lists

Listomania: 2010 in One Hundred Sentences, Pt 2

[You have selected: Alex Spencer] Disclaimers: these continue to be non-numerically ordered, except occasionally. Very much continued from Part One: 50. Cee Lo Green – F*BOING!!!* You (Single, August 19)…But not by this, which achieved the rare feat of gaining all the popularity it deserved.49. Lost – ‘The End’ (TV: Series 6, Episode 17)Far from perfect, but it was the culmination of six years waiting, and it delivered in at least a few ways.48. Taskmaster #1 (Comic, Marvel)A perfectly-structured comic with a sense of humour, about memory and the silliness of supervillians.47. Super Meat Boy (XBLA Game, Team Meat)Tender meat crashes against hard-as-nails levels, again and again and again.46. Robyn – Indestructible (Single, December 15)The best Robyn song of a year of great Robyn songs, paying off a mild acoustic version into full-on electropop heartbreak.45. Mystery Jets – Serotonin (Album, Rough Trade)Which has faded for me a little with time, but remains a fantastically well-sculpted piece of work.44. ‘The James Franco Project’ (Article, New York Magazine)As this list probably shows, 2010 was the year I discovered profiles of celebrities; also how fascinating James Franco is.43. House to Astonish (Podcast)Perhaps the most particular pleasure on this list: two blokes analysing and chatting about the world of comics.42. Christina Aguilera – Woohoo (Single, May 18)One of the excellent (and in this case ridiculous) tracks – of which there are a few – on Bionic, in case featuring Nicki Minaj and childlike euphenisms.41. Xiu Xiu – Dear God, I Hate Myself (from Dear God I Hate Myself)Proving that any emotion, pushed far enough into melodrama, can be unexpectedly catchy pop.40. N-Strike Night Finder EX-3 (Nerf Gun)There have already been a couple of late nights defined by these ridiculous, hilarious toys.39. Super Crate Box (PC Game, Downloadable)Apply large range of weapons to rapidly approaching enemies in a 2d platforming landscape; only held from Spelunky-esque greatness by its brevity.38. The Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (Music Video, dir. Spike Jonze)Arcade Fire continued work on winning me over on this album with… a Spike Jonze sci-fi-inflected suburban teens video? 37. Big Boi – Sir Luscious Left-Foot (Album, Def Jam)Continues to defy my every attempt to write about it: top-end, foot-stomping, inventive hip-hop.36. Kylie – All The Lovers (Single, 28 June)2010 was the year I got why people fancied Kyle: All The Lovers definitely helped.35. Invincible Iron Man: Stark Disassembled (Trade Paperback, Marvel)A story of which Stark spends 90% unconscious on the floor of a school’s basement has never been so thrilling.34. Crystal Castles with Robert Smith – Not in Love (Single, December 6)Putting a heartbeat in the frozen chest of the Crystal Castles machine.33. LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening (Album, DFA Records)The one album of this year (that I was able to get into) that still felt bigger than me, and probably always will.32. The Redletter ‘Attack of the Clones’ Review (Youtube Video)Not as good as the original Phantom Menace review, perhaps, but still observant and inventive enough to (almost) justify the films’ existence.31. Lady Gaga – Alejandro (Single, May 18)Gaga drawing from a slightly different, more Euro-centric set of influences and screaming my name in Spanish.30. @kanyewest (Twitter Account)I’ve had to break it off, now, but this was amazing fun – Kanye sharing his passion for rugs, and begging our forgiveness – while it lasted.29. Nicki Minaj – Your Love (Single, June 1)Ms. Minaj has been one of this year’s most interesting cases, and Your Love is the perfect debut single28. PunisherMAX: Kingpin (Trade Paperback, Marvel)Really, deeply horrible stuff, with the odd dirty laugh, in the fine tradition of the Punisher.29. Gameboys From Hell (Article, Rock Paper Shotgun)How I came to meet and love Solium Infernum, but also an unusually compelling game-diary in and of itself.28. Standard Fare – Fifteen (from The Noyelle Beat)The year’s best song about that paedophilic gray area known as 15-years-old.27. Belle & Sebastian – I Didn’t See it Coming (from Write About Love)Write About Love didn’t quite find my heart this year, but a lot of its songs did, and this climbed straight to the top of the pile.26. Come Dine With Me (TV, Channel 4) Which I watched everywhere, with everyone, inspiring a multitude of emotional responses, all year