Best Songs of 2012

Hello! It’s early 2013 which means lots of best of lists. The master post, with lots of excuses, can be found here

Songs! This is a list of songs I really liked this year, mostly singles or songs that I knew about individually, rather than on full albums. Albums are albums songs are songs, yknow? Or something. Anyway these are fifteen songs that I fucking loved from this year and that I thought you might want to know about. All mp3s available upon request!

1. TNGHT – “Higher Ground”

The first time I listened to this I was like, okay, and then the second time I listened to it I was like “this is incredible, those horns, that BASS” and I have not been able to stop listening to it since, it is an addiction. This thing is a MONSTER.

2. Jessie Ware – “Wildest Moments”

More Jessie Ware all the time forever. This is this year’s best example of what Steph and I call “floazy” music, those big epic songs that sound like the have entire weather patterns in their backing tracks. This one is huge and big but also emotional and sad and incredibly happy but also incredibly heartbreaking, and I just want to live in it.

3. Kid Cudi – “Pursuit of Happiness” (Steve Aoki remix)

“Pursuit of Happiness” is a pretty good song. This remix is the BEST song. When the drums break and the synths come in and he put crowd noises in the synths and it just hits right like that, you can be sitting on your couch in pajamas and part of the biggest party in the world. Play this at your next party, play this in the car as the sun is rising, play this when you want to feel happy to be in the world.

4. Usher – “Climax”

This song just…has everything I like. Shivery synths, big keening vocals, that sort of creepy sort of dancey back beat, a nice spare production that suddenly crescendoes and pours over you. It is a song made of perfect, perfect parts, topped off by Usher maybe doing the best song of his career. It has everything I like, but also everyone likes this.

5. Icona Pop – “I Love It” (Feat. Charli XCX)

Starts hard and doesn’t stop. You want to yell along every single word, while jumping up and down and also screaming out of a car window. I DON’T CARE I LOVE IT.

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Best Movies of 2012

Hello! It’s early 2013 which means lots of best of lists. The master post, with lots of excuses, can be found here

One disclaimer here first -I haven’t seen Argo. I know, I know! Iim sorry! It just, somehow slipped through my fingers and now its barely in theaters and I missed it. I’m sure it was great. I’m sure I will see it, and love it. But it’s not on this list.

It was a good year! I saw less movies than in years past, but I also saw fewer shit movies than I had in years past, so I would say this is a positive development! For me, the movies that come first on the list are the ones that were the most fun, that filled me with the most joy, pure and simple, where being at the theater was just an experience of awe and delight. This year, many of those movies were big tentpole franchisey things, those usually derided. Which, again, I think is a positive development!

1. The Avengers
Where's Tony?

Guys, I just loved this movie. I mean, we all did. It made so much money. It sparked so many tumblrs and fandom and internet insanity. Everyone loved this movie. This movie was just so … lovable. There was so much to love: multiple lovable characters. Big action set pieces. Jokes! Friendship and love, conflict and resolution (in multiple senses of the word), big personalities rubbing against each other, ruthless efficiency and wild chaos. And, yknow, Tom Hiddleston. It was a movie that had everything; it was a movie that gave you what you wanted, and then gave you more and more and more. It was fun and fundamentally  it was generous. Why be stingy with joy and pleasure? Why not pile more and more of it on top of itself until it’s 3 hours of laughter and fun and things exploding, unwieldy and threatening to collapse, at which point we’d just laugh and watch it again.

2. Skyfall

Admittedly, I am biased, because I have always loved James Bond. But Skyfall was such good Bond. Again, it was not stingy with it’s pleasures – we got Silva AND Q AND Eve, not to mention James himself, all quips and a solid face of muscle and those haunted eyes. And there was a scene in a glowing glass building, and on an abandoned island, and on boats and in planes and that killer car chase and then the final set piece (all three or four of them), and now here we are, set up for a whole new century of fantastic Bond movies, forever and ever, formulaic and expected and put together like clockwork, like a shiny car or a well-made watch, clicking smoothly into the future.

3. Cabin in the Woods

Hey kids, do you like violence? How about jokes? Surprises? Archetypes upended, meta-commentary on tropes and media references? How about apocalypses, mythology, bureaucracy, and the comic stylings of Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins? Also did I mention the jokes, and the sheer uproarious joy of having everything pulled out from under you exactly the way you expected it to? I won’t say any more, but this movie is best watched laughing and yelling with as many people as you can.

