Monday, February 25, 2019

My dream Wrestlemania 35 card ... based in reality

Wrestlemania is just a few weeks away and it seems like it's going to be a lengthy show.

After the Royal Rumble's main show was approximately 5 hours, there's no way that Wrestlemania won't be just as long.

I'd like to see them place several matches on the pre-show (and start early so that the East Coast doesn't get done watching it at Midnight) so that it's not such a chore to sit through.

Anything over 5 hours and it's bordering leg cramps, people going home from viewing parties so they can get up for work the next day and losing interest.

So how would you book Wrestlemania?

To be honest there aren't a lot of matches I'm really looking forward to seeing.  There are some matches I'd like to see happen but I know they're not going to.

I have a dream card, but, realistically, it probably won't happen.  For example, I think this year would've been a great time to do The Undertaker vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.  I can say with 99.9% certainty that it's not going to happen.

So, when coming up with this, I tried to base most of the booking in reality.

The main card:

Raw Women's Title Match (Main Event):
Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch

This should be the main event.  Becky Lynch is at an all-time career high.  Ronda Rousey is a star.

Rumors are that Ronda Rousey is going to be taking time off to spend time with her husband and possibly become a mom.

There's no better time to let two women main event Wrestlemania than this.

WWE will likely keep Charlotte in that mix (making it a triple threat), but I'd let her sit this one out.  Let Ronda and Becky tell their story without that additional element.

WWE Universal Title Match:
Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar

I don't know if I'm excited for this or not.  I'd say give Rollins the win, but he's got some nagging injuries so maybe not?  Still, it's time for Brock to lose the title.  Seth is a safe babyface candidate to win the title and lead the Raw brand for a couple of months before losing the title to someone else.

Whoever wins, I expect it to be a 10 - 15 minute Brock Lesnar match.  I don't think there's much of a reason to spend more time on it than that.

WWE Heavyweight Title Match:
Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio vs. AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe

WWE just did an Elimination Chamber match with 6 competitors, but they've booked themselves into a corner here.  Unless they have several one-on-one matches without titles on the line (and they'd need to build up the feuds pretty quickly to make that happen), they're going to have to do a multi-man WWE Title match.

Give Kofi the shot since fans want it to happen.  Randy is reliable and seems to be entering a feud with Styles, so may as well throw them in there.  Rey and Samoa Joe are two good additional options.

You could put Jeff Hardy or Mustafa Ali in there too, but why rush Mustafa.  He could main event Summerslam if need be.  Wait on him a little bit.

Smackdown Women's Title Match
Asuka vs. Charlotte (the rematch)

Instead of inserting Charlotte into the Becky Lynch / Ronda Rousey match, I'd give her and Asuka a good amount of time to work another great match for the Smackdown Women's Title.  Asuka needs a win and the Smackdown Women's Title needs some credibility after all the focus has been on Raw's Women's Title.  A memorable match is just the thing to revive some interest on the blue brand.

4 Corner WWE Women's Tag Team Title Match:
Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Nia Jax and Tamina vs. The IIconics vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville

I'd prefer Sasha and Bayley vs. one tag team from each brand:
 - Nia Jax and Tamina (good heel team from Raw)
 - The IIconics (from Smackdown)
 - Io Shirai and Kairi Sane (representing NXT)

You could remove Nia and Tamina to throw NXT UK's Toni Storm and Rhea Ripley (who are feuding) in for their brand, but Nia and Tamina are big and could probably take more of Io and Kairi's aerial offense.

I realize that the match I want to happen probably won't, so let's just make it a 4 corner bout with Mandy and Sonya in there instead of Io and Kairi.

I don't think I'd make a title switch just yet.

Save that for after Wrestlemania.

Cruiserweight Title Match:
Buddy Murphy vs. ???

I'm not sure who will end up facing Buddy Murphy.  WWE has done zero to get fans interested in 205 Live.  They just released a couple of their main roster guys, too.

I'd turn Murphy face (he's got the moveset to make it work) or at least make him a tweener and have him go up against Noam Dar.  Or maybe Noam Dar and Cedric Alexander in a triple threat.

The cruiserweights always get the short end of the stick so they'll probably end up on the pre-show, but I'd love to see them on the main card this year.

