🍿23: Midweek Crisis Special
A special music-movie edition of SP, with Guest Editor Stygi from Midweek Crisis 🎶
“I don’t care if she just showed Michael Jackson how to Harlem Shake. I said I want Honey. Honey Daniels. Duh.”
~ Honey, 2002
There’s a special edition of Salty Popcorn this week, thanks to guest editor Stygi, who runs her own biweekly newsletter all about music.
I love reading through Midweek Crisis for fresh music recommendations, but what makes it such an interesting reading experience is that Stygi will link a dedicated playlist in each edition, as well as embed Spotify and YouTube links throughout her newsletter. This means that you listen to the music and read about it at the same time - I like to think this is akin to mixing sweet and salty popcorn!
As music and film go hand-in-hand, I’ve asked Stygi to write a guest post for Salty Popcorn focusing on her favourite songs and scores from the world of cinema. Yesterday, I guest-edited for Stygi at Midweek Crisis, which you can read by clicking here.
Before I let Stygi take over for this week’s special edition of Salty Popcorn, I’d like to thank everyone who was able to come to the Margate Film Festival Pub Quiz on Sunday.
We had a great turnout and I had a lot of fun hosting. I would also like to give a special thanks to the Northdown Brewery whose prize contribution was greatly appreciated. Now, without further ado, here’s Stygi…
I’m really excited to take this music-driven movie journey with you. When Tom asked me to do this collab, I was thrilled. His newsletter and its form resonate with me very much as the worlds of music and film are deeply connected. As the famous director, Ingmar Bergman said: "There is no art form that has so much in common with film as music. Both affect our emotions directly, not via the intellect."
Today we will focus on music documentaries, docuseries, and movies about famous musicians. At the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 all live concerts were cancelled and some of them moved online. To keep the connection with the audience in those hard times, artists shared their music worldwide via the internet and a greater need for recorded concerts appeared.
This led the way for new music documentaries as people wanted to experience not only artists’ music but also their lives. Of course, nothing can beat the magical, sweaty atmosphere of a real live concert, but the music films and documentaries are a great opportunity to have different music-related experiences.
Nowadays more and more artists give filmmakers access to their private life, on and off stage. What’s great about music documentaries, docuseries and films, is that they provide the viewer with an opportunity to learn the full backstory and context behind the music.
They are the ideal way to learn about the most famous musicians in the world and the stories behind their iconic songs. Everything you’d want to know will be given, freeing you from searching online on your own. And today I’ll recommend to you some titles that I’ve watched myself and I enjoyed the most. So grab your hot beverages and join this music-related trip.
Have a nice read,
Now for the headlines:
To infinity and beyond! Toy Story’s hero, Buzz Lightyear, returns in his own Pixar origin story, due June 2022. Since hearing the news, I’ve been humming “You’ve Got A Friend In Me” non-stop 😉 | See Trailer / Read More.
Good news for Dune fans - Warner Bros confirmed ‘Part Two’, but we’ll have to wait until autumn/winter 2023. Read More
“Come on Barbie, let’s go party!”. The lyrics of Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” came to mind when I read that Warner Bros is making a “Barbie” movie, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken. Read More
The Osbournes return in a new form! The love story of Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne will become a movie and is set to be produced by their oldest daughter Aimee, and son Jack. Writer Lee Hall (Rocketman) is tied to the script. Read More
Miss the 90’s garage scene? You’ll be glad to know that the upcoming film by Reggie Yates, Pirates is set on New Year’s Eve 1999 - the turn of the Millenium as three best friends look for a way to get into the party of the century. Due for UK cinemas on November 26. See Trailer / Read More
The “Midweek Crisis” is a biweekly music newsletter. A big dose of specially selected songs is served every other Wednesday. Join us and get good vibes ✨
The Beatles: Get Back
UK: 25 November // USA: 25 November
This autumn comes a special miniseries from Peter Jackson. Just three episodes long, this series will feature over 57 hours of ‘never-seen-before’ Beatles footage and is set for a gradual release on Disney+.
Get ready for a unique and intimate backstage experience with one of the world’s most influential bands ✨. The story focuses on a specific moment of The Beatles’ career when, in 1969, they had taken to the stage after a three-year hiatus. Watching them fooling around the studio, bantering and working on songs, should be a treat. Time travel experience guaranteed.
HOUSE OF GUCCI
UK: 26 November // USA: 24 November
Starring the queen of pop Lady Gaga as ‘Lady Gucci’ (aka. Patrizia Reggiani), Ridley Scott’s latest film will centre on the fashion-house family, and will also star Adam Driver, Jared Leto, Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Salma Hayek.
House of Gucci” is literally a biographical killer drama with family intrigues, a fight for control and world-famous assassination. Prepare for the bewildering burst of colours and sounds carrying the spirit of Italy in the 80s & 90s. All will be spiced up with luxurious haute couture and great music. Watch the trailer, and I guarantee you, that afterwards, you’ll be humming its song all day 🎶.
Fact of the week
Bradley Cooper’s onstage persona, Jackson Maine in A Star Is Born, was inspired by the iconic vocalist of Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder.
To get into character, get the right look and catch the spirit of rock & roll, Cooper spent some time with Vedder. As he said to Yahoo Entertainment: "I went up to Seattle and spent four or five days with him, and I asked him 9,000 questions".
Click here to read the specific advice the rock star gave to Cooper 🙊.
Apparently, Vedder wasn’t a fan of Cooper’s idea for the movie initially. He even tried to discourage him, saying that he couldn’t imagine anyone making a decent film about rock & roll. But Cooper went ahead anyway and Vedder later admitted that “A Star Is Born” blew him away.