4. Magic Mike

A movie about Channing Tatum’s stripper days, directed by Steven Soderbergh. There was no way this could live up to its possibilities, and then it did. Funny and sad, gorgeous and also heartbreaking, with a real story as well as it’s incredible moments. Also if we were doing a “Best Two Minutes on Movie Screens of 2012,” the above wins IN A LANDSLIDE.

5. Zero Dark Thirty

I feel sort of similarly about this movie as I did about Hurt Locker – I watched it admiringly, noting how well made it was, how careful every detail was, every shot, every action, every actor, every moment. And yet. I haven’t thought about it since I saw it a few weeks ago. But it’s still a very good movie! If fairly fascistic, but that’s neither here nor there. Number 5. Let’s move on.

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End of the year

Hey! 2012 is over! It was pretty good, right? There were a lot of movies, music, television, books, articles, exciting things to see and watch and listen to. And now that the year is over, I am reading the lists of all those things and actually reading listening and watching them! So I can spend the year 2013 catching up on all the fantastic things that came out in 2012, as I am always, always behind. Which means it almost seems silly to do this now, when I will spend the entire month of January, and beyond, catching up on the good things 2012 had to offer, so really ask me in 6 months what the best things of 2012 were? Nonetheless, it’s six days into the new year, so, here we go:

Best Movies of 2012

Best Albums of 2012

Best Songs of 2012 

Best Articles of 2012 (available on my other blog, the one about good magazine articles!)

Best Books of 2012 – Um, I’m working on reading more, really I am. Right now I can tell you that Fault in Our Stars, which actually came out in 2012, is the best sad book I have ever read and also saddest best book. Also, if you like graphic novels, Unwritten and Saga are currently killing it.

Best Television of 2012 – Just watch Sherlock already.

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Can’t start, won’t stop

I’m sitting here on a Wednesday night filled with indecision. I am not in the middle of anything – show, book, movie, fandom, whatever. I could start anything new – anything! There’s so much I’ve been meaning to watch and read and start and I could do any of it!

And yet here I am, watching Abed be Don Draper for the millionth time on the livestream, interspersed with a few glances at First Doctor (so old!).

Image

 

Recently I’ve realized how hard it is for me to start something new. Really hard! It takes me a long time to warm up to a new world, a new universe, a new fictional plane of existence. I am always judging first episodes, first chapters, first books as being only okay, or not that engaging, or, and this is the most common, “pleasant, but not really a pull, yknow?” But that is because it’s the first episode, and I never like things until they’ve dug their hooks into me, until I’ve found and understood and fleshed out a new world. Game of Thrones the book, with its genealogies and maps and endless explanations of place and custom and world, over Game of Thrones the show and it’s boobs (although, boobs). It takes me a while to live in a place.

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And once I’m there, I want to stay there. I’m a rewatcher, a rereader, a fanfiction dabbler (and occasionally addict). I have a lot of fictional inertia, is what I’m saying. It requires a lot of energy to get me into things, to get over that hump, and then I coast in it, forever and ever and buy the water bottles and watch the livestreams and the gifs and the quotes and the references, forever and ever. 

But for real, starting Nashville, tonight. As soon as I finish this chapter in my 8th reread of Thief of Time.

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Maybe the problem is you

So you like “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Who doesn’t! Hella catchy, that one. Good to dance/scream along to. But maybe you’ve gotten tired of WANEGBT. It’s pretty over produced, isn’t it, and a little grating. Luckily, you’re friendly blogger has listened all the way through Maybe The Problem Is You, Taylor Red and I bring you:

All the songs on Red that are good, because they sound like “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”:

Red

22 (oof)

I Knew You Were Trouble

and, slightly different, Stay Stay Stay

There you go! That’s it. Now you don’t have to wade through the whole long album, and it is long, and full of songs like “Sad Beautiful Tragic,” no really that is the name of a song. Enjoy!

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Love streaming

I have becomes totally obsessed with livestreams of TV shows.

Not a great ep, though.

Example.

There exists sites to stream things, live. Some GENIUSES decided the best things to do this with are…TV shows. Whole series, running in loop, 24/7, and then repeating. The first one I heard about was Adventure Time (duh) but now there are tons. I have Doctor Who and CommunityTWO Community streams, actually, slightly off from each other so they are always playing different episodes – open in my browser for the past week, with the sound off, just playing underneath everything I do.

This is the "classic Who" part

For instance, right now.

