Song of the Day #3,995: ‘Your Song’ – Taron Egerton

This has been a week for conflicted movie reviews. I enjoy these films and recommend them, but with reservations. I guess that describes about half of the movies I see every year.

Rocketman is a biopic about legendary rocker Elton John, directed by Dexter Fletcher (who took over the reins of Bohemian Rhapsody from Bryan Singer), starring Taron Egerton, and produced by Elton himself. That last fact is key, because you have to be a little wary of a film purporting to be a “warts and all” depiction when it is delivered by the subject himself.

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Song of the Day #3,994: ‘Unchained Melody’ – Lykke Li

If Aladdin benefitted from my low expectations, Booksmart suffered because my expectations were too high.

The Olivia Wilde-helmed high school comedy blew through Sundance and left a trail of rapturous reviews and breathless recommendations in its wake. Its Rotten Tomatoes score sat at 100% until The New Yorker‘s Richard Brody spoiled the party. Comparisons were made to Superbad and Lady Bird.

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Song of the Day #3,993: ‘Speechless’ – Naomi Scott

I expected to really dislike Aladdin, director Guy Ritchie’s remake of the 1992 Disney animated classic. Advance word was toxic, glimpses of Will Smith’s genie had been met with the wrong kind of laughter across the web, and the Rotten Tomatoes score settled in at a discouraging 56%.

On the other hand, the film opened to a surprising $113 million over Memorial Day weekend and enjoys a 94% Audience score in contrast to its rotten tomato. So the movie is reaching fans, critics be damned. Which doesn’t always bode well for quality, but can make for interesting viewing.

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Song of the Day #3,992: ‘Know Your Onion!’ – The Shins

My final 2001 album is one I have owned for quite some time, by a band I like a lot. And yet I haven’t listened to The Shins’ Oh, Inverted World enough to have considered it for my list of favorite albums from the year.

I’m glad I’ve had a chance to remedy that, because this is an excellent album, one many critics consider the band’s finest (though I would give that honor to 2012’s Port of Morrow). It is credited with ushering in an era of indie pop more introspective than ironic.

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Song of the Day #3,991: ‘Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey’ – John Mayer

Oh, how close we came to having a John Mayer song as the Random Weekend selection for frequent commenter Dana’s birthday! That would have been a fun twist given Dana’s Mayer bashing over the years.

But alas, Mr. Mayer arrives a day late. Maybe next year.

Today’s song is from the 2012 album Born and Raised, his fifth and one of his best. Influenced by Bob Dylan, Neil Young and the 70s Laurel Canyon scene, it’s a relaxed and lovely record.

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Song of the Day #3,990: ‘Chickfactor’ – Belle and Sebastian

[NOTE: I lost track of my dates and initially thought the 7th fell on a Saturday, so I wrote this post for Random Weekends. Rather than redo everything, I’m going to run this weekend’s posts today and tomorrow and post my final 2001 Decades album on Sunday.]

Happy birthday to frequent commenter Dana! Let’s spin the wheel and see what the Random iTunes Fairy has served up in celebration of your day.

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Song of the Day #3,989: ‘I Care 4 U’ – Aaliyah

Another R&B blindspot for me, Aaliyah was a rising sensation when her life was tragically cut short in a plane crash in August of 2001. Just a month earlier, she had released her third album, a self-titled record that went on to sell 13 million copies worldwide.

While this isn’t my genre, I am very impressed by my first listen to this album. The songs sound great and have interesting twists and textures, and Aaliyah’s vocals are an appealing blend of sensuality and self-confidence.

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