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I’ve had this epic list prepared for a while now, and I’ve been putting off posting it because I hadn’t written any commentary for the songs, but you know what? Who cares? I’ll save that for my best albums list. So here are my favorite songs of 2010 (and I’ll provide links to listen where possible). And apologies if some of these aren’t technically from 2010. I checked them all, but god knows I make mistakes. Also, they’re not in any particular order.
“Twin Peaks” by Surfer Blood from Astro Coast
“Dancing on my Own” by Robyn from Body Talk, Pt. 1
“The Ghost Inside” by Broken Bells from s/t
“Think Happy Thoughts” by Albatross from Bugs, Berfday, Gum
“Giving Up the Gun” by Vampire Weekend from Contra
“Boyfriend” by Best Coast from Crazy for You
“Brian Eno” by MGMT from Congratulations
“Let Me Dope You” by Childish Gambino from Culdesac
“Shampain” by Marina and the Diamonds from The Family Jewels
“Bees” by Warpaint from The Fool
“81” by Joanna Newsom from Have One on Me
“Here Lies Love” by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim (ft. Florence Welch) from Here Lies Love
“Lovesick” by Lindstrom and Christabelle
“F**k You” by Cee-Lo from The Lady Killer
“Rill Rill” by Sleigh Bells from Treats
“We Want War” by These New Puritans from Hidden
“Animal” by Jenny and Johnny from I’m Having Fun Now
“Brittany’s Back” by the Love Language from Libraries
“Power” by Kanye West from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
“ONE” by Yeasayer from Odd Blood
“He’s Not a Boy” by The Like from Release Me
“CP24” by Woodhands from Remorsecapade
“Everybody’s Out” by Dum Dum Girls from I Will Be
“hahahaha jk?” by Das Racist from Sit Down, Man
“The Suburbs” by Arcade Fire from The Suburbs
“Zebra” by Beach House from Teen Dream
“Crash Years” by the New Pornographers from Together
“Written in Reverse” by Spoon from Transference
“Heaven Can Wait” by Charlotte Gainsbourg and Beck from IRM [I’m pretty sure the single is from 2009, but the actual album was released at the beginning of 2010, so it counts… in my opinion]
“Tightrope” by Janelle Monae (ft. Big Boi) from Archandroid
Finally, my “Don’t Judge Me, Guilty Pleasure” song of the year…
“Whip My Hair” by Willow Smith
*Clicking on the image at the top will – if I’ve done this correctly – lead you to a wondrous place where you can download all of these songs. Like a mixtape. Just sayin’.*
Back in the first season of Glee, oh so many moons ago, there was quite a bit of talk about whether or not the show fell into sexist territory on occasion. If you’re thinking, “I never heard anything about that,” clearly you weren’t looking in the right places. People who complained that Glee had a not-so-admirable opinion on girls and women were kind of right. Terri and Quinn were both lying about their pregnancies (or lack of pregnancy, in Terri’s case) and were uncaring “shrews” towards Will and Finn, respectively. Emma and Rachel were both “the other woman” in two separate already-established relationships. Sue was the evil villain of the show. There was nary an admirable female character in sight, whereas Will, Kurt, and Finn (and Artie, to a certain extent) were (and still are) portrayed as saintly.
I personally didn’t think it was that big of a deal, back in the first season. I’ll admit, I was a bit distracted by all the flashy musical numbers and the “we can do it!” feel-good attitude. The show was a little dose of sunshine every week, and for that, I was willing to overlook some of the more serious problems it has. Most shows have issues with continuity, character consistency and development, tone, pacing, etc., at some point. Granted, Glee has those problems in spades, but the problems I’m talking about are more social. Is the show racist at times? Is it sexist? Is it ableist? I think a lot of shows are, but those shows don’t package themselves as repurposed after-school specials, complete with morals and a lesson. The theme of the show is, “Appreciate the things that make us different.” Dare to stand out, to go against the “norm.” That’s why the show gets a lot of attention on that front.
So the question is, why does a show that preaches acceptance and tolerance persist in being intolerant, or at the very least, ignorant of people who are different? These past two episodes have kind of shook my inner-feminist awake and said, “Neener neener, I’m not playing nice.” Here’s a brief list of what I take issue with.
1. Sluts, prudes, and nothing in-between.
Glee never portrays girls’ sexuality in a positive light. I thought they might, back in the first season (I think it was the second episode?), when Rachel pays a visit to the Celibacy Club and says, “You know, girls like sex too.” I thought, finally, a girl on television who isn’t a “whore” and isn’t a “prude.” She’s just normal (not that there’s anything wrong with being a so-called “prude,” but in TV land, some character would have a problem with it eventually). But no, come this season and Finn’s complaining that Rachel won’t let him get any. In last week’s episode, “Never Been Kissed,” he said something to Sam, like, “Figures we’d date the only girls in school who won’t put out.” First off, really? Rachel and Quinn are the ONLY TWO GIRLS IN SCHOOL who won’t put out? Seriously, Finn?! And why would Rachel or Quinn WANT to put out? So they could be labeled as “sluts,” like Brittany and Santana?
