Best of the Decade: Favorite Movies of the 2010s


To celebrate the end of the decade, here are 10 of the best films from 2010-2019:

As always you can see the list of every movie I ever remember seeing which includes links to hundreds of reviews.

There are almost certainly great movies I’ve yet to see.  Let me know what they are in the comments!

 

Best of the Decade: Favorite Songs of the 2010s


And now, with no explanation and no apology, here are my 100 favorite songs from 2010 to 2019.

Title Artist Album
92nd Street Kris Delmhorst Blood Test
Americans Janelle Monáe Dirty Computer
Archie, Marry Me Alvvays Allvays
BALTIMORE Prince HITNRUN
Because I’m Me The Avalanches Wild Flowers
Beneath the Brine The Family Crest Beneath the Brine
Big Bad Good My bubba Big Bad Good
Black Willow Loma Loma
Bloodbuzz Ohio The National High Violet
Bright Whites Kishi Bashi 151a
Call Me Maybe Carly Rae Jepsen Kiss
Changes Charles Bradley, The Budos Band Changes
Chinatown Girlpool Before the World Was Big
Cold War Janelle Monáe The ArchAndroid
Colonizer tUnE-YaRdS i can feel you creep into my private life
Comeback Kid Sharon Van Etten Remind Me Tomorrow
Crazy, Classic, Life Janelle Monáe Dirty Computer
Cruel St. Vincent Strange Mercy
Cryin’ in the Streets Zeshan B Cryin’ in the Streets
Dancing on My Own Robyn Body Talk Pt. 1
Delicate Cycle The Uncluded Hokey Fright
Digital Witness St. Vincent St. Vincent
Dirty Money Antibalas Antibalas
Discourse My New Romance Shinedoe, Karin Dreijer Illogical Directions
Divisionary (Do the Right Thing) Ages and Ages Divisionary
Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself Alex Lahey The Best of Luck Club
Don’t Wait Mapei Hey Hey
Don’t Wanna Lose Ex Hex Rips
Down By the Water Decemberists The King is Dead
Dynamite Taio Cruz Rokstarr
Every Day’s the Weekend Alex Lahey I Love You Like a Brother
Everybody Wants to Be Famous Superorganism Superorganism
Fam Jam (Fe Sum Immigrins) Shad Flying Colours
Familiar Agnes Obel Citizen of Glass
Feel this Moment Pitbull, Christina Aguilera Global Warming
Follow Your Arrow Kacey Musgraves Same Trailer Different Park
FREEDOM Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar LEMONADE
FUNKNROLL Prince ART OFFICIAL AGE
Future Politics Austra Future Politics
Gangnam Style Psy Gangnam Style
GMF John Grant Festival
Good as Hell Lizzo Coconut Oil
Good Mistake Mr Little Jeans Pocketknife
Hell You Talmbout Janelle Monáe, Deep Cotton, St. Beauty, Jidenna, Roman GianArthur, and George 2.0 Hell You Talmbout
Helplessness Blues Fleet Foxes Helplessness Blues
Hold On You Get Love and Let Go When Give It Stars The North
HOLD UP Beyoncé LEMONADE
Home Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros Up from Below
Hot to Trot Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas Hot to Trot
I Give You Power Arcade Fire, Mavis Staples I Give You Power
I Love It Icona Pop, Charli XCX I Love It
Juice Lizzo Cuz I Love You
Lifted Up Passion Pit Kindred
Look at This A Tribe Called Red A Tribe Called Red
Loud Places Jame xx, Romy In Colour
LOW Young Fathers DEAD
Make Me Feel Janelle Monáe Dirty Computer
MCs Can Kiss Uffie Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans
Memories are Now Jesca Hoop Memories are Now
Mighty Caravan Palace Wonderland – EP
Mourning in America The Milk Carton Kids All the Things that I Did and All the Things That I Didn’t Do
Nameless, Faceless Courtney Barnett Tell Me How You Really Feel
No Banker Left Behind Ry Cooder Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down
No Going Back Yuno Moodie
Oblivion Grimes Visions
Old Town Road Lil Nas X 7
Once in a Lifetime Angelique Kidjo Remain in Light
Pedestrian at Best Courtney Barnett Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
Quiet Milck This is Not the End
Quiet Erik Blood, Irene Barber Lost in Slow Motion
Right Hand Man Christopher Jackson, Lin-Manuel Miranda Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
Rill Rill Sleigh Bells Treats
Rolling in the Deep Adele 21
Romance Wild Flag Wild Flag
Same Love Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Mary Lambert The Heist
Santa Fe Beiruit The Rip Tide
Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) Arcade Fire The Suburbs
Starships Nicki Minaj Pink Friday
Step Vampire Weekend Modern Vampires of the City
Stranger Things Kyle Dixon, Michael Stein Stranger Things, Vol. 1
The Cave Mumford & Sons Sigh No More
The Fox Ylvis The Fox
The Scene Between The Go! Team The Scene Between
The Sweetest Thing JJ Grey, Mofro Blues Music
The Underside of Power Algiers The Underside of Power
This Girl Kungs, Cookin’ on 3 Burners Layers
Tightrope Janelle Monáe, Big Boi The ArchAndroid
Tremelo Young Fathers Cocoa Sugar
True Trans Soul Rebel Against Me! Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Uptown Funk Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars Uptown Special
Venus Fly Grimes, Janelle Monáe Art Angels
Violet Clementine Lady Lamb the Beekeeper After
Wave of History Downtown Boys Full Communism
We are Young fun., Janelle Monáe Some Nights
We Found Love Rihanna, Calvin Harris Talk That talk
White Foxes Susanne Sundfør The Silicone Veil
Witness Benjamin Book, Mavis Staples Witness
Work Charlotte Day Wilson CDW
You Want It Darker Leonard Cohen You Want It Darker
Your Best American Girl Mitski Puberty 2