Now, on the surface this is actaully not helpful at all. It’s like watchign your favorite shows – all of which are available on the internet , anyway – but you can’t pause or go forward or back, and you can’t choose what you watch. It just keeps going, always. The episode ends and the next one starts, the series ends and then starts over from the beginning. Which is what I love about it. It’s like the show becomes something endless and inexorable, always spinning, always on, even when you’re not watching, even as the world sleeps. Like the ocean, it keeps going.

and more meta

Like this, but with more snappy comebacks

It’s also wonderful to watch it move, and like, change, over time. This makes the Doctor Who funner, in a sense. Community is only 3 seasons of half hour episodes, it takes about 22 hours to go through the whole thing, so it’s just constantly repeating, showing the scenes I saw a few hours ago, again. Doctor Who takes 3 days, and you can watch it move from Nine to Ten to Eleven, cycle through companions, get brighter and shinier and then darker again.

It’s this sense of motion that I love, and it’s the reason that the James Bond feed isn’t quite as perfect. I was so excited when I first found it! So perfect! 2 days for all the movies, give or take. Constantly changing. But….it is James Bond movies, but not in order. They put on what they feel like. Which is still fun! But without the sense of moving forward, of watching Connery to Moore to Craig…well, it loses, something.

I love livestreams like I love plate tectonics. Something inexorable.

Especially Daniel Craig

You can watch them…not grow!

I spent a train ride calculating how long it would take to loop thru the other things I want there to be livestreams of (that is how much I love this):

Arrested Development: 20 hours (so far!). Less than a day, looping through, letting you pick up all the references that much quicker.

30 Rock: Two days. Two DAYS of 30 Rock oh god it would be great. You can watch everyone’s hair change, and Liz’s various boyfriends flicker through, and there would just be so. many. jokes. Two days!

Sherlock is only 9 hours, total, so despite how much I would watch that livestream it is probably not quite worth it. Firefly, even with Serenity, is still only 10 hours too. Nonetheless, think of how much this would get watched.

Buffy: 4.5 days. Days of vampires turning to dust and Willow’s hair and the cycle of villains and oh god WHY DOESN’T THIS EXIST ALREADY??

Make it happen, internet.

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Completist

Jim and I have been watching Doctor Who, which is great.

Also space battles!

Floppy cute British boys running around solving mysteries and saving the day, what’s not to like?

We’ve been watching New Who, I should say, the revival, the one that started in 2005 and has been traipsing around since then with it’s fancy production values, casting British heartthrobs and becoming a phenomenon and being silly but also, you know, totally heartbreaking. The best description, actually, of the combination of silliness and heartwrenching, is from Glen Wheldon, who described how goofy and wacky it is and that, also, sometimes it makes you want to lock your heart away in a box. To keep it from getting hurt again, I mean.

Everyone involved here is so sad.
Heart in a box!

It is totally acceptable to only watch the revival. Expected, even. Doctor Who was on for 26 seasons before it went away (and came back). That’s ages! 789 episodes, some of which don’t even like, exist in the watchable world anymore. And then there are radio dramas and novelizations and comic books and like, who even knows. Watching all of it…well, that’s just crazy.

And yet. I have this completist instinct, this desire to have finished a thing. It is hard for me not to start on book 1, episode 001, issue 0. And I have to finish it. I’m a bitter-ender, it’s in my nature. One of the best things about dating Jim is he is an early-dropper, and it balances me out. I stopped watching HIMYM, and I feel better for it!

It's still on, I think?

No disrespect, HIMYM! Your first three seasons are still gold!

Doctor Who, though…it’s calling up these instincts, this part of my brain that says, “Seven hundred episodes isn’t that many.” “You can totally do it. What else are the hours of your life taken up with?” I find myself on the wiki pages, looking up histories and character names and thinking hey, wouldn’t it be cool if I knew this stuff, if I had seen all the episodes that reference it and I was an expert? 

This is the same part of my brain that tells me I can’t skip episodes two and three of a 100-episode podcast, even if they are only 8 minutes long and it’s not consecutive anyway. It’s the part that says that I really must read the newest Lemony Snicket book, despite the fact that I stil lhavent read the last two of his main series. Doctor Who is so long, so intricate, so expansive and capable of going completely overboard on…it speaks to all these instincts, for better or worse.

Planet of Fire is only 100 something minutes long, you can do it whenever!

For worse, mostly. I’ve been watching one Classic Who episode for like, the past week. It is slow going. It’s like all the same things happen as in the new show, but slower, and with less whimsy. I…probably don’t need to do this. Luckily my inability to get anything done acts as a fairly firm countermeasure to wanting to do way more than I possibly can.

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