Friday, December 7, 2007

A year in review...

Hey folks! Well, it's that time of year where all sorts of lists come out telling you what was the best of the year. Well, I'm so not plugged into anything current in pop culture, but hey maybe someone out there is interested in what things made my list of top things for the year. I should note, that this is my personal list of things I've discovered this year that made it just that much more enjoyable.


My Band of the Year - Many candidates in this category. I've been gathering music like crazy this year. I recently had to upgrade my ipod to the 160 GB model just to hold my entire collection. Of all the bands that I've discovered this year top honors would certainly have to go to Joy Division. Yes, I realize that the last time they recorded music was two years after I was born. So what? I'd long been a fan of New Order, and decided to trace that band backwards to it's roots in Joy Division. One could argue that Ian Curtis was a fore runner to people like Kurt Cobain. I find his voice wonderfully hypnotic. Joy Division was a band that I had always wanted to invest some time in, and I am certainly glad that I finally was able to do so. If you're interested in checking them out, i would recommend the album "Unknown Pleasures" as a great jumping off point. A few honorable mentions in this category would have to include: The Sex Pistols, Generation X (Billy Idol's band before going solo) and The Other Two . As you can see, it's been a bit of a 70's British Punk year for me.

My Album of The Year - Another category where we've had some strong contenders. I've been discovering lots of great music recently. Perhaps the biggest happy surprise for me this year was the Album "Zeitgeist" by the Smashing Pumpkins. (I am sure you're shocked that this album was actually released this year.) In my mind, The Smashing Pumpkins have always been at the top of the list in terms of what I would consider to be the best examples of 90's alternative rock. Hearing "Disarm" or "Today" for the first time back in Highschool was one of those life changing moments. When I heard that a reformed Pumpkins (Okay, really just Billy Corrigan and Jimmy Chamberlin) would be releasing a new album I was at least skeptical and at most scared. Let me say that I couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised. This album was a return to the Smashing Pumpkins sound that I had fallen in love with so many years ago. Stand out tracks such as "That's The Way (My Love Is)" and "Tarantula" make it feel like 1992 never ended. This is a very very good thing! Other albums I'll have to give props to this year include the afore mentioned "Unknown Pleasures" by Joy Division and "Graduation" by Kanye West.

My Track of The Year - Now, based on what I've been saying so far in my run down I am betting that you are going to think that this honor will go to something by Joy Division. Well, I was tempted to go that route. The song "Disorder" the opening track from "Unknown Pleasures is easily entrenched in my top songs of all time list. However, there is one track, that even surpasses that song in my mind. The funny thing is that it's by a band that I am not sure even technically exists. Early this year I was introduced to an anime series called "Beck:The Mongolian Chop Squad." This show is about a group of young Japanese high school students who set off to make the best band ever and just might succeed. My track of the year choice is the bands cover of the Beatles song "I've Got a Feeling." This track might be the best rainy day song ever recorded. Other songs that would get very strong consideration this year would be "Krafty" by New Order off the album "Waiting For the Siren's Call", "I Wonder" from Kanye West's "Graduation" and of course "Disorder" by Joy Division.

Visual Media

Favourite Movie of the Year - I have not been able to make it out to the movies very often this year, and it's a shame because there have been a few which have come and gone that I really wish I could have seen. two movies about my some of my favourite musicians have come and gone without me getting the chance to see them. rest assured that the Joy Division movie Control and the Joe Strummer documentary The Future is Unwritten are both at the top of my Blockbuster cue. the best movie of the year that I've seen is without a doubt The King of Kong: A Fistfull of Quarters. This documentary about the cut throat world of competitive Donkey Kong players was so much fun. Even if you are not into video games I assure you that you will find this movie entertaining. the only other serious contender in this category in my mind was the excellent Live Free, or Die Hard. (Click here to read my review.)

Video Game of The Year - This was an easy one. Valve Software's Team Fortress 2 is the easy choice in this category. It is just hands down the most fun I have ever had with a first person shooter. I honestly don't think I've played anything else this year that has had the same WoW factor for me.

Favourite Main Stream Comic Book - There are a couple of ways that I could have gone with this category. I think the winner though is DC Comics Black Canary & Green Arrow marriage story line. I know that sounds lame, but it was wonderfully entertaining. Besides, who wouldn't want to have a bachelor party planned by Batman? My other favourite story lines have been the "Sinestro Corps War" that has been running across the various Green Lantern titles. I do think that special mention also has to be given to the new "Booster Gold" series. This book is funny. It follows the DCU's most hapless hero as he travels through time trying to prevent an unknown villain from eliminating the various members of the JLA by disrupting seemingly random and meaningless events that would have a ripple effect leading to our favourite heroes never coming into existence.

Favourite Independant Comic - This one is a no brainer. Paul Dini's Madame Mirage may only be 3 issues into it's run, but i think it is one of the most entertaining books I have read in quite some time. Set in a future where using super powers is illegal resulting in the good guys ether quiting or going to jail and the villains going "legit" this comic focuses on a shape changing assassin with looks and combat skills that are to die for who sets out on a quest to bring down the former villains and make them pay in blood for their crimes. Paul Dini's writing is top drawer as always. The book also features wonderful art by Kenneth Rocafort. Oh, and Madame Mirage is absolutely SMOKING!

Well that's a run down of a few of my favourite things from the last year.

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