This album defined a whole year of my life. Here’s the breakdown of how it holds up.
Transcendentally good, like seriously how is this album so good?
So Happy I Could Die – Self love: Lady Gaga’s thesis statement. I love the imagery, the sound, the catchiness. It’s desperate, but soft. Harsh, but loving. Encapsulates why I listened to this album so much.
Dance in the Dark – Should’ve stayed a single. A story of a lovestruck girl who can’t love herself. Awkward teenage me related hard to this one, and current me still loves it.
Monster – Vivid, unsettling imagery. Uses sexuality in a genuinely powerful way. Regret, love, and dance mingled together and blew me away.
Paper Gangsta – Am I honest, am I truly real? Are the people around me being honest with me? This song is crushingly intrusive. The echoing guest vocals only make the song lonelier.
Some of my favorite pieces of fiction:
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Revolutionary Girl Utena
- Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
- Welcome to the NHK!
- Gravity Falls
- Steven Universe
- Valhalla, Ragnarok, and Gudsriki.
This album has defined my month, so you’ve got to hear about it.
Fallen to Pieces – Best intro on the album, hands down. The beginning rap portion is brilliant, musically and lyrically.
Day Dreamer (Sad Gay Boy) – It really feels like something’s ending here. Sad, introspective, and self-infantilizing. I love pretty much everything about this.
Back in middle school and high school, I spent a lot of time on TvTropes. While the idea of TvTropes was an interesting, albeit controversial way of looking at stories, it was also a cool alternative to Wikipedia. (Some) Explanations were more readable, and some of the most obscure things had articles. So I’d get into a webcomic, like Ansem Retort, and through that site I’d have a source of knowledge on it. I could retread through some of my favorite moments and learn about common threads connecting TV shows and games.
Neon Genesis Evangelion was a name that appeared everywhere on that website, usually alongside the word “deconstructed”. I knew it as the depressing-sounding anime that YuGiOh abridged used a song from.
It was about a kid who hated himself. Instead of being about him getting better, it ends with the world being destroyed. And he’s left alone with a toxic love interest.
A typical storytelling device is to take something that once seemed light, humorous, and innocuous, and make it meaningful or dramatic. Welcome to Night Vale starts a lot of its dramatic turns as simple jokes and asides, but I think it’s more impressive how this applies to characterization.
“Time is weird”, everyone says. It’s a funny joke, but it has serious existential implications for Earl Harlan. Steve Carlsberg, the best character in the show, is built off of the joke of the kind of person who would be seen as a conspiracy theorist in a conspiracy land like this. The payoff is in the gradual reveal of what such a person would actually be like. By starting characters as caricatures, Night Vale is able to show their humanity especially well.
2015 was the year I set out to watch as many great anime as I could. I made a huge list of anime that I needed to watch, and an order to watch them in. Since then the list has only grown, and I almost never watch anything on it. But for the summer of 2015, my day was almost all watching anime. These shows were formative to my idea of what anime is, as well as my idea of art in general, but my opinions of them have changed in the two years since then.
Here’s how I ranked those shows at the time.
Episode 19A-B: The Sandstorm
This is where Night Vale’s plot really gets rolling. It’s a look inside two different radio studios with two different narrators. Night Vale’s central mysteries regarding perspective get touched upon for the first time, as does a major character arc.