This post is late. Like REALLY late. I have a good excuse though. I am moving house, so everything is kind of up in the air and by the time I realised that it was actually Saturday it was Saturday and therefore too late anyway. It’s not really a good excuse is it? “I’m late because all of my possessions are in a box and I forgot what day it was.” Anyway, whatever. Point is, I figured that at this time of year the best thing for me to be doing would be to be making a list of the best and worst pop cultural things from 2012. Given the amount of hating that I do on this blog, I figure that I should probably turn things on their head and write about the things I like first.
The Best of 2012
- Explosion of Korean Pop Music on the International Stage – If you had said to me 12 months ago, “Alex, by December you will have devoted at least 6 months exclusively to listening to/watching/ absorbing k-pop. You will think about about little else. Your sense of style will go out the window in favour of making yourself look like a member of a boy band and by 2013 you will probably have written a book of poetry dedicated to the jawline of one particularly handsome gentlman,” I would have said, “You’re probably right. I do have a tendency to overreact to these things.” But nothing could have prepared me for the strength with which my new found love would viciously rip apart my soul. Seriously. I’m not being melodramatic. This is an actual problem. Someone send help.
By now about one sixth of the world’s population has seen Psy’s mega-monster hit Gangam Style. At the time of writing the view could was sitting at 1,081,812,822. And regardless of all the people who are going to give it hate now because they’ve heard the song a million times, the film clip is hilarious and Psy himself is really funny (see: his Reddit AMA in which he was asked if he got bored of playing the same song over and over again, to which he responded “How can I be bored? I am too busy doing the horsey dance”). But, if you haven’t ventured beyond Gangam Style into the broader realms of K-Pop then you are seriously missing out because hoooo-boy is there some fantastic stuff that you should be checking out. In terms of fabulous video clips, my favourite from this year has been Big Bang’s piece of excellence, Fantastic Baby. If people played this when I went out, I might go out more (friends, take note).
THE VIDEO HAS EVERYTHING! There’s an owl, a revolution, a banging good tune, multicoloured hair, thrones, crowns, the phrase “boom shakalaka”, fabulous minty coloured kitty-lipped handsome prince bastard hanging out in picture frames and boys in makeup who are significantly prettier than I could ever hope to be (which is officially my ‘type’, in case anyone was wondering). It also comes with some seriously cool live performances (there are three links there…click ALL of them!) and a dance routine that is unexpectedly sexy. There are, of course, loads of groups that you should check out. 2ne1 are an excellent girl group (I loves me some lady rappers and CL is a queen), Psy’s other stuff (he’s been around for 12 years, people) is actually REALLY good, Tablo is the cutest thing to ever cute and his band Epik High released one of my favourite pop albums from this year (seriously), Block B get around dressed like pirates which is essentially my life goal, SHINee are some sort of dance-transformer unit, B.A.P are possibly all 12 years old but it’s hard to tell because someone put them in leather. I can’t recommend everything I love because it would take me too long, but my GOD. Go watch some things. Do yourselves a favour.
Whenever anyone asks how I can enjoy k-pop so much my most recent response has been to point at the videos from the 2012 MAMAs (Mnet Asian Music Awards).
Aside from the intense amount of choreography that goes into the stages, Big Bang’s rapper, G-Dragon, literally dyes his hair halfway through the ceremony. WHO DOES THAT? A motherfucking rapper who out-divas Kanye, that’s who. There’s a lot of things to like about k-pop (bilingual puns for one) but I think my favourite thing is that it’s not just about the music, it’s about the whole performance – choreography, costume, stage, lighting, plot. And the hair dye. Always the hair dye.
- Superheroes – A bunch of superhero-related movies came out this year and I was unreasonably excited about all of them, because that’s just the kind of dork I am. Hell, the excitement even kept going when a couple of them weren’t totally disappointing. The Avengers came out in May. I was very emotional about it. Some would say too emotional. (People without souls.) The point is, someone finally let Joss Whedon write a superhero movie and by God did he do the best darn job he could. There were ladies. EVERYWHERE. And they kicked arse. Scarlett Johannson backflipped all over the place being the coolest person ever. As far as I am concerned, she also became a real life superhero when she laid the smack down on a bunch of reporters asking the age-old (and very tired) question, “What did you do to get in shape for the suit?”
Anne Hathway was similarly cool in the other gigantic superhero movie of the year, The Dark Knight Rises and dealt with similarly stupid questions about what she ate so she could wear the catsuit. LADIES BEING AMAZING ONSCREEN AND OFFSCREEN. IT IS MY FAVOURITE THING.
The boys did OK as well. Christian Bale rounded out his run as Batman by being as incomprehenisble as he was in the other two films. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston made up for the fact that Thor was really dull by being amazing in The Avengers. Hiddleston in particular was a bit of a scene-stealer. Andrew Garfield was a fantastic Spiderman, which almost-but-not-quite made up for the fact that The Amazing Spiderman was a really average film despite the fact that I was desperately rooting for it to live up to its name. This trailer parody is upsettingly accurate.
Anyway. It was a good year for superheroes and I was well pleased.
- The End of the World That Never Happened – It’s not really pop culture in the sense I usually blog about, but the Mayans predicted the ended of the world. Conspiracy theorists everywhere bought up all the canned food and eagerly awaited the apocolypse. (There’s nothing conspiracy theorists love more than preparing for an apocolypse on the off chance that they may be right.) Unsurpsingly, very little happened. There was no bang. There wasn’t even a whimper. It was a little disappointing. Much like this summary paragraph. Anyway, we’re all still here. Kudos to the Mayans for trolling contemporary archeologists and in turn, the rest of the world.
