These tone deaf creations missed the ball completely
Johns Hopkins recently discovered that the COVID-19 pandemic currently "kills an American every 107 seconds."
But as the virus enters this brutal second wave, some creatives are already moving to profit off the latest American tragedy. It remains to be seen whether Grey's Anatomy and This Is Us will strike the right tone while implementing the pandemic into their scripts, but from blockbuster movies to stand alone TV shows, a lot of people are creating COVID content from scratch.
Songbird<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9336b0736ef357120a23b0c3dedef209"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/gXlOSEafzhY?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The issues with <em>Songbird</em> should come as no surprise to anyone. The backlash came down like a hammer once Michael Bay debuted the trailer for the political thriller over the summer.</p><p>COVID-19 has mutated to COVID-23, and now it attacks your brain, asthe U.S. remains in its fourth year of lockdown. The Department of Sanitation is the film's antagonists, as they're seen in the tone-deaf trailer kicking down doors and kidnapping infected Americans and sending them to government authorized "Quarantine Camps." They're led by some long-haired creepy doctor who for some reason doesn't wear a mask. </p><p>The film has been dismissed as being "<a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/movies/2020/10/29/michael-bay-songbird-movie-trailer-receives-backlash/6073718002/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">completely out of touch</a>" due to its massive scientific inaccuracies and overall timing. Many have gone as far as to accuse Michael Bay of trying to directly make a profit off this brutal pandemic.</p>
Love In The Time of Corona<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d2c2e46c44be7c847044391fb3d11544"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/l_nXLtffF0w?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The premise of a quarantine love story should also come as a surprise to no one, as the pandemic has all but erased casual dating for the foreseeable future and significantly <a href="https://www.wired.com/story/coronavirus-has-created-a-sex-boom-but-maybe-not-a-baby-boom/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">strengthened the sex life </a>of many couples stuck at home together. </p><p>But the problem with <em>Love in the Time of Corona</em> and COVID-related love stories in general is that we're still very much living through it, and the Freeform miniseries offers insufferably surface-level characters and cliche quarantine anecdotes as a result. </p><p>The series is also only four episodes long, making for a story that lacks the depth that is required when discussing relationships during a pandemic. The concept of a series filmed in quarantine is cool, but I found myself far more invested in the <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/27/entertainment/love-in-the-time-of-corona-episode-2/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">behind the scenes camera robots</a> than I am in these weak caricatures.</p>
Connecting...<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2c91415b8b202a091af443cc25ffd673"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1N5xE0YojKE?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Filmed entirely through a zoom group chat, this on-the-nose ensemble comedy is insufferable from the format alone. Who asked for a show like this? </p><p>Zoom calls will forever live in infamy and have led to some of <a href="https://www.vice.com/en/article/epdgm4/new-yorker-suspends-jeffrey-toobin-for-zoom-dick-incident" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the most uncomfortable exchanges in human history</a>. In that respect, it clearly is the least appealing setting for a full-fledged sitcom. The stories exchanged are one dimensional and bland, and the jokes are monotonous. </p>
Untitled Adam McKay Project<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDc5Nzk1My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0OTE3NDQxM30.X1XgX7GWNcyx5c9yq9jhwtOcT_wKK7fzen4pHC8qgPQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="58512" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="765dfe7b3a49fc5e6b90d7251ea91c63" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Adam McKay project" /><p><em>Successions</em>' Adam McKay recently announced that he is already working on<a href="https://www.vulture.com/2020/07/adam-mckay-coronavirus-vaccine-tv-show-hbo.html" target="_blank"> a scripted drama for HBO</a> surrounding the "race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19"– a race that isn't even remotely close to over yet. The series will adapt a not even released nonfiction book, <em>The First Shot</em> by Brendan Borell, which he's said is about "the global coronavirus vaccine race" and "the companies that are risking it all to win it."</p>At a time when <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/science/2020/09/17/u-s-public-now-divided-over-whether-to-get-covid-19-vaccine/" target="_blank">many Americans aren't even comfortable with taking a vaccine</a>, this idea seems half-baked at best and almost destined to miss.