Review: Watch the Sound
5 (out of 5)
Where to watch:
USA: Apple TV+
UK: Apple TV+
1 season, 6 episodes over 30-min each
This TV Miniseries brings closer some popular music effects and explains how they’re made. Each episode is a beautiful mixture of sounds, videos, and conversations with stars, like Sir Paul McCartney, T-Pain, Charli XCX, King Princess, Questlove from The Roots, Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters, members of the Beastie Boys, DJ Premier, Andy Taylor from Duran Duran, Santigold and more.
Get ready for being musically educated, star-struck, and inspired! 🎶
The review (NO spoilers):
Mark Ronson is a true one-man band who lives and breathes music. He’s a DJ, songwriter, record producer and record executive all at once.
In Watch The Sound With Mark Ronson he takes us on a trip to the world of different music effects. Ronson shares his fascination with sounds and he does it so authentically and touchingly that I must say I was left utterly speechless. His energy and zeal are contagious. It makes you want to buy all this musical equipment that he demonstrates and start experimenting with it immediately.
From the first few minutes, you have this feeling that it’s an honest art piece. Each episode is highly aesthetic and exciting. I loved the satisfying contrasts made with sounds and visuals — the colours, the beats, the words... All of them make a beautifully harmonic collage. In fact, it’s so good that it causes instinctive and unrestrained foot-stomping, head-bobbing and humming.
In every episode, Ronson hosts other creators to uncover the methods of how they achieve specific musical effects through the use of Auto-Tune, sampling, reverb, synthesizers, drum machines and distortion.
Through this, we’re able to watch world-class musicians in the creative process of building a song from scratch, each following a specific theme for each episode. It’s not overly technical and every music fan will enjoy being served bite-sized portions of knowledge about the wide variety of tools used in making music. Six episodes mention various music-making machines, like distortion pedals, Akai samplers, and Roland drum machines used by 90’s rappers.
The best moments are when Ronson or one of his guests geek out to the fullest and let their imagination run freely. The somehow still boyish energy of The Beastie Boys, radiating self-confidence of King Princess, or the funky vibe of Hank Shoklee (Public Enemy) was insanely pleasant to watch. You can see in the eyes of every single artist involved in this project that they all share a wild passion and love for what they do. For me, I find this incredibly inspiring and I hope that one day I might be able to make a living from doing the same.
Finally, I would like to say that I haven’t got any objections, except the fact that it was only six episodes long 😉.
The soundtrack for this series was so dope, that I couldn’t help myself in creating a full Spotify playlist. Be sure to check it out 🎧.
Scroll down for the critic’s cut and what’s coming in the next issue.
If you liked Watch the Sound…
Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry
2021 | UK: 26 February // USA: 26 February
What connects this to Watch the Sound With Mark Ronson is not only the Apple TV+ platform. It’s also the natural aura and personal look on each artist’s creative process.
Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, directed by R. J. Cutler, shows this teenage, pop mega-star (7 Grammys) in her element. The intimate records illustrate Billie’s onstage, on tour, and private life. We see her both in wild stage performances and vulnerable, at-home versions. Seeing her and her brother/producer Finneas O’Connell during the work on “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” debut studio album is a beautiful ride. The deep bond between them is mind-blowing 🤯. They finish each other’s sentences singing with angelic voices and inspiring one another.
The camera registers Billie’s ups and downs. In front of it, she giggles with her family & friends, gets a driver’s license and hugs her idol, Justin Bieber. But we also see how she gets frustrated with her leg injuries and breaks up with her boyfriend.
This is not just for fans of Billie Eilish. Give it a try if you wish to see something honest, stimulating and vibrant.
In the next issue:
UK: 11 November // USA: 11 November | Watch the Trailer
The Critic’s Cut 🚨SPOILER ALERT🚨:
One of the two episodes that inspired me the most was the third one about reverb. I didn’t know that this isn’t the same thing as an echo. Reverb is the persistence of sound after the sound source has been stopped. Our brains perceive a large number of reflected waves as a continuous sound.
To show us the scale of how the sound evolves as space changes, Ronson takes us to some of the weirdest places. The first place is Inchindown Oil Tanks with world-record long reverb (like a “cathedral times cathedral”). Then we go to an anechoic chamber is and inside it’s impossible to hear anything other than one’s body rhythms, like sounds of your own beating heart.
Then, back to music, we see how songs change with different layers of reverb. The more reverb, the more dreamy, sad and surreal it sounds. While listening to Angel Olsen, King Princess and Sigur Rós you get this specific deepness and feeling of loneliness — which is partly created by using reverberation.
The other episode that really struck me was the last one about distortion 🎸💥🥁 — something I have a soft spot for. The powerful, evil-sounding alterations of sounds can cause me pleasurable goosebumps and chills. I find its broken and controversial character sexy. Paranoid by Black Sabbath, In Bloom by Nirvana, or Rebel Girl by Bikini Kill are the perfect examples of songs that use distortion effect and are among my favourite records ever.
One sentence from this episode has stuck in my mind… Ronson said: “Distortion and rock & roll go together like peanut butter and horseradish. It’s nasty but it sounds.” It resonated with me deeply because I cannot agree more! Distortion is simultaneously tasty, raw, badass sounding and potentially unbearable. Yet somehow, it works.
So, to sum up, both of these episodes were truly mind-blowing to me. They left me with a racing heart and the feeling of deep satisfaction. It was awesome to hear the untold stories behind music creation and expand horizons in such a fiery way 🔥.