What will 2011 be most remembered for in entertainment and pop culture? Rebecca Black? The continued dominance of Glee? Born This Way? The conclusion of Harry Potter? Adele?
Whether good or bad, entertainment was nothing short of entertaining this year. All the bases were covered in television, movies and music and is sure to continue into 2012. For me, this is particularly interesting when you consider the continued role that the internet plays in our everyday lives. As CD sales continue to slide, musicians continue to find ways to reep the benefits of digital media and even crossing over to other areas of marketing themselves in interesting and creative ways. The internet is more and more a tool being used to promote movies and television. It’s such a regular thing now that even just talking about how much of a phenomenon it is has become old news. Moving on…
Parks and Recreation
My time spent watching television has dwindled so much over the last decade that I could honestly live without having a television. There are a few shows I like to try and keep up with but having to commit myself to that scheduled half-hour time slot every week is beyond what I’m willing to do. Therefore, actually starting any new series is very unlikely for me. However, networks have taken this into account and have used sources like Netflix and iTunes to account for people like me. So I’ve been watching more television in the last year than I have in any of the previous ten. It’s fun to have something to look forward to, whether it’s a concluded DVD series like The West Wing or ongoing series like Parks & Recreation and 30 Rock, two of which are among the best comedies I’ve ever seen.
On the big screen, there have been some incredible movies this year as well. I don’t think 2011 had the number of fantastic films that previous years did such as last year with Inception, The Social Network and Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 1, all of which I would put on my all-time favourites list should I ever get around to making one. What 2011 did offer, though, was Bridesmaids. The first film with Kristen Wigg in charge and the (I will emphasize the *the*) *the* funniest movie I have ever seen. It became one of those things over the summer that I couldn’t stress just how hilarious this movie was and that everyone MUST see it and SHOULD love it.
Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2
Of course, another thing about 2011 and movies was the end of Harry Potter. The final movie finally came out, ten years after the first. It was good. I was satisfied. I hate to say I was disappointed because there isn’t anything specific I can think of that I would change but it didn’t quite match up with the first half of the final part for me. Since I can’t put my finger on it, I leave this topic closed and move on.
Perhaps the biggest success story of 2011 was all in one name: Adele. Despite all the hardships of the music industry, Adele and her own hardships have contributed to the biggest success story in years. Her album 21 is actually among the best selling albums of all time in some places and her worldwide total is nearly double the second best selling album of the year, Born This Way. Of course, Born This Way was an event in itself, garnering a level of pre-release promotion that I don’t think has ever been done before. Lady GaGa was appearing in places that musicians have never attempted before. From placement in Farmville, editorials in Metro newspapers worldwide, signs and advertisements pretty much everywhere, huge cardboard stands in music and non-music outlets and stores. It was insane. But with such a level of hype came a lot of criticism. It was both interesting and expected that there was nowhere to really go from there except down. Especially with the extreme differences in the sound of GaGa and Adele, whom everyone now loves, the backlash was inevitable. People wanted simple and Adele gave it. Despite what might be perceived as backlash against GaGa, I do think her contribution to music in 2011 will be felt for years to come. Aside from the marketing and promotion of her album, the first single Born This Way was an obvious anthem that can be easily adopted by various groups and organizations. Elton John was right when he likened it to I Will Survive. Regardless of how one feels about the song or GaGa herself, it has already seeped into pop culture and I think it’s there to stay.
Going back to Adele, even though her success is very highly regarded, it does make for a rather boring year on the music news front. Most headlines were about Adele and her continued success. The only other major story it seems was Katy Perry. I would never have expected her to have such a big year after 2010 but her album Teenage Dream is en route to earning its record sixth Hot 100 #1. Of course, with that record comes a lot of distaste for how they were achieved. That in itself is another topic for another time, and one that I have touched on before (click here).
Right now, mainstream music is said to be in a transitional phase as we’re gradually moving away from the electro-pop sound into another direction. Who’s to say what the next obsession of the music industry will be? My thoughts are, something that fuses singer/songwriters with heavily layered production and elaborate music setups like that of Florence & The Machine.
I got to witness some great concerts in 2011. Lady GaGa’s Madison Square Garden stop during the final leg of her Monster Ball tour and one of the ones that contributed to her Emmy Award winning HBO special-later-turned DVD. U2‘s record-smashing 360 tour with opening act Arcade Fire was another life-altering experience. I got to see Katy Perry prior to her achieving the record-tying #1 Last Friday Night and despite what people say, she puts on a great concert. Melissa Etheridge finally came within visiting distance so seeing her was a treat, as well as once again witnessing performances by Serena Ryder and Sarah Slean.
Outside of music, tv and film, some internet happenings this year. The introduction of Google+. Seems to have died down as soon as it premiered but have we heard the last of it? Teenage Mutant Ninja Noses was my favourite website for a bit but that too was just temporary. Wonderful idea and a hilarious concept.
That about sums up my thoughts about this year in entertainment as general as I can make them without rambling on for TOO long. I feel like there’s so much more that can be commented on but I’ll abstain for now. Of course, I could go on for more so readers’ thoughts are welcome and I’d love to talk more in the comments section for anyone interested enough to start something. Otherwise, I’m looking forward to the offerings of 2012.