Yesssss! It’s Finally Here!
My annual compendium of 2014’s Taste Makers, Pop Culture Wins + (Loohooosers!) in an all-you-can-eat infotainment buffet with *extra-sexy refills!
Now whose hooongray?
Best in Music
As someone who has spent the larger part of her writing career as a music journalist, I like to think I still gots my shellac-mani on the pulse of the musical zeitgeist. Forget all other lists you’ve read—this here is the *all-star* critics list equivalent to a pair of cashmere-footie-jammies.
The Swedish Invasion
2014 was dripping with Swedish Pop offerings from some of the most experimental artists all with their own unique bent and flavor. Elliphant’s hit factory A Good Idea, Little Dragon’s Nabuna Rubberband and Lykke Li’s I Never Learn.
The Art House Vanguards
These ladies all drip of performance art aesthetics that are equal parts haunting, hypnotic, and cinematic.
Take one part St Vincent performing Rattlesnake on her self titled album, mix in some FKA Twigs LP1 and add a dash of Lana Del Rey crooning to Young & Beautiful off of Ultraviolence. Rinse + Repeat.
Out of the Box Neo Soul, Hip Hop, R&B
An everything but the kitchen sink musical aesthetic courtesy of Theopholus London‘s Vibes + Azealia Banks Broke with Expensive Taste, rounded out by the comeback album for the ages (fifteen years later!?!?) D‘Angelo and the Vanguards Black Messiah.
All Dat Jazz
Lake Street Dive deserves way more in lieu of this lame Jazz heading—it’s swing! it’s pop! it’s soul! it’s Klezmer (ya, no, no it’s not) and yays! its got a jazzy bubble gum center! Lead singer Rachael Price has a set of bellowing vocal chords that SLAY on Bad Self-Portraits. For the uninitiated, download their earlier cover work of Hall + Oates “Rich Girl” and the Jackson Fives “I Want You Back.”
The Musical Messiah
Hozier’s debut album is an emotive, Bluesy-Gospel sojourn that matches prolific lyricism (he’s being compared to Dylan ya’ll) with deeply penetrating songs that reverberate through your SOUL. It’s a rarity of an album that plays to perfection in a full listening sesh.
…And the Winner is?
I love all of my kids the samesies. Wait, I lie. There’s always a favorite child silly!??
No-ones album game from 2014 was tighter than Sia‘s masterpiece theeeee-atre, 1000 Forms of Fear. The cracks and breaks in her vocals are like being draped in a full-bodied suit made out of thousands of tiny pishy chills, or what the normies like to call ‘goose bumps.‘ Both Chandelier and Eye of the Needle beg to be played on a marathon loop while lip synching in the mirror for a spate of the what-does-it all-mean ugly cries by scented candlelight.
I want to glamp out in the cracks and breaks of Sia‘s voice. It’s where G-d lives. I promise you.
Honorable mention needs to go to that wrench-in-a-blender Turn Down For What music video nonsense.
The song itself makes my pores bleed, but the video is the most original blend of dance choreography + stylized story telling I have seen all year. That being said, it should definitely come with a severe seizure warning.
Best in TV
Fox pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat TWICE during 2014. First, back in February after the Super Bowl the one and ONLY PRINCE guest-starred on New Girl! Then in early fall, in a ratings juggernaut—the network combined beloved cartoon residents The Simpsons + Family Guy for a crossover show that gave diehards a perma-woody.
Best in Show
2014 introduced us to retired professor Mort Pfeffermen who finally admits to being transgendered to his/her family, played by the indefatigable Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent.
Sadly we had to say good-bye to the gentle lambs from SAMCRO as Sons of Anarchy came to an end in season 7. I’d be lying if I didn’t watch the show purely to see my boyfriend Jax Teller’s nekkid hump parts in the occasional ‘action sequences’ with the tricks from ho’ row.
And lastly, this would not be the pop culture piñata of television if I didn’t give a nod to Adult Swim’s newest tribute to old school Saturday Morning Cartoons; Mike Tyson Mysteries!
On the craptastic end of things, its not a secret that I was deeply disappointed in season 3 of GIRLS and the fact that both Ray Donovan + Shameless keep getting renewed is the reason we can’t have nice things.
Best in Hair
Hair strands in glorious combinations clocked in some serious trend time in 2014. For the guys, the flower hipster beard made several appearances in early summer, while the Man Bun dominated most of the year.
For the gals it was a cornucopia of braids, an emphasis on Cara Delevigne-esque bold brows and for an echelon of females, a dyed arm pit hair movement that didn’t really trend in my particular circle—but I applaud the innovation of it all!
Best in Mag Covers
Not sure if you’re familiar but magazines are a dying art form due to the interwebs? Covers need to pull out all of the stops tantamount to visual pyrotechnics in order for a Condé Nasty to make a buck, son! These shots all had me at Hello! starting with Brangelina’s wedding, Lena’s Vogue, Pharrell’s Elle + Madge’s artfully placed V, and Laverne’s monumental Time cover.
Best in Cats
Let’s face it, CATS be ownin’ this Mutha. Cats had an all time banner year starting with the pussy who started it all, the meme feline queen GRUMPY CAT.
Grumps had a Movie, TV + Book Deal in 2014, making her handlers over 100 million in cold hard paper + plus she follows me on Twitter, so you know da bitch knows what’s UP.
Next up is Choupette Lagerfield, Karl’s pampered feline who gets weekly manicures and has her own Instagram and Twitter account @chouppettesdiary.
Choupette isn’t making the kind of dough that Grumpy Cat is, but she did come out with her own beauty line in collabs with Shu Uemera in December for a limited time. The collection Shupette, included dramatic fake-lashes and a cult-favorite re-issue cleansing oil with all branding etched by the famed designer himself.
But the biggest kitteh news in 2014 was the announcement from Sanrio that Hello Kitty the beloved cartoon character is NOT in fact an actual cat, but a Little Girl?
They introduced us to THIS thing…
to which Cats the world over responded…
Runner ups include the Cat Selfie which trended large in 2014
…plus these incredible kitteh earrings courtesy of Nasty Gal had the purrrfect amount of hipster kitsch for 2014.
Lastly, even designer drugs went all feline in 2014, with the introduction of ‘MEOW MEOW’ described here by Rolling Stone Mag.