2017 Year in Review: Favorite Books


Here’s my annual list of my ten favorite books read in the year.  As always, this is merely the best books I read this year and not necessarily books published in 2016.  For previous years see 2016201520142013201220112010200920082007 and 2006. You may also want to check out My Favorite Books of All Time or see Every Book I’ve Ever Read cataloged in Library Thing.

In alphabetical order:

And, here is every book I read this year with rankings.  (A) is for audiobook.

The books are rated on a scale from 1 to 5 stars with links to summary reviews.

Here’s a thumbnail of what the ratings mean:

  • 5 stars – all-time classic (I’m very stingy with these)
  • 4 stars – a particularly interesting, well-written, or important book
  • 3 stars – a good book from start to finish
  • 2 stars – not a good book on the whole but has some good parts
  • 1 star or less – basically a bad book with no redeeming values

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

2017 Year in Review: Favorite Songs


Here are 20 of my favorite songs of 2017. For previous year-end lists of previous years check out my lists for 20162015,  201420132012,  2011,  2010  and  2009.

In no particular order

“Blue Mountain Road” by Florist

“Memories are Now” by Jesca Hoop

“You Would Have to Lose Your Mind” by Barr Brothers

“Cherry Blossom: by ALA.NI 

“Drinkee” by Sofi Tukker

“Every Day’s the Weekend” by Alex Lahey

“Witness” by  Benjamin Booker (feat. Mavis Staples)

“I Give You Power” by Arcade Fire (feat. Mavis Staples)

“Quiet” by Milck 

“Work” by  Charlotte Day Wilson

“Familiar” by Agnes Obel

“Cryin’ in the Streets” by Zeshan B

“Venus Fly” by Grimes (feat. Janelle Monae) – technically this song is from 2015, but the video of this most important collaboration came out this year bringing due attention to the song.

“Hot to Trot” by  Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas

“Modafinil Blues” by Matthew Dear

“The Underside of Power” by Algiers 

“A Wall” by Downtown Boys

“Future Politics” by Austra

“Learning to Lose” by Margo Price (feat. Willie Nelson)

“Straight Boy” by Shamir

 

2017 Year in Review: Favorite Podcast Episodes


I’m trying something new here. If you read this site regularly, you know I’m obsessed with listening to podcasts. So I’m making a list of my favorite podcast episodes of 2017. But before that I’m going to list my 10 favorite podcasts, the ones that always fill me with delight when I see that they’ve downloaded into my podcatcher:

Okay, so here are some of the great episodes that you should make time to listen to:

And of course, my first and only appearance on a podcast:

2017 Year in Review: Favorite Albums


This has been a challenging year in music as there have been few things that have jumped out at me as being all-time classics, much less favorites for 2017.  To add to the struggle a lot of artists that I’ve counted on to produce great music put out new albums this year including Beck, Björk, Blitzen Trapper, Flaming Lips, Gorrillaz, The New Pornographers, Shamir, St. Vincent, and The xx.  What should’ve been a bumper crop of music was dissapointing, and while I would not say that any of these artists’ albums were bad, I believe that could have done better.  I don’t know, maybe I’m missing the great music of 2017, and if that is the case please direct to me to those great tunes ASAP.

