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“Glory” Wins Oscar Because They Had To Give “Selma” Something

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Common And John Legend, 2015

Look, John Legend is to Stevie Wonder what Diana Krall is to Nat King Cole, if not worse. he is like an Alicia Keyes sleeper monster and while a charming live performer, his songwriting skills are negligible.

As for Common, his first four album albums were pretty good but after that, not so much. His problem was what we consider the Maya Angelou problem, he began to see himself as a descendant of the great poet and lost his skills.

Between the two of them they produced a very very bad song on nearly every level. Over dramatic, it hard sells what should be easily performed, it has all the build up of a 007 track (those strings are like your nerves being tweaked and twitched) , the two men seem sincere but they don’t sound sincere and the actual song isn’t there. It is just chord progressing.  The strings sound like John Barry playing incidental music and if that is bad, why is Common not following Legend’s lead and rapping about Selma? If Legend is waiting for “Glory” the song is in place in the past but Common is rapping from the present.

Common’s rapping isn’t good either. The man had a moment when he could’ve been a great rapper around the turn of the century and passed on it. Here is nauseatingly self righteous.

I have as many problems with the duo acceptance of the Oscar speech as I did about Marlon Brando’s much braver refusal to accept an Oscar to condemn the US treatment of Native Americans. Legend said: “We know that right now the struggle for freedom and justice is real. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850.”

Common said this about the bridge in Selma marched across: “This bridge was once a landmark of a divided nation but now is the symbol for change. The spirit of this bridge transcends race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and social status. The spirit of this bridge connects the kid from the South Side of Chicago dreaming of a better life to those in France standing up for their freedom of expression, to the people in Hong Kong protesting for democracy.”

No problems there, right?  So if they give awards for acceptance speeches good for them, if they give it for songs “Glory” stinks. The entire song is just bad. It isn’t there. And it won the Oscar because the Academy are scared of Al Sharpton.

Grade: D

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