Jack von Albade's Top 5 of 2014
2014 was a fantastic year with great movies, television, and music. With all of the great things that came out this year, it could be hard to narrow a list down to just five items. However, this is my list of the best of 2014; the best things that the year had to offer.
Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, et al., you can retire now. Beyonce won pop music. Her self-titled album is simply ***Flawless (Yes, I’m aware that the album officially dropped at the end of 2013, but the platinum edition and all the singles were 2014 releases. You bend the rules for ‘Yonce). Beyoncé is a bold departure from her previous work, darker, more personal, and dripping with hip-hop influence. The highlight is, “Flawless,” is a feminist anthem disguised as a trap banger. “Drunk in Love” and “Partition” are still in my regular rotation. The platinum edition re-release made a good thing even better; it includes a new pre-party jam, “7/11,” and a killer remix of “Drunk in Love” featuring Kanye West. All together, Beyonce is one of the best pop albums, period. The queen has officially taken her seat at the throne. Bow down, bitches.
In a relatively quiet year for comedy, 2014’s comedy MVP, probably flew under your radar. Andy Daly’s appearance two-part appearance on Comedy Bang! Bang! (Episodes 274 & 300*) was a master course in improv. Over the span of three hours, Daly managed to tie together every character from his previous CBB appearances in twisted, apocalyptic narrative. By the end of the second episode, he was performing as 14 different characters at once. It was insane. It was hilarious. It was the best bit of podcasting in 2014 (Yes, even better than Mail Kimp). If it was the only thing Andy Daly did last year, it still would have landed on this list. But 2014 also introduced us to Review, yet another suberb addition to the Comedy Central lineup. Andy Daly is Forrest MacNeil, a hapless TV host who reviews everyday life experiences on a five-star scale. It’s a formula that could quickly become stale, but instead the focus transitions away from the reviews to the insane lengths Forrest will go to complete them (e.g. developing a coke habit to review addiction). Not much else can be said without spoilers, but Review is absolutely a must-watch.
* To fully appreciate the episodes, you’ll need to go back and listen to all the previous Andy Daly/Jason Mantzoukas episodes of CBB.
Revolution’s Unsessionable might be the biggest all-out hop assault of 2014. This thing is stupid hoppy. So much so, you can smell it from across a table. The Imperial IPA is brewed with with six different types of hops (Galaxy, Centennial, Chinook, Citra, Amarillo and Cascade), so it’s no surprise they’re at the forefront here. It packs a serious punch at 100 IBU and 10% abv, but the sweetness masks the alcohol incredibly well. It could definitely stand some balancing out, as the cirtus/tropical fruit notes dominate, but there’s enough bready, caramel notes to round things out. For IPA lovers, it’s one helluva brew.
As far as viral content goes, nothing beat Noah Ritter, the “Apparently” kid. I could listen to this kid talk about nearly anything and laugh my ass off (Here’s to hoping there’s a Noah Ritter podcast in the works). His subsequent appearances on Ellen are just as funny, and definitely worth a watch.
Rick and Morty
Rick and Morty is the best new show on TV. Better than Broad City. Better than Review. Better than Silicon Valley. The premise is simple: Morty, a socially inept young teen, goes on multi-dimensional adventures with his alcoholic, mad scientist grandfather, Rick. From there, co-creator/writer/genius Dan Harmon (Community) runs wild with the comedy possibilities of a sci-fi multiverse. It ranges from silly, to dark, to insane, to heart felt and thought-provoking, but it’s always hilarious. Each episode is nothing less than spectacular. If you only watch one show in the next year, catch up on season 1 in time for the April premeire of season 2.