Nevertheless, her are six albums from 2017 that I loved, with links to the original reviews.  Check them out!

ArtistRun the Jewels 
AlbumRun the Jewels 3  

ArtistAustra
Album:  Future Politics

ArtistPeter Mulvey
AlbumAre You Listening 

Artists:  Fleet Foxes
Album: Crack-Up 

ArtistAlgiers
AlbumThe Underside of Power 

ArtistDowntown Boys
AlbumCost of Living 

Previously:

2015 Year in Review: Favorite Songs


Once again, it’s time to look back on the music of 2015 with my favorite songs of the year.

I’ve featured many of this songs in my Song of the Week posts this year.  If you see a link from a song title it will take you back to the Song of the Week post for that song.

For previous year-end lists of previous years check out my lists for 201420132012,  2011,  2010  and  2009.

In alphabetical order, here are my ten favorite songs of the year:

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America Says Hello” by The Chills – It has the jangle and political passion of mid-80s R.E.M. but this is actually the return of a New Zealand post-punk band of the same period.

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Chinatown” by Girlpool – Simple emotion with folk roots and punk expression.

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“Lifted Up (1985)” by Passion Pit – Michael Angelakos song of how love saved him from depression.  This was my song I played whenever I needed cheering.

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Loud Places” by Jamie xx(featuring Romy) – A quiet song full of hidden sounds and textures.

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“Lonely Daze” by Kate Tempest – Street poetry of real people with real stories.

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Malukayi” by Mbongwana Star (featuring Konono No. 1) – A new sound is born, African tradition with electronic innovation.

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Pedestrian at Best” by Courtney Barnett – Punk rock rage with words that mean something.

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“Right Hand Man” by Christopher Jackson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom, Jr. & Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton -This is kind of cheating, because if I was doing an album list this year I’d recommend listening to the entire Hamilton Original Broadway Cast Recording.  But this is a good introduction to the musical that has brought my people out, making it cool to geek out over American Revolutionary and Federal period history.

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The Scene Between” by The Go! Team – A cosmic gospel tune.

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Violet Clementine” by Lady Lamb – Kind of sounds like 6 or 7 songs covering multiple genres, and yet it’s just one part of a brilliant album.

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Honorable mentions:

“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson (featuring Bruno Mars) – Technically a 2014 release, but it was inescapable for much of 2015.  Despite its ubiquity and that it sounds almost exactly like it could be a song by The Time from 30 years, I love it.  Because if something is going to receive this much airplay, sounding like a 30-year-old song by The Time is not a bad thing.

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“Downtown” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (feat. Eric Nally, Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee & Grandmaster Caz) – Almost a response to “Uptown Funk,” celebrating a different part of the city and a pastiche of old genres ranging from Old School hip-hop (with old school rappers) to Queen.

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More Music Lists:

Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


Author: Harper Lee
Title: To Kill a Mockingbird
Publication Info: Harper (2010), Edition: 50th Anniversary Edition
ISBN: 0061743526
Summary/Review: With much joy and a little apprehension I returned to one of my Favorite Books of All Time after nearly 25 years.  It turned out to be better than I remembered.  It was interesting the details I remembered (Calpurnia not wanting to stay in the house with high ceilings on a cold night, Scout’s “Hey, Boo!” at the climax of the novel) as well as things I completely forgot (the cranky, old morphine addict Mrs. Dubose, Aunt Alexandra coming to live with the family).

The book is great on so many levels, most especially the joys and travails of childhood so accurately represented.  As a child I identified with the kids, but now I also am drawn to Atticus as he tries to raise his children as best he can and instill them with conscience.  Lee also does a great job creating a Southern town with its history, castes, and characters.  It all comes together in a brilliant period piece around the trial of a black man falsely accused.

I really can’t say enough good things about this book, so I’ll end here.  I’ll have to make a shorter wait before I read it again.

Recommended books: Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote, A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines, The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Rating: *****

Book Review: Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes


Rereading my 100 Favorite Books: #57

Author: Esther Forbes
Title: Johnny Tremain
Publication Info: 0395900115
ISBN: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1998.

Summary/Review: Having listed my 100 Favorite Books of All Time, I want to make the effort to reread these books and see if my opinion changes for better or worse. Instead of reading these by rank I’m going to start by going way back and reading a book I last read 25 years ago.  I was in 7th grade and Johnny Tremain, a story about a boy in Boston during the American Revolution won me over.

