BY SALIL CHAUDHRY
Yes, 2014 was spectacular, it was beautiful and it was brilliant. Yet, 2014 was sad and dark and somber. There was light and dark, peace and war, smiling and crying. You should pat yourself on the back, you’ve done well this year. All of us should really pat ourselves on the back. Two thousand and fourteen years of human society is quite an achievement. It’s no small feat, yet we have triumphed and survived. Things have changed over these two thousand years but one thing has not: expression. Humans are creatures that have always and will always continue to express themselves through the arts. We sing and we dance. We film and we present. We write and we draw. That’s what makes humans so incredibly special and intense.
This past year, 2014, was impressive. We saw the rise of musicians like Hozier and Sam Smith. We laughed when we saw Iggy Azalea fall of stage and we cried watching Boyhood. We were shocked when Beyonce released an album overnight and when The Interview was postponed by a North Korean hacker. We listened to J. Cole’s new album 2014 Forest Hills Drive and we saw the wonderful reunion of Outkast. Yes, 2014 was spectacular. Yet, 2014 was dark. Robin Williams took his own life. Joan Rivers passed away. Groups like the Allman Brothers, Crystal Castles and Death Grips all broke up. 2014 was dynamic. Boundaries were broken, movements were started, and culture transformed yet again.
When a year ends, it is a monumental moment. It is a special time, a time to reflect, remember, and celebrate. The end of a year is also a time to look forward. It is a time to set objectives and goals. Some of these goals are tangible, while others are not. Many individuals set resolutions and attempt to follow through with them for 365 full days. Workout, be kinder, smile more. However, a new year for media and arts is not a time for resolutions, it is a time for new exploration and discovery. A new year is an invitation for all artists to try something new or radical or profound. A new year opens the door to hundreds of thousands of new sights and sounds. The result is spectacular. No names become big names. Indie artists become mainstream artists. Great albums, films and shows are released to the public. This year I am looking forward to a variety of things.
I am particularly excited for music in 2015. 2014 was a solid year in music, but this year is going to be better. Listen to who is going to be releasing an album this year: Gwen Stefani, Fleetwood Mac, Mark Ronson, Joey Bada$$, Tool, Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse, Miguel, James Blake, Frank Ocean, and Kanye West. Yes, this isn’t going to be just a solid year, this is going to be a fantastic year. Artists from all spectrums of music are going to grace our years with some game-changing music.
There is one artist in particular I am looking forward to this year: Kendrick Lamar. In 2012, the Compton rapper, Lamar, released good kid M.A.A.D City. The album was journey, a narrative describing the gangsta life of Compton, California. With his unique cohesiveness, vivid imagery, and top-notch production, Kendrick Lamar shocked the hip-hop world. The album was regarded as one of the greatest rap records ever created. Songs such as “Swimming Pools”, “Poetic Justice” and “Money Trees” were dark, gritty and beautiful. With the release, Kendrick quickly ascended to the top of the hip-hop world. Now in 2015, Kendrick is going to release a much anticipated album. In September of 2014, Kendrick released his first official track, in 2 years. The track was titled “i” and was radically different than his previous works. It contained electric guitar samples and had a much more R&B feel. It was interesting and new. The track only makes me wonder where Kendrick is going to go musically for his next album. Is he going to stay in dark depths of gangsta rap? Or is he going to lean toward a more R&B album? We’ll just have to wait and see.
There are many things to look forward to within film and television in 2015. Personally, I’m looking forward to the show Better Call Saul. It’s a spinoff of the ever famous series Breaking Bad. Better Call Saul will follow the corrupt lawyer Saul Goodman and describe his life and hardships. It’s going to be interesting to say the least. Breaking Bad fans such as myself are curious to see if the show will follow the dark and serious tone of the previous series. Also premiering this year is the third season of House of Cards, a mid season premiere of The Walking Dead, and in April, the fifth season premiere of Game of Thrones.
Movies this year are also highly anticipated. But, the one in particular that will spread throughout the world is the new Star Wars film: The Force Awakens. Led by the famous J.J. Abrams, director of the Star Trek films and producer of Lost, The Force Awakens will explore the galaxies of the universe roughly thirty years after Return of the Jedi. Abrams and his crew have kept the film under wrap so no one is quite sure what the plot is going to be like. All we know is that it will be exciting.
2015 will be a special year, and in my opinion a stronger year in music and film than 2014. So keep working, stay determined and get ready for some fantastic media.