Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Things I Loved In 2018



Song
Billie Eilish - When The Party's Over

Billie Eilish is one of the freshest new artists around right now. Her sound is unlike anything else in the music charts & I find her completely captivating as a person. She released 'When The Party's Over' late last year & it immediately struck a chord with me. Her vocals are so hauntingly beautiful & the lyrics are filled with raw emotion, which is even more impressive when you consider that she's only 17 years old. I get the feeling that she's been through some shit & I like the way that she expresses that through her songs. This song has such a sad, melancholic vibe to it which is only amplified by the accompanying music video. It's visually arresting & a welcome change from all the boring videos that most musicians keep putting out these days. I can't wait for her album 'When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?' to be released as I'm sure it'll end up being one of my favourite albums of 2019.

Other Faves: Nicki Minaj - Chun-Li / Smashing Pumpkins - Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts)
RuPaul - Call Me Mother / BTS - Idol / BMTH - Wonderful Life



Album
Nicki Minaj - Queen

I've always loved Nicki Minaj but she really cemented her status as the true queen of rap with her latest album, aptly titled Queen. I'm a huge fan of Cardi B too but Queen is just that bit more cohesive as a full body of work than Invasion Of Privacy. As soon as Nicki released Chun-Li as a single I knew she had totally stepped up her game & I was definitely here for it. The rest of the album certainly didn't disappoint as Nicki is spitting rhymes harder than ever. Her lyrics are full of that signature Nicki charisma & attitude while her flows are equally aggressive & animated. Some of my favourite tracks on the album are Barbie Dreams, Good Form & Coco Chanel but Majesty is simply on another level. Nicki's collabs with Eminem are always a treat for the ears but their chemistry on Majesty is better than ever & I could quite happily could listen to this song on repeat for hours. In fact I probably have done seeing as my iPhone decided to delete all 45GB of music I had on there & this was one of the few albums left!

Other Faves: Smashing Pumpkins - Shiny & Oh So Bright / Cardi B - Invasion Of Privacy
Christina Aguilera - Liberation / Ariana Grande - Sweetener / Eminem - Kamikaze



Film
Mandy

There are few things I enjoy more than watching Nicolas Cage lose his shit. He's one of my favourite actors & if you don't agree then I suggest you watch Leaving Las Vegas, Face/Off, Vampire's Kiss, The Family Man, Con Air, The Rock, Matchstick Men or Lord Of War. He's delivered some brilliant performances over the years but to be honest I've sat through some pretty awful films starring him, in the hopes that he'll freak out & give us a classic Cage moment. More often than not, I'm left feeling disappointed & annoyed at myself for wasting time watching them but last year Cage finally came through. Mandy is a psychedelic action horror film directed by Panos Cosmatos. It's set in the Shadow Mountains where a couple, Red & Mandy, are living peacefully in the woods. One day, a cult called The Children Of The New Dawn pass Mandy on her way to work & their leader is enamoured with her beauty. He kidnaps her & it's up to Red to get her back. One of the best scenes in the film is when Red locks himself in his bathroom, downs a whole bottle of vodka & starts screaming for several minutes. It's a great performance from Cage & definitely something that needs to be added to those YouTube compilations. As a film, Mandy is quite a surreal horror. The cinematography is eerily beautiful with intense lighting & colour techniques. The soundtrack is also fantastic & the film starts off with King Crimson's incredible song Stardust. It's quite an odd choice as my favourite film of the year but Mandy was just so different to anything else I've seen, especially when it comes to the horror genre.

