Best Films of 2020
#2 – Sound of Metal
Director and co-writer Darius Marder’s Sound of Metal is another film that hit harder due to the pandemic. This story of a heavy metal drummer who has to find himself after losing his hearing wound up having deeper thematic resonance due to a crisis the filmmaker’s didn’t see coming.
Consider that the film’s main character, Ruben (played brilliantly by Riz Ahmed), is facing a sudden and foreign new reality, and struggles mightily to regain some semblance of his previous life. How many of us can relate, forced inside and into masks, away from loved ones, jobs and pastimes? How have we strained to find our old lives buried in this new existence?
We were lucky if we could find some grace in the solitude, some comfort in the silence.
Stop two on the R.E.M. nostalgia tour brings us to 1988’s Green, the band’s first album with Warner Bros. This record went double platinum and marks the beginning of R.E.M.’s commercial breakthrough.
Unfortunately, that breakthrough came courtesy of ‘Stand,’ one of the lamest R.E.M. songs. Sad that we live in a world where nobody is familiar with ‘(Don’t Go Back to) Rockville‘ but everybody can sing along to ‘Stand.’
But Green features some quality material, including the sublime ‘World Leader Pretend‘ and today’s beautifully melancholy track.
I mentioned last week that Fables of the Reconstruction was my introduction to R.E.M. Well, now we arrive at the first album of theirs to be released after I was a big fan.
1988’s Green was their first release for Warner Bros. Records and became their biggest hit yet. It featured the ubiquitous (and let’s face it, annoying) single ‘Stand’ as well as the hard rocker ‘Orange Crush.’
And while it has its moments, which I’ll get to, I consider Green one of the band’s worst albums.