Saturday, 6 January 2018

best of 2017

well, some of them

The process of catching up on the pop-cultural events of the year prior is still undergoing, so my opinions in this are by no means definitive, and are guaranteed to change five minutes from publication. Also, I have the foresight to predict this shall be slightly end-heavy, as media released later in the year is obviously going to be more recently filed away in my brain- be aware of that skew, take this with a pinch of salt.


I was meant to be viewing this in a certifiably trendy seafront cinema on a day soon after this film's release with one of my favourite people in this world. Unfortunately- due to privatised rail companies' villainy, and the general awfulness of poorly scheduled busses- this event did not occur.  So it was not until the very end of December, months later, having painfully been exposed to the hype that only continued to build (alongside the controversy, which clearly only piqued my interest), I was able to finally see what it was all about. From the get-go, the film was getting some form respect from me due to my blatant bias towards worshipping the ground that Sufjan Stevens walks on; I had already heard his stunning musical contributions to the soundtrack, and was eager to see how they would play into the central romance. After a couple of highly emotional hours, the outcome could not have been greater. Its the kind of film that makes one appreciate the pure beauty of perfectly conveyed sensory experience, with the beauty of the heavy Italian summer draped over the gorgeous setting of earthy fabrics of the villa, serene pools, and ripe fruit, being as present in the story as the relationship between the two men. A careful exploration of first love, leading to the slowest of burns; a careful dance between our protagonists, each unsure what to make of the other, leading to an end that is inevitable from the offset, yet still holds incredible poignancy.

Is their any need whatsoever for this film to be further hyped? No.
Am I going to do so anyway? Well, evidently.
My main piece criteria in assessing most things in life can be boiled down to: well, yeah, but is it fun? In this case, Edgar Wright hits that most vital piece of criteria I am willing to forgive this movie of any and all other sins it may have. In my heart of hearts all I desire is a 'killer [sound]track' (ay), and some incredibly choreographed gun fights and car chases and I, as a human being, am truly complete and content.


2017 was a pretty zaggy year, as predicted by the brother's genii. Perhaps the biggest shocker of all was a Miss Charli XCX releasing a mixtape that succeeded in its goal (at least through my own musically uneducated eyes). Pop 2 truly is an ode to PC music, running the risk of coming across as exploitative of a musical niche, but through cleverly chosen features, and a geniune love for the genre that comes through in every track, this is not the case. Standout tracks for me include 'I Got It'- with such a list of collaborators as Brooke Candy, cupcakKe and Pabllo Vittar something magical is bound to happen, and I'm so impressed with how each artist was able to shine in their respective style, whilst still building towards a coherent song that ultimately slaps, linked by a chanting chorus by Charli herself, and an increasingly industrial, frantic instrumental. Against these angry cuts lie some true pop gems, only made more special by their burial within odd tracks- the bridge of 'Delicious' leading to me catching my breath, only to hack up a lung on a crowded train. Now isn't that the experience artists should aim to provide with their projects?

If you have spent five minutes online in any musically-inclined spheres it's doubtful the name Brockhampton isn't already engraved onto your conscious, whether you've listened to them or not. Within the past year the group have grown from relative obscurity, sneaking to record their music videos in the halls of supermarkets, to redefining the word 'boyband' for a generation of young adults. Upon listening to any of their projects, I feel so incredibly blessed to be existing at the same time as such musical innovation: this is that kind of group. The knowledge that a group of self-made Kanye stans, through sheer will, hard work and raw talent, have carved out a unique sound that even within such a short time scale is only improving, is incredibly inspiring. Everytime slacking seems attractive, I reccomend questioning WWKAD (what would Kevin Abstract do, clearly)- for clarification the answer is to make oneself an icon and find some pals to create world altering music with. Every single member brings a different angle to the group, allowing for the constant evolution of their songs, even to their last album of the Saturation trilogy throwing a curveball in the form of BOOGIE.
I implore you, love yourself, and discover three albums of wall-to-wall excellent music.


It's impossible to overstate the joy that this collaborative effort brings me on days where I have truly had it. Featuring articles by a central collective of five writers, whose topics are unlikely to be covered anywhere else, the tonal stylings of each contributor are hugely inspiring to me, as a writer still nervous to write 'weirdly'- its an impossibility for me to structure my sentences like a real English-speaking human being. This site inspires me to be inspired. Listicles- straddling the boundary of the jeeringly ironic, yet with a rarely-seen core of sincerity of appreciation and nostalgia for cultural knick-knacks.


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