4 Corner WWE Tag Team Champions Match (no titles on the line):
The Usos vs. The Revival vs. The War Raiders vs. James Drake and Zack Gibson

Not sure how to get the tag team champions on the card, so I figured may as well do a champion vs. champion thing.  WWE actually has 4 sets of male tag team champions between all of their brands, so may as well throw them all out there to make it a little more interesting.

The Usos vs. The Revival would be a good match by itself too.

Shane McMahon vs. The Miz

I'm not interested in this feud.  I'm not interested in Shane McMahon wrestling (at the big shows or on weekly TV).  I know I'm stuck with it though.

Miz will turn on Shane before 'Mania and they'll have a big match there.

It's not that I don't like Shane.  I do.  It's that he's not a wrestler and he's taking up a spot that someone else could have.  This can be the one non-title match they have on the card.

Let's not give them 25 minutes for it though, huh?  15 is more than enough.

Intercontinental Title Match:
Finn Balor vs. Lashley (with Lio Rush)

Finn hasn't really had an interesting feud for most of 2018.  Going for a rematch here is easy but may as well do it.  Either that or Drew McIntyre vs. Finn vs. Lashley?  Or Drew vs. Finn?

Raw has a lot of guys who are floating right now --- ready to main event but not being given the opportunity to do so.  Braun, Drew, Lashley, Finn and even Elias could all be main eventing Raw each week.

Remember in 1999 when Mankind, The Undertaker, Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H and The Big Show were all main event ready and could step up as a challenger on any given night?

WWE has that same kind of situation here.  The only difference is that Lesnar has the WWE Universal Title.

I'm a fan of the  guy, for sure.  But it's time to take it off of him and then let the new crop of guys emerge.

They can still use Brock at their big events.  He doesn't need the championship to be an attraction though.  He is an attraction all by himself.


Women's Battle Royal (they should rename it the Chyna Memorial Battle Royal or the Sherri Martel Memorial Battle Royal)

Not much to say about this one.  It gets the other women on the card.  Naomi could win it two years in a row.

If WWE is going with Charlotte vs. Becky vs. Ronda, then put Asuka's title on the line, put this on the main card and let her dominate the thing.

If Asuka is not involved in this match, then it's a pre-show match.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Put Braun in this match and let him destroy everyone.  I'm talking 12+ eliminations.
WWE needs to build him up as a monster again.  This would at least be a step in the right direction.

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Goodbye to TV superheroes

For a while there you couldn't turn on the TV without seeing some kind of superhero show.

It seems that the end of a TV superhero era is upon us, however.

Rumors are that Arrow (on the CW Network) will be cancelled after the next season. Along with that, Legends of Tomorrow is also apparently on the way out.

There are even rumors that Supergirl may be replaced by a Superman TV show.

Netflix just announced the cancellation of Jessica Jones and The Punisher.

This is after Daredevil, Iron Fist and Luke Cage were all cancelled last Fall.

And any Gotham fan knows that this show is going away after the end of this season, too.

Relax --- it's all cyclical:

While many fans are probably upset by the abundance of cancellation news, I'm not.

I'll miss Daredevil and Gotham. To be honest, I haven't had the chance to keep up with Jessica Jones' second season, Luke Cage's second season, the last season and a half of Arrow or finish the first season of The Punisher.

It's just a lot to keep up with (especially when I'm watching The Good Place and Manifest in real time each week).

Also, I grew up in the 1990s. The only (non-animated) show we got back then was Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

Before that (in the late 80s), there was The Flash and The Swamp Thing (though neither lasted for very many seasons).

Smallville came around in the early 2000s (though I never watched it) during another lull in superhero TV programming.

Then Marvel changed everything with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There was a big boom with superheroes on the big screen, so, naturally, that trend migrated to the small screen.

