It’s time for the obligatory Best of 2012 list. I’m going to keep it short this year, instead of naming a bunch of records that were “pretty good”, I’ll just list the ones I thought worthy of a best list. For those of you who are Spotify users, I embedded my favorite tracks from each of my favorite albums.
1: Divine Fits — A Thing Called Divine Fits
Stakes were high when the frontmen of two of my favorite bands (Spoon and Handsome Furs) decided to start a new band together, but the result did not disappoint. If you do not like this album, you and I can’t be friends anymore.
2: Tanlines — Mixed Emotions
Tracks 1-3 rival any 3 song stretch of the year for me, but with Tanlines, if you go a little too deep, you’ll quickly find yourself on a Jamaican vacation that you didn’t sign up for, thus bumping them to #2.
3: Twin Shadow — Confess
Most ‘Best Of’ lists include Chromatics Kill For Love to fulfill their “80s revival entry”, but I prefer the Twin Shadow flavor.
4: The xx — Coexist
I’m ready to admit that the sophomore effort from The xx isn’t quite as good as their debut, but it is still worthy of your time.
5: Grizzly Bear — Shields
Everyone else seems to like Grizzly Bear a little more than I do, but “Yet Again” rivals “While You Wait For The Others” for my favorite track by them. It alone gets them on this list.
1: Safety Not Guaranteed
A super-overlooked movie. I really enjoyed every aspect of it. Aubrey Plaza plays the same character she has ever played, but it works well for this movie.
The time travel logic in this movie breaks down about 15 seconds into discussing it, but it’s self-awareness that it doesn’t really make any sense gives it a pass on that. A sci-fi movie for the masses.
3: Cabin In The Woods
If you haven’t seen this, try not to find out anything about it, then Netflix it. It is a horror movie, but my wife hates horror movies and I forced her to watch it and she loved it. The way they turned the intentionally-over-the-top-generic-stoner character into the voice of reason is excellent.
4: The Dark Knight Rises
No explanation necessary really. I’m not sure whether it is possible to live up to The Dark Knight without having the Joker in the movie, but it was a fitting ending for a fantastic trilogy. Let Christopher Nolan do any movie he wants to do for the rest of his life please.
It’s good. See it. But stay for the end credits when they show the real people that the movie was based on, and enjoy a good laugh when you see how much effort they put into making every character look just like the real person until you get to the Ben Affleck character who is obviously hispanic. I guess it’s Ben’s movie, so he gets to play the star whether the guy was white or not.
Honorable Mention: Django Unchained
It isn’t out yet, so I can’t put it on my ‘Best Of’ list, but based on my love of Quentin Tarantino movies, and the fact that it has a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, I’m pretty sure I’m going to love it.
Here is my obligatory ‘Best of 2011’ post. Don’t get me wrong, I love making end-of-year lists, but I’m sure you are as sick as I am of seeing every blog on the interwebz making one. Take notice that while my music list is mostly cool/hip/whatever indie bands, I’m not afraid to throw my ongoing favorite Foo Fighters up there, uncool as it may be. Anyway, here we go…
1. Handsome Furs — Sound Kapital Another amazing album from a criminally under appreciated band.
2. Bon Iver — Bon Iver Not quite what I was hoping for, as his first album is one of my favorites of all time, but quite good nonetheless.
3. AnR — Stay Kids A pretty unknown album by a band I saw by accident. They would sound great opening for Handsome Furs.
4. Foo Fighters — Wasting Light A return to form from Dave Grohl. Probably the best album opener of the year. Seeing their secret show at the Metro the night before they headlined Lollapalooza was one of my favorite concerts of all time, and I’d already seen them 7 or 8 times before.
5. Royal Bangs — Flux Outside Another excellent effort from my favorite band that nobody has heard of (that, oddly enough, has appeared on David Letterman)
6. WATERS — Out In The Light A late discover, but a great straight-up fuzzy pop-rock record.
7. Yuck — Yuck Some people call ‘Yuck’ a Pavement rip off. I don’t really know what is wrong with that.
8. Telekinesis — 12 Desperate Straight Lines Solid simple short pop songs from Michael Benjamin Lerner’s one-man-show.
9. Neon Indian — Era Extraña I liked this a little less than their first album, but there are some solid tracks.
10. Feist — Metals Continuing the theme of ‘not as good as their last record, but still good’ is Feist. I loved her last record, but I can’t imagine that is an easy one to follow up, and this is still a very good effort.
The Beach Boys — Smile I couldn’t really include it since it was written decades ago and has mostly leaked out slowly since then, but it was the best album released this year.
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross — Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Soundtrack It is hard to fit a true movie score among standard albums, but the cover of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song featuring Karen O is fucking awesome.
I didn’t get to all the movies I would have liked to have seen this year, so I’m not really making a real list, but here are some movies that I saw that I liked, in the order in which I liked them (starting with my favorite):
Girl With The Dragon Tattoo David Fincher could probably film himself taking a dump at this point and it would be my favorite movie of the year. He is just that good.
Misson Impossible: Ghost Protocol I hate Tom Cruise so much that I would love nothing more than for his movies to be terrible and make no money (Knight and Day?), but I have to admit I loved this movie. It’s just an awesome action movie, and wasn’t trying to be anything more than that.
Young Adult If you didn’t like Juno, you probably won’t like this. But I enjoy how real it is, and everybody can relate to knowing someone like the main character, and can take some hard-to-admit joy in seeing her so miserable.
Moneyball Best picture? No. But for a movie taken from a book about baseball statistics, it is pretty good.
Cedar Rapids It’s a comedy, and it’s funny. That is all.