I want to share some of the media I enjoyed this year with you guys. I try not to do too many of these, so I’m compiling all of them into one big post. These top 3s aren’t in any particular order. I figured narrowing it all down to 3 in each category was hard enough!
Some of these things aren’t necessarily 2013 new releases, but I found them this year so they’re new to me. And this is my website, so deal with it.
Top 3 Songs I Found in 2013
I’m going to abuse the honorable mention area here, since it was really hard to narrow these down.
M83 “Midnight City”
The vocals for M83 songs are usually very simple, but their melodies and post-production are awesome. Midnight City is ridiculously catchy and the kickass saxophone solo is the icing on the cake.
- M83 “We Own the Sky” (Youtube) (Spotify) (Amazon MP3)
- Owl City “Fireflies” (Youtube) (Spotify) (Amazon MP3)
- 30 Seconds to Mars “Up In The Air” (Youtube) (Spotify) (Amazon MP3)
Childish Gambino “Fire Fly”
Thoughtful, personal and relate-able lyrics drive Donald Glover’s sound from just plain old catchy to some truly great music.
- Childish Gambino “Heartbeat” (Youtube) (Spotify) (Amazon MP3)
- P.O.S. “Goodbye” (Youtube) (Spotify) (Amazon MP3)
- Doomtree “The Wren” (Youtube) (Spotify) (Amazon MP3)
- Flobots “Handlebars” (Youtube) (Spotify) (Amazon MP3)
I’ve always loved the fusion of hard rock with electronica. Pendulum is one of the best at their ratio of the two.
- Pendulum “Crush” (Youtube) (Spotify)(Amazon MP3)
- I Will Never Be The Same “Fantasy” (Youtube) (Spotify) (Amazon MP3)
- Ashes Divide “Denial Waits” (Youtube) (Spotify) (Amazon MP3)
- Dark New Day “Goodbye” (Youtube) (Spotify) (Amazon MP3)
- Nine Inch Nails “While I’m Still Here” (Youtube) (Spotify) (NIN.com) (Amazon MP3)
- Unkle “Burn My Shadow” (Youtube) (Spotify) (Amazon MP3)
- Max Richter “Vivaldi, The Four Seasons – Summer 3 (Recomposed)” (Youtube) (Spotify) (Amazon MP3)
- Krewella “One Minute (DotEXE’s Dopest Dope Remix)” (Youtube) (Spotify) (Amazon MP3)
Top 3 Games I Played in 2013
I don’t play first person shooters, Rockstar games, or several other popular games that will top the games of the year lists in the coming weeks. I just lay games I think are fun, and these are the 3 most fun ones I started playing this year.
A fantastic narrative first person adventure game with decent first-person shooting. Lots of people like to pick this game apart for every minor flaw but I was genuinely entertained the entire time I played it. I’m trying not to overthink things so much and just let myself enjoy them, and that was easy with this game.
This game has been the best $15 I’ve spent all year. It’s tons of fun, challenging, and has loads of replay value. If you enjoy 2D platformers like Super Metroid, Castlevania or Mega Man, you’ll love this. I don’t think it’s as difficult and unforgiving as he says it is, but to each their own. Every time you die your descendant gets stronger, so anyone who dies a lot will eventually get to a point where they can overpower the mechanics giving them trouble with brute force or new abilities. I use an Xbox360 USB controller attached to my PC and feel that it’s the best way to play it.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
I’m still enjoying this game, even with its imperfections. I’ve already written two articles about this game, so I won’t harp on them any further in this one. It’s available for PS3/PS4 (one purchase grants both), but I recommend sticking with the PC version.
- League of Legends (Trailer) (Riot Games)
- ZSNES (SNES Emulator) (ZSNES.com) (Video Tutorial)
- The Last of Us (Trailer) (Amazon Games)
Top 3 Movies I Watched in 2013
I rarely see movies in theaters anymore. It’s too expensive and the experience is usually much worse than just waiting a few months and watching it comfortably on my couch. Because of that, I haven’t seen many highly acclaimed movies of 2013 (12 Years A Slave, Fruitvale Station, Inequality for All, The World’s End) yet. I plan to watch all of them as soon as they come out for home viewing of course.
- Skyfall (Amazon Instant Video)
I loved every single minute of this movie. I’m completely biased because I’ve been a big fan of James Bond movies since my dad showed me Goldfinger as a teenager. I already have all the suspension of disbelief built up from years of ridiculous over-the-top stories, but I didn’t need much of it for Skyfall. I walked out of the theater happier after this movie than any other in 2013.
Javier Bardem deserves a LOT of credit for how much I enjoyed this movie. He has proven once again that he can play some of the scariest villains ever.
Star Trek: Into Darkness
- Star Trek: Into Darkness (Amazon Instant Video)
As long as I ignore the absurd random lens flares all over the place, this movie is exactly what I want in a great Sci-Fi/Action popcorn movie. I’m sure most people who like this sort of movie have already seen it, but if you weren’t sure until you realized that I liked it (OMG), now’s your chance.
Mike Birbiglia: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend
The first two on this list are big Hollywood blockbusters filled with action and special effects. This one is much quieter. It’s much more personal. Mike Birbiglia tells a story that I relate to in my own life, and he tells it from a perspective that’s not far from where I am today in 2013. It’s not just personal of course. He tells these stories in a way that’s entertaining, funny, and sad at the right moments. Anyone who actually reads my articles about my personal growth and relationship ideas should check this out.