Just think about all of the shows we got in the past 5 years:

  - Arrow  |  CW Network
       Oct. 2012 – present

  - Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. | ABC Network
       Sept. 2013 – present

  - The Flash  |  CW Network
       Oct. 2014 – present

  - Gotham  |   FOX
       Sept. 2014 – May 2019

  - Agent Carter  |   ABC
       Jan. 2015 – March 2016

  - Daredevil  |   Netflix
       April 2015 – Oct. 2018

  - Supergirl  |   CBS (and then CW Network)
       Oct. 2015 – present

  - Jessica Jones   |   Netflix
       Nov. 2015 – 2019

  - DC's Legend's of Tomorrow  |   CW Network
       Jan. 2016 – present

  - The Iron Fist  |  Netflix
       March 2017 – Nov. 2018

  - Inhumans   |   ABC
       Sept. 2017 – Nov. 2017

  - The Punisher   |   Netflix
       Nov. 2017 – Jan. 2019

  - Black Lightning  |  CW Network
       Jan. 2018 – present

  - Cloak & Dagger  |  Freeform
       June 7, 2018 – present

What a time to be a fan of superheroes!  We had a good 7 years -- really good!  Plus, the Arrowverse gave us several crossover events.

I really enjoyed The Defenders (the Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Iron Fist and Luke Cage team-up) too.

All things come to an end, though, so it makes sense that an overly saturated market on the superhero front couldn't sustain itself.

There's more to come --- but you'll have to pay for it:

Unfortunately the trend these days seems to be each network or company having their own streaming service like Netflix and Hulu (I have my own thoughts on that for another blog post at another time).

The good thing is that the DC and Disney (and therefore Marvel) platforms need content for their services.

DC Universe launched in Sept. 2018 and already has a couple of TV shows that are available to watch:

  - Titans  |  DC Universe
       Sept. 2018 – present
       based on DC's Teen Titans, this show has been renewed for a second season

  - Doom Patrol  |  DC Universe
       Feb. 2019 – present
       it's a spin-off of Titans

They have a handful more that are in development:

  - Swamp Thing  |  DC Universe
       Scheduled to debut sometime in 2019

  - Stargirl  |  DC Universe
       Scheduled to debut in Aug. 2019

Disney+ is probably going to be one of the new homes for a lot of superhero content.

There's a good likelihood that Daredevil and Luke Cage will be revived on Disney+.  That would mean viewers would have to follow the show from Netflix to Disney+.  Fans did that with other shows in the past, however, so it could work.

They also have 3 exciting shows at various stages of development:

  - The Vision and Scarlet Witch  |  Disney+
       Scheduled to debut sometime in 2019
       this will be a limited series that explores the relationship between Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany)

  - Untitled Falcon and Winter Soldier project  |  Disney+
       In development
       Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan will reprise their roles as Falcon and Winter Soldier in this live-action series.  It's apparently going to be kind of a buddy cop series with a superhero flavor.

  - Loki  |  Disney+
       In development
       Lastly (and perhaps most exciting), there is a limited series on Loki that is being worked on.  So even if Tom Hiddleston doesn't return in Avengers Endgame, he'll be reprising his now iconic character at some point.

While all of this means we'll have to pay for content, it is going to be available.

I'm a fan of DVDs because I like to have a copy to watch when the internet goes down or when programs are removed from Netflix or other streaming services, so I'm hoping they release some of these series on DVD.

Then I can purchase them (and watch them over and over) without having to pay that monthly fee.  I'm not sure if DVD releases will happen though.

What does the future hold?

I wouldn't be surprised to see some new superhero shows end up on the mainstream networks again.  DC Universe and Disney+ almost need to keep shows on their platforms in order for them to be successful.

It's one thing to get someone to watch network television, but it's another to get them to pay $10 - $15 a month to watch your shows.

I anticipate additional shows coming soon on both platforms, especially on DC Universe since it consists entirely of superheroes.  Disney+ can utilize Mary Poppins, Aladdin, etc., etc.

DC Universe doesn't have a library of ready-made content that vast, so they need to create new shows.

New superhero shows on the main networks probably won't debut within the next couple of years, but give it another 5 years and we may see an entirely new crop of superhero television.

With such a vast library of characters in Marvel and DC's extensive comic book archives, some of the lesser known characters are perfect for TV.  They can be developed into something bigger.

The Green Arrow was never an extremely popular character, but just look at what Arrow did for the character.

It spawned an entire Arrowverse.

CW has always been a superhero-friendly, but they're also focused on ratings.

If they think a show will do well, they've proven that they'll take the chance and pick it up.  If the show doesn't perform, it will get cancelled.

That's how TV networks operate.

While this may be the end of one era, it's sure to lead to another.

