A&E top of the pop 2012
Arts & Entertainment ranks the best and worst of the year's pop culture
1. The Dark Knight Rises: 2012 was the year of the blockbuster, and no box office smash soared higher than the latest and greatest entry in the Batman series. Equipped with excellent star turns from Tom Hardy and Anne Hathaway, this instant classic has redefined the superhero movie genre.
2. Skyfall: Agent 007’s latest adventure achieves similarly epic heights. Loyalties are tested when Bond takes on one of the franchise’s most frightful villains, as well as — perhaps even more frighteningly — the approach of old age.
3. 21 Jump Street: This clever comedy may have slipped off the radar for many by the time predestined critical hits such as Zero Dark Thirty and Les Misérables hit theaters, but its adorable sense of humor and its charismatic stars place this 1980s TV program update head and shoulders above the brutally unfunny yet critically adored Silver Linings Playbook.
4. Moonrise Kingdom: Love him or hate him, veteran director Wes Anderson offers up some of the most visually inventive and intricate filmic landscapes in the industry. This sweet story of a blossoming romance between two youngsters combines gorgeous art direction and all-star acting to brilliant effect.
5. Argo: Based on the true story of a CIA mission to rescue a group of American embassy staffers during the Iran hostage crisis, this suspenseful and witty thriller benefits from Ben Affleck’s brilliant direction. He’s clearly come a long way since Gigli.
-by Conor Sheehey
1. The Vow: A terribly sappy romance filled with clichés, The Vow vows to made us regret spending money to see it in theaters.
2. Piranha 3D: A sequel so grossly bad that you wonder why anyone would make it in the first place.
3. The Lucky One: Zac Efron bums everyone out with his static character in the mediocre adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel.
4. That’s My Boy: Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg fall short in this cringe-worthy “comedy” about a father-son relationship.
5. Taken 2: Who would even think of taking on Liam Neeson again, after his kick-ass performance in the much better original Taken?
-by Jamie Shalvey
1. Homeland: The show that turns TV drama conventions on their heads by seemingly changing the course of the show each week has delivered a second season even more thrilling than its first.
2. Breaking Bad: The chemistry (pun intended) Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul share on screen is absolutely riveting.
3. Game of Thrones: Possibly the most daring show ever produced on television, Thrones upped the ante in season two. Just see the indescribably epic battle in “Blackwater.”
4. New Girl: The dorky, adorable yet positively funny Zooey Deschanel is the new girl in town to take the airwaves by storm in 2012.
5. Modern Family: This hilariously offbeat family still leads the pack of TV comedies.
-by Troy Kirwin
1. Two and a Half Men: Charlie Sheen may have been crazy, but at least he was funny.
2. American Idol: Will American Idol forever be remembered as the highlight of our childhood, the reality hit that discovered Kelly and Carrie and Jennifer? No. Fox just won’t let it die.
3. The Neighbors: Just like your neighbors, only less comical. This sitcom, which involves a New Jersey family moving into a neighborhood full of aliens named after famous athletes, is the worst new sitcom of the year.
4. Abby & Brittany: TLC’s mini-reality series desperately tries to convince viewers the conjoined twins are just regular college students. Although both Abby and Brittany are likeable girls, the entire show is just in bad taste.
5. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo: As much as I love Alana, the fast-talking, go-go-juice-drinking 6 year-old beauty pageant sensation, I would be remiss not to include this show. Watching Honey Boo Boo’s self-proclaimed redneck clan mud dive and eat roadkill is far from beautimous.
-by Bonni Dinerstein
1. Bloom; Beach House – Fall into yet another Beach House dream when listening to their latest album. The dream may seem familiar, but I’ll bet it won’t be one of those dreams you wake from having forgotten everything, or anything at all.
2. Channel Orange; Frank Ocean – Take a dive into the sensual depths of the uh ocean of Frank’s latest album, where he constantly battles emotions within his own mind while fascinating himself with the crazy world around him.
3. Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City; Kendrick Lamaar – Filled with odd samples and self-made recordings, Kendrick’s latest album lyrically and musically exhibits the rapper’s journey from irresponsible adolescence to manhood.
4. Blunderbuss; Jack White – Drawing from more than 30 years of work with his various bands, Jack White’s 2012 album certainly falls into the mix of great rock albums of history … but then, doesn’t the record of any monumental musician who can put his crazy life into intense lyrics make the cut?
5. The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do; Fiona Apple – Well, the epic length of the title would only be sufficiently warranted if this album was actually epic, so thankfully this girl can sing her soul out.
-by Madie McDonald
BEST ALBUMS YOU HAVEN’T HEARD:
1. Until the Quiet Comes; Flying Lotus – Both eccentricity of style and seamless production make this masterpiece feel less like a set of discrete tracks and more like a cohesive materialization of a surreal dream, leading you through the rabbit hole and into the universe of Flying Lotus.
2. ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!; Godspeed You! Black Emperor – The dramatic instrumentals throughout this thunderous epic build and crescendo, fall into chaotic noise and finally leave behind the crumbled wreckage of what you thought an album can and should be.
3. Celebration Rock; Japandroids – For those who prefer to power through their angsty freak-outs with unhealthily loud guitar noise and raucous, but sensitive, anthemic shout-alongs, this one is for you.
4. An Awesome Wave; Alt-J – Within the strange space where digital meets analog, Alt-J finish their thoughtfully written songs by patching together acoustic sounds with sparse electronic influences, making an album that is, for lack of a better term, awesome.