Other Faves: A Star Is Born / Coco / The Incredibles 2 / Teen Titans Go! To The Movies / Ralph Breaks The Internet



TV Show
Westworld

To be completely honest I didn't pay much attention to season one of Westworld until the very end. The whole robot cowboy theme park thing seemed kinda interesting but it wasn't until the true nature of Bernard & the identity of The Man In Black were revealed that I considered it to be worth watching. By the time season two rolled around I was stoked to see the outcome of Ford's new narrative & the aftermath of Dolores' uprising. This season the characters have become fully formed as the war between Delos & the hosts takes place. There's even more secrets & mysteries behind Ford's true intentions as well as William's journey through Westworld to The Valley Beyond & his relationship with his family. We also got to see some of the other parks, Shogun World & The Raj. The different timelines in season one were confusing enough but it gets even worse in season two, especially as Bernard has scrambled his memories & even he doesn't know which timeline we're following. This allows the show to flashback & flashforward in a Lost-esque fashion which reveals some truly crazy shit. Personally I found the scenes with Jim Delos, William & their families even more interesting than what was going on in Westworld itself. I can't wait to see where the story goes now that the hosts have the possibility of existing outside of the parks.

Other Faves: The Circle / Dragula / Atlanta / Better Call Saul / RuPaul's Drag Race
American Crime Story: The Assassination Of Gianni Versace / American Horror Story: Apocalpyse



Animation
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure

I've been meaning to start watching JoJo's Bizarre Adventure ever since I saw a couple of guys cosplaying as Jotaro & Kakyoin at Majikkon but I struggled to find a decent stream for it. There were so many different series & I wasn't sure where to start. I also wanted to understand all the Jojo's memes & references that the Internet is so keen on pointing out. Last Summer it was announced that Part 5: Vento Aureo was going to be adapted into an anime & some people on Reddit were doing a rewatch of the whole series before it began. I decided to join in & soon found myself completely obsessed with the Joestar family. I couldn't stick to the one episode a day rewatch schedule & started getting through at least five episodes per day. The show tells the story of the Joestars, whose various members discover that they are destined to take down supernatural foes using the unique powers that they possess. There are many different parts, each following the story of one member of the Joestar family & all of their names can be abbreviated to 'JoJo'. The first season is set in England during the 1880s when Jonathan Joestar takes on his evil adopted brother Dio Brando after Dio uses an ancient mask to turn into a vampire. Part 2: Battle Tendency is probably my favourite part & features my favourite Joestar, Joseph. Things really take off in Part 3: Stardust Crusaders with the introduction of Stands, which are physical manifestations of mental strength & fighting spirit. The Stands get even more inventive through Parts 4 & 5 so the battles get really crazy & the villains are even more iconic. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is one of those rare shows that just keeps on getting better as it continues plus the songs are so damn good! It's impossible to choose a favourite. I often stick on a JoJo soundtrack compilation before doing any housework as the songs really get you hyped up! It's fast become one of my favourite anime shows of all time (tied with Attack On Titan) & I've even started reading through all the manga parts that haven't been adapted yet. I'd say it's worth getting into for the memes alone but that would be selling it short. If you're into anime at all, you owe it to yourself to start your own Bizarre Adventure with the Joestars.

Other Faves: Steven Universe / Yokai Watch Shadowside / Adventure Time / Summer Camp Island / Apple & Onion



Game
Octopath Traveler

JRPGs are my favourite genre of video game & when I heard that the team behind Bravely Default were working on something for the Nintendo Switch, I knew it was gonna be good. That something turned out to be Octopath Traveler, a turn-based role playing game with a gorgeous 'HD-2D' aesthetic. You play as eight different characters, each with their own jobs, skills & tragic backstory. Each chapter reveals more about their individual stories as they travel together on a journey to defeat those who have wronged them in the past. Some of the stories can get extremely dark, especially Primrose's which has a lot of references to brothels & sexual abuse but I found all of them to be really compelling. The characters are great fun to play as & I loved the combat system which expands upon the 'brave' & 'default' mechanics from Bravely Default in a really cool way. I started off as Therion the thief but you can team up & switch between each character to progress further in their individual storylines. Unfortunately they don't really link up at all but there is a final boss at the end that has had an impact on each of them. The soundtrack is amazing, as you would expect from Square Enix & it was just a blast to play. I really hope they come out with a sequel as I would love to spend some more time exploring the world of Orsterra with these eight travelers.

Other Faves: Pokemon Let's Go, Eevee! / Super Smash Bros Ultimate
Undertale / Hyrule Warriors / Super Mario Party


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