First off, I hope everyone here had a great Christmas. I know that Christmas means a lot of different things for people. For me, Christmas is about spending time with my family, sleeping in my own bed, hanging with the boys, and wishing for snow. It’s been a predictable yet pleasant routine since I left for Portland a few years ago. Except for the snow part; the kid in me still loves the sight of white-frosted trees and a fresh lawn of snow. Even if my last memories of a good snowfall include me defying the laws of physics on a toboggan (they don’t offer much cushion for drops higher than 10 feet.)
But hey, Christmas has passed, and now we can all focus on the next pseudo-holiday. New Years Eve. While the final hours of 2011 are ticking into history, I figured it makes sense to do a “Year in Review” kinda deal for this post. The things is, having to transpose and entire year of events onto virtual paper is somewhat of a herculean task. So I’ll try and stick to the highlight reel. Here’s a breakdown of the year that was.
For being the first of two “Year of the Sequels” I think 2011 did a good job of keeping the movie-going masses entertained. While I’m sure that some movies such as the horribly punned “Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs. Evil” or the unfortunately named “Dylan Dog: Dead of Night” will eventually be lost in the growing pile of sub-par films stuffed behind the Hollywood sign. And even before the ball drops I’m not sure what the difference is between “Friends with Benefits” and “No Strings Attached.” And though there might not be an “Inception” in this years line-up 2011 did have its fair share of bright spots at the theater.
We were lucky enough to get the best fighting film since the “Rocky” in the movie “Warrior”. “Limitless” taught us that if you’re in the dumps, take drugs…. so many drugs. I thought Matthew McConaughey did a pretty good job of teaching us to make sure you’re in the good books with biker gangs in “The Lincoln Lawyer”. On a serious note I thought “The King’s Speech” was awesome, “Thor” made every man on Earth and Asgard wish they had the body of a God. “X-Men: First Class” was phenomenal, in all aspects (except Kevin Bacon), Michael Bay made explosions. “Cowboys & Aliens” was about cowboys and aliens. Someone tried to use a defibrillator on the “Spy Kids” saga, well played Dimension Films. I guess there was another “Twilight” film in there somewhere. Speaking of Lincoln, I guess Tim Burton tapped into my dreams and found the plot to this upcoming instant classic.
*Trying to sound out “McConaughey” to even type into Google is phenomenally challenging. (see: Meh-CON-a-HAY)
*The word “Asgard” is an accepted word in the WordPress dictionary. While “WordPress” is not.
2011 was an excellent year for the music industry. At least in my eyes. There was a solid mix of strong guitar performances, tantalizing electronic undertones, and innovative instrumentals. Here’s my top five albums of 2011.
5) The Black Keys – El Camino
The Black Keys’ songs have been constantly growing on me since their 2008 release of Magic Potion. El Camino is their seventh studio album and the duo has done a phenomenal job of bringing a two-piece drum and guitar into the electronic era without fading away into the ocean of new age techno crap. Check out “Gold on the Ceiling”
4) Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
Also their seventh studio albums. The Foo Fighters haven’t left my top 10 all time favorite bands list since I started listening to them, even with their anti-church, pro-gay stance. Powerful lyrics with matching rock music is a deadly mix. Wasting Light is a bit heavier than any of their previous work, but it gets the job done and then some. Hawks fans should recognize “Bridge Burning”
3) The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar
Released on my birthday in 2011, the first studio album for The Joy Formidable did some serious damage in my “plays” column of my iTunes. Even more surprising is that the lead singer is female which has never really appealed to me since Ann Wilson made “Barracuda’s” seem like the most badass fish in the sea. “Whirring” will kick anyone’s day into high gear in a hurry.
2) Foster the People – Torches
Proves that this band isn’t a one hit, possibly homicidal wonder. “Pumped Up Kicks” was by far the most powerfully addictive melody of 2010 and everyone I’ve known has had this song stuck in their head. Torches builds off of the bands unique sound. Expert usage of electronic sound mixed with mean piano hooks all covered by the unmistakable voice of lead singer Mark Foster combines for a beautifully revolutionary sound. Listen to “Call it What You Want”
1 ) Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
The British super band have produced another phenomenal album. Using their well-known blend of intimate acoustic numbers and modern electronic mixes Coldplay went platinum all over the world three weeks after the release in October. The drop at the beginning of “Paradise” will make you believe in humanity.
Speaking of my faith in humanity. Last night was New Years Eve. I made the fatal mistake of going home, past midnight, through the city. At first it was actually pretty entertaining, I drove beside a taxi and waved back at all the hopelessly inebriated people waving at me. The swarms of self-righteous, main-stream, skinny-tie wearing, arrogant (insert word) were separated from me by a thick roaring layer of Charcoal Ford Taurus. I hadn’t, however, realized that the entirety of downtown Portland had either become color-blind or was just oblivious to the roaring hunks of motorized metal zooming past them. I’m sure none of you fine people were there. I literally had 13 people’s lives in the palms of my hands, as in, if I would have followed the rules of the road (i.e. going on a green light) I would have a Crimson Ford Taurus. Just saying, you don’t here many news reports of the people in cars being ran over by pedestrians.
NYE resolutions, Rebecca Black, Major events, and more to come in the following days.