Since the best part of 2016 was definitely the art

The Strand‘s masthead took some time following the close of 2016 to reflect on what they loved in film, television and music this year.


Joshua Kim | Film & Music Editor

Best album of the year?

Blonde – Frank Ocean

Blonde sounds different every time you listen to it – goes to show how much detail, finesse, and emotion went into creating this album. Frank using his voice more as an instrument than a vehicle for his words was something that was profound to me.

Best TV show of the year?

Jane The Virgin

I mean, I’m sure it isn’t objectively the best TV show of the year, but to me it was certainly the most enjoyable one. The editing is incredible in the show, the actors are standout, and its overt/subversive parodying of Latin American telenovelas and dramatic shows in general is a spectacle to watch.

Best movie of the year?

Moonlight 

It’s rare to see a movie that is so hellbent on showcasing the “moments” that spring up in life – no matter how small or big. Sure, Richard Linklater’s Boyhoodachieved that in it’s story but Moonlight certainly has a story more worthwhile and pertinent in today’s time.

 


Rosa Kumar | Photo Editor

Best album of the year?

iii – Miike Snow

My measure of good music is universality: can I enjoy it while studying? How about during my commute? Can I dance to it while brushing my teeth? Can I do chores with it playing? All a resounding yes for this album.

Best TV show of the year?

Stranger Things 

The first TV show released in a long time where you have to sit back and discuss the plot intricacies after every episode. It’s a show that makes you think but still comes with the thrill factor of modern television. Also aesthetic asf, they turned an interpreted 1980s into art.

Best movie of the year?

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 

I definitely don’t think it was the best film of the year by any means, but it was my favourite just because it was an excellent walk down memory lane/new HP realm experience. 1920s glam HP with a cuter protagonist? Yes.


Erin Calhoun | News Editor

Best album of the year?

Teens of Denial – Car Seat Headrest

When an album can make you feel angsty but happy, it is something special. Car Seat Headrest manage to do just that. Being a feel good album for people who don’t always feel good, the album delivers songs like “Fill in the Blank” and “Destroyed by Hippie Powers” that recreate the teenage suffering that never really went away. Will Toledo cites verses on feeling confused, angry, and inability to sustain emotions. In a time of my life, feeling confused and crossed, this album stood out as a special album to me in 2016

Best TV show of the year?

The Get Down 

Either is was Luhrman’s style or the untouched plot, The Get Down stood out as an electric story of the transition from disco to the birth of hip-hop in the South Bronx. Unlike nothing on tv or netflix currently, The Get Down features the beginning of a style and culture while highlighting the urban influences, such as poverty and racism. The TV show uses each episode to it’s fullest by telling the story through the kids, viewing New York City in the 1970s as they did: in it’s bankruptcy and transitioning music scene.

Best movie of the year?

La La Land 

La La Land provides a charming and hopeful tale of the aspiring Hollywood dream. The singing and dancing isn’t anything of phenomenal, which makes Gosling and Stone far from Astaire and Hepburn, makes the movie seem real to us. A dazzling tale that leaves a warm fuzzy sensation under your skin, even if Hollywood musicals aren’t your niche, La La Land tells a safe story of true love that wobbles and tilts but also dances and sings. The bittersweet undertones of loving something that will fade, La La Land reminds us that belief in what we love is the key to existence.

 

 

 

 


Tamilore Oshodi | Features Editor

Best album of the year?

Majid Jordan – Majid Jordan

I stumbled on the album just by purely rifting through the R&B/Soul section of Apple Music and I’ve been in love ever since. I rarely like every song on an album but I have to say I practically know all the lyrics to all on this album. Shamelessly, I crooned to every note for months on-end (to the annoyance of many). It’s so groovy, has so much rhythm and reminds me so much of the 80’s/90’s era albums in my playlists. Definitely, it was the soundtrack to many points of my year.

Best TV show of the year?

Atlanta

I can’t fully explain how much I’m passionate about this show. I honestly didn’t expect to like it so much seeing as I wasn’t a fan of Donald Glover’s character on Parks&Rec or his stand-up shows, so I blindly figured that was his approach to comedy. Atlanta encapsulates all that I want in a ‘pause your life’ series. It’s ability to deliver sarcastic dialogue, the most intricate characters, dark and dead-pan humour, yet still managing to approach heavy issues of our time including race, politics, mental health, incarceration and oh so much more, is stunning. Believe me when I say that this show is MAGIC!!!

Best movie of the year?

The Wedding Party 

The Wedding Party is a late 2016 favorite for me but it is fully deserving to be. A true Nigerian treasure, raking in the numbers as we speak, is one of the best we’ve seen come out of our industry. I must say that it truly captures the core of Nigerian culture. From our abusive humour, LOVE for celebratory occasions (any chance to strut our stuff) and stunning ability to complicate the simplest aspects of life, it delivers on eye-opening entertainment. Yet, this romantic comedy even addresses realities including tribalism and classism of a growing country. It’s hilarious, colourful and stylish, truly what a Nigerian wedding party is all about.


