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Off Topic: Don’t Lose Your Cool

By Joe Carrel, Buffalo Exchange Tempe

Buffalo ExchangeWhen I was a kid I noticed that although my parents sang along to most every old song on the radio, they rarely knew the words to newer ones.  I deduced that there must’ve been a point where they stopped listening to current music – and though my childhood brain couldn’t quite pinpoint why, that fact made me sad.  I determined that when I grew up, I’d keep listening to the new stuff.

Only as adults do we realize why grown ups’ exposure to “the new” fades; that reason, of course, is day to day life.  We have more important items on our plate than music, TV or movies.  It’s not as though we suddenly stop liking these things; it’s just that something else is inevitably going to trump them.  Even I, the little kid determined to never fall out of touch, finds it difficult to keep up with today’s endless stream of new media.  Fortunately, we have help.

With the door now closed on 2012, “Best Of” lists are now available en masse.  And these lists, dear friends, can be your return flight to currentville.  Yes, in a perfect world, we’d discover cool new art and artists all on our own, but in the real world, we can let other folks do the sifting for us and begin exploring from there.  True, we may miss out on some things – a great band or indie flick will occasionally fall between the cracks – but it’s better than remaining in the dark altogether.

So, back to those Best Of  lists.  It’s hard to know which ones to pay attention to.  For a general overview, critic review aggregator Metacritic is always a decent jumping off point.  For music, I like The A.V. Club and Spin Magazine.  For TV, it’s Paste and Vulture.  For film, try IndieWire, The Atlantic and The Huffington Post.

Buffalo ExchangeI scoured the web for all the “Best Of 2012” lists I could get my grubby little mouse on, so I thought I’d leave you with the albums, TV shows and films that seemed to appear most often in my perusing…

MUSIC: Frank Ocean “Channel Orange”, Kendrick Lamar “Good Kid M.A.A.D City”, Japandroids “Celebration Rock”, Fiona Apple “The Idler Wheel…”, Tame Impala “Lonerism”, Swans “The Seer”, Jack White “Blunderbuss”, Jessie Ware “Devotion”, Sharon Van Etten “Tramp”, Beach House “Bloom”

TV: Breaking Bad, Homeland, Mad Men, Girls, Louie, Parks and Recreation, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey, Community

FILM: Zero Dark Thirty, The Master, Moonrise Kingdom, Holy Motors, Amour, Lincoln, Beasts of the Southern Wild, This is Not a Film, Argo, Silver Linings Playbook

Here’s to even cooler “new stuff” for us kids in 2013   – Joe

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