While there are plenty of end of year lists ratings, looking back at this post from 2014 reminded me that not everything needs to be quantified. With that in mind, here’s some great things from the past year that you should enjoy if you haven’t already…
Young and Cool – Woahnows
At 26 minutes this is a brief, but near-perfect piece of angst-pop. Since moving to Bristol, Woahnow’s lead singer Tim Rowing-Parker has a new-found confidence, and through these almost demo-sized songs demonstrates it wonderfully. After three years away, there’s been a noticeable culture change in the DIY music industry as it rebels against wider anti-liberal issues – and this record that fights the heteronormative, speaks volumes. While the first 11 tracks form the true rounded narrative album, the last minute addition of closer ‘Cold’ reminds us that they are a band with plenty of punk punch left in them, and long may they continue.
Love Keeps Kicking – Martha
A perfect pop-indie song, and one to be played for years as it defies age and genre. Became the soundtrack to the summer, to which you can’t help but smile.
London – Sarah Close
While her poppier hits have finally seen Sarah Close earn some success, this piano ballad demonstrated her true musical talent. Finding beauty through its simplicity, it puts heartbreak and happiness in wonderful juxtaposition.
The End of The F***ing World (Channel 4)
The second series of Channel 4 and Netflix’s co-funded drama returned with a bang, and kept the nostalgic coming-of-age levels to the max with great performances from Jessica Barden and Alex Lawler in the leads.
The year’s greatest performance though, of course, goes to Phoebe Waller-Bridge signing off as Fleabag. From small stage show to international phenomena, it’s rightly deserved all the plaudits it gets.
Years and Years (BBC)
While the real news is turning full Brass Eye, acclaimed writer Russell T Davies turned his hand to creating an dystopian masterpiece. Jumping through 15 years in six episodes, it centred around many of our now everyday issues, fuelled by the ever-increasing selfishness and misinformation amongst society. A star-studded cast lead by Emma Thompson and Russell Tovey made sure this was a riotous success.
Despite only a small release, Mark Jenkins’ tale of a Cornish fishing village struggling to cope with a modern way of life was lauded by virtually every critic who saw it. A beautifully touching narrative, wonderful cinematography – including deliberately unnerving overdubbed vocals and hand processed 16mm film from an old Bolex hand-cranked camera – and a fine performance from Edward Rowe, easily made it the film of the year.
iOS Mobile Game
Although far from perfect, the sheer performance and aesthetics of the official Formula One racing game make it one of the best of the year. For a mobile phone to allow you to race on full F1 tracks is quite some feat – coupled with online duels against other real players and race weekend events. While the now-inevitable card-based upgrade system can get somewhat tiresome, and the driving conduct of both the AI and other racers more than questionable, the sheer playability makes this a must-have for racing fans.
iOS Mobile App
Although seven minute workouts have been around for a while, no app had quite taken the simplicity of the basic idea and converted it into an aesthetically pleasing, but easy-to-use platform. Luckily Seven fills that space, and alongside it’s useful Apple Watch app, offers hundreds of different workouts, all with 3D illustration instructions, challenges – and, more importantly, no excuses not to complete a small amount of regular exercise.
Despite the plethora of excellent podcasts making choosing one nearly impossible, for sheer consistency, Bob Mortimer and Andy Dawson’s loosely football-based podcast sits atop the pack with laugh-out-loud hilarity every week. Without usual cohort Vic Reeves, Mortimer’s silliness is honed through character sketches, some of which – including the incredibly touching, but eye-wateringly hilarious Peter Beardsley – are amongst the finest work of his career.