Sunday, 31 December 2017

“Of the Year” 2017

Album of the Year:

Brick Body Kids Still Daydream by Open Mike Eagle

There were so very many great albums released this year, and I must apologize to all my other friends who came out with some really amazing work in 2017. But this album just eclipses them all.

A few years ago Mike released Dark Comedy, an hilarious album tinged with anger and darkness. Well, Brick Body Kids Still Daydream is kind of the opposite; it’s a dark and angry album tinged with hilarity. And it is SO SO GOOD. A concept album about the now-destroyed Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago where Mike (and earlier, Mr. T) spent some of his youth, BBKSD is a stark exploration of some very big injustices. It’s also at times extraordinarily beautiful. Just listen to “Daydreaming in the Projects” here:

Also listen to the sun-drenched, wistful nostalgia that gushes out of the just lovely “95 Radios” here:

I don’t want to make this album sound like a complete drag; Mike is still as geeky as ever, and there is some genuine hilarity like in “No Selling (Uncle Butch Pretending it Don’t Hurt),” in which very funny braggadocio serves to illustrate both the toxic environment that induces men to act tough and unfeeling as well as the toxicity of such behavior itself.

Man, this album is smart. The best album of 2017 by leaps and bounds. Also, very funny:

Movie of the Year:

Wonder Woman

I saw shockingly few movies in 2017, far fewer than I actually wanted to see, and almost all of those were somehow under the Disney banner. All except for Wonder Woman. We’ve been getting big-budget Superman movies since the 1970s. Batman movies since the 1980s. X-Men and Spider-Man movies since the early 2000s. But it took until 2017 for Wonder Woman to finally get her own movie. And, oh my, is it goooooooood. I don’t know if I can honestly say it was worth the wait, but thank goodness this production fell into the hands of people who did right by it. Gal Gadot is endlessly entertaining as the main character, and even though the third-act climax kinda devolves into a big CGI power-vs-power mess, Wonder Woman at its heart is a story about being a decent, loving human being (or goddess, as the case may be) in an indecent, hateful world.

TV Show of the Year:

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wins by being one of only two TV shows that I actually watch anymore (even though I stream it later on Hulu), and the only one that actually airs on a regular schedule and has, y’know, actual seasons. In the shadows of the Marvel movies, this TV show has been churning out some of the most entertaining and comic-booky live-action adventures out there. The show went really gung-ho in its 4th season, with a trio of interconnected story arcs that delved into Ghost Rider and the Darkhold, Life Model Decoy androids, and a stint in a Matrix-style alternate computer reality. And now in the 5th season the cast has been flung into space… and the future! It’s great seeing these characters whom we’ve come to know and love get thrown into all manner of insanity and still keep their wits about them (upon learning that they’d been transported to outer space one character simply grunts, “Space, huh? Makes sense; we’ve done everything else”).

Streaming Show of the Year:

Stranger Things 2

Stranger Things 2 is to Stranger Things as Aliens is to Alien. Sometimes in some very direct ways. It takes the original concept and expands upon it mightily without losing the fan-frikkin-tastic characterizations that you came to love in the first season. Plus, Paul Reiser is in it as a very sketchy and somewhat smarmy individual! A loving tribute to both Steven King and Stephen Spielberg, with plenty of callbacks and references to them both. Also Aliens.

Video Game of the Year:

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

I mean, come on. This is the game of the year. It’s so good. Just take a look at this:

Daaaaaaaaaaaang.

Daaaaaaaaaaaang.

Categories: Featured Posts, Of the Month, Round-up.

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