What's Jammin' Story)" Here!!
From the Bolton & Menk Studios...August 8th, 2019
It's no secret that music is one of my passions in life. Honestly, I think I'd be well-set in a music-orientated career down the line, despite my limited knowledge on chords, notes, and instruments. The time I've spent doing research on my favorite artists, bands, and professionals in the music industry has proven to be somewhat obsessive, as described by my friends and peers. I can't help it, though - jammin' out to tracks both new and old is just as important as making movies to me. Honestly, they pretty much go hand in hand.
You might be wondering why music plays such an important role in my life today. Considering I don't concentrate on music as a career, it's understandable that some of you would be skeptical to believe my knowledge of music is wide-spread. Let me put it this way...
Music, to me, is a piece of the puzzle to the large scope of storytelling. We can explore so many different genres, each with different emotions, thoughts, or ideas on life. Music can be found nearly anywhere in the world, no matter where you travel. Plus, music goes back to the beginning of human civilization - making our selection process endless.
It's such a mixed bag that we can never stop exploring what's possible. As time moves forward, music continues to grow...and the songs of the past become a time capsule into the worlds we used to inhabit. Some music will never be discovered, and some music will be cherished for many eras to come. It's so free-reign that we'll never not get tired of what we discover.
From a filmmaking perspective, music can help convey a story from a stronger point of view. It's like pathos, really - a song's emotion takes over a scene and you become entangled in the sounds that surround the character or scene you're following. With filmmaking, I usually can listen to a single song and visualize a scene that would work well for it. I think of it as a sixth-sense, in a way. It's a very nice trait to have.
Music wasn't always as important to me as it is today. Up until about six years ago, I hadn't expanded my music horizons very far. Growing up in the late 2000s, I found myself entangled in the modern pop-infested hits of our mainstream radio waves: listening to bands like Maroon 5, Owl City, Ellie Goulding, Flo Rida, and Taylor Swift, to name a few. I also had my fair share of modern-country and christian radio to listen to as well. Rock wasn't particularly in the scene quite yet, but bands like AC/DC and Bad Company were referenced. It wouldn't be until my freshman year of high school when I would truly break into a multitude of genres that would set me on my way to learn about music past and present.
I began listening to bands like Green Day, Bastille, Coldplay, Imagine Dragons...and soon, after the success of soundtracks like Gaurdians of the Galaxy, my music tastes started to go back in time. After 2015, my time listening to modern radio was over. It was time to do some exploring.
It's funny to admit, but the newest music I've listened to was from Bastille's recently released Doom Days album. Everything else in my playlists and albums is nowhere near the year 2019. The closest thing I have to the year 2019 is from 2004...and that's the Kill Bill soundtrack. Everything else is from as far back as 1939 (Vera Lynn, anyone?).
Here's a quick rundown on the types of music I currently enjoy:
- 50s/60s/70s Rock and Popular Music
- 50s/60s Country
- 60s/70s Acoustic
- 80s Pop, Rock, and Film Scores
- 90s Rock and Film Scores
I'm also a huge fan of the following genres:
- Modern Alternative
- Modern Soundtrack
- Late 2000s Pop
- Early 2010s Pop/Rock
- Early 2010s Rap/Hip-Hop
- Late 2000s/Early 2010s Techno (but not Dubstep...)
- Musicals from nearly every era (I'm not kidding)
The rest is a hodge-podge of anything and everything in between. If I had to narrow down my options a bit, I'd tend to stick with anything from 1945 to 1995. I'd say those were the years where the majority of my favorite music was produced. And yeah, that's a pretty big window of time to choose from (fifty years!)...but that's as comfortable as I could get with a time frame as such.
Now believe me, I still have plenty of favorite modern bands I listen to...it's just I haven't spent much time keeping myself updated on what's hot in the music world right now. I haven't even turned on the radio in years. The only radio I've listened to recently (and I kid you not, this is going to sound crazy) is a 1968 on-air session from 93 KHJ Los Angeles via the Internet Archive. If that station sounds familiar, it's because the station was prominently featured in Quentin Tarantino's most recent feature film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The movie was sub-par, but the music and callbacks to 1960s radio in LA was astounding.
The Real Don Steele on Air at KHJ Los Angeles, 1970
Is it weird that I love listening to old radio broadcasts more than what's actually being broadcast on our radio waves right now? There's so much history in the music, commercials, and DJs on the air. Sure, there's a commercial after every song, but everything that's being played is near perfect. I have no complaints with the music choices. If anything, I'm being introduced to a ton of songs from a golden age of popular music. It's a fun little endeavor.
My goal is to continue to search for music new and old as I continue to exist in this crazy world. I don't think I'll ever go out there and make music myself, but I'll surely keep a good ear out for hidden gems along the way!
Verdict of the week: Go out and listen to all types of music. Explore beyond the songs and albums you enjoy most. Find new genres to listen to and appreciate what you find...because you never know what you're gonna get.
Side note - if you want to check out what I'm listening to now, go ahead and check out my spotify playlist, The Collective II. This playlist is home to all of my current listening pleasures. Fair warning, though...my music tastes shift very often, so you'll have to keep an open mind!! Check it out!
No Top Song of the Week for today. Instead...
Top Album of the Week: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by Various Artists - Released 2019
There are too many great songs on this album that I honestly couldn't pick out a top song for this week. This soundtrack is solid in every way, capturing the total soundscape of 1969 with a plethora of little snippets from KHJ's Boss Radio host, The Real Don Steele. When I found this score earlier on this week, I couldn't help but laugh at the attention to detail Tarantino uses with each track - every song fits perfectly with the atmosphere portrayed in the film. The score is honestly my favorite part of this film, and I urge you to check out this soundtrack on it's own if you want to travel back in time for an hour. It doesn't get better than this.
At The Movies!
Image via Dimension Films and The Weinstien Company
Top Movie of the Week: Planet Terror - Directed by Robert Rodriguez, Released 2007 (as part of the Double Feature "Grindhouse")
I am not a horror fan, nor am I a fan of excessive gore. Plenty of movies with these traits have been wayyyy off the radar for many years. Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino 2007 double-feature Grindhouse is an exception, due to it's homage to the grimy-run down quality of 1970s B-movies and the movie theaters that housed them.
That being said, Planet Terror (Grindhouse's first feature) is utterly ridiculous. It's hysterical. It's extremely gorey and nearly made me sick. Plus it's plotlines, characters, and editing are somewhat in-cohesive (for added effect, of course).
Yet...I laughed incredibly hard at this wanna-be cinematic masterpiece. I smiled at all of the grimy cuts and missing reels. I took in the disgusting nature of the B-movie medium and enjoyed it. That's honestly what Rodriguez and Tarantino want you to do.
It's not perfect by any means, but it's a fun one nonetheless.
P.S. - The fake movie trailers in between each film are also very silly (and dare I say scary), but I'm a fan - it's movies like Grindhouse that make me appreciate cinema more!!
Thanks for taking some time to read this entry. Only two more weeks left in Mankato...the days are going by quickly!!
See you next Friday.