Maybe a Fantastic Four television series?  Or a series about Amanda Waller and her rise to the top of A.R.G.U.S.?

I could see either of those shows airing on the CW.

Superhero movies aren't going away anytime soon, so superheroes on TV aren't going away either.  I'm sure there are several TV networks that would love to cash in on the popularity of the superhero genre as much as they possibly can.

It's just a matter of finding the right characters to tell a good story to garner ratings.

Related Content:
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Thursday, February 21, 2019

So ... what to do about DCEU's Batman?

There have been rumors for the better part of a year that, after three movies, Ben Affleck was done playing the role of Batman.

Affleck faced a lot of criticism when it was first announced that he had the role (I never bought into that criticism myself). He silenced a lot of the haters after starring roles in Batman v. Superman and Justice League (and his brief appearance in Suicide Squad).

I guess he's been to rehab and may have some other personal issues happening --- or creative issues with Warner Brothers.

I was hoping that he could have a minimized role in the DCEU, but he confirmed on a recent episode of Jimmy Kimmel that it's not happening. He's done.

The question is: what do they do about Batman now?

There are a few options, just as they had when rumors swirled last fall that Henry Cavill was done playing Superman:

1) Recast a new Batman for the DCEU

This is my least favorite option. It really isn't an option in my opinion. It destroys the credibility of this universe that DC has been trying to set up.

Man of Steel was their first effort into this universe, but Batman's addition in Batman v. Superman is what really jump started it into being a universe instead of just a couple of Superman movies.

I despise when characters in movies are recast. Write around it instead!

You own the name and rights to the Batman character.

You don't need to physically see Ben Affleck as Batman.

Shoot some flashbacks with someone else in the suit if you need them.

Use the Batarang (like they do in Shazam!) or newspaper clippings to tie the universe together. They could even use J.K. Simmons in his role as Commissioner Gordon to tie things together.  There's no need to recast Batman into this universe.

That will only make it all look silly.

2) Continue on without Batman

I'd prefer that they do this. I'm a huge fan of Batman (my favorite comic book character of all time), but, honestly, I think there's probably a little bit of Batman fatigue since the story has been told so many times.

8 movies since 1989 (not counting Justice League or Suicide Squad). 8 movies in 30 years may not sound like a lot, but when you consider that movies have been released approximately every 3.75 years, it ends up being overdone.

This DCEU doesn't really need Ben Affleck as Batman anymore.

Aquaman was a massive success and Jason Momoa will only get better in sequels as he continues to get more comfortable with portraying his version of Aquaman.

Gal Gadot has already aced her role as Wonder Woman and I don't see that changing any time soon. That role is hers for as long as she wants it and for as long as fans are interested.

Marvel is dishing out Captain Marvel, but Wonder Woman will be hard to beat. She's got so much history on her side that it makes it hard for Captain Marvel to even compete.

If DC can come to terms with Henry Cavill (and they should!), then they're set.  Cavill showed he has box-office drawing power outside of the DC movies with his role in Mission: Impossible last summer.  Pay the man what he's worth and get him back for more movies (with better scripts).

You've got your top 3 box office heavyweights with Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Superman.  You don't need Batman for this universe to be complete.

Plus, I think Shazam! is going to be very successful too. There's a lot of potential for The Flash with Ezra Miller playing that role.

Ray Fisher didn't jump off the screen as Cyborg in Justice League, but I think that character could be reworked and developed in a very successful way too.

That's not even taking the Green Lantern into consideration. If they do a good job casting for that role and put that movie out, then Warner Brothers has another big superhero name to work with.

Ben Affleck did a good job as an aging Batman who set up the Justice League. I'm fine with this version of Batman ending that way.

They could do Justice League movies without Batman as well. Bring in Martian Manhunter. Use some of the already established characters from Aquaman. Use Jesse Eisenberg (who I thought did a good job) as Lex Luthor. Use Joe Manganiello (great casting by the way!) as Slade Wilson.

3) Come to terms with Ben Affleck for future appearances

This would be ideal. I'd still prefer they shift the focus to the other Justice League characters, but think about it this way: Aquaman has a successful sequel, Wonder Woman ends up as a trilogy, Cavill comes back for another Superman movie and Shazam does well and has a sequel. Then the Green Lantern, The Flash and (possibly) Cyborg all have solo movies.

