The Things I Loved in 2022
Great stuff ONLY
Welcome to my annual love letter to all the stories, books, albums, shows, podcasts — anything published, really — that I loved this year.
I started doing this six years ago and it’s become one of my favorite traditions. There’s a lot of good stuff out there! And it’s easy to forget it all over the course of a year! So in doing this I feel like I’m roleplaying as the world’s chillest archivist. Here’s last year’s list, and here’s 2020’s, 2019’s, 2018’s and 2017’s.
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Knuckle Puck’s Disposable Life EP
Every once in a while an artist shows up and drops a flawless EP out of nowhere (looking at you, Saosin’s Translating The Name, Turnover’s self-titled and Childish Gambino’s EP). Disposable Life was the best release I heard this year, despite only clocking in at ~19 minutes.
Listen to the second half of the second verse from 1:13-1:30. That’s what I’m talking about. That’s pop-punk pre-chorus perfection.
‘If you want to know about sex, it’s in the songs’: Joan Jett on punk, privacy and almost joining the army by Fiona Sturges
What a delightful profile/history lesson this is. It makes me happy to know Joan Jett is still thriving and kicking ass, as she has for the past 40+ years. Also did you know Joan Jett produced Rebel Girl?!
Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo
Bardugo’s entire Grishaverse series is filled with magic and hijinks of the most fun variety, and Rule of Wolves ends with a cliffhanger that had me audibly hootin’ and hollerin’.
Casting Jake Johnson as a 70’s-era smut publisher is a surefire way to win my attention, but every character in Minx is a ton of fun. And like any great show, it got canceled! Yay!
The Ringer Fantasy Football Show
The Dannys and Craig make me laugh every time I listen, and it seems like the three of them genuinely have fun recording every episode. Thank you Lorne!
Let’s see, the first season of Andor includes: a white-knuckle prison break, the main character having a real bad time in Space Miami, a violent heist, a droid named B2EMO, and Stellan Skarsgård and Forest Whitaker delivering progressively more memorable monologues.
This show kicks ass, close this window, go watch it.
House of R on The Ringer-Verse
On that note, I found Mallory Rubin and Joanna Robinson’s House of R series to be the ultimate companion program for all the new Star Wars shows like Obi-Wan, The Book of Boba Fett, and of course, Andor.
Mal and Jo’s ability to notice and describe little details and pieces of lore is so impressive, and much like the Ringer fantasy football guys, they seem to have as much fun recording as I do listening. If you’re of a fantasy person, they also dive deep into House of the Dragon, The Rings of Power and more.
CHVRCHES’ Screen Violence
I will always love The Bones of What You Believe and Every Open Eye, and I remember listening to Screen Violence last year and liking it, but I never dwelled on it.
Then I saw CHVRCHES live at The National, kind of on a whim, and goodness me. What a performance. Seeing them live was a reminder of how a great show can heighten one’s appreciation for a band. Also shoutout Robert Smith for continuing to bless us with guest appearances like this.
Here’s how to get me to buy your video game: set it underwater.
Between Subnautica and BioShock, I am a sucker for a game set in the great blue beyond. Subnautica offers the player little direction other than “Swim deeper” and “Try to not poop your pants when you hear a reaper leviathan” and it is a BLAST.
It’s Your Friends Who Break Your Heart by Jennifer Senior
This made me want to call up each and every one of my friends. One bit that’s stuck with me: “What makes friendship so fragile is also exactly what makes it so special. You have to continually opt in.”
Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci
After careful deliberation I’ve decided I want to be Stanley when I grow up.
At this year’s GoCross I watched cyclocross pros hop over a pair of ~2-foot tall wooden planks on their bikes.
It’s hard to describe just how tall those barriers look on the course, or how difficult it is to even get a single front wheel over them.
A few hours before the pros, I was out on the course laboriously dismounting, picking up my bike, and running over the barriers while setting a new maximum heart-rate record. Not for $10,000 would I have even tried to hop them, it honestly seemed impossible. But the pros were out there clearing the barriers like a pack of spritely rabbits.
That “I know we’re doing the same thing but it seems like these people are playing an entirely different sport than I am” sensation is how I feel when reading Spencer and Holly. They just operate on a whole different level, and it’s so impressive.