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Top track: “what doesn’t kill me”
The Lorde has returned, but is it with full force? The cultural phenom, otherwise known as Ella Yelich-O’Connor, surprised fans earlier this summer with her first song in four years, a timeline that has become somewhat of a regular album cycle schedule. The titular track and lead single, “Solar Power,” was released without any promotion or announcement on Lorde’s part — instead the singer decided to stay off of social media and send fans exclusive emails throughout the album release — and was received with somewhat mixed reviews that ranged from slight disappointment to adoration. This isn’t too surprising. Lorde’s singles are usually pretty divisive. “Green Light” was criticized for its different sound and bold rejection of rhyme scheme. However, the rest of the album usually makes up for that initial judgement and earns her universal acclaim. That might not exactly be the case this time.
One would imagine that it would be hard to release a record that could top the monumental critical success of Lana Del Rey’s last album “Norman Fucking Rockwell!” They would be right. Her latest project, while a valiant effort to return to Del Rey’s roots and explore storytelling à la Taylor Swift’s “folklore” or “evermore,” fails to live up to its predecessor and doesn’t quite have that same social context to hit the cultural impact that Swift’s work had. And that isn’t even considering the mess of controversies Del Rey has entangled herself in since “NFR!” While Del Rey’s seventh studio album “Chemtrails Over the Country Club” satisfies fans of the singer’s more stripped down sound, the project doesn’t hold a candle to its Grammy - nominated predecessor and unfortunately can’t escape the shadow of Del Rey’s recent controversies.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released their nominations for the 2021 Oscars and for the first time in a long time, I am pleasantly surprised. While there’s always room to improve, this year’s list is actually both one of the most diverse ever — with several nominations making history — and one of the most quality, at least in my opinion. After seeing how my Golden Globes predictions shored up against the results, I have an updated list of who I think will and should win, as well as who I think was snubbed and who maybe should have been, in some of the biggest categories at the Oscars.
Even as many movie and TV show releases get pushed farther and farther back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association still managed to pull together a list of nominees that they think represent the best of the best of this year, despite the smaller-than-usual pool. The Golden Globes, often described as the precursor — and sometimes inferior sibling — to the Oscars and the Emmys, are happening this Sunday, Feb. 28 and I will be taking you through my predictions for the biggest categories in film and (some) television. Buckle up … because, once again, it is very beige.