Top 3 Series I Watched in 2013
A lot of great shows began and ended this year. I still love my Sons of Anarchy, Archer, and Breaking Bad. But these are the fresh meat shows I’ve enjoyed the most in 2013.
NBC Original Series
- Hannibal Season 1 (Amazon Instant Video)
If you enjoyed the movies and books about Hannibal Lecter, then this series will not disappoint you. I marathoned it in 3 days because I was so glued to it. The main story arc is the psychological struggles of Will Graham (Edward Norton’s character from Red Dragon), as he attempts to empathize and hypothesize what happens at some quite gruesome murder scenes. Hannibal Lecter is Will’s therapist and a very important player in the story, but he mostly drifts along the edge of the main plot just like he does in the movies.
Orange is the New Black
Netflix Original Series
- Orange is the New Black Season 1 (Netflix Exclusive)
Yet another fantastic Netflix production that reaffirms my subscription. I was on the fence about canceling due to a lack of new content on there a few months ago, but if they keep producing series like these I’ll keep paying my bill. This show is a feast of interesting and realistic characters dealing with all of their individual struggles in the prison system. It’s amazing how they can make me — a boring white guy — feel like I can understand and relate to a black woman incarcerated for robbery. Or any of the other dozen or so characters with super-detailed stories and excellent acting performances.
HBO Original Series
I never had HBO when this show was originally out, and the DVD collections were ridiculously expensive. I would catch an episode here and there when I was at friends’ houses and I liked it, but I never got the continuous story all in order. Thanks to HBO GO, I was able to catch up on the full series this year. I loved it. Anyone who hasn’t watched the full series before and has HBO now (or can torrent it) should definitely do so.
- Toriko (JustAnimeDubbed.tv) (Amazon DVD)
- House of Cards (Netflix) (Amazon Instant Video)
- The Mind of a Chef (Netflix) (Amazon Instant Video)
Top 3 Youtube Channels I Subscribed to in 2013
Youtube has really grown on me this year. I’m watching so much more on there then ever before because the quality of the content has grown so much since they allowed easy monetization. I basically subscribe to short TV shows with fewer commercials (some of which I can skip after ~5 seconds) and get the same or better entertainment value.
Vice is a tragically under-appreciated media group that has a magazine, an HBO show and a Youtube Channel among other things. They take on topics that mainstream news shows don’t. They get access to places and people that no one else can. They ask great questions and do a fantastic job of showing you complex and detailed stories in a short period of time.
Some examples of amazing stories they’ve gained access to are:
- North Korea
- Al Qaeda
- Columbian Drug Cartels
- African Cannibal Warlords
Crash Course is a great “infotainment” channel that I can put on while I’m coding or playing games and learn something. They talk about history and chemistry primarily and are really good at being objective and fair without being boring or long-winded.
Game Grumps / Steam Train
I hate Let’s Play shows. They’re usually boring or way over-the-top goofy to the point that they’re annoying. Game Grumps is the first gaming-based entertainment channel I’ve actually fallen for. Their production quality is great, the cast of characters is loveable, and they are hilarious.
Top 3 Other Stuff I Found in 2013
These are all great new things I discovered this year that I wanted to share, but they don’t really fall into the normal categories above.
Podcast: Savage Lovecast
Dan Savage is a gay rights activist that writes a sex advice column for The Stranger. He gives great advice to people of all orientations and generally tries to make America a more sex-positive place. Think of this podcast as a much more advanced, honest and grown-up version of Loveline with Dr. Drew. His podcasts are always entertaining and informative, and I’ve even upgraded to the paid MAGNUM version.
- Podcast (iTunes) (SavageLovecast.com)
- Mobile App (Apple) (Android)
- Column (Savage Love – The Stranger)
Graphic Novel Series: Transmetropolitan
- Transmetropolitan Vol. 1: Back on the Street (Amazon)
I was turned onto this series by a friend this year. At first I thought it was a bit self-serving and over the top, but as I finished the first volume I couldn’t help but be curious about what might happen in volume 2. Now I’m on volume 7 and still going. As you get farther into the series the weird over the top characters start to show that they’re quite well-aware of their own absurdity, and the world around them reacts appropriately. If you like cyberpunk, check it out.
- Appenzeller (Cheese.com)
I was introduced to my new favorite cheese by my usual “guy” at Say Cheese in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. If you love gruyere, as I do, I could not possibly recommend this cheese more. It has the most amazing balance of all the great factors a swiss style cheese has. I won’t attempt to describe its flavor the way some pompous self-satisfied hipster might, but it’s delicious. I don’t know anywhere specific where you can buy it online (or outside of SF), so you might have to find a cheese store and/or special order it.
Stuff I’m Looking Forward To
These are all coming out in late 2013 or early 2014, and I left out stuff like the next seasons of all the new shows I’ve already listed for simplicity’s sake.
- Game: Destiny (PS4)
- Game: Final Fantasy XV (PS4)
- Game: Titanfall (PC)
- Game: Watch Dogs (PC)
- Movie: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (at theater)
- Movie: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (at theater)
- Movie: Her (at home)
- Movie: The Lego Movie (at home)
- Movie: Mr. Nobody (at home)
- Movie: Out Of The Furnace (at home)
- Movie: Thor: The Dark World (at theater)
- Movie: The Wolf of Wall Street (at home)
- Movie: X-Men: Days of Future Past (at theater)
- Music: Childish Gambino “Because the Internet”
- Series: Ghost in the Shell: Arise
- Series: The Returned
How about you?
What’s the best stuff you found in 2013? What are you looking forward to? Let me know in a comment!