Honourable mentions go to: Miley Cyrus’ hair cut and Taylor Momsen’s lyricism for The Pretty Wreckless (“try to keep my body dirty and my hot pussy clean”…she is what? 18? 19? I choose to believe she is talking about an actual cat), sudden resurgence in popularity of the song No Diggity by Blackstreets (which featured in Pitch Perfect and was also covered by Chet Faker).
The Worst of 2012
- Lana Del Rey Film Clips – Normally, I try to avoid ripping on Lana Del Rey because it’s boring and everyone does it even though we all know deep down that we walked around humming Video Games for about six months there. I don’t even actually dislike her music that much. She’s got a schtick and she’s running with it. Whatever. What I do dislike is her unecessarily long and pretentious film clips. There’s been a bit of a trend recently for ladies to have a little opening narration in their clips. Gaga did it. It was long and unnecessary. But you kind of expect that with Gaga. Her albums have plot lines, so it doesn’t feel out of place. But Lana Del Rey’s album has very little in the way of plot, aside from glorifying sort of fading Americana for which we’re all supposed to yearn. So the sudden appearance of a 10 minute video with 5 minutes dedicated exclusively to meaningless drivel about “the open road”, “finding my people” and some sort of prosititution theme involving bikers which is more traumatic than Lana originally intended I think, is off-putting and seemingly out of the blue. Don’t even get me started on the hipster head dress.
I watched this in the kitchen with my housemates the day it came out and spend the whole time screaming “WHY!?” at the computer until it was suggested that I maybe go for a walk and come back when I was ready to deal with idiots. Del Rey wrote the treatment for the video herself. Which I guess says something. That something might be “I needed an excuse to make out with old men who ride Harleys.” But that’s still something.
- Chris Brown – I don’t even really know what to say, considering I wrote the same blog post a couple of weeks ago. But seriously. Chris Brown is a gigantic shithead. Why does he have a career? Why won’t he go away? Why won’t Rihanna date me instead? THESE ARE THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS I NEED ANSWERED, PEOPLE. All joking aside though, why do people think it’s acceptable that he can still make records and have a hashtag dedicated to his stupid face. Aside from being a lady-beating asshat, he just generally comes off as a jerk most of the time. Like, even in his video clips he just kind of seems like an asshole. He’s written a song called Don’t Judge Me. Check it out.
It’s about those pesky women in his life hearing rumours about him and getting all judgy. Have an actual lyrical sample: “I won’t deny what they’re saying because most of it is true, but that was all before I fell for you.” So, if we’re to assume the rumours referenced in the song are about cheating, then what’s he’s essentially saying is “Yes, I boned some other people while we were together. But I love you now. So I can see that that was probably a mistake. So like… stop bringing it up.” If we take it a step further and say that the rumours his lady friend has been hearing are about him beating the shit out of an unspecified, completely hypthetical girlfriend who is most definitely not a famous pop star, then it still translates pretty poorly as, “Yes, I probably maybe definitely beat the ever-loving Christ out of my girlfriend. But that was OK, because I didn’t love her. And I love you. So we’re good. You don’t even have to worry about me swinging right hooks at you.” Either way, he still comes off as an asshole. He’s not even self-aware enough to be deliberately writing a song from the perspective of an asshole, so you know he’s just a prick. Anyway. Where was I? Oh yeah. WHY IS HE STILL HERE? This is what that no-show apocolypse was supposed to purge us of.
- Sherlock Season 3 is so far away – I mentioned when I first started this blog that I am a big ol’ fan of the BBC’s adaptation of Sherlock Holmes. Actually, pretty much any incarnation of Holmes is OK by me, but I am particularly fond of the BBC one. So much so that I have had to restrain myself from posting about it every second time I’m on here (same goes for the k-pop thing… I might be vaguely obsessive, but this is why I love “end of the year round up” posts). Anyway, at the beginning of this year Sherlock Season 2 came out. I wept tears of blood because it was so good and there was so much beauty in the world. Having said that, it ended on a massive fucking cliffhanger. A MASSIVE. GODDAMN. MOTHERLICKING. CLIFF. HANGER. Anyway, those smarmy bastards who star in it had the audacity to go and have gigantic and successful movie careers. Martin Freeman went off to swan around in The Hobbit (which I still haven’t fucking seen yet because moving house distracts me from everything I love) and Benedict Cumberbatch is in Star Trek. This means that the filming schedule on the BBC production has been pushed back. RIGHT back. Like, they probably won’t start filming before the end of 2013. Which means it won’t come out until then end of 2014 probably. Which means I’ll probably be nearly 25 before I get to watch another episode of this stupid damn show. I wouldn’t have a flipping problem with that except… no. Wait. I cannot imagine a scenario in which this is not a problem for me. I am very upset.
Honourable mentions: moving house (I hate it so much it gives me energy in the morning), Taylor Swift (always and forever), ambient electronic music, my internet connection (because right now it is being the worst).
On a side note, my other favourite thing this year has been the fact that several of you are crazy enough to be interested in this blog. Hello. Why are you here?… I mean… would you like a cup of tea? Please love me? Stay forever? On that slightly creepy tone, I end this blog. That was my best and worst for the year. What’s yours? Tell me what floats your boat. Or grinds your gears. Either/or. Happy New Year.