Why I Love 2017 in Created Things

2017, in some ways, wasn't a great year for me. I lost my father eight months ago, and have had some personal shit that didn't work out so well.  Luckily the year in created things was pretty great. I have listed my favourite music, video games, movies and television shows below. I close with a look at the best created work of any medium or genre.


ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Drake - More Life. Drake's best album, neck and neck with Take Care. A beautiful array of styles. Stunning production and hooks for days and days. He is the quintessential modern rapper/R&B artist. Flow into melody into flow with melody. More Life features some of Drake's best melodies in a career that has been full of them. Passionfruit is a highlight, as are Teenage Fever, Fake Love and Madiba Rhythm. Destroys Kendrick Lamar with a musical acumen that, for as good as Kendrick's lyrical chops are, Lamar just can't compete with. The best rapper alive today and one of the very best artists of the new wave Noir R&B.

2) Kelela - Take Me Apart. One of the great new R&B artists. Hits hard vocally like Janet. Wonderful production and a sensual, bedroom style that encourages repeat listening. Particular shout out for Onanon and Altadena. More evidence that Noir R&B is the hottest thing going today.

3) Miguel - War & Leisure. Although I always respected Miguel and loved several of his songs - Do you like drugs esp.- I never quite clicked with him like I did with Frank and Abel. Until now. This is a brilliant, bold creation. Noir R&B on deck.

4) Michael McDonald - Wide Open. Michael is a legend in R&B and the somewhat derogatory tag of Blue Eyed Soul. Anyway, this, his first album of new material in 17 YEARS is one of his most heartfelt and expertly constructed. Recommended.

5) Chris Brown - Heartbreak on a Full Moon. Bad person, ridiculously talented artist. This epic, 2 hours and 40 minutes album is the best of his career, which has been full of great tracks. Shout out to Tempo, one of my favourite productions of 2017.
VIDEO GAME OF THE YEAR: Nintendo - The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Completely reinvented Zelda with the best gameplay in the history of the series. One of the truly great open worlds to be seen in the medium. A landscape that stretches on forever, with secrets and beauty around every corner. The most majestic, heartening and inspiring game in the legendary series. The only weak point is the story which is well below the standard of Wind Waker and Majora's Mask. Even with a weaker story however, the game is still one knockout after another. Stunning as all hell, and the year's best video game.

 2) Nintendo - Super Mario Odyssey. What can I say, except that it's pure fun injected into your eye balls. Up there with the best of all time, standing alongside Mario 64 and Mario Galaxy 1 & 2. Ignore the somewhat grotesque humans in New Donk City and this is a game that is sure to top many Best of Year lists. It narrowly missed out mine due to the astonishing achievement in open world game design that is Breath of the Wild, but Odyssey remains one of my favourite games in many, many years.

3) Capcom - Resident Evil VII: Biohazard. The best surprise of the year was the re-invention of Resident Evil, nearly on the level of Breath of the Wild. This is quite simply the best Horror game I've ever played. Gets back to the roots while somehow transforming it into something new. Scary, gorgeous aesthetic violence, and a level of immersion that I haven't felt in a game since The Evil Within.


MOVIE OF THE YEAR: Denis Villeneuve - Blade Runner 2049. My favourite movie of the year. Visually astounding, philosophically profound. Easily stands up to the original in some kind of miracle. Villeneuve retains the original's dream-like Science Fiction Noir with a story that follows up on the original's inquiry into the definition of life, and the seemingly inherent capacity to enslave those life forms that don't immediately resemble us. Ridley Scott, who produced, has been on a Science Fiction roll lately, with Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, and Blade Runner 2049 is further proof that he is as hooked in and switched on as ever.

2) Ridley Scott - Alien: Covenant. A very close second. Not quite as good as Prometheus but full of great stuff, including some sublime and innovative violence. Love the cast and the continuation of Creators vs Created. I would have loved to have seen Elizabeth Shaw, even if it was just a cameo, but I still loved the hell out of this movie.

3) Jordan Peele - Get Out. One of the freshest Horror movies in forever. Very scary, well observed and compelling. Put it on a double bill with It Follows and have a brilliant night of intriguing and disturbing Horror!


TELEVISION PROGRAMME AND GREATEST CREATED WORK OF THE YEAR: David Lynch and Mark Frost - Twin Peaks The Return. The greatest show of 2017, and very likely the greatest in the history of the medium. Devastating, audacious in the extreme and one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen from start to finish with no flaws. There is so much to say about this creation, but I will try to nail it down to a few points. First, it is the superior of the original in every conceivable way. Don't let anyone bamboozle you with some nostalgic guff that the original was somehow better. The Return operates on a whole other level. It is more complex, emotionally, structurally and thematically. It is more beautiful. It is more daring, owing most of its influence, not to the original as expected but to David Lynch's surreal works: Eraserhead, Fire Walk With Me, Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive and INLAND EMPIRE. This is why some foolish members of the public were confused about how to understand the show. These people need help, not censure, so let me just make a plea to the artistic Gods: please Gods of the Earth and the surrounding planets, let these slow witted buffoons see the errors of their ways. From the beginning of the show until its staggering, extremely surreal and profound ending, Twin Peaks The Return is without flaws or imperfections. Perfect. The most audacious, creative and beautiful work of the year 2017, in any medium, and very likely for many more years than that.

2) Bryan Fuller and Michael Green - American Gods. In any regular year, American Gods would have been my favourite show. Still, it is an extremely well done adaptation by the book by Neil Gaiman, with a great cast -especially Ian McShane - and a daring sense of mystery. Let's hope for a good season 2.

3) Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman - Star Trek Discovery. I was not a fan of the JJ films, and felt they sullied the reputation of Star Trek. I was not expecting a return to the goodness of TNG and DS9, but this is just about as good as those shows. Amazing lead performance from Sonequa Martin-Green and in Michael Burnham, a character sure to become classic.

4) The Duffer Brothers - Stranger Things 2. I loved this as much as the original. Brilliant characters and a story that winds around and leads you to mysterious and entrancing places. I loved Sean Astin here, as one of the best well meaning buffoons in recent memory. Dustin is still the cutest motherfucker around.

5) Larry David - Curb Your Enthusiasm. The funniest season long story arc with the Fatwa. Some stunning episodes, including a guest appearance by SALMAN FUCKING RUSHDIE! As funny as ever and it seems like we're getting more!


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