So how does it stand up?  I remembered the basic plot well – Johnny is a promising silversmith apprentice, he burns his hand while working on the sabbath, loses his position, befriends another apprentice in the printing trade, and gets involved in revolutionary activities.  Other things I didn’t remember as well such as how much of an arrogant tool Johnny is at the start of the novel and his injury is a great humbling.

Despite this obvious moralistic tone, I think the novel holds up well.  Esther Forbes has a keen sense for colonial Boston and its people and doesn’t make any grave errors in historical accuracy.  The story has a good mix of adventure, inspiration, and thoughtfulness and a whole lot more moral ambiguity than I’d expect of a children’s book about the American Revolution written almost 70 years ago.

Recommended books: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation by M.T. Andersen
Rating: *****

100 Favorite Albums of All-Time 10-1


Yikes! I’ve reached the top ten.  It should be noted that I actually considered 12 albums as being good enough to be number one, but only one could qualify.  Or you could look at as a 12-way tie.

Previously:

10. Hush by Yo Yo Ma and Bobby McFerrin (1992)

A world famous concert cellist and an innovative a capella vocalist  (who has done a lot more than “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”) collaborate on a children’s album and its brilliant.  There are a number of interpretations of classical pieces but my favorites are McFerrin originals such as “Stars,” “Grace,” and “Coyote.”

9. Belafonte at Carnegie Hall by Harry Belafonte (1959)

I was born to late to see Belafonte perform at his prime, but this recording captures his amazing voice and showmanship.  The show has three parts featuring Black American music, the Caribbean,  and folk songs from around the world with such highlights as “Jamaica Farewell,” “Shenandoah,” and “Matilda.”

8. Doolittle by Pixies (1989)

This album has kept me up all night and probably damaged my ear drums as I listened to it repeatedly with my headphones on many occasions over the years. I think it was a hand-me-down from my sister who didn’t like it. Highlights include “Debaser,” “Wave of Mutilation,” “Hey,” and “Gouge Away.”

7. If I Should Fall From the Grace of God by The Pogues (1988)

This was always one of the first albums I’d upgrade to new formats, mainly because I’d worn out tape and CD copies from repeat listenings.  Shane and the gang do their punky Celtic best on songs like “Fairytale of New York,” “Turkish Song of the Damned,” “Thousands Are Sailing,” and “Medley.”

6. Flood by They Might Be Giants (1990)

I think I’ve tried to explain the genius, artistry and symbolism of songs by TMBG to people who think they’re just funny ditties.  See what you think when listening to tracks like “Istanbul (Not Constantinople),” “Birdhouse in Your Soul,” “Road Movie To Berlin,” “Particle Man,” and “Your Racist Friend.”

5. Sacrebleu by Dimitri From Paris (1996)

A French house DJ mixes in all sorts of loungey music and soundtracks for a really cool effect.  Try out “Sacre Francais,” “Reveries,” “Une Very Stylish Fille,” and “Un World Mysteriouse” for starters.

4. BullsEye by The Kevin Hanson Trio (2001)

Saw Hanson solo at Club Passim and was impressed by his guitar virtuosity.  Got the album and was impressed by the imaginative lyrics and music of songs like “I Wish,” “Just Because,” and “Circus.”

3. Cry Cry Cry by Cry Cry Cry (1998)

Contemporary folk singer/performers Dar Williams, Richard Shindell, and Lucy Kaplansky collaborate on covers of songs by other contemporary artists such as”By Way of Sorrow,” “Cold Missouri Waters,” and “Shades of Gray.” Funny that none of their solo work made my list, but together they’re three times as good.

2. Rum, Sodomy and The Lash by  The Pogues (1985)

Pogues’ fans argue about which album is there best and I believe its this very raw, very powerful, and very good collection. It feature Cait O’Riordan’s only lead vocal performance on (ironically) “I’m A Man You Don’t Meet Everyday,” a beautifully haunting song. “Sally MacLennane,” and “A Pair of Brown Eyes” are a couple of other Pogues standards on this all around excellent album.

1.  Tanglewood Tree by Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer

The folk duo’s masterpiece includes  the brilliant lyrics and music of Dave Carter with Grammer on vocals and fiddle on songs such as “Tanglewood Tree,” “The Mountain,” and “Cowboy Singer.”  Ten years have gone by and I’m still wowed by this album.

Next week:  Some honorable mentions that did not crack the Top 100 although many were deserving.