Tag Archives: Lana Del Rey

Big Eyes

I just finished watching Big Eyes, and I got to say it was one of the best movies I’ve recently seen.  First of all, let’s establish that Amy Adams is an incredible actor (she won the Golden Globe for this role), and how she hasn’t won an Oscar yet is beyond me, but she’s fantastic in this film.  Her performance is so powerful and moving.

She plays Margaret Keane, the woman who painted the “big eye” paintings and whose husband, Walter (played by Christoph Waltz), took credit for them.  For the majority of the movie you see this woman painting these pictures of children with big eyes day after day so her husband can gain fame and fortune, and see her get frustrated and upset that he so blatantly lies.

She was rather forced into this situation, being threatened by her husband if she didn’t produce the paintings for him or if she told anyone the truth.  She was even forced to lie to her daughter.  Eventually, though (spoiler alert), she stands up and tells the world she was the creator of the paintings and sues him, and wins when the judge requires both Walter and Margaret to create a painting in an hour.  Margaret does so with ease while Walter fakes a shoulder injury.  I thought the film was so great to see a woman go through such a struggle and come out stronger and the winner.  It also had some great parts that made me a laugh…it was mostly how Amy Adams said her lines to Waltz that made it humorous.

The thing I perhaps enjoyed the most was how well done the music was.  Lana Del Rey wrote and performed songs for the soundtrack, including the theme “Big Eyes,” which was nominated for a Golden Globe.  This song so eloquently retails the story of Keane, it’s amazing.  The lyric “To my surprise, my loves demise, was his own greed and lullaby,” is sung during the film at the most perfect time and literally  emphasizes the plot: her love fell apart because of her husband’s greed.  I think the song is so beautiful and ethereal and it matches the movie so well, especially the line “It’s amazing what women in love will do.”

If you’re on the fence about seeing Big Eyes, I would highly recommend it.  It has a great ending, you feel uplifted and happy, and it even features a cameo of Margaret Keane herself.

The Unreleased Life of Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey rather fascinates me.  She’s known for her dark and brooding music with a timeless appeal, but she has released a lot of music before her recent success under different names.  She started her career by performing under her given name, Lizzy Grant, but changed her name to fit her music (or so I hear).  She did release a self-titled debut album before her 2012 hit Born to Die, but I haven’t been able to find it.  I did find the supposed track listing, and I’ve been drawn to the song entitled “Kill Kill.”  Somehow, I found it on YouTube today.

I rather like the chorus of this song and think it’s catchy.  Now, I just need to find the rest of the album…

Anyway, Lana Del Rey also released a demo album Sirens under the name May Jailer, which if you listen below is rather fresh and folksy.

The more I learn about Lana Del Rey and the more I listen to her music, the more I realize how talented she really is.

Hide & Seek

It’s been a while since I posted a playlist, and I’m not entirely sure anyone has actually listened to any of them besides myself, but I thought it be fun to post what kind of stuff I’ve been listening to lately.  When I started tweeting out #PhillipsSongOfTheDay with a song title (it’s been a while, forgive me), I started keeping keeping a list of those songs (which you can peruse here).  It’s been interesting to see how my taste in music/listening patterns have changed over time; it seemed to reflect what I was going through in life.  Recently, I’ve been getting into alternative and some indie rock music (which is something I never thought I’d get into).  I mean, the playlist below doesn’t really portray that because there are still some big pop numbers in there, but I think it does show my slow transition into the alternative taste.

2015 Grammy Predictions

It’s that time of year again.  In one month, the Grammys will announce the nominees for the 57th Grammys.  I really get into watching the Grammys and predicting who will get nominated and who will win (and I am actually pretty good at it).  While sometimes it feels like the Grammys are rigged and sometimes I wonder how some songs even get nominated, I think they occasionally do a good job at honoring great music .  For me, the Grammys are a great way to be introduced to new music and/or different genres.  I’m in the process of creating my list of potential nominees, so I will update/edit this as I think of nominees, but look out for the real list December 5th!

I base my nomination predications on looking at past actions of the Academy and looking at past nominees; I’m not predicting nominations because I personally think they’re awesome (some of them I actually don’t), but because they’re just likely to get chosen.

Below are some categories with potential nominees as I think of them (there is no order, and I’m not capping the nominees at 5 like the Grammys will…I’m good, but not that good).  Again, it’s not who I think will or should be nominated, it’s more a list of who could be and has a good shot at being nominated, and it’s not a complete list because I haven’t finished thinking about it, so it will grow/be edited until the actual nominations are released .

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Pure Genius: Lana Del Rey’s Cover of “Once Upon a Dream”

Whoever decided to have Lana Del Rey cover “Once Upon a Dream” for the upcoming film Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie, is a genius.  Del Rey’s spooky performance is a perfect match to echo the darker themes of Maleficent.

Maleficent tells the story of the villainess, Maleficent, from the classic Disney film, Sleeping Beauty.  In the original story of Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent places a curse on Princess Aurora because she was not invited to her christening or something, and says that Aurora will die on her sixteenth birthday.  In all honesty, I know the gist of the story, but I’ve never seen Sleeping Beauty.  Seriously.  I was doing some quick research to understand the plot so I could sound informed when I wrote this, but it got so complicated that I was like “gosh, it’s just easier to watch the dang movie,” then I realize I don’t have a copy of Sleepy Beauty handy, which means I would need to go to the library even though tomorrow is my day off (I work at a library), then I rounded the whole fiasco out by just thinking “eh, who’s got the time. ”

Anyway, I digress.  My understanding is that Maleficent is like Sleeping Beauty as it involves the same characters and setting, but it is more focused on the dark villainess, not the bright, cheery heroine.  The original version of “Once Upon a Dream” is rather optimistic and, well, darling.  Take a listen:

The original version of “Once Upon a Dream” from Sleeping Beauty:

Now, Lana Del Rey’s version, like Maleficent, takes a new spin on the old classic, making it darker and more suspicious.  When I first heard Del Rey’s version, I thought “Once Upon a Dream” was originally intended to be this brooding, haunting song; the production and performance in Del Rey’s version is so striking that it colors the song to have a different meaning.  It’s exquisite.  Take a listen to Lana Del Rey’s version:

“Once Upon a Dream” performed by Lana Del Rey:

Disney made the right choice in picking Lana Del Rey to cover “Once Upon a Dream” because it’s such an iconic song that needed to be transformed to fit this new, darker telling of Sleeping Beauty.  Lana Del Rey’s music has the subtle, nuanced way about it that makes it appear to be dark and somewhat depressing.  Even by the deep timbre that Del Rey sang “Once Upon a Dream” with gives me the chills.  I don’t think Disney could have found a better person to give a classic a dark twist, and do it so well.


If you're on the struggle bus this week, here's a clip that you may relate to (I know I did):