Top 11 of 2011: Part Three

Broken Spork’s writers are presenting their best of the year in movies, TV, sports, music, and general awesomeness.

By Colin Peters

11. Spotify

It’s been around since 2008, but it only made it to America this past summer. Spotify rules. I’m still trying to fully immerse myself in it, but I can’t deny its importance and function. It’s awesome.

10.  Jay Z & Kanye West – Watch the Throne

Opulence. Excess. Shiny things. ‘Watch the Throne’ is an offensively boastful record full of these things. Unfortunately, it’s also fucking dope. I didn’t want to like it, but it’s undeniably good. It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s a lot of fun and certainly gets people singing along. Unlike Andrew, I wasn’t as impressed with the live show. It was incredibly entertaining; but the well-rehearsed production left me with a feeling of complete separation. There was no spontaneity in the show and it felt like Jay and Kanye were just going through the motions. It was all good stuff, but definitely not worth the $100+ price tag. Still, ‘Watch the Throne’ makes my list for best of the year.

9.  The Muppets

This movie was too much fun to ignore. It might not show up on “best-of” lists elsewhere but I loved it. Considering the raunchy comedies previously written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, I was surprised with how family-friendly yet still hilariously funny this was. Bret Mackenzie of Flight of the Conchords wrote music for the film. Of course, the Muppets were awesome. I loved it.

8.  Harry Potter 7

Though lower on my list, Andrew and Beth already locked this one down.

7.  Bon Iver – Bon Iver

I don’t really know how to describe Bon Iver’s music. It’s good, though. The production of ‘Bon Iver’ was much cleaner and electric than ‘For Emma, Forever Ago,’ and ‘Blood Bank.’ Still, Justin Vernon’s strength is his songwriting and soul-bearing falsetto. ‘Bon Iver’ is a departure from the barren, woodsy cabin feel of previous work, but it’s a step in the right direction.

6.  Boardwalk Empire Season 2

Whoa. What happened? Boardwalk Empire went crazy this season. There was more action, violence and sex than last season. There were more Irishmen, too. What more could I ask for? I don’t want to throw in any spoilers, so I’ll just say that there were some serious power shifts going on throughout the season and the finale seriously surprised me. It was a good season and I’m looking forward to Season 3.

5.  Breaking Bad Season 4

Holy shit.

Walter White is a bad man. I can’t wait for Season 5. The last season took things to a whole new level and the Season 4 finale was insane. Best show on TV? Ding ding ding – we have a winner. I’m really looking forward to what the writers come up with for the fifth and final season.

4.  Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

I nominate these videos for best of the year. Macklemore and his producer Ryan Lewis are impressive storytellers. Lewis’ production is cinematic and Macklemore flows and rhymes like it’s his only way of communicating. The songs are emotionally charged and authentic. The videos that accompany the songs are epic mini-movies that complement the songs perfectly. 1080p. Full-screen. Get to it!

Otherside Remix ft. Fences – Probably the best video.

My Oh My – I’m not a Mariners fan but this song/video gives me chills.

Wings – Don’t get it twisted, this isn’t an ode to Nike. It’s anti-consumerist rap. Is that possible?

3.  Like Crazy

I felt really uncomfortable at the end of this movie. Young love and long-distance relationships aren’t new to the screen, but there was a very genuine quality to this movie that made it better than the rest. The performances by Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones were marvelous. It was a painful but very beautiful story told extremely well. The music and score were nearly perfect for the characters. I know this paragraph reads like a generic review, but there is a quality about this movie I can’t identify; I just liked it a lot. Go see it.

2.  The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow 

‘Barton Hollow’ was one of my favorite albums this year. Nothing fancy, just some good-old-fashion Americana/Folk music. There’s some really good songwriting and I think it’s a solid start-to-finish kind of record. The show was even more impressive. I assumed the singer-songwriter duo would have a backing band but it was just the two of them: two voices and one guitar. They were very charming and had great anecdotal stories between songs. Having an awesome opener didn’t hurt either: Milo Greene.

1.  Adele – 21

Have you heard this album? Of course you have. It’s too good to ignore. Adele has an incredible voice and ‘21’ delivered in a big way. The album found fans all over the world and managed to sell 3.4 million records in less than a year. Anyone that can sell that many albums – especially in this digital age – is doing something right. There isn’t much more to say that hasn’t already been said. Adele’s ‘21’ is a great record and my favorite of the year.


4 Comments on “Top 11 of 2011: Part Three”

  1. I call shenanigans on #10. That album was mediocre at best. Some really slick production matched with what are probably the most vanilla verses Kanye and Hova have rapped in their entire careers. There weren’t even that many good hooks. Completely underwhelming, top to bottom.

  2. james says:

    you’ll be writing about mad men next year..

  3. Niel-Cat says:

    -“FILL YOUR POCKETS AND LEAVE IN PEACE, OR FACE ME…AND DIE!” Breaking Bad is the best show on TV without a doubt. I can’t wait for season 5… ***(SPOILER ALERT)****——> even without Gus.

    -Just got Spotify Premium for my iPhone, I was really disappointed. It allows you to to use the Spotify application on your mobile device which is nice as far as portable music is concerned, but you can’t explore “related artists” or see the artist’s’ “top tracks” like you can on the computer version. A sick program nonetheless.

    24 Worth represent.

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