Hold Up<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="00c8ac8ec465ad5b000b347c7f2b142b"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YzCpw5N5j-A?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The most problematic COVID content to be released so far, this controversial French documentary plays into one of the leading conspiracy theories surrounding the virus: that the French government lied about COVID-19's severity in order to control the public. </p><p>The documentary interviews members of the public, as well as former health minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, who later distanced himself from the project. The film has been reviewed and <a href="http://www.lemonde.fr/les-decodeurs/article/2020/11/12/covid-19-les-contre-verites-de-hold-up-le-documentaire-a-succes-qui-pretend-devoiler-la-face-cachee-de-l-epidemie_6059526_4355770.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">debunked by fact-checkers</a>: "<em>Hold Up</em> takes the well-known inconsistencies of the global response to the virus–such as when the French government initially provided conflicting information surrounding the use of masks–and uses them to propel volatile narratives and, at times, lies."</p>
Coastal Elites<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cb61a304897766250d0eadd32aa4b005"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-PPxOYC_kgI?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><em>Coastal Elites</em> is another tone-deaf lighthearted satire. How Jay Roach snagged such an amazing cast is shocking considering how naive the final product is. Starring Bette Midler, Dan Levy, Issa Rae, Kaitlyn Dever, and Sarah Paulson, these five lifeless characters live in either New York or Los Angeles amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. </p><p>Together, they're meant to portray the various problematic shades of liberalism. The film was released a mere two weeks before the election, a stretch of time that will surely be remembered as one of the most stressful times in recent American history. </p><p>The film is satire at a time when satirizing our collective grief<a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2020/09/dangerous-naivete-hbos-coastal-elites/616315/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> borders on emotionally dismissive.</a> There are jokes made about how dumb Ivanka Trump is, about the notoriety of red MAGA hats, and about COVID. </p><p> <br>The intention of<em> Coastal Elites</em> is no doubt to "lighten the mood" and showcase how silly our division is. But released at the tensest moment in American history, telling Americans to calm down is the last thing <em>Coastal Elites</em> should have said.<br></p>
They also released the album's track list and two lyric videos.
Bon Iver is returning with their fourth studio album, i,i, to be released in August. In anticipation, they've released two singles, "Faith" and "Jelmore."
This comes on the heels of two previous releases—the sparkling, electric "Hey Ma" and the more abstract "U (Man Like)" (feat. Moses Sumney). To create i,i, Justin Vernon amassed some of music's best architects of visionary folk-pop, including features from James Blake, The National's Aaron and Bryce Dessner, Velvet Negroni, Marta Salogni, and many more.
So far, the existent singles have blended recollections of Justin Vernon's folkier "Holocene" days mixed with some of the electronic experimentation from 2016's visionary 22, A Million. True to form, though his stylistic choices have changed, Vernon continues to set himself apart from the rest with his ability to evoke specific emotions and scenes with abstract words and unconventional arrangements. In a way, he uses his voice and his lyrics as another instrument; and, like a cello or a guitar, it doesn't deliver sentences that have meaning in a literal sense but instead manages to touch on a more spiritual, universal plane.
Whereas these emotions were almost always fraught in his earlier compositions—from For Emma, Forever Ago's desperate gloom to 22, A Million's panicked ecstasy—"Faith" is all about joy. It's a pure-hearted, gleaming tune that brushes close to pop in its glossy cohesiveness. Beginning with a synth that sounds like sunlight streaming through a window in the morning, it crescendos into waves of droning bass and delicate guitar. "We have to know that faith declines," sings Vernon over a choir of angelic backing vocals. "I'm not all out of mine."
Bon Iver - Faith - Official Lyric Video www.youtube.com
"Jelmore," on the other hand, is a starkly pessimistic song that directly contrasts "Faith." Over a disorienting loop of woodwinds, Vernon delivers a clear warning about climate change. "We'll all be gone by the falling light," he says. "How long / will you disregard the heat?" Just like any climate report, it's somewhat difficult to listen to, with its offhand mentions of gas masks and general feelings of abandonment and because the message it delivers is almost too blindingly disconcerting to look at full-on.
Bon Iver - Jelmore - Official Lyric Video www.youtube.com
These two songs, with their opposing perspectives, present the spectrum of the modern human experience, in all its euphoria and pain. That may be the purpose of i,i: So far, it seems to be about universal experiences and connection to something much greater than oneself, be it God or the suffering planet or both.
The album's tracklist is below:
05. 'Hey, Ma'
06. 'U (Man Like)'
Judging by these song names, it seems that Vernon is continuing along the religious themes he began to traverse in 22, A Million—only this time, perhaps in a less hectic way. Whereas that album was all about mashing abstract sounds and disparate symbolism into chaotic, collage-like hymns, it seems that i,i will be slower and more meditative, more of a brew than a zombie-like patchwork.
A press release for the album explained that, actually, i,i represents the completion of a cycle of seasons, which is perhaps the source of its more reflective qualities. "From the winter of For Emma, Forever Ago came the frenetic spring of Bon Iver, Bon Iver, and the unhinged summer of 22, A Million. Now, fall arrives early with i,i," the release read.
Though it may represent the conclusion of a calendar year, i,i also seems to represent a new chapter of Vernon's understanding of life. If 22, A Million saw God through a kaleidoscope, i,i seems set on removing all blinders and lenses and looking over the big picture, as if from above. Vernon also affirmed this in an interview. "It feels like when you get through all this life, when the sun starts to set, and what happens is you start gaining perspective," he said. "And then you can put that perspective into more honest, generous work."
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