The year that was 2019 felt excruciatingly long and full of terrors. Yet, somehow, the end of the year really snuck up on me. Usually, as the year goes on, I keep a list of albums I’ve liked and need to revisit, then actually do that starting around November. Unfortunately, some real life distractions and my own focus on getting my best of the decade lists in order resulted in me never getting around to a proper list-making process this year. So this is about as far from a “best of 2019” list as I’ve ever done, really it’s just the 10 albums I’ve listened to the most. I’m even going to forgo honorable mentions, because my list of those right now is about 40 albums.
It seems that the route most internet publications took this year was posting their top ten lists of the decade, and then their top tens of 2019. We’re taking the opposite approach here at Mildly Pleased, seeing as we’ll be doing our top tens of 2019 over the next few weeks, and then switching gears to our top tens of the decade. Which is fine, since we’re in no hurry. We still need to catch up with things this time of year since we’re not professional culture critics, and January and February are such nothing months that we might as well spend them looking back on the decade. But first, let’s take a look back at the year we’re currently in (barely). Continue reading
It’s that yule time of year, so we of course had to talk about a Christmas movie on The Pick. What John picked was Love Actually, a “Christmas classic” that he’s long had a beef with. This movie’s many flaws are discussed over the course of a somewhat cranky Christmas conversation, which sees us breaking up each of the film’s many storylines and dissecting them one-by-one. Also, keeping with the theme, we each share some holiday-related Little Picks. Continue reading
If you’ve been a music fan for long enough, and you’ve allowed yourself to stay open-minded about what music you listen to, there’s a good chance at some point you’ll end up embracing an artist you once regarded as stupid. This was probably even more likely in a decade like the 2010s, where it became more and more acceptable to like artists that weren’t preoccupied with creating anything other than shameless pop music. So here I stand at the end of the decade admitting that I like a Paramore album that I was turned onto earlier this year, while at the beginning of the decade I’m sure I scoffed at the idea of even having to play a Paramore song in Rock Band.
Despite being “the year where everything went bad”, 2016 was a pretty good year for music. So much so that I wasn’t able to put aside the proper amount of time needed to absorb and fully enjoy what has become one of my favorite albums of that year. Thankfully, in the time since the Fall of 2016, while absorbing the depressing repercussions of that time period, I’ve also found myself constantly returning to one of the rare bright spots from that period. In that respect, one could call Solange’s A Seat At The Table the musical equivalent of the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series, as it similarly saw a longtime underdog finally getting her shot at the big time. Continue reading
In this penultimate episode before we go on a little hiatus from The Pick, we bring things full circle by talking about a film we all admitted to not having seen in the very first episode. Yes, we’re talking about crime thriller Training Day, the film that launched director Antoine Fuqua and writer David Ayer on their path of making pretty hit-or-miss tough-guy movies. We give a little bit of backstory of how the film was informed by LAPD’s complicated history, as well as general praise for Denzel Washington’s delightfully villainous turn as evil-doer Alonzo Harris. Continue reading
It seems that a number of these 2010s albums I’ve been reviewing this month weren’t originally reviewed on Mildly Pleased when they came out because they were released right before the artist became really big. Teens of Style is one such album, though it was more of an album recorded to catch up any budding fans that hadn’t listened to Car Seat Headrest before the band signed with Matador Records. As a prelude to 2016’s Teens of Denial, Will Toledo rerecorded all of his old songs that he’d recorded in college under the Car Seat Headrest moniker and released on bandcamp. This is how Teens of Style was born. It wasn’t the first time Toledo would mine his past for better recording techniques (see 2018’s reimagining of Twin Fantasy), but it was the first time a lot of listeners were introduced to this distinctive new voice in indie rock. Continue reading