This could all take place over the next 10 years.

Maybe they do a Justice League 2 or a Legion of Doom or Justice League Dark --- let's say in 2024 or 2026.

It's always possible Affleck and Warner Brothers could come to terms for a follow-up appearance. Batman wouldn't be the focus of the movie, but could have a small-to-medium-sized role in the movie.

Maybe Batman even dies in that movie?

It'd be a better ending than randomly disappearing from this universe entirely.

4) Cast a new Batman in an alternate timeline / universe

This is probably the number one option in my opinion. Depending on the success of Joaquin Phoenix in The Joker in October of this year (and depending on how that The Batman script turns out), they could cast a new (and younger) Batman --- kind of like Gotham has done on FOX --- and move in that direction.

They could connect The Joker to The Batman in a face-off movie sequel if both of the origin movies are successful enough.

We'd get the villain's origin story (The Joker) and the hero's origin story (The Batman) and then we could get Batman vs. Joker in a sequel to both movies.

Now that would be unique. There would be some build-up to the confrontation between these two classic rivals because the third movie in what could be essentially a trilogy would be the first time they go head-to-head.

There are very few rivalries in fiction that are better than Batman vs. The Joker.

We've seen that Batman can carry movies on his own. That's been proven time and time (and time) again.  This character doesn't need the Justice League to be successful.

Given how awesome Gotham has been, a series of origin movies involving Batman's enemies (and an eventual clash between them) would be very interesting.

What do you think?  What's the best option for Batman going forward.

Related Content:
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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Pink: Beautiful Trauma - reviewed.

Pink revealed on Ellen last week that she’s coming out with a new album in April.

Well, damn!  The Truth About Love came out in 2012 and Beautiful Trauma was just released in 2016.  Usually there’s a space of a few years between her albums.

Since I realized I purchased but never actually listened to all of the songs on Beautiful Trauma, I figured I’d better take a listen before her new material is out.

The post-motherhood Pink has been kind of hit-or-miss.  She turned a direction with her Greatest Hits …. So Far! album.  The new tracks on that release ('F**kin’ Perfect,' 'Raise Your Glass') had attitude but didn’t feature the rebellious nature that her previous work had. 

They were rebellious, but in a more positive way.  Those songs lead into ‘Just Like Fire’ and ‘What About Us.’  

Gone is the poetic angst that put her on the map.  It’s replaced by a fighter for equality and her perception of justice.

It’s great to see that Pink has grown as a person, but every now and then I want a funky “Bad Influence” or a poppy “Stupid Girls” or a rocking “Long Way to Happy.’

We’ll see what comes out of this album …

Beautiful Trauma
I think this should’ve been the lead single.  It’s a great song, but it didn’t really find it’s footing on the top 40 chart following ‘What About Us.’  

There are a lot of different elements to it --- with the piano and orchestra and techno beats.  Somehow, this song manages to be both fun and emotional at the same time (with some great vocals as well).  

I think this would’ve had better success as a lead single rather than a secondary single.

Revenge (featuring Eminem)
Pink and Eminem have worked on several songs together over the years yet none of them have gotten any radio play.  Maybe that’s because it’s not 2002 anymore.

This song stands out like a sore thumb compared to the rest of the album.  It’s fun.  It’s goofy. It reminds me of Pink’s work on The Truth About Love.

It really didn’t even need Eminem’s part.  It could’ve been a fine song without him.  He does fit right in on this song though.  He even sings more than he raps on this one.

The message of the song got lost on me by the end of the song, but I didn’t really care.

Whatever You Want
I remember hearing this on the radio a few times, but it’s somewhat forgettable.  It almost sounds like her work on 'Just Like Fire.'

I feel like it was too similar, which is maybe why it didn't succeed as a single the way one may expect it to.

The odd vocal emphasis on certain lyrics is a little different than the rest of the album.  "You don't seem to give two shits / 'Cause you're just too cool, baby."

It's not as distinct after 'Just Like Fire' was all over  the radio not too long ago.

The theme of a troubled relationship that seems to hold strong through the storms is kind of tired after being used on the past several albums.

It's a common theme, obviously, in most songs, but Pink, in particular, has used it ad nauseam.