Molly Kay | Arts & Culture Editor

Best album of the year?

Kindly Now – Keaton Henson

English folk-singer Keaton Henson put out his fourth LP in September of last year. In his latest album, Henson masterfully combines piano-driven melodies with ambient electronic riffs to create the same raw feeling of loneliness and alienation we’ve been hearing from him for years. Henson suffers from anxiety, and so he rarely plays any live shows. That being said, he’s coming to The Great Hall on January 17th and I couldn’t be more excited to see him perform live.

Best movie of the year?

I Am Not Your Negro

I actually ended up seeing this film based on pure coincidence—I was volunteering at TIFF and they sent me in to do an ushering shift while this was screening. I think it goes without saying that a documentary on James Baldwin’s unfinished novel Remember This House, which discusses issues of race and police brutality in America, is a very important watch in light of recent events in today’s society. I Am Not Your Negro is extremely powerful in its delivery of a heartbreaking and crucial message on racial inequality. By the time the end credits were rolling to the sound of Kendrick Lamar’s “The Blacker the Berry”, there was palpable sense of heartache throughout the entire theatre.


Sabrina Papas | Editorial Assistant

Best movie of the year?

La La Land 

Rather than simply emulating classic musicals, Damien Chazelle truly succeeds in creating a modern musical by combining homage with contemporary techniques. The musical numbers never overpower the plot, and as the film progresses, the story becomes the focal point. Additionally, the exquisite choreography fits perfectly with Justin Hurwitz’s original score.


Celeste Yim | Stranded Editor

Best album of the year?

Puberty 2 – Mitski

There were so many acclaimed albums this year but—whoa, fun surprise time—only one by an Asian female artist (sorry to break it to you Grimes, but you are a white person?) In Puberty 2, Mitski helped me understand the relationship between anger, forgiveness, comedy, guitar distortion, and other Asian things you guys probably wouldn’t get.

Best TV show of the year?

Transparent

Transparent couches comedy in drama so comfortably that it’s often hard to tell the two apart. Maura Pfefferman, a white transgender woman, feels the many tensions between queerness and the lasting righteousness of whiteness; sh
e is constantly floating between alienation and privilege. What appears a carefully woven story about family and
sexuality is also a harsh critique of the minoritized white archetype. Transparent challenges its viewers to stay vigilant of power and its many forms of abuse and it does so very beautifully.

 

Best movie of the year?

Moonlight (La La Land and Manchester By The Sea can SUCK IT IDGAF)

Why are we still talking about this? Why do the makers of La La Land keep talking about the challenges they have had to overcome in order to make a film about LOS ANGELES starring EMMA STONE and RYAN GOSLING? The music? Is it because they made music for it? Because Moonlight had to, like, literally do something that has never been done? So? Suck it, La La Land? And can someone PLEASE shut Casey Affleck up? XOXO


Carol Eugene Park | Editorial Assistant

Best album of the year?

Views – Drake

This album captured all the feels.

Best movie of the year?

Nocturnal Animals 

It was dark. It was violent. It literally took my breath away.


Elena Senechal-Becker | Arts & Culture Editor

Best album of the year?

Freetown Sound – Blood Orange

Blood Orange’s third album blew me away this year: Dev Hynes collaborated with some of my favourite artists from various industries (Nelly Furtado, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Carly Rae Jepsen) creating an incredibly unique album that follows in the tracks of Beyonce’s Lemonade, in terms of its beauty and social resonance.


Kody McCann | Distributor & Social Media Director

Best album of the year?

25 by Adele

I truly love Adele’s ballads and I was anticipating her return to singing for a long time—I was not disappointed.

Best TV show of the year?

Stranger Things 

Stranger Things is a true thriller, you are always held in suspense but without unnecessary gore or death like other shows or films in the same genre. They gave just enough information to keep you hanging by a thread, I loved every minute of it.

Best movie of the year?

Sing Street 

This is a relatively unknown Irish film that came out in March, but it was a well done and happy film that blended music, teenage coming of age, and reality. It is a feel-good movie that did not end exactly the way you wanted it to, but you appreciated the realness and genuine nature of the film.


Ally Scandolo | Editor-in-Chief

Best album of the year?

Malibu – Anderson .Paak

In a year full of amazing albums, Malibu definitely pulled ahead as frontrunner. Paak is an immensely talented writer, rapper, singer, and drummer—he uses all of these facets of himself to create a purely enjoyable record. By combining the specificity of his own personal experiences with the groove of his ’70s-inspired sound, Paak conveys both emotion and hype so eloquently.

Best movie of the year?

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

As the first deviation from the main space opera in the Star Wars franchise, the addition of Rogue One was an important one. As a longtime fan, I was impressed by the care with which writer’s took to fill the plot hole formed by the Death Star plans from Episode IV with this film.  Rogue One is an indulgence of the audience’s nostalgic sensibilities while adding dimension to the Star Wars universe.