long. 25. Los Campesinos! – Romance is Boring (Album, Wichita)Didn’t go quite as far as I wanted into EMO, but is still a fantastic album.24. Mystery Jets – Flash a Hungry Smile (from Serotonin)Being a bit embarassingly frank and earnest about sexual urges, whilst whistling, is what Mystery Jets should always sound like.23. Hot Chip – One Life Stand (Music Video, dir. Peter Serafinowicz)Equal parts hilarious and horrifying.22. Blur (360 Game, Bizarre)Probably the most consistently underrated game of the year; that Bizarre are non-existent is tragic.21. Katy Perry – Firework (Single, October 26)Actually kind of standing in for the joint impact of this and Teenage Dream, which were slow burners in my affections but both worked perfectly.20. Perfect Dark (XBLA Game, 4J)It’s pretty surprising, given my lack of nostalgic attachment to the original, how well this stands up 10 years on.19. ‘Roger Ebert: The Essential Man’ (Article, New York Times)Which was a pretty heartwrenching way of learning the year’s gaming boogeyman was ill18. Belle & Sebastian, Birmingham Symphony Hall, 06/12/10B&S + Orchestra + Musical Storytelling as Support = Best Gig of the Year17. The Divine Comedy – At the Indie Disco (from Bang Goes The Knighthood)A great gimmick to build a song around, perfectly observed.16. The xx – Islands (Music Video, dir. Saam)A perfect, neat conceptual video of an endlessly looping, slowly changing three-second dance: this is my bag, baby.15. Robyn – Dancing on My Own (Acoustic, BBC Live Lounge)Should’ve been on the final Body Talk, to complete the cycle of acoustic/dancefloor versions of singles, and because it is best.14. Ellerbisms (Webcomic)Which ended with a classically Ellerbisms emo-sweetness earlier this year.13. Daisy Owl (Webcomic)Which ended, completely without warning earlier this year.12. Kermode & Mayo’s Film Reviews (Podcast)Which have owned the vast majority of walks I’ve taken this year, and […]

Listomania: 2010 in One Hundred Sentences, Pt 1

[You have selected: Alex Spencer] My latest experiment in making end-of-year lists a little more interesting, for everyone involved. One hundred short(ish) sentences on the years best … well, anything. I never can confine myself to one medium very successfully, a fact to which this website is testament. Arranged in little to no particular order, except when there’s a reason. 100. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Film, dir. Edgar Wright)Not Scott’s finest hour (or Wright’s) but merely not-screwing-up makes it one of the best films of the year.99. The Indelicates – Flesh (from Songs for Swinging Lovers)At least briefly my song of the year, for its absolute brutal beauty.98. The Arcade Fire – Sprawl II (from The Suburbs)Arcade Fire would have to work pretty hard to get me to fall for this new album: Sprawl II, being another best-of-year prospect, worked harder than that.97. Batman & Robin #13 (Comic, DC)One of the best issues of the greatest fun I’ve ever had with a superhero.96. Inception (Film, dir. Christopher Nolan)Lots of moving parts and head scratching: the year’s best-designed puzzle.95. Sleep is Death (PC Game, Jason Rohrer)I love it just for existing: a game of telling stories and endless lo-fi possibilities.94. Big Boi – Fo Yo Sorrows (from Sir Lucious Left Foot)The first teasing appetiser which got me all excited for Big Boi’s solo debut.93. Panique au Village (Film, dir. Stephane Aubier & Vincent Patar)You know how sometimes you see films on a whim of a lazy Sunday afternoon, and sometimes they’re insane genius?92. Rihanna – Rude Boy (Single, February 22)Female all-powerful sexpop: mm, my favourite!91. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii Game, Nintendo)Like a blackhole, it sucks you in, time is compressed: on the other side lies a new world of twisty beauty.90. The Social Network (Film, dir. David Fincher)Which I still haven’t seen twice, otherwise it’d probably be my favourite of the year and I’d have written a 2,000 word post on why.89. Die Antwoord – Enter the Ninja (Single, August 9)If only for Danny Stoker spitting the “my life’s like a videogame” lines at every opportunity.88. Vampire Weekend – Giving Up The Gun (Music Video, dir. The Malloys)Pop-surrealism, tennis, RZA and a Jonas Brother… you wanna watch it now, don’t you?87. Night & Day (Short Film, Pixar)In which Pixar play to their masterfully efficient storytelling skills, and present, essentially, an update Chuck Berry cartoon.86. Phonogram: Singles Club #7 (Comic, Image)Because sometimes you just have to go howling into the night. 