What Happened, Miss Simone? Behind the Music with Nina Simone

WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE?

DIRECTED BY: Liz Garbus

STARRING: Contained Simone’s family and friends (mostly in archived footage)

GENRE: Documentary

YEAR: 2015

COUNTRY: United States

On stage Nina Simone was known for her utterly free, uninhibited musical expression, which enthralled audiences and attracted life-long fans. But amid the violent, haunting, and senseless day-to-day of the civil rights era in 1960s America, Simone struggled to reconcile her artistic identity and ambition with her devotion to a movement. Culled from hours of autobiographical tapes, this new film unveils the unmitigated ego of a brilliant artist and the absurdities of her time. At the height of her fame Simone walked away from her family, country, career and fans, to move to Liberia and give up performing. The story of her life leading up to that event poses the question, ‘how does royalty stomp around in the mud and still walk with grace?’

What Happened, Miss Simone has been sitting in my Netflix queue since release and I finally decided to make my way around to watching it. I actually don’t know much about Nina Simone, just that she is incredibly iconic in the world of music. For example, prior to this documentary and article, the only song I knew of hers was “Sinnerman” and that was only from that piss-poor of a film Cellular. While Miss Simone took the more traditional documentary route with family and friends portraying themselves, the film felt more personal than most documentaries on Netflix. What I enjoyed is that they covered Nina Simone’s major role in African-American activism, even if it made me uncomfortable.

So, the biggest issue I had with the documentary is that I just wasn’t overly into it. It’s a shame, I know. I’m just not extremely interested in the life of Nina Simone. This unfortunately put me into the wrong mind set going into the film, and it made me more uncomfortable than anything. Simone was rather critical and radical against the “white devil” and this made me want to shut it off. I didn’t, but damn do white people have such a negative stigma.

PROS:

  • Traditional documentary style.
  • Felt personal.
  • Fantastic score.

CONS:

  • Be ready to be uncomfortable.
  • Racial vibes are high.

SCORE: 6.5 / 10

If you have any suggestions for films/TV/Games/Music/Anime for me to review, drop me a comment!

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New Music Monday: RUNAGROUND Releases New Track “Can’t Afford It”

Morning everyone! This Monday morning we can start off your work week with the latest from electronic artist RUNAGROUND. Coming off of his last release “Chase You Down” from just a few months earlier, RUNAGROUND decided to bring us yet another groovy and melodic  track to push us up and dancing. It will be hard for RUNAGROUND to duplicate the success he received with “Chase You Down”, as the track reached number four on “Billboard’s Dance Radio” charts. RUNAGROUND has received massive support from big names in the industry, including the likes of Moby.

Now that you have a little background, we could follow on with “Can’t Afford It”. The track begins some casual classical/jazz fusion beats that definitely set the groovy tone for the entirety of the song. RUNAGROUND’s soothing yet melodic vocals quickly chime in after, producing a clean first half. However, even RUNAGROUND can’t keep it clean for the whole song. It becomes chaotic in the second half, showcasing RUNAGROUND’s style to the world. You don’t have to take our word for it though.

Make sure you listen to “Can’t Afford It” on Soundcloud below:

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NEW SINGLE: Notaker Releases “Born in the Flames” Over On Armada

Here at Media in Review, we like to welcome back artists as they continue to grow and flourish. This week we have Notaker, who played us like a fiddle with “Shimmer” early last month. Notaker has since continued to push out quality tracks like his latest release “Born in the Flames”. Notaker has been rather busy and is quickly being noticed, as this track is being released with Armada Captivating. Fantastic record label, but it just keeps being better. Notaker’s style, reminiscence of superstars such as Deadmau5 and Hans Zimmer, will be nailed his next release over on mau5trap. 2017 sure has been Notaker’s year and it won’t be calming down anytime soon.

Since this is Notaker’s second time over here on MiR, I just have to give his latest track the comb through. Upon first listen “Born in the Flames” gives off two very distinct vibes. One is essentially a modern war cry, that I could easily blast to pump me up for the next attack. “Born in the Flames” also feels like it belongs in a dark film score, reminding me of scores by Trent Reznor  & Atticus Ross. Notaker continues to impress us with his atmospheric electronic style that will whip us into a frenzy at any given moment.

Be sure to give “Born in the Flames” a listen here:

Need more Notaker? Follow on social media below:

If you have any suggestions for films/TV/Games/Music/Anime for me to review, drop me a comment!

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All check out my lengthier video game reviews over at Nerd Bacon Games.