Music Monday: The Birdman’s Cacophonous Legacy

I never watch the industry award shows. Can’t remember the last time I caught the Grammys, Oscars, Emmys, etc.; guessing it was sometime in the late 1990s. In general, I think the ceremonies are a load of self-congratulatory, time-wasting bullshit, while the award process is subjective, at best. It’s a big popularity contest for people who tend to already be popular enough, thanks.

That’s why when I woke up this morning and saw that Birdman had won four Oscars, I was quite surprised to find I was excited. I watched the movie on Friday night, and loved it – especially the bizarre, jarring soundtrack composed of mostly jazz drumming. As I scanned through the list of Oscar winners, I found myself rooting for the Birdman soundtrack (created by Grammy-award winning jazz drummer Antonio Sanchez) to have scooped up one of those stupid little gold men. Sadly, it was not to be.

In fact, as it turns out, the Oscars disqualified Sanchez’s score for Birdman for understated sampling of other people’s music. Despite the fact that the drumming completely dominates the score, rendering the samples nearly invisible, this was enough to get the score thrown out of the competition. Luckily, it’s still up for a Golden Globe, so 2015 might be the year that I genuinely care about two award ceremonies – imagine that!

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, the soundtrack is, well, different. You can read all about it online, or give it a listen here, but if I were you, I’d hold off until you’ve seen the film and can understand the music’s extreme importance to the pacing and subject matter of the film. But don’t listen to me. After all, a thing is a thing, not what is said of that thing.