85. Gorillaz – On Melancholy Hill (Single, July 26)In which Gorillaz strip away most of what makes them Gorillazy, and reveal a pure reverberating heart.84. Green T (Restaurant, Lichfield, UK)The all-you-can-eat philosophy applied to an actual fantastic menu of freshly-cooked Chinese food.83. Robyn – Indestructible (Music Video, dir. Ljunggren & Vitali)Gets sex more right than any video/film/etc I’ve ever seen.82. Example – Kickstarts (Single, June 14)Given the last thing I liked of Example’s was 2007’s Don’t Want To, I was totally blindsided by this shard of perfect pop music.81. Halo: Reach – Beta (360 Game, Bungie)I’ve still only played the Beta, but that month of four maps and three game-modes gave me more fun than most entire games.80. Sleigh Bells – Treats (Album, N.E.E.T./Mom & Pop)…Which, when pressured last night, I named my Favourite Album of the Year.79. Lost – ‘Dr Linus’ (TV, Series 6 Episode 7)The last time Lost was ever truly great.78. Kate Nash – Mansion Song (from My Best Friend is You)It’s been a great year for songs that make me feel uncomfortable about being male, and for good reason.77. Super Scribblenauts (DS Game, 5th Cell)The cause of a couple of entirely welcome sleepless nights of wondering ‘what if you tried…?’.76. Neil Young’s Greendale (Comic, Vertigo)Bundling together a load of stuff I have no interest in, swiftly solved by Cliff Chiang’s art.75. LCD Soundsystem – I Can Change (Single, June 26)Pathetic in the all the right, searingly honest ways.74. Robyn – U Should Know Better (from Body Talk Pt 2)The second best song this year to feature Snoop Dogg.73. Stacja De Luxe (Bar, Gdansk, Poland)If you don’t like the idea of drinking cocktails in a converted Polish petrol station, well, you’re dead to me.72. Four Lions (Film, Dir. Chris Morris)Thought very deeply about, and humanised the terrorist threat … and then blew it up.71. Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #1 (Comic, Marvel)Probably the most fun you can have with 22 pages of drawings of guys in their pyjamas. 70. Scott Pilgrim vs The World (Soundtrack, Various)The best soundtrack in a year of great soundtracks…69. Inception (Score, Hans Zimmer)…and the best score.68. Los Campesinos! (Gig @ The Rainbow, Birmingham, 1 March)The only gig that’s ever left me excited enough to follow the band to Northampton the next day.67. The Expendables (Film, dir. Sylvester Stallone)Perhaps the greatest comedy film of the year.66. Solium Infernum (PC Game, Cryptic Comet)Boardgames aren’t cool; screwing your friends over is cool.65. ‘The Gastronomic Logic of No Puddings’ (Blog, Lunch & Dinner Made Me)Made a no-pudding tragedy into something clever and funny that only Dan could/would have written.64. Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles (Album, Polydor)Which got overshadowed by Treats, its younger sexier cousin, but was the Right Thing To Do Next for Crystal Castles.63. Lady Gaga & Beyonce – Telephone (Music Video, dir. Jonas Akerlund)Self-consciously Gaga’s ‘Thriller’: any possible self-inflation was undercut by the brilliance of the cigarette sunglasses.62. Big Boi feat. Vonnegutt – Follow Us (Single, July 20)Just another fine cut from Big Boi’s album that works even better standing alone.61. Atta Girl (Club, Island Bar, Birmingham) Girls-only music + Phonogram posters + free veggie cakes + hugging the DJ at the end = best clubnight ever.60. Lara Croft: Guardian of Light (XBLA Game, Crystal Dynamics) Tomb Raider used to encourage you to yell at Lara; this encourages you to give your co-op buddy a dead arm. 59. My Chemical Romance – Na Na Na [Na Na Na Na Na] (Single, 7 November)If you don’t pump your fist in the air at the beautiful […]

LISTS AND LISTS AND LISTS…

As I might’ve mentioned, oh, two or three hundred times by now, it’s basically the end of 2009/the decade/time. To celebrate, some lists of Good Things, and, where the inspiration strikes me, a bit of explanation. Top 5 Albums of 2009#5 Horrors – Primary Colours(People are talking about this as, yay, Horros reinvent themselves as good. But I actually quite like Horrors mk.1. Still haven’t given this the time it deserves, but enough to recognise, if I do give it what it deserves, it will be probably one of the most long-lasting likes on here. So ludicrously tasty and thick sounding: thanks new sound system!)