My favorite time of year is when my go to blogs begin to slowly unveil what they thought was the best of the previous 11-12 months. I tend to nod my head in visible agreement or audibly exclaim a Gob Bluth-esque “C’mon!” as certain selections grace their lists. I anticipate that you, fair readers, will do precisely the same. Thus, without further ado…here goes nothing.
1. Bon Iver, Bon Iver
It’s no secret that I adore Bon Iver. I have had their first album and any live material I could get my hands on in frequent rotation for the last 3 years. I’ve even changed the way I say their name multiple times (specifically after being scoffed at when say both Bahn Eye-ver and Bone Ee-vehr, now I just sort of mumble it and tend to swoon over Justin Vernon instead). Anyways, this album was highly anticipated by me and many others, and did not disappoint. In fact, it also produced the best song of the year. And to cap it off, it was the best concert of the year. [note to fans: Bon Iver + Ryman + Acoustic = Unreal]
2. Adele, 21
Similar to Bon Iver, I’ve been waiting for Adele’s sophomore release for a long time. As the days led up to its release, she began her media tour and I fell in love with her all over again. When I lived in New York, I had the chance to see her twice. Both times I was struck that her live performance was better than her first album, a feat I previously thought impossible, and, to top it all off, she was just so damn likeable, chatting with the audience, giggling like an excited school girl. Fortunately/unfortunately she performed a ton in support of this album, so much so she found herself under the knife, and isn’t expecting to make another album for another 2-3 years. In the meantime, I’ll be watching this and definitely not not getting teary eyed.
3. The Head and the Heart, The Head and the Heart
I’m not sure how/when this band popped on my radar, but boy am I glad they did. Their album is simple, but fabulous. Like the previous two on this list, I can listen to it beginning to end, never skipping a song. I’ve probably listened to Down in the Valley close to 2,398,509,259 times since May, and still haven’t gotten sick of it.
4. Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Ok, so this is sooo 2010, but I’m going to go ahead and include it. Hopefully ‘Ye will feel better about not getting an Album of the Year nod with this honor. Perhaps even more interesting than the album is the story behind how it came to be. Kanye’s a nut, that’s for sure. He also has a lot of feelings. He also is a pretty brilliant producer and each of these combine for some serious hotness. Throw on the full album next time you’re at the gym and tell me you didn’t do some fist pumping. Also, Nicki Minaj’s verse on Monster is one of the best rap verses maybe ever, and makes me want to get in a fight.
Well I don’t have a 5th so I’m going to throw out my Honorable Mentions and miscellaneous awards here:
Black Keys, El Camino. Haven’t listened quite enough to put it on the list, but I can tell you there are some gems on here. My personal favorite, Mind Eraser, is like a song version of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and I’m super into it. Sister and Lonely Boy are also pretty epic.
Jay Z & Kanye West, Watch the Throne. Seems too easy to have on there. However, it’s really, really good. Some of the lyrics are absurd slash offensive, but the beats are undeniably super hot and may inspire an instant party no matter where you are (don’t ask me how I know this).
Best Cover: TIE! Both are too good for me not to include them
Take Care (Drake), Florence + the Machine
Dirty Diana (Michael Jackson), The Weeknd
Best Jam: Girl I Want You to Know, Lupe Fiasco
Best Love Song: A Million Years, Alexander
1. The end of the NFL lockout
Sundays from February to August feel empty enough to me as is; thus, the prospect of not having a season was a little bit much for me to realistically consider. There were some desperate points in there. However, as the end came, just days after the passing of the Pats’ owner’s beloved wife, and Bob Kraft played an instrumental role in the negotiations, it felt doubly sweet.
2. The epic collapse of the Red Sox/Eva(n) Longoria’s extra innings walk-off
I am still not in a place where I can talk about this. But, boy, was it memorable.
3. Brees surpassing Marino for single season yardage
See? Sometimes procrastinating has its perks. The inclusion of this moment comes less than 24 hours after it happened. Sure, the talking heads will all point to how the game has changed sufficiently, making the comparison of Marino and Brees’ accomplishments laughable. However, Brees seems like a great guy. His post-game speech in the locker room was as genuine as they come. All in all, excellent work for an excellent dude.