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A look back: best of 2010 entertainment

Issue date: 12/3/10 Section: Focus
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10. Los Campesinos! - Romance Is Boring

…In which our beloved Welsh fake-siblings grow up, or at least toil with the trials and tribulations of the inevitability of growing up. While single "There Are Listed Buildings" retains the sprightly nature of earlier songs like "You! Me! Dancing!," the uncharacteristically frenetic "Plan A" and heart-wrenching account of depression "The Sea is a Good Place to Think of the Future" are far cries from the band's chipper past. While it may sometimes be overbearing, it's worth it to hear this excellent band progress.

9. Girl Talk - All Day

CWRU's prodigal mash-up artist alumnus returned unexpectedly a few weeks ago to release his fifth album online for no cost whatsoever. Those able to bypass the absurd amount of traffic on the website were treated to another great instant party mix - Gillis's longest offering yet. Highlights here include Rihanna's "Rude Boy" snugly fit atop Fugazi's "Waiting Room," Lady GaGa's "Love Game" and The Beastie Boys' "Hey Ladies" dropped over Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life," and 70 more minutes of surprises.

8. Vampire Weekend - Contra

What do the most hyped indie darlings of 2008 do to follow up their explosively popular debut record? They bastardize the formula that made them popular in the first place. They Autotune themselves to oblivion in "California English," tone things down immensely on "I Think Ur a Contra" and go for some unabashed, straightforward pop with "Giving Up the Gun." Still, Vampire Weekend doesn't fail to recreate former successes, most notably with the angular, sharp "Cousins," arguably the band's best song to date.

7. Teenage Fanclub - Shadows

2010 saw no shortage of great, blissfully fuzzy power pop, from Cleveland's own Cloud Nothings to newcomers Surfer Blood to a surprisingly coherent release from Wavves. Still, the year's best power pop release hails from a set of Scottish power pop veterans, is clean as a whistle, and shamelessly wears its heart on its sleeve. In their first release in five years, Teenage Fanclub have produced some of the finest songs of their career, adhering to gorgeous, hooky melodies and evoking the likes of power pop in its inception.

6. The National - High Violet

Five albums in, The National have made themselves known as the voice of upwardly mobile 20-something metropolitans who are likely down on their luck, are possibly most active in the twilight hours, and may very well be drowning in alcohol. The songs on High Violet continue to evoke these sentiments in a profound way, with "Bloodbuzz, Ohio" and "Afraid of Everyone" chief among them.

5. Owen Pallett - Heartland

In tandem with eschewing his "Final Fantasy" moniker, violinist Owen Pallett comes into his own with his most ambitious, grandiose, and magnificent work yet. Heartland, along with its follow-up EP A Swedish Love Story, is partly electronic, largely symphonic, and entirely exuberant. In combining slightly off-putting tracks like "Keep the Dog Quiet" and "Flare Gun" with the more accessible, poppy sounds of "Lewis Takes His Shirt Off" and "Tryst With Mephistopheles," Pallett has created a resounding work that will sit nicely in the canon of great chamber pop records.

4. Janelle Monáe - The ArchAndroid

It's just crazy enough to work. Young pop singer decides to continue concept album inspired by classic silent film Metropolis about a time-traveling android and decides to do away with genre restrictions in the process. Monáe attempts everything here - R&B, dance pop, rock, chamber pop, funk, orchestral interludes, hip hop, psychedelia, and more - and manages to pull off everything with conviction (no small task for a debut full-length). It's a lot to sink into in one or five sitting(s), but if ArchAndroid is any indication, we have a lot to look forward to from this rising star.

3. Sleigh Bells - Treats

Many artists will attempt to break down genre barriers within the course of an album, and more ambitious artists will do so in one song, but few will create an entire style out of this. Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss have seamlessly combined hip hop beats, heavy metal guitar tones, punk energy, and twee sensibility into a riotous creation. They may be hip to a fault, but their sheer vitality should detract most naysayers. If the explosive, deafening final 40 seconds of "Infinity Guitars" don't get you headbanging, nothing will.

2. Grinderman - Grinderman 2

Nick Cave may have done away with his porn-stache, but his libido is as strong as ever, made apparent on Bad Seeds side project Grinderman's second record. Nearly every second of this album oozes with lust, fire, and fury. Highlights on an album full of them include the dark, funky "Heathen Child" and the vigorous "Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man." Still, it's "When My Baby Comes," a brooding track that builds to a sludgy climax, that ranks among the best songs Cave has written in his 30-plus year career.

1. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

Heralded among the best bands of this generation of indie rockers, Arcade Fire had the almost impossible task to follow up on two of the most acclaimed records of the last decade. They ended up toning things down a bit, at first to the deterrence of some, but eventually to the acceptance of most. The Suburbs is an intimate, personal affair, in which the musicians have moved their sights from questioning the world to simply questioning themselves. Between the emotional onslaught of "We Used to Wait," the turbulent "Month of May," and the downright gorgeous dance pop of "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)," Arcade Fire has somehow created a third straight masterpiece.


15. Katy Perry- "Teenage Dream"

Katy Perry re-emerged on the scene this year and quickly released hit after hit that blew everyone out of the water. Sexy and confident, Perry brought to life some boys' (and girls') dreams in the hot video filmed for the single. Even without it, the song itself instantly makes listeners feel better about their crappy love lives, if only for a moment.

14. La Roux- "Bulletproof"

I must admit, when the song hit mainstream radio, I thought it was sung by Justin Bieber. Call me crazy, but it made me love Bieber until I found out it wasn't him. Instead, it's by a funky electro-pop diva with a great album and every indie dance club in the country backing her.

13. Caribou- "Odessa"

This is the first song on their new album Swim, and it starts the album off right. One of the catchiest songs for an indie band obsessed with club culture and a noise-tinged sound.

12. Chromeo- "Don't Turn the Lights On"

Chromeo is the perfect blend of contemporary pop and '70s slow jams. This is the perfect song to set the mood right before a one-night stand or a date at a low-lit bar.

11. Young Money ft. Lloyd- "Bedrock"

The chorus may be one of the cheesiest pick-up lines ever created, but there's nothing sexier than Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj, and all the Young Money crew rapping on this track. The Young Money clique has established themselves as a force to be reckoned with.

10. of Montreal- "Coquet Coquette"

The new album False Priest wasn't much to rave about, but "Coquet Coquette" is an example of of Montreal working up-tempo tunes to their finest. What sets this trippy number apart is the twisted, sexual, and witty lyrics of Montreal work into their songs.

9. Best Coast-" Boyfriend"

Even though most Best Coast songs are about breakups, boy-toys, or cats, all of their songs are sung with asugary, sun-drenched sweetness that would make you think they were all celebrating love like in this single.

8. Hot Chip- "One Life Stand"

This song sounds like one of those awesome video game soundtracks that are total flashback to 80's classics. The whole One Life Stand album was great, but this song was by far its best.

7. Taio Cruz- "Dynamite"

This single wins the Feel Good Anthem Award of 2010. Why not just celebrate and live your life? Throw your hands up and feel good about listening to this song.

6. M.I.A.- "XXXO"

The remix of this song features Jay-Z and walks all over other dance tunes put out this year. The much-anticipated album may not have been what everyone expected, but this single was drenched in M.I.A. world-pop style.

5. Lady Gaga ft. Beyonce- "Telephone"

Paired with one of the best music videos of the year, "Telephone" brought together two pop queens in a seemingly destined single. With Gaga's dramatic and theatrical vocals and Beyonce's fierce verse, this song catapult both to icon status.

4. Kanye West ft. Bon Iver, Rick Ross, Jay-Z, and Nicki Minaj- "Monster"

Every person that rapped on this track is a monster of the hip-hop game. Even though Kanye became even more rude this year, it is one of the most exciting and collaborative songs out now. The verses are smart, sick, and quotable. Anybody who was somebody this year in American hip-hop is on this track.

3. Yeasayer- "O.N.E."

If your ex doesn't move you anymore this song sure will. Built up on an infectious 80s inspired beat, this song is all about ditching your old infatuation, getting back on your feet and out of their bed. "O.N.E." is one of the best "F-U" songs ever made.

2. Arcade Fire-"We Used to Wait"

When this album came out, I put it in my CD player and cried. This song was particularly moving because of its strong message and its intensity. "We Used to Wait" calls to mind the full-bodied sound of classic Arcade Fire and centers on highly accessible emotions and themes for the listener.

