The Kansas City Royals were throttled by the Oakland Athletics for eight innings. In the bottom of the ninth, down by 14 runs, the Royals made things interesting by scoring five runs with a pair of firsts for their players. Ultimately, though, it wasn't enough, which is sort of how this whole season has gone. Oakland officially completed the sweep of the Royals with their fourth straight victory in the four-game series and unofficially defenestrated the Royals' postseason chances.
Though the game ended 14-5, that number was a misnomer--the game was never, ever, close. Oakland hopped out to a big lead by the third inning and extended it by the fourth, as they tagged Edinson Volquez for nine runs. Chris Young and Brooks Pounders gave up another 5 in a mere 2.1 combined innings.
Ned Yost waved his white flag, putting in the reserves midway through the game. The reserves did as well as the starters did (read: not well) until the ninth inning, which was quite fun. Hunter Dozier knocked his first big league hit, a screaming line drive double that was a few feet away from a home run. Christian Colon swatted a low pitch to the left field seats for his first home run in his 322nd career plate appearance.
Unfortunately, Terrance Gore did not grab his first hit, instead grounding out to end the game. The Royals were outscored an insane 43-12 in the series. With the White Sox in town, they are in danger of dropping to fourth place in the division. And the playoffs? Yeah, you can forget about that. Should the Toronto Blue Jays win tonight, Kansas City will be six games back with 16 to play, and also need to leapfrog five teams in the process. Not gonna happen.
In the spirit of the Royals' ten game losing streak in which I wrote about Franz Liszt, I figured I would also lighten the mood a little here. Enjoy a few thoughts about film music.
You've probably seen a Marvel movie. Everybody has seen a Marvel movie - the Marvel Cinematic Universe has grossed more money than any other series ever. That includes James Bond's two dozen movies, and seven Star Wars films, and eight Harry Potter films.
But go ahead and hum a music theme from any of the movies. Just one. If you have the one, maybe hum a second one.
You probably didn't think of anything. You probably could think of something for Bond, Star Wars, and Potter, though. But why? That's the premise of Every Frame a Painting's newest video:
It's a great video essay, and I suggest you watch it. Tony Zhou, Every Frame a Painting's creator, argues that Marvel directors' addiction to temp tracks and fear of making daring design choices as the primary reasons why the music is merely serviceable (temp tracks, for the unaware, are temporary pieces of music used before the score is created).
There are some other, and I would argue more important, reasons as well. One of these is the discombobulated nature of the composer choice. Of the so-called 'Phase One,' Marvel produced six movies: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, and The Avengers. Marvel used five different composers for that group, with Alan Silvestri's Avenger's score as the only repeat (and that score is probably the best one). In Phase Two, Marvel released another six movies; the titles were Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Ant-Man. Again, only one composer wrote the music for more than one film, Brian Tyler, who wrote Iron Man 3, Thor 2, and co-wrote Avengers 2 with Danny Elfman.
The other one is the most important: Marvel has rejected the leitmotif. A term coined by German operatic composer Richard Wagner, a leitmotif is a short melody or group of chords that identify a character, place, or idea. It's part of why you can remember John Williams' themes--you identify them with items in the movie; those pieces not only evoke a feeling, but suggest something in the world.
With the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they had the perfect place to create a lush, interwoven musical universe as well. And Marvel just hasn't. It would be hard, sure, but making movies is hard. And that's part of why the Marvel movies will never be truly great. All the great worlds have their own soundscape in addition to their own visual style. By rejecting the opportunity to create their own soundscape, Marvel has willingly declined to truly attempt great art.