Archive | December, 2022

2022 Was a Rollercoaster of a Year, But It Was a Better One Overall

30 Dec
Reflection

Well, we’ve come to the end of another year, and what a difference 12 months makes. A year ago, I was frustrated and disappointed, feeling like there was no end in sight for the pandemic and like I was on a bridge to nowhere.

And now … well, if I’m not entirely in a positive frame of mind, I’m at least in a better place. Generally.

2022 was, in many ways, the kind of year I’d hoped 2021 would be: Less crazy. More normal. More fun. The pandemic clearly isn’t over yet, but this year, I found ways to live with it and be more comfortable in scenarios that worried me a year earlier.

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A Forgettable Year for Hollywood Still Had Its High Points

26 Dec

A lot of movies were released in 2022. But how many of them do you remember?

It’s a valid question, because few 2022 releases seemed to be all that memorable — not to mention, have true staying power or any lasting pop culture impact. Not the multiple Marvel movies. (Not even the Black Panther sequel.) There was no underdog crowd pleaser like CODA. Sure, there was Top Gun: Maverick. And a case could be made for Everything Everywhere All at Once, too. But good luck finding anything worth getting excited about this awards season.

Heck, it’s hard to believe a new Jurassic World movie came out just six months ago. It feels like much longer than that.

Yes, in 2022, it felt like movies were more disposable than ever. They came and went, disappearing into the ether or into the vast collection of some streaming network, never to be heard from — or spoken of — again.

Many of them were fine. Just fine. Not awful, but not as good as hoped, either. A bunch were disappointing. And so, now, at the end of the year, even those of us who see a lot of new releases are struggling to remember what we’ve seen.

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My 2022 Playlist Features Songs and Artists with Real Staying Power

15 Dec

Like so many other publications, the New York Times recently published a roundup of the “best songs” of the year. Reading through it, I was instantly struck by how many of the songs and artists I had never heard of before. Sure, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and the 1975 all made appearances — I knew all of them, of course, even if I’d only ever heard the 1975’s song — but most of the others I was learning about for the very first time.

Similarly, I only knew three of the songs on Paste’s list of the 50 best songs of 2022.

It’s not that I don’t listen to a lot of music. According to Spotify Wrapped, I listened to 8,314 minutes of it this year — more than 54% of other listeners in the United States, apparently. And that’s not including all the music I listened to on the radio, or that I’d purchased or downloaded, or that I heard live, or that I streamed via YouTube or other services. When I wasn’t listening to podcasts like Smartless, that is.

And it’s not that I don’t listen to popular artists. Heck, my top artist this year (again, according to Spotify) was Harry Styles.

The thing is, music, more than most any other entertainment, is personal. So, how we classify the “best” or “top” songs, albums, or artists varies. My favorites are likely not your favorites. And I’m more than okay with that.

Which is why, every year at this time, I don’t even bother to compile a year-end best-of list. Nor do I put much stock into Spotify’s roundup of what my most listened-to tracks were — though, admittedly, the algorithm doesn’t lie; I did listen to a lot of Harry Styles this year.

Rather, I prefer to review my annual “time capsule” playlist and let that define my year in music. Conveniently, the playlist also provides a soundtrack of memories for how the year played out (pun intended).

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