This year feels like one of the longest years I have ever experienced (nearly as long as this blog post OMG). I saw a meme Tuesday that said that the Bernie mittens meme was only 11 months ago, and it feels like that’s a lifetime ago, but also yesterday at the same time. I feel like this year we had good media, movie, TV shows, podcasts, music, after the drought that happened last year as people cancelled their album releases, tours, or couldn’t film re-shoots on TV shows and movies or couldn’t do a theatre release so they all got pushed. And then podcasters had to learn how to record over Zoom (which some like This Podcast Will Kill You) had been doing for years, but to others it was all new. So 2020 was a drought of content, and 2021 was a flood. I’m going to try and limit this list to 5 selections per category, and I don’t think I’ll be ranking them, because I think that narrowing all the media I consumed down to just 5 items per category!?!?!? will be a challenge enough.
Music – Albums
This is TOUGH, but also easy at the same time. I had to break it up into my favourite albums and then my favourite singles, because I have some absolute favourite songs that are not in any of these albums
Kacey Musgraves – star-crossed
This album is gorgeous. She leans hard into her Tejano roots, talks about her divorce, moving on, feeling like a failure, and wraps it up by singing a legendary song, largely considered a suicide note written by Chilean singer-songwriter Violetta Parra. It is stunning, and haunting.
I think that my favourite songs are Good Wife, because it breaks my heart, Camera Roll and Hook-Up Scene because they are so on-the-nose about modern relationships, and Simple Times and Breadwinner, for the fun, poppy beat and relatability.
Aly and AJ – A Touch of the Beat Gets You Up on Your Feet
I honestly don’t think there has ever been a better come back album. It is perfection from start to finish, not a single skip on this entire album. As I told a friend, I have no prospects, but Slow Dancing will be my first dance song at my wedding. And Pretty Places makes me want to pack up my car and leave behind my entire life.
Olivia Rodrigo – Sour
Is there an album round-up this year that doesn’t include Sour? It took the English-speaking, pop-world by storm this year and turned a bunch of late 20s-30 year olds back into their high school selves. Brutal and Jealousy I think are my favourites.
Adele – 30
I feel like this is another duh moment.
Taylor Swift – Red (Taylor’s Version)
I didn’t really want to include this, I was planning to put it honourable mentions, because at the end of the day, it is a re-release. But this album. It is cathartic, it is heartbreaking, it is healing, it is perfection. Obviously All Too Well (10 minute version) (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault) (no wonder people make fun of it lol) is in the top songs of the album, but I also love Nothing New, Message in a Bottle, Girl at Home (I think I’m in the minority here, but I LOVE the new pop version), and Begin Again was a favourite before, and remains a favourite.
Music – Singles
Surfaces – Wave of You
Surfaces got really big for their single Sunday Best, but Wave of You is far and away my favourite song of theirs. It’s #2 on my Spotify Wrapped, so this is backed by evidence.
Troye Sivan ft. Kacey Musgraves – Easy
This is such a bop. I listened to it and only it for an entire weekend and I am still not sick of it.
Machine Gun Kelly ft. Black Bear – My ex’s best friend
I don’t know if this song is about Megan Fox or not, but I love this song.
Dove Cameron – LazyBaby
Just another super fun bop.
Bille Eilish – Billie Bossa Nova
I love this song, it is sexy, it is sad, it has a great beat. Superb.
Let’s take a break from the Spotify links for a moment, we’ll come back to them for podcasts, but for the moment, let’s talk my favourite influencers, internet artists, and content creators. There was a long portion of this year where I lived somewhere where I didn’t know a single soul and could go a whole week without talking outside of meetings and asking my cat if he was hungry. My internet friends were my connections to humanity and the outside world. So, I know that content creators and influencers get a lot of flack, but they kept me sane.
Nee Heitlinger, formerly Carly the Prepster, and the College Prepster. I have followed Carly since I was in uni, so probably 2013? She is why I got into needlepoint and influences a lot of my outfits even though I don’t often shop her links (she wears a lot of J. Crew and Tuckernuck and they are more challenging to get into Canada). At the beginning of last year when I unfollowed everyone I didn’t personally know, she was 1 of 2 content creators who stayed.
Oh she also had a new book come out this Tuesday! It’s called Business Minded and I am 100% buying it (I might have by the time this goes live!)
Blogger at The Stripe.com, podcaster at Bad on Paper and generally who I want to be when I grow up. She inspires me to get interested in art, has never recommended a book I don’t like, and is my biggest influencer for skincare.
I aspire to be Venita Aspen, she is a classically trained chef turned influencer and I started following her for her food stories, but I stayed for her personality, realness, and fashion. She is also so unbelievably stunning that if I ever met her in person I would probably be completely star-struck. She’s fabulous.
AKA Simply Elsa. I love her style, it hugely influences me (although I am definitely a bit more risque than her, which is not something that can normally be said about me!) but I love that she had the confidence to fill the niche that is classic, preppy style, on a size 16.
Formerly the 12ish Style, dogager to the late Toast, Cheese, Muppet, and more, and author of the amazing book BodyTalk. She was the other influencer that stayed when I did my clean out last year. She really influenced the way I think about eating, dieting, and bodies.
