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Oscar Songs 2014

When it comes to movies, Jim and Greg defer to the Academy. But, when it comes to music, they aren't as casual. 2014 has been a banner year for pop music in the movies, with three of this year's Best Original Song nominees topping the charts. In fact, this kind of crossover hasn't happened since 1984, when all five nominees hit #1. First, there's Idina Menzel's ubiquitous "Let It Go," from the animated Disney hit Frozen. Written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez of Book of Mormon fame, it's a flashy show tune—the "Diane Warren power ballad" of Greg's nightmares—that fails to impress our hosts. Not so with "The Moon Song," from the film Her. Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who co-wrote the song with director Spike Jonze, has since released a duet with Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend. This quiet, intimate tune wins Jim's statuette, even if it's too low-key for the Academy. Greg's giving his award to "Happy" from Despicable Me 2. While Mr. Kot admits to living under a rock when it comes to kids' movies, he considers Pharrell's single, with its layered vocals and handclaps, a pop masterpiece (despite the mediocre lyrics). Jim isn't as happy and thinks that Pharrell phoned this one in. Meanwhile, U2 took a break from ending world hunger to record a new song for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. While the film got little attention in the U.S., "Ordinary Love" has something else working in its favor: the media empire of Harvey Weinstein. His aggressive promotion already won the song a Golden Globe for Best Song, and could similarly sway the Academy…but not our hosts. Despite the noble subject, Jim and Greg just hear standard U2 flag-waving.

JimGreg
Go to episode 431
The Information (Bonus Video Version)The Information available on iTunes

Beck The Information

Beck released his ninth album this week, and boy, do we feel old. The L.A. rocker is also feeling more mature now that he is a married man and a father, but he's still up to his old cutting and pasting, genre-hopping ways. On The Information, Beck Hansen teams up with longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich to pump the album up with a hodgepodge of samples and sounds. For an extra psychedelic touch, the final track is a spacey outro read by author Dave Eggers and director Spike Jonze. Greg is happy that Beck isn‘t repeating himself like he did on 2005’s Guero; he's experimenting with sounds in really inventive ways. But, Greg explains that the hooks and melodies are lacking on the second half of the record. He recommends that fans cut and paste to make their own album, and he gives The Information a Burn It. Jim, however, doesn't think that Beck has ever been better than he is on the good moments of The Information. He recommends fans Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 45