#4 Karen O – Where The Wild Things Are(Still a little unsure about the film- more on that later – and haven’t listened to this since seeing it. Beautiful, but probably the most likely record to get kicked off the list, retrospectively. Realise now I never linked to my Redbrick review.)#3 Emmy the Great – First Love(This year’s largest sufferer of ‘love-the-band-but-I’ve-heard-the-songs-enough-by-the-time-the-album-comes-out’ syndrome. Will, no doubt, rediscover at some point, like I did this year with Dan Le Sac/Scroobius Pip’s Angles.)#2 Patrick Wolf – The Bachelor(I’m probably wrong but, my favourite Wolf. It is, as I learnt this summer, great runnning material, really determined stuff; though, thanks to my limited stamina I’m not that familiar past the first half an hour.)#1 Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz(I’ll write something huge on this at some point, no doubt. YYYs have been by far my biggest band this year- in both gig and album, but I haven’t had a proper Think about them since 2007ish.)Top 5 Games of 2009 #5 Wii Sports Resort(Screw you, Borderlands! A more pop choice, for the sheer family-uniting powers it has brought to bear this holiday. And I’m still interested in exploring its single player modes…)#4 Batman: Arkham Asylum(Was tight. Did tights right.)#3 Time Gentlemen Please(For making me laugh more than anything else this year. A perfect year would’ve provided me with Brutal Legend, to make a pure comedy Top 5; drop Batman and everything on here has provided more laughs than your average Apatow film, in one way or another. Oh well, no year is perfect, right?)#2 Red Faction: Guerilla(Second-biggest laughs provider. A game about revolutionary freedom-fighters/terrorists blowing up builds not funny? Wrong.)#1 Spelunky(This one has definitely got more coming. Not that there has been a lack of writing already. Haven’t touched it much since Autumn, but it’s left its mark. No doubt I’ll buy the upcoming 360 version too.) Top 5 Films of 2009#5 Let The Right One In(Beautiful, creepy, Swedish. Still annoyed I missed this in the cinema, but it’s possibly the film that’s held my mind for the longest#4 Inglourious Basterds(Provided I’m actually right about it. Recently found Tarantino’s introductory speech for it, and am a bit concerned about my reading. Although, death of the author and all that, does it really matter?*)#3 The Wrestler #2 Milk(As my girlfriend put it last night: “Why are all the films you like the ones that make me cry?”)#1 Up(More than any other, this is the one that made me realise how are hard, and rubbish, lists are. I forgot this until a quick Google. It’s the only film I’ve seen twice this year, and it genuinely held up. I think pretty much everything has been said by now- it’s surprisingly heartbreaking at the start, loses it a bit here and there, but still has a lot of the year’s best moments. Even the action-hero bit at the end doesn’t feel forced, and genuinely worked. Wouldn’t bother with 3D though.) This one was, surprisingly, the hardest to cut down. So much extra stuff that I really loved this year- I guess it’s easier to give yourself to something once. Pending a second viewing, Where The Wild Things Are might have a shot at knocking, I dunno, Inglourious Basterds off the list.All in all, it hasn’t been a year where I’ve cared much for the contemporary. I do love the YYYs album, but haven’t visited it as much as I would’ve had it come out in, say, 2006. And I have, as usual, struggled to keep up with the cinema, while discovering stuff like the Coens’ back catalogue. Probably played more TF2 than any other (non-Spelunky) game this year. In the case of gaming, money’s probably an issue. One free game, one that cost me £1.99, two I had on rental and a Christmas present. Hey, I started the Moneyless Gamer for a reason. Musically, new was even harder than contemporary. My favourite albums are almost all by bands I already knew and liked before. Even though, when I’ve got my Music Editor hat on, we get a constant stream of new into our inbox, and people are raving about this and that, I’m falling behind. Looking at Top Album lists for inspiration, I feel passed-by. Such band names! Crystal Stilts? Neon Indian? They sound like futuristic versions of bands I like. Can these really have come out without my noticing?. And bands I remember hearing about a few years back, when I couldn’t keep my nose out of the NME/blogs. Wild Beasts. Future of the Left. Bands I’ve tried with, and nothing’s happened. Bands I like who I didn’t even know had new stuff out. Sonic Youth. Gallows. Perhaps I’m just getting old.