5. Lonerism; Tame Impala – It’s one thing when a band gets stuck in a bygone era. It’s another thing entirely when a group such as this takes the work of the past, in this case ‘60s psychedelic rock, and syncretizes it with the styles of the present day, forming something that is new and ultimately exceptional.
-by Will Mullany
1. “Ho Hey”; The Lumineers – Watch out Mumford & Sons. The newcomers in the growing trend of folk rock into the mainstream has made this year’s best single, all equipped with catchy choruses and chants.
2. “Boyfriend”; Justin Bieber – The Biebs is back. The incredibly catchy single shows Beiber’s maturity, highlighted by his excellent falsetto and rapping skills.
3. “Some Nights”; Fun. – After “We Are Young” was incessantly overplayed over the radio, Fun.’s latest single is the perfect blend of a capella and pure pop, which is refreshing in today’s top-40 scene.
4. “Mercy” (feat. Big Sean, Pusha T, & 2 Chainz); Kanye West – ‘Ye produces another club banger and has put a Lamborghini on every rapper’s Christmas list.
5. “Beez in the Trap” (feat. 2 Chainz); Nicki Minaj – The best single Nicki Minaj has put out since “Did It On ‘Em,” the current queen of hip-hop dismisses her critics and reminds everyone why she’s currently the best female rapper.
-by Millicent Usoro
1. “Call Me Maybe”; Carly Rae Jepson – Although still an incredibly catchy song, the amount of sports teams, celebrities and ordinary people putting their version of this song on YouTube is appalling and way overdone, making it this year’s worst single.
2. “Gangnam Style”; Psy – Korean pop has officially arrived in America, but our fascination quickly became an obsession and subsequently ruined a perfectly fun song.
3. “Starships”; Nicki Minaj – This tragic attempt to straddle between pop and hip-hop made many even more confused at her musical identity, making Minaj on both the best and worst list.
4. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”; Taylor Swift – I’m pretty sure he never wanted to get together in the first place, Taylor.
5. “Where Have You Been”; Rihanna – The worst single by Rihanna sampled “I’ve Been Everywhere” and was not really that catchy at all.
-by Millicent Usoro
TOP POP CULTURE MOMENTS:
1. Snooki refuted common beliefs by proving that it is still humanly possible to reproduce after spending a third of one’s life in a tanning bed. Early checkups proved the baby was in fact not the spawn of Satan.
2. Kristen Stewart, America’s favorite “trampire,” allegedly cheated on beaux Robert Pattinson, inspiring seismic waves of tears across the nation among teens who apparently forgot that Edward and Bella are fictional characters and thus subject to human things such as high divorce rates.
3. Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez’s love affair also came to a close, offsetting all the sadness about the Kristen stuff as millions of tweens resumed planning their weddings to a prepubescent stud who doesn’t know they exist.
4. Honey Boo Boo rocked/terrified the country with a charming dose of sass and baby fat. Americans, transfixed by the young pageant queen, remained blissfully unaware that their obsession raised Honey Boo Boo’s net worth to $300,000, giving her a solid foundation to pay the psychiatric/legal fees she is likely to face later in life.
5. Miley Cyrus chopped off her long locks, sending hairdressers worldwide into a state of panic as it became apparent that they had all the expertise of a 4-year-old with a pair of safety scissors. From jail, Lindsay Lohan showed minimal surprise, saying she’d always had this theory that if you cut all Miley’s hair off she’d look like a British man.
-by Julia Horowitz
MOST NOTEWORTHY VIRAL VIDEOS:
1. “Gangnam Style:” The original video has nearly 900 million YouTube views, and well-known remakes — especially the ones with good-looking men — have given this song notoriety and the world a whole new set of dance moves.
2. Every cat video ever: eHarmony Cat Lady started it off in 2011 and from there, it’s just kept rolling. I must say every video I have been shown by a friend in the past few months has to do with a cat meowing in a weird way. I even saw an intriguing one about the proper way to give a cat massage.
3. Honey Boo Boo: This girl is everywhere. From her “Go Go Juice” to her bizarre sayings about food and mud, she and her mother have taken the internet by storm.
4. Kony 2012: This had to be included because, after this summer, there is not a single person on Grounds who has not seen this video. Though controversial for its lack of nuance, there is no doubt that this video deserves a spot in the top five.
5. Instead of a fifth viral video I will suggest that everyone watch at least one Jenna Marbles and/or Dom Mezzetti video and experience the hilarity.
-by Katie Cole
WORST FASHION TRENDS:
1. The Longchamp bag: Simplement, non.
2. Harem pants: As per my article, a fashion no-go.
3. Bean boots: Unacceptable for both men and women.
4. Neon: Just like drinking — only OK in moderation.
5. Ugg boots with shorts: One word: Heinous.
-by Sofia Economopoulos
BEST VIDEO GAMES:
1. Dishonored: You play a badass assassin with supernatural powers. Enough said.
2. Halo 4: Though some may argue the Halo series is getting long in tooth, 343 Industries has brought it roaring back, crafting an amazing first-person shooter that will have fans and newcomers alike drooling at their television screens.
3. Mass Effect 3: Arguably one of the greatest role-playing games of all time, Mass Effect’s amazing visuals, sprawling story and memorable characters have set the bar high for future sci-fi games.
4. Borderlands 2: Improving upon the formula of its predecessor, Borderlands 2 uses both role-playing elements and old school gunplay to bring us an addicting game with great replay value.
5. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning: Although not well-known, this title is stellar, combining the fluid combat of an action game with the engrossing story and freedom of choice featured in role-playing games.
-by Ben Willis