Spectacular Summaries Saturday :: 11 gifts that 2016 gave me

1 Jan

11. Cry-Baby
This album, as I mentioned on Monday, technically came out last year, but hot damn. I have not been able to get enough of it. It’s just so weird and aesthetic and Melanie Martinez looks like a confused porcelain doll and it’s cathartic as hell to drive around singing along to this acting like a non-Suicide Squad Harley Quinn making crazy eyes. Each music video is weirder than the last (my personal favorite, aside from “Milk and Cookies,” is still probably “Pity Party” but I love all of them) and she just has a fascinating way about her that strikes me as something interesting.

10. Hamilton
You’ll notice that link is from last year, because I did technically first listen to Hamilton last year. The phenomenon that is Hamilton is possibly the greatest cultural even of 2016, though. In this year of horrible politics, horrible bigotry, and outstanding ignorance, here is a musical that somehow managed not only to explain politics (both then and now) more clearly than any history class I ever took but to reach the hearts of so many, to make an old story relevant to a new audience in new ways. A+++.

9. Rogue One
This movie also stands in interesting stark contrast to other events of 2016, which is part of what makes it so good. The other part is that it is just damn good movie, solidly constructed and compellingly told.

8. Waitress
This list always seems to slant more toward the end of the year, but in a lot of cases that’s just when the observable, linkable writing on the subject is. I’ve been listening to the songs from Waitress since last winter when they were released, and I think it’s absolutely charming. And hell, it was a real true Broadway New York show experience, of course it’s in my top 10 of the year.

7. I’m Alone, No You’re Not
Another constant listen, as mentioned. There are shades of Delta Rae, of First Aid Kit, even of beloved Eisley occasionally, and it’s lady harmonies all the time, sometimes more mournful, sometimes twangy, sometimes cute and fun, all the time gorgeous.

6. Carol
In this the year of our many many dead Sapphic ladies, Carol is a gift. It is not a perfect film, but it’s aesthetic and beautiful and satisfying and not outright depressing. Also, this.

5. Luke Cage
I find it also really… fitting, in a way, that this year also yielded such a gloriously, in-your-facedly black piece of media as Luke Cage. Marvel is largely unfortunately white, but between this and the upcoming Black Panther there are alternatives being given, and Luke Cage is also the most quality entertainment. From villains Mashershala Ali and Alfre Woodard to protagonists Mike Colter and Rosario Dawson and Simone Missick, every single member of the cast brings their all. The writing is delightful. The vibe is incredibly thorough. It’s not exactly “fun” in the traditional sense, but it is time well-spent.

4. On the Edge of Gone
Of the books I first-time read this year (admittedly, last year’s resolution didn’t quite hold up) this one stuck with me the most, for the reasons before mentioned. It’s so nuanced and doesn’t other anyone while exploring the viewpoints of othered characters.

3. Love You to Death
And its subsequent tour, of course. Tegan and Sara are the most brilliant musicians who put on the best, gayest show, and this year especially that was needed.

2. Mockingbird, Chelsea Cain
This is a week later belated ETA, but it’s important. I really cannot even begin to explain how important these 8 (9 including the starter from last year) issues of comics were. I love Chelsea Cain, y’all know that, and I love Bobbi Morse, y’all know that, but together they were an unholy blessed thing, sass and feminism and ass-kickery and metafiction and I read a lot of vintage Mockingbird this year too and Chelsea really did take the time to deconstruct and ameliorate every flaw in her written history and I will admit to crying when it was over, but also no, for Bobbi’s sake I am living my life unapologetically. (Also, that’s what Lance Hunter said at the Hellfire Club.)

1. my drift partner
You are the best thing about this and every year, darling. But especially this one. ❤

–your fangirl heroine.



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