What About Us
It was an OK song.  It was actually amazing when it comes to Pink’s vocals, but I didn’t feel the authenticity here.  Her anti-Trump song had a couple of lyrical mistakes too.

"We were willin', we came when you called / But, man, you fooled us, enough is enough, oh."

Since when did people overwhelmingly go to Trump when he called to them?  Sure, he's got some supporters, but I don't think any of his supporters are the ones who are upset with him.

That part didn't really make sense to me.

Also, the song came off as stereotypically millennial (and I'm a millennial!).  It was a little bit whiny.

It reminded me of pro wrestler Raven from his WCW days.  "What about me?  What about Raven?!?" he'd ask the audience in an angsty tone.

Great vocals and some good music, but there was too much of a disconnect for me.  I couldn't figure out if it was a song about romantic love or a political statement against Trump.  The song was unclear to me.

I think a more focused anti-Trump song would've been the better route rather than a couple of small moments where she alludes to it.

For example, 'Dear Mr. President' was a great song.  It had a clear message that wasn't confusing at all.

But We Lost It
This starts off with some nice piano and a melancholy Pink singing "I wanna know where does love go to die / Is it some sad empty castle in the skies?"

I'm going to be repetitive by the end of this review, but Pink's talent is amazing.  Forget Vegas.  I feel like she should be on Broadway after hearing some of  these songs.

That being said, the song isn't a classic.  It's no 'Time After Time' or 'Nothing Compares 2 U.'

It's a nice song with some beautiful piano work and very nice vocals, but it's not as memorable as it should've been.

Who knows --- it may be a song that grows on you the more you listen to it.

Maybe I’d relate to it a little more if I was a female, but it didn’t leave an impression on me.  It was an OK song with a few clever lines.

'Barbies' is about wanting to go back to being a child (in more simplistic times) and playing “barbies in my room.”

It missed the mark though.  It should've been a relatable song.  Most people have experienced a time where they want to go back to their childhood, even if it's just for a day.

The song felt cheesier more than anything else though.

Where We Go
This one isn't bad.  I'm not exactly sure what the message was after listening to it, but it's kind of uplifting.  I think it's a love song.

It's a toe-tapper (one of the only ones on the album so far).

The use of guitar here reminds me of a Kesha-esque country song.  It's kind of a genre-sharing song.  Not the absolute best song on the album, but it's probably up there.

For Now
Piano and Pink is how this song starts.  Some guitar kicks in as well.  Pink is really looking to put her voice on display on this album.

It's a love song.  "Tonight can we just get it right / Somehow, for now / Freeze frame, pause, rewind, stop."

The lyrics could've been better, but the music makes up for that.

The guitar is definitely my favorite part.  It's simple and works well with Pink's voice.

The main chorus was a little bit overproduced.  Too much happening there between Pink singing, the instruments, Pink's backup vocals and the EDM beats.

There was a little Funhouse homage paid here with the ‘Da da da da do do do’ bit.
The rest of the song was somewhat lackluster.  It was like the forgettable track she recorded for Ellen ('Today’s the Day') with a little element of 'Funhouse.'  That 'Funhouse' element was probably the best part of the song.

There’s not a lot of depth to the lyrics either.  It’s pretty much ‘Everybody’s got a secret / I got some things to say.’  

Secrets about what?  Secrets about who?  The song never goes that far.

Better Life
This song reminded me of something that may have appeared on Can’t Take Me Home, but with a more mature sound.  It’s got a nice sound.  The lyrics aren’t that impressive, but the rhymes and emphasis on them (along with the fun piano work) makes it a fun song.

I think it should’ve been a single.  It would’ve been a better choice than Whatever You Want.  It demonstrates some much-needed variety on this effort.

I Am Here
This one had a nice beginning at least.  It stood out from the rest of the songs on the album.  Then Pink goes into the role she carved out for herself on the rest of the album: comfortable and soulful.  She’s got great vocals, but 13 songs of great vocals that sound the same (without actually saying much) doesn’t make the best album.

Finally, the main chorus kicks in with some powerful backup choir singers.

If it weren’t for that church choir and the up-tempo ‘Where’s everybody go when they go’ lines, this song would blend into the rest of them on Beautiful Trauma.

Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken
Pink’s voice is initially partnered with a piano but the lyrics sound like the rest of the album at this point, especially on track 12.  The song, on its own, is probably very impressive.  At this point in the album, however, it’s the same old thing / same old message.

‘There’s not enough rope to tie me down / there’s not enough to shut this mouth’ would probably be more of a memorable and inspiring rally cry if it didn’t seem so familiar (and overused).

At first, it lacks the oomph to be a really powerful song, but thankfully Pink builds up to some power before the 3:21 minute song ends.

It seems like a song that would maybe be on Broadway and it’s quite a nice song, really.  But there wasn’t enough of a payoff after the slow build.

You Get My Love
Pink is a Bette Middler fan and that’s what this song kind of reminded me of.  It starts with Pink and a piano (again …) rather slow.  Then, about halfway through, Pink belts out a few of the lines.  And that's pretty much a wrap on this song.

Overall, Beautiful Trauma a familiar Pink album with a few new elements, but not enough to feel fresh.

Most of the songs are either light and airy or slow and melodic with a lot of the powerful vocals. This was definitely a great showcase for Pink’s voice.

This wasn’t an album full of impactful and memorable songs that you can sing along to.  It’s an album filled with songs that make you appreciate Pink’s voice.  I miss the rocker Pink though.

There was no song that was as emotional as 'Who Knew' or as vulnerable as 'I Don’t Believe You' or as fun as 'So What' or as in-your-face as 'U + Ur Hand' or as energetic as 'Blow Me (One Last Kiss).'

It’s ironic because this is probably some of Pink’s best vocal work (intricate techniques can be heard in almost every song).  Due to that fact, it’s hard to give any of the songs a bad rating, but Pink seems a little lost with this album.  

She didn’t seem to have that much to actually say.  

I think the lesson here is that too many inspirational songs without actual inspiration leads to a somewhat forgettable album.

Hopefully this is more of a transitional album than an indication as to her musical direction on Hurts 2B Human.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Do we want equality at the Grammys or not?

I actually watched the Grammys this year. I was a fan back in 1999 and 2000, when I was still pretty young.

Then I saw Faith Hill's awful performance (in 2002 maybe?) and realized a lot of these performers weren't very good at singing live.

I also started noticing that none of my favorites ever won.

Pink didn't Best Pop Vocal Album in 2001. Norah Jones did. Matchbox 20 was nominated in 2001 for Best Rock Album, but they didn't win. Foo Fighters did.

Kesha didn't win Best Pop Vocal Album in 2018. Ed Sheeran did. Daughtry didn't win Best Rock Album in 2008. Foo Fighters did.

Fall Out Boy and Panic! at the Disco didn't win Grammys in 2019 and 2017 for Best Rock Album. Those awards went to Greta Van Fleet (who?) and Cage the Elephant (again, who?).

You probably get the picture by those few examples.

There are always a handful of performances that are fun each year --- especially the unexpected team-ups that nobody saw coming.

Pink and Sarah McLachlan singing 'Angel' a few years ago was random, but very cool.  Elton John and Lady Gaga teaming up a few years ago made a lot of sense.  The award portions of the show though?

It seems like the Grammy Awards were worse than WWE, always trying to push who they wanted to push instead of letting the public take to people naturally.

Norah Jones was a project of theirs. Joss Stone was a project of theirs. Now H.E.R. and Brandi Carlile seem to be the pet projects.

Those four ladies are all talented, so why push an agenda when it comes to them?  Let them achieve success as it comes.  No need to force it down anyone's throat.

I like the Foo Fighters, but 4 Best Rock Album wins since 2001?

That's excessive, especially considering they beat out the likes of Bon Jovi (Crush), Matchbox 20 (Mad Season), No Doubt (Return of Saturn), Evanescence (Fallen), Matchbox 20 (More Than You Think You Are), Nickelback (The Long Road), Daughtry (Daughtry) and Kings of Leon (Come Around Sundown) for those awards.

If that's not playing favorites, I'm not sure what is.  They're a good band, but I have almost no doubt that they won because those in charge feel that the Foo Fighters give the Grammys more credibility since they're not as 'mainstream' as the other nominees.

'Pop' and 'mainstream' have always been dirty words at these awards shows. 

