The one criticism I've always had against ESPN Films has been their lack of documentaries about the Chicago Bulls. There was Jordan Rides the Bus, which is excellent, but that's such a weird footnote in Jordan history. Obviously not everyone cares about the Bulls. Duh. But, fan or not, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were cultural titans during their perfect six-for-six championship run. They're the only NBA franchise to own a decade. How could ESPN neglect our airness like by not gifting the world a documentary about his career?
Well, the answer is, because Michael and the Bulls' story can't be condensed into one documentary. It needs a 10-part-mega-docu-series-extravoganzia! To pull it off effectively, it requires a Herculean coordination effort to sit every willing/living participant and recount the cultural and historic impact the '90s Bulls made on this planet. So I guess I can forgive ESPN since that is a ton of work and deserves the necessary effort to accomplish a project of such significance.
Today ESPN Films and Netflix announced a joint production called "The Last Dance" that will debut in 2019.
ESPN Films and Netflix today announced a joint production “The Last Dance,” a 10-part documentary series that will chronicle one of the greatest icons and most successful dynasties in sports history, Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls. Directed by Jason Hehir (“The Fab Five,” “The ’85 Bears,” “Andre the Giant”) and produced by Mike Tollin, the anthology will examine the simultaneous rise of Jordan and the NBA during those years.
This is monumental. My guess is The Last Dance will become the must-binge series when it airs next year. What I'm most excited for is the promise of never-before-seen footage. That's usually marketing code for content that was never all that interesting to air originally. However, I find it hard to believe that within all of this unseen footage, there won't be a moment where we suddenly see Michael in a lens we're not used to.
There's often a verbal asterisk when discussing Michael. The "yeah but" of the conversation circles around the fact that social media didn't exist during his championship runs. What was Michael like with the pressure of winning a sixth NBA title in his final season on the Bulls? Were the wildly dramatic storylines of today's NBA around in the '90s or is the Durant vs. Westbrook tension a product of today's Twitter environment? Will this documentary series forever change the way we compare Jordan to LeBron?
Until 2019, I'll keep rewatching the trailer hoping time speeds up. I can't wait for The Last Dance.
Our queen has returned! Florence + The Machine announced their first new album in three years, High as Hope, will be released June 29.
Following recent social posts teasing that a new track called Hunger would be gracing our lives on May 3, our prayers for a new Florence album were finally answered.
I wouldn't be a true Florence fan if I didn't include a note about A Sky Full of Song. That was actually the first new Florence music since Wish That You Were Here in 2016, which I wrote about when it came out. However, A Sky Full of Song was released on April 21 for the worldwide celebration of independent record stores known as Record Store Day. The release was rather mysterious since Florence was mum about any new album details just a few weeks ago. My guess is it'll probably be a B-Side on High As Hope, but it wouldn't surprise me if she kept it as a Record Store Day exclusive to support independent shops. Our queen is a supportive majesty.
Her first confirmed High As Hope song, Hunger, is out now and oh buddy is it a banger. This is her first true single since the How Big How Blue How Beautiful album in 2015. Hunger is about young women embracing what makes them vulnerable to change how they're accepted in this world. In an interview with Annie Mac on BBC Radio 1, Florence said:
"It’s also a celebration of how much I see young people changing things, like, “No, I wanna look this way.” They’re just so switched on and engaged and they’re not gonna be told how they should look and behave. I was really lost when I was a teenager, I was really confused and sad, so I feel really inspired by the young women I see today."
What makes Hunger work so well is it's the perfect song for where Florence is in her career. Her first album, Lungs, is great because it's a balance of breezy and emotional love songs. It's what you expect of a 23-year-old. Then Florence released her second album, Ceremonials. I have made it very well known, just look at my Bumble profile, that I truly believe Ceremonials is the greatest album of all time. Period. It's not up for debate. That is the most beautifully crafted piece of art I have ever listened to.
After a four year hiatus, Florence released HBHBHB. Now, don't get me wrong, it's a fine album, but it has to be impossible writing something equal to the perfection of Ceremonials. I think HBHBHB had potential with What Kind of Man and Ship to Wreck, but ultimately the album's flow was too jarring with unexpected slower tracks that killed all momentum.
Now Florence is back three years later and if Hunger is any indication, she may finally have the proper successor to Ceremonials. Hunger has an addicting energy that was missing in HBHBHB. The song is a celebration of shedding insecurity and finding the strength to love ourselves. It's balanced with Florence's beautiful vocals, contagious tap-a-long percussion, harpy strings, and lyrical empowerment. After Lungs and Ceremonials highs and HBHBHB lows, Hunger is the appetizer to what is sure to be an incredible album.
Summer 2018 is going to be a busy one for Florence. High as Hope drops June 29 and her first book, Useless Magic: Lyrics and Poetry is expected to be released July 10. The summer of Florence is almost here! She just needs to return to Chicago because Florence live would be the perfect capstone.
I write the words I'm too uncomfortable to say.