This was a pretty damn good year for music, and I snatched up as much of the goodies as I could since I'm insanely obsessed with at least 2 of the bands that had amazing albums this year. I wasn't able to see a lot of movies in the theater this year; however, I did manage to see a few that I absolutely loved, and they will be on this list as well. So on to the list.
In no particular order (until number 1) here is my shortlist of the best albums. You'll not see Eminem or Kanye on this list because, frankly, I'm sick to death of both of them.
For a year, Jonna Lee as iamamiwhoami slowly released several videos on youtube that had sensuality, mythology, and some badass electronica. Her identity was kept secret for months, and with each new video her face was revealed as Swedish folk singer, Jonna Lee. The story of the videos told of the legend of the mandragora, and every song was even more amazing and heartwrenching than the last. In October, the band had an online concert in the woods that was pure imagination and beauty. The band chose a fan from facebook, flew him out to Sweden, and then "sacrificed" him to nature. It was brilliant. I've honestly listened to this album on a loop for hours at a time because it is truly that outstanding.
Honestly, there are few bands cooler than the merging of the lead singer from one of my all-time favorite bands, The Shins, and the supremely talented Danger Mouse (from such great bands as Gnarls Barkley). This album is bouncy and fun and sometimes dark and creepy. My favorite is "The Ghost Inside" and the video is fabulous mostly because it features the most beautiful woman in the world, Christina Hendricks.
I do love me some moody Interpol music. Their newest album isn't as amazing as it could have been, and some songs, such as "Lights," seems to build up to a climax that doesn't come. All in all, it's a good listen. And since I'm actually going to be seeing them live for the first time in February, they go on the list from sure excitement.
The Dead Weather "Sea of Cowards"
The pure cool factor from this group makes me drool from geekdom. Seriously, you combine Jack White's paley brilliance with Alison Mosshart's sultry badassness and you get a band that is so rad I get goosebumps. Sidenote: If you don't yet have "Midnight Boom" by the Kills, I highly recommend you download that baby at this very second. You will not regret it. Even my 6 year old shakes his ass to it. I can't embed the kickass video "Die by the Drop" so here's a link
The Twilight:Eclipse soundtrack
Right up front I'll say I've not read a single book or seen a single movie from this franchise, but I'll give that writer a bit of credit when I hear the soundtracks. I have zero interest in vampires that sparkle, but I'll listen to a sweet soundtrack any day. This one has quite a bit of great music on it, from the ethereal goddess herself Florence Welch to The Dead Weather. There's even a little Bat for Lashes thrown in for even more adorable goodness.
And the #1 album is, of course, Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs." This album is flawlessness at its best. Growing up in the suburbs myself and having chosen to raise my child in the burbs, a lot of this album seeps into my memories of riding my bike with my cousins to the convenient store for little pocket pies. Of having absolutely nothing to do on a Saturday afternoon but waste time in the department store or go to the movies on a Friday night. It's sometimes sweet and sometimes sour, and it's all glorious. There's the hint of escape or maybe just the understanding of what you give up to get the safety and security of the cul de sac days.
On to movies.
Can there be a "best of" list without the brilliance of "Inception?" I think not. I was actually able to see this one in the theater, and I was blown away by its inovation and intricate storyline. It didn't insult our intelligence with nothing more than impressive special effects; this was a movie with substance. It had a great plot - hey, who doesn't dig dreams - superb acting (can Ellen Page please be in more movies?), and let's face it, eye candy for the ladies. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, AND Leo? My eyes were most pleased.
Next up was Black Swan. I was mostly excited for this film because I love Swan Lake, and I loved the idea of a movie devoted to a ballerina struggling with creating the personas of both the white and black swan. The ballet in itself is breathtaking, and Natalie Portman needs an Oscar post-haste for being flawless. I completely believed that she was this sweet, innocent ballerina driven mad with obsession over being perfect. It gave great insight into the dedication and pain that goes into being a dancer, and yes, there is an incredibly hot girl-on-girl sex scene that even made me blush.
And the last film I'll mention here is Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. This movie was just plain nerdy fun. Comic books, video games, ridiculously over the top fight scenes - it was just pure nerdgasm. Michael Cera, who is now quite famous for playing the geeky underdog who somehow manages to usually get the girl, plays Scott Pilgrim, a guy who must battle his new girlfriend's 7 exes in order to win her heart. It's a great story of the baggage that we carry from one relationship to the next, and how each new person has to deal with all the shit that comes with the complicated mess that was left by the last. Plus, it's just hilarious and fun.
In personal life stuff, the very best thing that happened this year was Perrin's amazing progression in both social skills and his ability to function in school. All thanks to this incredible little pill called Risperdal. Seriously, it has saved our lives. My child learned exactly nothing in kindergarten because his moods were completely out of control, he had zero attention span, and he was constantly in a state of fight or flight. Over the summer, he learned his letters, and he has been progressively learning to read. Through the outstanding work of some incredible women in his life - these ladies will be getting their own post - my son is now spending almost half his day in a general education class and making friends. He's happy, healthy, and loving life. And so am I.