So here’s the final summary of the past years’ best bits and pieces, which sums up to a lot of music and TV. Enjoy and a Happy New Year to you all!
BEST COMEBACK, INNOVATOR, WEIRDO, DIRECTOR, POP ART:
It took her a good eight years to provide us with a full length follow up to her 2007 masterpiece Overpowered and when she finally did it, she had refined her craft way over my expectations. This year she gave us the excellent Hairless Toys, where she totally re-invented disco with her specific take on the slightly worn out genre. She also provided us several self-directed videos, the one gorgeously weirder than the other and where Lady Gaga totally failed to make pop into art a couple years back, Ms. Murphy totally puts the art back into pop again. She’s also during the last week announced that a new album will come next year already, which according to herself is even weirder than Hairless Toys. Oh my, can’t wait. Watch the video for Exploitation below and also listen to the Song of The Year, Unputdownable.
BEST VIDEO: FLORENCE + THE MACHINE Queen Of Peace & Long And Lost (The Odyssey, Chapters 4 & 5) /Director: Vincent Haycock
In short, this is perfection. Pure magic. Absolute. You do not need another video this year, besides this.
BEST MOVES: DRAKE Hotline Bling
This. Is. Absolutely. Utterly. Amazingly. Wonderful. Drake is as comfortable as ever, when taking his genuinely endearing and non-cool moves on, to one of this years best songs. That it’s my favourite rapper that would take this on, comes as no surprise.
BEST LANDSCAPE: KWABS Perfect Ruin
Even though his debut album Love + War wasn’t quite as good as his three EP’s from last year, he still kept making impressions on me. With the beautiful back drop of a wintery Luleå, in the north of Sweden, Kwabs walked into a promising 2016 with this stunning track and video. His voice is out-of-worldly and deserves the attention of the world. This song and video is so close to perfection as you could hope for.
BEST MOVING PERFORMANCE 1: ARJA SAIJONMAA Molnen Skingras
This caught me totally off guard early this year. The Finnish songstress Ms. Saijonmaa, with a career expanding over 40 years, pulled out something very special when asked to interpet the track Molnen Skingras (The clouds break up) by rapper Gee Dixon in the TV show Lyckliga Gatan (Happy Street). I kid you not, I bawled like a baby the first times I saw this performance. So beautiful and shows the true power of storytelling.
BEST MOVING PERFORMANCE 2: ADELE When We Were Young
From her impressive third album, this is the stand out track for me and with her live performance video that moves me to tears every single time, there’s nothing else but to, yet again, surrender to the powers of storytelling in music.
BEST “WHERE-THE-BLOODY-HELL-IS-THAT-NEW-ALBUM-YOU-PROMISED-US?”: FRANK OCEAN
Yes, I am still waiting, patiently as ever, for the follow up to his two masterpieces Nostalgia, Ultra and Channel Orange. Earlier this year, he posted a picture on his Tumblr page with indications of a new album, perhaps titled Boys Don’t Cry, but so far no new album in sight. Until that long-awaited album acutally arrives, here’s a beautiful track from 2013, Wise Man.
BEST AMERICAN TV-DRAMA: THE AMERICANS
Created by Joe Weisberg. Starring: Matthew Rhys, Keri Russell, Holly Taylor, Noah Emmerich, Annet Mahendru.
Still to this day, the mystery of the decade remains that this highly underrated show hasn’t sweeped the whole competition at every award ceremony, not to say even be nominated. (Chritics’ Choice Television Awards and Emmy’s being the exception, but still). It’s a bloody scandal, I say. I mean, how the hell can one overlook this high-tense, subperbly written drama with exceptional performances of the whole cast and in the front line, the exquisite portraits by Matthew Rhys and first and foremost, Keri Russell.
BEST BRITISH TV-DRAMA: RIVER
Created by Abi Morgan. Starring: Stellan Skarsgård, Nicola Walker, Lesley Manville, Adeel Akhtar.
I don’t believe I’ve seen Stellan Skarsgård as good as this. Ever. Add on to that, the always lovely Nicola Walker and one of my favourite actresses, Lesley Manville, plus a crime drama that wrenches not just your gut, but also your heart and mind, and therefore goes beyond the regular formula for these kind of shows.
BEST SWEDISH TV-DRAMA: BRON 3
Created by Hans Rosenfeldt. Starring: Sofia Helin, Thure Lindhardt, Maria Kulle, Kirsten Olesen
Bron is definitely back on track, with a brilliantly written and excecuted third season, with the magnificent Sofia Helin as Saga Norén, providing an even more touching and heartfelt performance than before.
BEST MARVEL: JESSICA JONES
Created by Melissa Rosenberg. Starring: Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, David Tennant, Carrie-Ann Moss, Rachael Taylor.
Surprise of the year, for sure. I thought that Netflix’s Daredevil would be the most memorable Marvel-transfer to TV or movie this year, but then came the anti-hero and P.I. Jessica Jones barging in, with her no holds barred mentality, her drinking and her anti-social skills, and charmed the hell out of me. As the series, with it’s surprisingly dark and violent themes, went on, even Ms. Ritter grew on me and David Tennant showed us the width of his talent as the exquisitely evil Kilgrave. Bonus: Mike Colter as Luke Cage aka the Yummy Hero Of The Year.
BEST 90 SECONDS ON TV: KATE & NEPTUNE The Promise
So You Think You Can Dance’s latest season of Stage vs. Street concept worked better than expected and gave us this beautiful piece of choreography by Justine Giles, which blew my mind away, with its sparse and subtle movement. Nothing could’ve been more sublime or intricate on TV this last year.