Honourable mentions to: Carin Olsson of Paris in Four Months, Victoria Ford of PrepFordWife, and Paula Sutton of Hill House Vintage. Oh! and Nell Diamond, founder of Hill House Home, and Christina Grasso of The Pouf. I need to stop or every content creator I follow on Instagram will be here.
If you would have told me last year that I would be completely enamored with TikTok I would not have believed you. This app gives me such joy.
Obviously. Tinx is the queen of TikTok, she is so funny, so wise, and so real and I love her.
If Tinx is the queen of TikTok, Remi is the queen of body positive TikTok. She is absolutely hilarious, and her realistic [insert store here] hauls are super helpful and I have to watch them multiple times because I am laughing so hard the first time through that I am not paying attention to the clothes at all.
Ben was the first person I enjoyed on TikTok. He is a stand-up comic, but on TikTok he does these skits where he is each of the states and then a “government” character, who is checking in on each of the states. They are so funny, and I don’t know how he knows everything about each state to be so accurate but it is hilarious. I also love that he gets a native Hawaiian TikToker to play the role of Hawai’i instead of him doing it.
This man is so aggressive with his morning alarms, but a day that I don’t hear “good morning you bad beautiful, bi$@# you… Oh, clouds? literally minimal. Sun? literally maximal. Let’s get dangerously, and I mean dangerously caffeinated. You get it, you got it..” is not a good day.
Under the Desk News – V Spehar
This person has the most gentle voice I have ever heard. The way they say good morning, it like tickles your brain. They deliver the news in a way that isn’t triggering or activating at all and just gives you the information. I love it.
I also would have never thought that I would get so into YouTube, it really did help me feel the content vacuum in 2020 and I am hooked.
Jack Edwards/Jack in the Books
The Sorry Girls (Kelsey and Becky)
Lone Fox (Drew Scott)
Honourable mentions: Laura Melhuish-Sprague, XO Macenna, Rachel Metz, Megan Batoon, Sedona Christina, DIY Dalia, Alexandra Gater, Skincare with Hyram.
I don’t even know how to create this list, I watch a lot of TV. I play it for background noise, I play it while I needlepoint and clean and craft.
Bridgerton – Netflix
I resisted this so hard when it came out. I was convinced it would be terrible. It was not. It was delightful fluff.
WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki – Disney+
Is it cheating to put all of these in one category? Maybe, but I do not give a rats ass. WandaVision is a brilliant piece of work, worthy of an Emmy. I also think it is going to be so crucial to what comes next. It is a masterpiece of scifi and grief.
Falcon and the Winter Soldier was just so fun. I think it also navigated the race conversation very well, the lack of representation, the pressure placed on a Black Captain America and Bucky admitting that he and Steve had never even thought of that is such a perfect example of white privilege. And it was eye candy, gd Sebastian Stan.
Loki. A complete masterpiece, a lark, so fun, so subtly and intentionally thirsty. I haven’t finished Hawkeye yet, but I imagine I will love it just as much.
Nancy Drew – CW/Prime with StackTV extension in Canada
This wasn’t a new show this year, and it’s definitely very CW and pretty campy. But I love it. It’s in it’s 3rd season and I am still really enjoying it. It is nothing like the books except for the very basic premise, which threw me off for season 1, but now I am very fine with it.
Physical – Apple TV+
This is a masterful telling of an eating disorder. I had to watch this slowly because her internal dialogue in the first few episodes is so uncannily similar to the way I talk/talked to myself that I had to take weeks long breaks. But it is amazing. I am really hoping there is a season 2 that continues the story.
Wheel of Time – Prime
I did not expect to like this show, I though it seemed too fantasy for me. I also have never read the books (tbh I didn’t even know there were books), but it is so good. I think Rosamund Pike is absolutely murdering this performance. So good.
Shows from 2021 I haven’t watched yet but I want to: Ted Lasso, Maid, Halston, Succession, White Lotus, Sex and the City: And Just Like That, Mare of Easttown, Hawkeye, The Only Murders in the Building, DopeSick.
Honourable Mentions: Winter House, Bad Sport, LuLaRich, The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals, CSI: Vegas, The Curse of Von Dutch, The Lost Symbol, All Creatures Great and Small.
My god this post is getting long.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Honestly I think those are the only two new movies I watched this year. No, I watched Jungle Cruise, but I don’t think it ranks amongst the best movies I’ve watched this year.
Alright friends, let’s loop back to the Spotify links. We have arrived at the beginning of the end. If you have made it this far, OMG thank you so much! and are you okay? Bless you.
This Podcast will Kill You
Bad on Paper
Honorable mentions: Girls Gotta Eat, Be There in Five, You’re Wrong About, My Favorite Murder.
Good lord, I’m so sorry. I lived off media this year. It was my company, my entertainment, my co-workers, my roommates. I’m so grateful to all these artists, content creators, producers, actors, directors, crew, editors, and everyone else for the work that they have put out. I’m eternally grateful to live in a time where I have so much access to such entertainment.
Also, I have to do a different post for books, this is far too much.
Thank you all for reading and creating!