Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

My Favourite Things: Best of the Year, 2023

By Russell Forden Mar 19, 2024 #2023 #chaeyoung
Chaeyoung, Weather Man

Personally, 2023 was a pretty good year for me. Did the Japan trip. Work was stable and enjoyable. I even got to see Twice in concert – twice. Internationally, it wasn’t so much fun. At least most of us seemed to be over covid. Since every blog should have a best of the year list, here’s mine for 2023. The books are mostly from other years, but they are what I read this year. The rest are, as far as I can tell, from this year.

So yes, I did read American Psycho. The first half was mostly pretty funny, the second half pretty horrifying. It is satire, right? But boy, there were bits I could not read. Afterglow was a nice little anthology of positive stories about a sustainable future. Made a nice change from all those capitalist dystopias. Dispatches from Anarres was also a good collection of stories inspired by the writings of Ursula Le Guin. Geezer Butler, you may know, is the bass player with Black Sabbath. It was okay. He had some good things to say about Ronnie James Dio. I would’ve liked more talk about his lyrical inspirations though. Any given year will find me reading some Rumiko manga, so these ones here aren’t surprising. I’ve only read the first volumes of Maison and Mermaid, but I’ve nearly finished all 34 volumes of Urusei. Lum rules!

Twice Chaeyoung‘s cover of Eddie Benjamin‘s Weatherman was my favourite video last year. Watched it so many times, and will continue to do so. It brings out her personality so well, and I like her version better than the original. For songs, all my usual Kpops are present, with Twice dominating not only as a group, but there’s Twice Jihyo and her solo album, plus the Misamo sub unit of Mina, Sana and Momo. We Onces were spoiled yet again. Jihyo’s Room, Aespa‘s Better Things and NewjeansDitto were my three most favourite songs, especially Ditto, which strictly speaking was released in 2022 (December), but I’m calling it a ’23 song. The video of the girls in the school locker room (or is it a gym?) makes me swoon. When I saw a billboard of them looking cool in Shinjuku last year, I knew they’d really made it. Gordon Lightfoot passed away last year, and the song featured here was his last release, a nice nod to his career. We got new Beatles and Rolling Stones material this year. Amazing!

It’s always a good year when Robert Forster, formerly of the Go Betweens, releases an album. I met him once when he was promoting his book, Grant And I. Nice guy. I found he responds well to flattery (but don’t we all?).

Godzilla and Girls Und Panzer I saw in Japan without subtitles, so I haven’t quite ‘seen’ them properly yet, but I enjoyed them immensely. Especially GUP, which I saw in ‘4D’. The tank battles had me literally rocking in my seat. There was a scene were the main girls were in a spa, and a large plume of steam wafted up from the screen. That last scene in Indiana Jones was probably my favourite scene in a film this year. It was good to see Tom Conti as Albert Einstein in Oppenheimer. Strange to have seen that film and then visited Hiroshima not long after.

So this was my 2023 in pop culture. What was yours?

Books

  • The Sheep Look Up – John Brunner
  • Into the Void – Geezer Butler
  • Afterglow – Grist (Ed) Various
  • American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis
  • Dispatches from Anarres – Susan De Freitas (Ed)
  • The Wanderings of Odysseus – Rosemary Sutcliff
  • Magus of the Library – Mitsu Izumi
  • Urusei Yatsura – Rumiko Takahashi
  • Mermaid Saga – Rumiko Takahashi
  • Maison Ikkoku – Rumiko Takahashi
  • Kaiju Preservation Society – John Scalzi

Songs

  • Weatherman – Twice Chaeyoung
  • Room – Twice Jihyo
  • Killing Me Good – Twice Jihyo
  • Don’t Touch Me – Misamo
  • Crazy Stupid Love – Twice
  • Moonlight Sunrise – Twice
  • Better Things – Aespa
  • Ditto – NewJeans
  • Supershy – NewJeans
  • Party O’Clock – Nmixx
  • Never Gonna Give You Up – Shiva and Jo Ann Harris
  • Got No Time – Cable Ties
  • Chaise Longue – Wet Leg
  • Teddy Bear – StayC
  • A Painter Passing Through – Gordon Lightfoot
  • Moon – Perfume
  • Got the Thrills – Twice
  • Never Dawn – Lacuna Coil
  • Wireless – Within Temptation
  • Judgement Day – Lovebites
  • I Don’t Do Drugs, I Do Time – Robert Forster
  • Oh My Gosh – Nmixx
  • Spicy – Aespa
  • Jekyll and Hyde – Everdream
  • Rough Blue Stone – Everdream
  • Now and Then – The Beatles
  • Living For Love – Justin Hayward
  • Pandora – Mave
  • Foreign Land – Teenage Fanclub
  • Sweet Sounds of Heaven – The Rolling Stones

Albums

  • Ready To Be – Twice
  • Masterpiece – Misamo
  • Zone – Jihyo
  • The Candle and the Flame – Robert Forster
  • Expergo – Nmixx
  • My World – Aespa
  • Get Up – NewJeans
  • Hackney Diamonds – The Rolling Stones

Films

  • The Boy and the Heron
  • Girls Und Panzer Das Finale 4
  • Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
  • Oppenheimer
  • The Creator
  • Godzilla Minus One

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