Thursday, 31 December 2009

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.

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Videogames, film, music, comics: feed them into the Alex-Spencer machine and out come neat little articles. Like the ones you're looking at here.