1. Sleigh Bells-"Infinity Guitars"

I can listen to this track a thousand times over and not get sick of it. Sleigh Bells is one singer, one guitarist, good production, and a huge attitude. The blazing guitars and dub-style drumbeats on this track are enough to make you lose your mind. Shout along and shake your booty, because this song was the best made this year.


How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Let's face it: everyone loved this movie. Film Society had a packed audience of college students the night they screened it, and this children's book series definitely crossed the border between kids and adults. Though the book series differs in several ways (there is no Astrid; Toothless is actually toothless), the allure of dragons and adventure has remained the key to everyone's inner child's heart.

The Autobiography of Mark Twain: Part One

Samuel Clemens was a man who liked a good joke and was willing to wait for the punchline, much like this book, which was released 100 years after his death, per his specifications. Mark Twain specifically told the publishers that he would dictate his life under the conditions that it be directly transcribed and hidden following his passing, so as to not piss off the people he badmouthed. It seems as though Mark Twain has one more amazing story to tell, and this is only part 1!

The Snuggie Sutra by Lex Friedman

An absurd, hilarious book that takes the old Kama Sutra that everyone has heard about, but probably never read, and puts the figures in Snuggies. Be on stocking-stuffer alert for this one.

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney

While technically another children's title, this book has spawned a mini-empire of books just like it in bookstores everywhere. This is the fifth book in the series, and pretends to be a coming-of-age story that is actually full of funny anecdotes about high school and earlier life for one really unlucky kid. The main character writes about the wimpy kid in all of us.

S--- My Dad Says by Justin Halpern

This book is on the list only for two reasons. One, it has a hilarious title; two, it is the definition of a self-made book, because originally this entire thing was based on a Twitter feed. While I do enjoy observing the insanity that is Twitter, the idea that a book was based on what some guy (Justin Halpern) wrote on his account about…s--- his dad said was too good to pass up. The book is hilarious, and the best part is that the feed keeps updating daily.

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach

I got an advance copy of this book, and like her other titles, I loved it. This book is both hilarious and informative for those who have even a passing interest in science. How is a toilet designed for optimal efficiency without gravity? Did astronauts really have sex in space? This book answers these questions and more.

Southern Vampire Mysteries: Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

This is the tenth book in the series, focusing on Sookie Stackhouse and her misadventures as a telepathic barmaid in Louisiana. This book series was adapted into a little TV show called True Blood and has enjoyed a long popularity in both markets. Sookie's romantic exploits are complex, but unlike her literary counterpart Anita Blake, Sookie did not turn into an open house for magical beings, and the author did not project herself into the novel, so this is an awesome read. I would suggest, however, that you start at the beginning, because the book weaves quite a tangled web.

Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama by Bill O'Reilly

I'm going to be completely honest. The reason this book made the list is because it's hilarious. Bill O'Reilly is my favorite angry person, and this book is more of what he's best at: making up facts and being very, very angry. I think my favorite part was his chapter "Loathing Obama," in which he basically admits that he (Bill) is treasonous to the United States. Way to go, buddy!

The Phantom: Vol. 1 by Lee Falk

This is the first volume of the reprint of the classic comic strip The Phantom. The story is archetypal, the characters are funny and sometimes amazingly stupid, and even though it was written in the 1930's, it still draws audiences today. This superhero story is actually a romance at heart, with a lot of action thrown in for good measure. If you want to get your parents or grandparents something for the holidays, this will bring them back to their childhoods, and you too may find yourself strangely drawn to it.

Star Trek: The Original Series 365 by Paula Block

This beautiful, semi-artbook covers every episode of Star Trek in detail. It also includes never-before-seen images of the cast off-set and during production, and is a wonderful book for any fan. As a major Trek fan, I had to buy this book, and I wasn't disappointed.


10. Iron Man 2:

Some may argue it was predictable, but it did what it was supposed to do. In the hands of Jon Favreau, the movie follows where the first left off. Now that the world is aware of Iron Man's identity, what will Tony Stark do with his newfound fame and, with that, enemies? With Robert Downey Jr. as Stark and Mickey Rourke as the evil Vanko, the movie was an entertaining, if somewhat flawed, show to sit down and watch.

9. Easy A :

The only teenage comedy-drama on the list, Easy A tackles problems of today in a fresh way. Emma Stone is Olive, a teenager thrown into a whirlwind of problems when she is overheard lying to her ditsy best friend about losing her virginity. Quick and witty humor, grounded with superb acting, is tastefully laced throughout the entire story, resulting in a surprisingly fluid and well-made film.

