Happy November! Can you believe that 2019 will end in less than 60 days! This year has gone by so quick! Speaking of 2019, have you checked out the latest episodes of the Netflix show Black Mirror? One of my co-actors in a play production that I am involved in told me about the show. Since then, I have been hooked on it! I watched the majority of episodes in the span of two weeks.
Have you seen the show? What is your favorite episode? My favorite is Season 3’s “Nosedive”. It kind of gave me a fright because of the premise of how a social media-like rating system could affect our lives. Wouldn’t it be scary for people to rate your every action and saying just instantly like social media? Another favorite is “Shut Up and Dance” from the same season. I love the suspense in that one!
Inside the Black Mirror: “Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too”
Today’s battle is inspired by the recent Black Mirror episode “Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too”. Now, this hasn’t been everyone’s favorite episode in the series. Most of the critics disapprove of the episode with a 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Most of the arguments on why this episode fell flat are like the critique from The Verge‘s Adi Robertson: “After a promising start, its story becomes simultaneously overstuffed and underdeveloped.”
Even though many have not liked “Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too”, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Like Matt Miller from Esquire Magazine, I feel like this episode comes full circle with Miley Cyrus’ career. The musician’s first singing/acting gig was Hannah Montana on The Disney Channel. My sister, though she won’t admit it now, was a big fan of Hannah Montana as she had the merchandise, watch the show religiously, and even saw the movie.
The character of Hannah Montana was appealing to my sister’s age range as she was inspirational and appealing with her kid-friendly humor and content. Ashley O and Hannah Montana have so much in common in terms of fanbase and music. But also, their artist being controlled by another person: Ashley O was controlled by her aunt and Hannah Montana was controlled by the writers and producers with The Disney Channel.
Gradually, Miley Cyrus transformed from the wholesome character of Hannah Montana into the musician she has become today. Although I was initially shocked by the transformation, I eventually embraced Cyrus’ transformation. I, as a creative person too, looked at Cyrus’ changing musical and artistic directions as something she wants to express wholeheartedly. Although I don’t listen to former Disney star’s latest releases, I support whatever she releases because its something that makes her happy.
I won’t go into the whole plot of “Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too” as I encourage you to watch it on Netflix (or, if you don’t have the internet streaming site, you could just read the summary here). Like Miley Cyrus breaking free from her Hannah Montana persona to create the music she wants to create, Ashley O gets that same freedom. However, Ashley O’s journey in how she gets there is unusual as it involves AIs, holograms, power control, and an unusual hero. Watch the episode to find out!
Battle of the Songs: Stepping Into the Black Mirror
Two songs that were featured in the Black Mirror episode “Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too” were “On A Roll” and “Right Where It Belongs”. These two songs are happier, positive remixes of Nine Inch Nails’ tunes “Head Like a Hole” and “Right Where I Belong”. Series creator Charlie Brooker re-wrote the two tunes for the episode and sent them to Trent Rezor, the frontman of the band, for his approval. Rezor approved of the remixes. He even thought the episode itself was funny.
The two songs that are up for this battle is “Head Like a Hole” and it’s happier version “On a Roll”. Which will win? Listen and vote!
Nine Inch Nails’ “Head Like A Hole”
When I first listened to “Head Like a Hole”, I didn’t really believe it was a Nine Inch Nails song. My understanding of Nine Inch Nails is more like “We’re In This Together” where the instrumentation and vocals are gritty and distorted in a lower range. Songs from the Nine Inch Nails discography, to my understanding, are supposed to be like 90s punk or thrash metal.
But when I listen to “Head Like a Hole”, I hear elements of dance music. You can hear it in the main synthesizer holding up the melody throughout the song. The song is labeled as industrial dance-rock as it mixes the elements of dance and thrash metal together. You can hear the thrash metal in the chorus when Rezor screams the lyrics. But, it is still weird to hear thrash metal mixed with dance music? Maybe it just with me when my ideal thrash metal tune is System Of A Down’s “B.Y.O.B.”
I like Miley Cyrus’ version better as it features more of a metal edge. She covered it at the end of the Black Mirror episode where Ashley O got to finally perform the music she always wanted to perform. Instead of being the pop sensation Asley O, the character became the metal trashing Ashley Fuckin` O.
By the way, the Nine Inch Nails were nominated for induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Fans can vote up to five artists a day to see their favorite artists in the 2020 class. You can vote here.
Ashley O (aka Miley Cyrus) – “On a Roll”
Now onto the happier version of “Head Like a Hole”. This song was remixed into a typical EDM pop song from this decade. It is filled with the electronica melodies, the drum kits bringing in the chorus, and the vocal samples. And of course, Miley Cyrus’ vocals add a nice texture to the song. They are also fit nicely with the electronica instrumentation.
I can admit that I am in love with “On a Roll”. For one week, I played this song over and over on Spotify. I don’t know why. Maybe because I love the inspirational lyrics. Or, the fact that I learned the word “verve” from it. Or, maybe because I love the pop sound. Whatever the reason may be, “On a Roll” is a great tune to listen for inspiration.
(By the way, Miley Cyrus dressed up as Ashley O for Halloween a couple of days ago.)
Who Will It Be?
Now it is your turn to vote! Who will be the victor? Tell me in the comments below! I can’t wait to hear what you guys think!
I am also part of the “Battle of the Bands” blog collection. After you vote, please visit the other battles:
🌞 Visit TOSSING IT OUT by clicking HERE.
🌞 Visit MIKE’S RAMBLINGS’by clicking HERE.
🌞 Visit CURIOUS AS A CATHY by clicking HERE.
🌞 Visit THE SOUND OF ONE HAND TYPING by clicking HERE
🌞 Visit JINGLE JANGLE JUNGLE by clicking HERE.
🌞 Visit ANGELS BARK by clicking HERE.
🌞 Visit THE DOGLADY’S DEN by clicking HERE.
🌞 Visit CHERDO ON THE FLIPSIDE by clicking HERE.
🌞 Visit STMoC PRESENTS BATTLE OF THE BANDS by clicking HERE.
The Results of the Last Battle of the Songs
Before you leave, check out the results of the last Battle of the Songs: 2 Classic Halloween Hits for This Upbeat Monster of a Battle.
The winner is…
Bobby Pickett’s “Monster Mash”
Here are the results, for anyone who is curious:
 Robertson, Adi. “In ‘Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too,” Black Mirror Does Teen Comedy.” The Verge, The Verge, 7 June 2019, https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/7/18653290/black-mirror-review-season-5-rachel-jack-ashley-netflix-charlie-brooker-miley-cyrus.