Spectrum Check

Once I started writing music reviews for Spectrum Culture, one of my goals was to eventually branch out and try to cover material that’s somewhat outside of my normal range. So for my last album review of the year, I made a point of grabbing a hip hop release. Lucky for me, it just so happens to be one of the best records of the year. I did the best I could, but I wish I’d had a little more concentrated time with the album before I wrote on it. I have a feeling this one is going to age well, or at least in interesting, even revelatory ways.

I had less luck with my final movie review for the year. It’s one of those movies that’s so well-intentioned that I feel a little like a willfully contrarian grump for panning it. Then again, I was colossally bored by the whole thing, so maybe my review wound up being a little kind.

I also contributed to most of our various columns devoted to looking back on the best and most notable pop culture of the past year. I wrote about Arcade Fire winning the Best Album Grammy and the backlash they faced in our list of the “Defining Cultural Moments of 2011.” I highlighted the work of Jennifer Ehle in Contagion in our “Best Performances of 2011” piece (my first choice, Kirsten Dunst in Melancholia, was apparently one of the most requested from our various writers) and touted the virtues of Moneyball in the “Best Films of 2011” feature. I also contributed to our pair of music columns picking the best songs and best albums of the year. I’ve more to say about that, but I’ll get to it in a future post, hopefully this upcoming week.