With life back in the states—now in New York—taking shape and slowly becoming a stable thing, I reflect on the last year and the year to come, and like every other forward-thinking human being, setting goals, I mean, why not, right?
Going through 2014, I wanted to break down my favorite things about the year. “My Favorites in 2014” includes things that I cared the most about in 2014, while “The Best from 2014” will talk about actual things from 2014 that were my favorites. Pretty simple, just going back through the year and reminiscing on what was cool and what was memorable.
My Favorites in 2014
Album: Broken Bells (self titled) – A buddy showed me this album right before I left the states and I wasn’t able to stop listening to it all year. I was about four years behind on this one, but I guess it’s better late than never?
“Remember what they say,
There’s no shortcut to a dream.
It’s all blood and sweat,
And life is what you manage in between”
Song: The Girl from Ipanema (Astrud Gilberto, with João Gilberto) – With a trip to Brazil on my mind most the year, and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil looming, I had no other choice than to put on some Brazilian bossa nova and enjoy the cool vibes.
Musician: Belle & Sebastian – Ah, the year I was brought back together with one of my favorite bands. Some time after high school (when I first discovered Belle & Sebastian) and through college, something happened with my iTunes library and all my albums were gone. It took until 2014 for me to get back together with these beautiful Scottish, indie-pop, too-cool-for-school tracks and listen to them non-stop.
Movie: 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick) – Okay, here is where I admit to the world that I watched this movie for the very first time in 2014… (insert surprised O-faced emoji here). Safe to say, I watched it again, and again, and I plan to watch it again, and again. It blew me away, it made me rethink everything I thought I knew about film, it showed me a level of perfection that I never would have realized to be possible.
Book: Letters To A Young Poet (Rainer Maria Rilke) – Doesn’t seem like this book will leave my side any time soon. It’s everything I need in life as far as motivation and inspiration when I’m writing.
Show: Star Trek: The Original Series – Again, I’m way behind the times here, but after watching the whole series during 2014, I now know why people are so into this show. It can be corny at times, it can be cliché, but really what trumps those sentiments is the writing and the adventure of it all. I thoroughly enjoyed this series and am now a full-on fan, for sure.
Comic: Batman: Year One (Frank Miller & David Mazzucchelli) – If you can’t tell, there is a trend going on here. Another reconnection I had in 2014 was with comics, and Year One was the driving force here. Gritty, engaging, deep, but most importantly, it’s the Batman I love to see.
Moment: Leaving California on January 1st – Ah, the start of my unbelievable journey that was 2014. In a quick 3-week turnaround, I went from being comfortable in LA to leaving work, packing up my little car, and heading East in a spectacular road trip, lone-wolfing it, leaving it all behind. Starting the year with friends and family that I missed and a flight to my homeland booked, ready to go do what I love to do.
The Best from 2014
Album: The Physical World (Death from Above 1979) – Almost ten years after their last release, a remix compilation, and more than ten years after their first, and only other, full-length album, the Canadian rock duo put out The Physical World as if not a day had gone by and they had never broken up in the last decade. So, after so many years of blasting the same eleven tracks over-and-over again, I can now double down and lose myself in the hard bass lines and endless racket.
Song: El Aguante (Calle 13) – Latin American flavor, homeland rhythms, and lyrics that bring me back to their old hit, one of my all-time favorites: Latinoamérica.
“Por lo que fue y por lo que pudo ser,
Por lo que hay, por lo que puede faltar,
Por lo que venga y por este instante
A brindar por el aguante!”
Musician: Pharrell Williams – If you don’t know all the cool things Pharrell did with his life in 2014, go here and read all about it. But from having the biggest hit song, that played every single day everywhere you went, to taking a spot on The Voice, Pharrell has really come up from the Neptunes and N.E.R.D. days, where he hid behind-the-scenes, produced from afar, and didn’t rock as many cool hats as he does now.
Movie: Guardians of the Galaxy (Marvel Studios) – As far as cinematography, script, and acting goes, there are better movies out there from 2014, but alluding to every headline written about this movie, the underdog story is always a huge draw. This fairly unknown group of heroes busted onto the screen like they had been around for years and had no doubts about their upcoming success; they took no strides, just jumped right in front of your face and made you love them… even the scary, big, blood-red, Drax The Destroyer, who just warms your heart as much as he makes you shit your pants. I can’t wait to see more from this crazy group, and can’t wait to see these fun galaxy protectors take on their next challenge.
Show: Bob’s Burgers – I don’t really know what happened since the first season till the last, but somehow it went from a huge joke (laughing at, not with) to the funnies show with the best characters. Tina Belcher in 2014 became a womanhood hero with amazing one-lines, when she was once a creepily awkward kid with an unnatural infatuation with butts. But, I’m not complaining about this new unprecedented success, now I don’t have to keep my love for Bob’s Burgers from the world.
Comic: Multiversity (DC) – There is just something here that I haven’t seen before, something that keeps my mind attached to each of the books, each of the stories, that have come out so far, and I keep trying to figure out another layer of what is to come. Grant Morrision is doing such an amazing job writing all these unrelated stories in the series, connecting them by a slight string, and creating a circular universe that keeps coming down on itself. Pax Americana blew my mind each and every time I read it, it’s definitely the best book out of the series so far.
Moment: Watching the 2014 World Cup, in Argentina – Let me paint you a picture: in my home country, in my original language, sitting by my brother and my Abu, the sun bright outside but with a slight smell hinting of winter, some empanadas on the table, maybe a Cerveza Quilmes to the side, sky-blue and white colors draped over my shoulders, and on the TV the most important tournament in sporting history, tense and nerves filling the already cramped TV room. There was a special breath each time my nation took the pitch, each minute that ticked meaning more and more to me (and my country). Most importantly, it was the moment my beautiful albiceleste took part in the finals, for the first time in my conscious life (they were in the final in 1990, but I was 2-years-old), it was a sight I have been dreaming of seeing since I could walk, talk, and kick a ball into the back of the net, it was a moment I have been dreaming of day-in and day-out, it was a moment I finally witness, but with not the outcome I desired. Now I wait four more years till we can do it all over again, hopefully this time it ends with our hands raised and some hardware in our grasp.
Okay, now that this (and 2014) is done for and over with, it’s time to take on the New Year. Starting a little late, but better late than never, am I right? Hope you enjoyed my list of nonsense, hope you enjoy the nonsense that is to come. Thanks for reading!
– Nahuel F.A.