Those mainstream projects are what make the music and movie industries money, but they can't honor them at awards shows because we, as fans, certainly don't appreciate the creativity and artwork of movies and music the way those in charge do ... right?

The lack of diversity

Over the past decade or so there has been growing opposition to the lack of diversity with the Grammy nominations.

There aren't enough minorities (black people, Hispanic people and LGBTQ people) being nominated and winning awards.

I guess you can throw females into that group because there were all kinds of stories previwing the Grammys this year, talking about it being 'a girl's night.'

After the awards show ended there were immediately tweets and articles put out by USA Today, Time Magazine, etc., etc. talking about the 'women who ruled the Grammys.'

People were also happy to see that Childish Gambino won several awards.

Yet, people seemed upset that Kacey Musgraves (a white, dark-haired country singer) won the award for Album of the Year.

She was up against Cardi B (I don't see much talent there), Drake, H.E.R. (who?), Post Malone (couldn't name a song of his if you paid me), Janelle Monae (she's good) and Brandi Carlile (who?).

She's a woman, but she's not a woman of color, so I guess that's why people were upset.

You see, people don't seem to actually want equality.

They want dominance.

They want minorities to dominate all the categories.

I understand why some people feel that way. They are tired of it being 2019 and being the 'first time an African-American (insert achievement here).'

Actually, I think most people actually feel that way whenever the topic comes up about being the first. The problem is that some people don't want it to be about race at all and some people want it all to be about race.

Some want a minority in every single nomination category and a minority win for every single achievement there is.  There was a time when people of color and/or minorities didn't get the shine they deserved, so now people want to make up for that as though the Grammy awards were reparations.

The Grammy Awards are catering to those people due to all of the recent criticism.

Isn't that the opposite of equality though?

The Grammys still play favorites

Dua Lipa won Best New Artist at the 2019 Grammys over Luke Combs. I think that was a mistake.  Combs is an immensely talented artist. I prefer him over anyone else in that category. He really didn't stand a chance given that this was 'the year of the woman.'

Shawn Mendes (Shawn Mendes), Taylor Swift (Reputation), Pink (Beautiful Trauma) and Kelly Clarkson (Meaning of Life) were all up for Best Pop Vocal Album, but Ariana Grande won ... because she's the 'it girl' right now.

Kacey Musgraves is actually another project. The Grammys gave her several awards this year, despite the fact that her songs weren't even really played that much on country radio, let alone top 40 radio.

Country stars often get snubbed at the Grammy awards because they don't fall in line with the agenda that the Grammys try to push, so it's nice to see a country artist win the biggest award of the night.

But Musgraves won because she's a project.  They like her album because it deals with inclusivity and love and hope (etc., etc.).  They probably appreciated it even more because she is a country artist who is bucking the system because country music is only supposed to be about tailgates and pickup trucks and jean shorts ... right?

It's a shame that there are excessive nominations and clear favorites at these award shows because so many people end up getting overlooked regardless of their race or gender.

Where do we go from here?

When society gets to the point of giving awards to people you want to be successful and/or because they represent a minority that was underrepresented in the past, it takes away the meaning of the awards in the first place.

There may have been deserving artists who didn't get the recognition and accolades they deserved in the past. That may have been due to those artists being minorities.  That is, no doubt, a shame.

The awards were always supposed to be given to the best though, right?  Even if that's not what always happened, that's what they are supposed to represent, right?

How do we get to that point?

That's a tough road to navigate.

'The best' is subjective term. It always will be.

Even though I didn't agree with a lot of the wins over the years, there is a case to be made for most of the people mentioned above winning any of those awards.

I think we have to get past the agendas and focusing on minorities when looking at nominations.  We have to get to the point where the awards truly do represent 'the best' and doesn't cater to people who have agendas.

Right now, the Grammys Awards are going one foot forward and going two steps back.

They're giving awards to more minorities, so that's good.  Minorities don't struggle to have success in the music and movie industries the way they used to.  That's also good.

But when there are clear pet projects, agenda-pushing and excessive nominations (did Lady Gaga really deserve 5 nominations this year?  or did they want her to have 5 nominations this year?), the Grammys don't end up being any better than they were in the past.

It's the same old story told in a different way.