There’s no middle ground. The girls are either uptight and won’t give their poor, poor boyfriends any sex, or they’re too promiscuous – girls who gain a reputation as “whores,” and can get no real respect from boys or their fellow girls. Let me assert, there is nothing wrong with having sex, or not having sex. It’s the show that portrays them in these ways: it’s healthy for boys to want sex, and for girls to not give it to them. It’s not healthy for girls to want sex. For all the promise I saw in this show, I was proven wrong. I thought they’d have female characters who weren’t defined by their sexuality in some way, and while most of the girls on this show are multi-faceted (sexuality or lack of sexuality is NOT Rachel’s defining characteristic, for example), there are still some confusing, negative messages being sent out here.
NOTE: The subtitle on this first entry to my list is a bit misleading. There IS something “in-between.” There’s the girl no one wants to imagine in a romantic situation at all, i.e. Mercedes. Everyone knows that curvy girls can’t get love, duh. Clearly that’d be gross.
I think this second entry features a strong batch of films, for me at least. I even have two documentaries listed! Let’s hear it for me being all kinds of diverse. The more time I spend writing this list, the more certain I feel that I need to watch a greater number of films. Now, onto the best of what I have seen.
I’m finally cracking down and getting this done. I’m still not entirely set in the rankings, and I’m having second thoughts about putting certain films on the “runners-up” list as opposed to my top 30 list, but as Carole King once said, “it’s too late, baby, now it’s too late.”
An intense, chilling fairy tale, laid out beautifully by the very imaginative Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, Pan’s Labyrinth is eerie and dark, the way most fairy tales were before Disney laid claim to them. Even the Faun, one of the “good guys,” is slightly terrifying, but he pales in comparison to some of the vicious baddies here, like the Pale Man and our heroine’s unusually cruel stepfather. Unlike the candy-coated Princess tales of late, Pan’s Labyrinth doesn’t end on a decidedly happy note. But then, it has a strong tether to reality, much more so than faries and fauns and mandrakes would first lead us to believe.
I got a little out of control and ended up with 50 films on my “top films of the decade” list. While I’ve seen a lot of films from this decade, I know that I haven’t seen nearly enough. So, the list will be a mixture of my personal favorites (even the rather stupid ones that I just love to watch over and over again), and the ones that I think are the best. And that’s 50 films. Whew. I’ll rank the top 30, and do write-ups for some, if not all, of them. For now, here are 20 honorable mentions, just in alphabetical order.
Like a complete dork, I decided to keep a list of the films that I saw in 2009. I gave them a letter grade, too, depending on how good (or bad) they were. The final count was 107, which isn’t too shabby. I’m going to do better this year, though, because I’m going to join Netflix, which is going to be awesome.
List after the jump.
Finally, I’m making my list of the best albums of the year. Admittedly, there are a few more albums from 2009 I’d like to give a listen, but since I don’t have a way to stretch time, unfortunately, this will have to be it. But it’s still a solid list, I think. Enjoy!
I recently compiled a list of my top ten favorite musical moments or performances from the first 13 episodes of Glee, for discussion purposes with some fellow fans. Let me just say that it was very difficult to whittle this down to just ten performances. My rules were that we had to see a good portion of the song on screen, and… actually, that was really my only rule. That kept out numbers like “Taking Chances,” which was a great song, but we didn’t hear more than a snippet of it on the show. I also tried to take into account lots of different aspects, like singing, music arrangement, dancing/choreography, emotional meaning behind the song (particularly for the character(s) singing it), context, and impact. I narrowed it down to twenty options, then peeled a few away until I was left with ten. I’ll post the other ten at the end of the list.
The Top Ten Musical Moments from Glee (Thus Far)
10. “Take a Bow” – performed by Rachel (Lea Michele) in Episode 1×02, “Showmance”
This is both a great performance within the episode (well-shot and acted) and as a regular song. I definitely prefer it to the original Rihanna version. It’s a defining moment for Rachel, who is beginning to realize that she can’t have everything that she wants. If she is going to aim for stardom, some other aspects of her life, like friendships and romances, might have to fall by the wayside. Rachel faces disappointment a lot – I think we tend to forget that because she’s so upbeat and determined – and that’s why this peek past her “I’m going to be a star” exterior is so emotional. I think it was a star-making moment for Lea Michele as well, as it showed that she can do more than play an all-singing, all-dancing version of Tracy Flick.
Surprisingly, I listened to a lot of good albums this summer. I’m usually not an album person; I prefer to make mixes. However, I’m trying to change that, and it helped that my job allowed me to listen to music while I cleaned. I listened to a lot of albums that way, and it also helped that I was busy and couldn’t flip through songs. List behind the cut.
Books I Read This Summer:
Being an English major, I’m ashamed of how few there are. Lists behind the cut.