I do this little review every year, so I have a record of how things were for me. I don’t have much to write this year, because it felt like a holding pattern, just waiting around for the shitshow of 2020 to settle down, but with no particular new highs or lows to report.
I’m once again thankful for the position I’m in—despite the pandemic continuing, I remain healthy, have a roof over my head, a job that I can do under said roof, and a personality conducive to long stretches of staying inside and hanging out with my girlfriend and dog. I did do a few things outside of these walls, though: lots of hikes in forests, bike rides, even a few trips within Ontario and visits to restaurants when things briefly opened up and felt safe. None of my friends or family died, though there were close calls. All considered, it was a fine year, and there’s room to go up from here.
Here’s my summary of the media I consumed this year, which is a potentially problematic but effective way of jogging memories about what 2021 was like, how it felt.
As usual, this is just an uncurated list of the albums I listened to most, courtesy of Last.FM.
First, some honourable mentions for albums that came out late in the year or didn’t make it on the list for whatever reason.
- Ides – Crawler
- The Pretty Reckless – Death by Rock and Roll
- Black Honey – Written and Directed
- Lil Nas X – MONTERO
- Olivia Rodrigo – SOUR
- Steven Wilson – The Future Bites
- Kacey Musgraves – Star-Crossed
- Modest Mouse – The Golden Casket
- Limp Bizkit – Still Sucks
- The Offspring – Let the Bad Times Roll
- Thrice – Horizons / East
And here’s my top 10 most listened-to albums:
10. Duran Duran – FUTURE PAST
9. Rob Zombie – The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy
8. Gojira – Fortitude
7. Foo Fighters – Medicine at Midnight
6. Brad Sucks – A New Low in Hi-Fi
5. Lorde – Solar Power
4. Kaleo – Surface Sounds
3. Evanescence – The Bitter Truth
2. Garbage – No Gods No Masters
1. Greta Van Fleet – The Battle at Garden’s Gate
I also got Meg a turntable for Christmas, so that opens up a whole new world of possibilities for defining my personality through music like a hipster piece of crap. It also goes with this year’s theme of mostly listening to artists from when I was young and stuff seemed better. Is this that old man tendency to romanticize the past? Am I there already?
I liked these shows:
- Brand New Cherry Flavor
- Curb Your Enthusiasm
- Dexter: New Blood
- Hawkeye, Loki, Wandavision
- I Think You Should Leave
- The Last Drive-In
- Love on the Spectrum
- The Mandalorian
- Mare of Easttown
- Midnight Mass
- Mythic Quest
- Squid Game
- Ted Lasso
- Tiger King
- The Walking Dead
These are the best movies I saw in 2021. They may not have come out in 2021, shut up. I’m just listing recent-ish movies I rated 4+ stars on Letterboxd, so go there for full reviews.
- An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn
- Another Round
- Army of the Dead
- Bad Trip
- Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar
- Bingo Hell
- Black Widow
- Daniel Isn’t Real
- Don’t Look Up
- The Father
- Free Guy
- Fried Barry
- Greener Grass
- Love and Monsters
- Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin
- Promising Young Woman
- The Rental
- Silent Night
- Sound of Metal
- The Starling
- The Suicide Squad
- The Trip
- The Truffle Hunters
- Willy’s Wonderland
Games / Apps
I didn’t have much time for video games this year. I don’t know if it’s the games industry or me, but I just couldn’t get deeply into any one game. I’ll grab something from Games Pass, play it for a few hours, then forget it existed until I need to clear space for another one.
Anyway, here are the games I did play and liked. Add me on Xbox Live or Nintendo or Oculus to play with me.
- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – It’s become a bit of a Christmas tradition to use my time off to play a bit of a very long Assassin’s Creed game. For some reason I’m going through them backwards.
- Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and Unity – Finished these ones up too.
- Dying Light
- Lawn Mowing Simulator
- Twelve Minutes
- Nintendo sent me one of those annual wrapped summaries, and apparently I spent like 2 hours playing my Switch this year. Oops.
Oculus Quest, Mac, Other:
- Demeo – Like a board game, but in virtual reality. Pretty cool.
- Supernatural – A VR workout app that doesn’t feel like a workout. They got bought out by Meta (formerly Facebook) this year, so hopefully it doesn’t go to shit.
- Strava – A good way of keeping track of how much I get out on my bike.
- Peloton – Meg got one of these ridiculously expensive indoor bikes, and it really is pretty motivating.
That’s two thousand and twenty one! Hopefully next year is more normal, for realsies this time.