8. Hereafter :

One of the darker movies of the year, Clint Eastwood's Hereafter delves into the concepts of life, death, and life after death. Matt Damon, portraying the protagonist George, gives an outstanding performance alongside Thierry Neuvic and Cecile DeFrance. The piece moves the viewer and leaves the audience wondering about what could be. Though there is really no conclusion, it should not be passed up.

7. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World :

Original in many ways, Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is definitely worth the watch. Sadly, though, it may not be a movie for everyone. It takes in generations of video game humor, mixes it with the trials of romance and music, and spices it up with today's cultural spin. The visual design is refreshing, with all of the fight scenes both outrageous and laudable.

6. Kick-Ass :

Perhaps the only "superhero" movie with characters that have absolutely no powers, Kick-Ass is thoroughly entertaining. The movie is relatable, even with a nerdy protagonist and action-packed. The only controversy comes over the character of 'Hit Girl.' Some feel the 11-year-old persona, being slightly foul-mouthed and all kick-ass one moment and sweet the next, made the character seem flaky and overdone. Regardless, the movie is filled with humor and brilliant acting.

5. The Social Network :

Many people were put off by the idea of a movie about Facebook, wondering what there would be to tell. Somehow, there managed to be a lot. The film, revolving around Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), is filled with powerful acting from all angles and a screenplay that is indisputably beautiful. The movie quickly proved to be more than just Facebook and the trials that it caused. It was a remarkable story of friendships and betrayals due to money, and their consequences.

4. How to Train Your Dragon :

This movie captured the hearts of children and adults alike. One of the most moving and well-crafted pictures from DreamWorks Animation, the movie impressed from start to finish with the powerful voice talents of Jay Baruchel and Gerard Butler. Perhaps it is simple compared to others on this list, but the plot was engaging and who couldn't come to love Toothless, the not-so-toothless Night Fury?

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1:

Although many fans had low expectations for this installment of the series after the disappointing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, they likely thought differently of this excellent return to form. With Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint returning for the series's impressive seventh installment. No longer is it the light and fluffy first film that we experienced with the 11-year old protagonists. The darker and scarier scenes have definitely grown to fit the evolving plot, and the graphics perfectly matched what was expected of them.

2. Toy Story 3:

To say a movie is better than its predecessor is, in the film industry, nearly unheard of. Toy Story 3 tackled and conquered the high expectations placed upon it. As another series that has grown up with our generation, it moved adults and teens most of all. Pixar reunited the powerful cast and pulled off the seemingly undoable in a sound powerful last installment.

1. Inception :

As the best film of the year, Inception has everything any film fanatic could dream of. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, a world-class criminal who steals ideas from peoples' minds. For the assignment that the movie revolves around, he is given the mission to plant an idea within someone's mind. The movie paints dream upon dream upon dream, leaving viewers marveling. Inception is unmatched in its originality. While Toy Story 3 climbed the numbers because of how it moved us, Inception did the same just because it made viewers think.
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Issue Summary


  • A conversation with Professor Jessica Green
  • Nation's first research-oriented wind turbine constructed near Veale
  • Thwing Study Over to provide students much-needed break this Sunday
  • Transformation on horizon for KSL
  • USG reflects upon accomplishments at last meeting of semester


  • Grapplers drop match against rival John Carroll, fall to 0-2
  • Spartans encounter cold spell late in second half, go 0-2 in JCU tournament
  • Spartans place 18th at cross country NCAA championships
  • Sports Shorts
  • Women fall behind early, lose to Baldwin-Wallace

Fun Page

  • Fun Page Solutions


  • Cleveland provides refugees, volunteers opportunities with Refugee Response program
  • Editorial: Semester Grades
  • There's no 'I' in team - but there is in 'Republican'
  • What are you doing over winter break?


  • A look back: best of 2010 entertainment
  • Art history department says goodbye as distinguished professor Dr. Edward Olszewski retires
  • Cleveland writer Susan Streeter Carpenter reads from counter-culture novel Riders on the Storm
  • Magic of Mr. CWRU uses talent, gusto to benefit East Cleveland
  • Our friend Kelvin
  • The art of seduction, part II
  • Two recent film releases: Harry Potter disappoints; Enter the Void intrigues
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