Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Jenn's Year in Review: 2016 (#ALLTheSuperlatives)

tv friends new year happy new year new years eve

Welcome to the final few days of 2016, y'all! A lot of good has happened this year around Just About Write: we've welcomed quite a few new writers, got the chance to travel to Comic-Con again and party with celebrities, and honored some stellar television shows in this year's #GoldenTrioAwards. But I would be remiss if I didn't discuss the dumpster fire that was this year. It's been rough, in terms of the political, economical, and pop culture landscape (and the recent death of the iconic Carrie Fisher seems to cement this).

But that's also precisely why it's so important to celebrate the good stuff that happened. I've forced myself to stop and recognize the good in addition to the bad, since it can be so easy to focus on the latter and get sucked into that dumpster fire. And that's really the point of this post — celebrating the good stuff that happened!

(If you'd like to read my 2013, 2014, and 2015 superlatives, go right ahead!)

Let's get this show on the road, kids.

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Favorite Single Episode of a Television Show (Comedy): "A Chill Day In," New Girl

It's the fifth year that I've done these superlatives, and the fifth year in a row that New Girl has won the honor of favorite episode for a comedy series. This show never fails to make me laugh, but "A Chill Day In" made my stomach hurt from that laughter. It was a perfect decision on the writers' parts to pair this Jess/Cece-centric episode with the bachelor party episode prior to it. We don't get very many episodes that focus just on Jess and Cece, but when we do, they're always hilarious. "A Chill Day In" gave Zooey Deschanel some of her funniest work to date, and allowed Hannah Simone the chance to be silly. I absolutely loved this episode and will re-watch in 2017 whenever I need an instant pick-me-up.

Favorite Single Episode of a Television Show (Drama): "Have You Brought Me Little Cakes," The Magicians

The best way I can describe The Magicians to people is "crazytownbananapants." It's a show that I started watching accidentally, after realizing that my cable network had the advanced pilot On Demand. And the entire first season was a crazy ride, from start to finish. But nothing was more intense and twisty this year than the show's finale. It left us with dangling questions about the characters' futures, and how they would manage to get themselves out of the problem they were in. Seriously, I keep thinking of how Quentin and the rest of the gang will manage to rescue themselves AND stop a monster.

(Meanwhile, The Magicians' finale also gave us a really refreshing character twist on an abuse storyline, and for that I am eternally grateful.)

I'm so ready for this show to return in all of its crazy glory, and hopefully you'll join me for the show's intense return in 2017!

Best Television Show You're Not Watching But Need to Be: No Tomorrow

When I watched the pilot of No Tomorrow, I kept thinking that this show was television's answer to the disappearing rom-com, and I stand by that assessment. I think that it's a cute, underrated show on The CW, and wish more people were watching it. No Tomorrow is so fun, in a fresh and exciting way that blends romance with comedy and quirky characters. There are no real stereotypes on the show — even Evie breaks out of the "straight-laced, type-A" archetype every now and then. Everyone is a little bit weird and quirky, and the show has been able to blend that type of humor with really heartfelt, meaningful moments. No Tomorrow is fun, sweet, and a show that more people need to be watching and talking about.

Best Male Character: Titus Andromedan, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

I love Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for many reasons, but the primary one is Titus Andromedan, played to excellence by Tituss Burgess. While Kimmy can occasionally be a little grating, Titus is always endearing and provides some of the best, most hilarious content in the show. But this season, Titus got the chance to grow and develop as a character — he was in a stable relationship, constantly learning how to be a better person, and mentoring Kimmy and Lillian. There is no character on television who is remotely close to Titus; he, as he says, is an enigma. He's confident in who he is and doesn't let others steal his joy. He's fashionable, fun, and has a fervor for life. But he's also extremely relatable (the quote "I've decided to live as a bed from now on" is so quotable and perfect). And for that and so many other reasons, Titus is the greatest male character on television this season to me.

Best Female Character: Liza Miller, Younger

Over the past year or so, I've fallen in love with Younger. It's a fun, fluffy little show that celebrates love and career and friendship in New York City. Sutton Foster is an incredible lead, but the supporting cast is just as amazing. This year, Liza Miller's character arc was one of the most satisfying on television (especially in the last two episodes). Sutton Foster's performance was amazing, blending the slapstick-silly attributes of Liza with her more determined, serious ones. Because the truth is that Liza is a really layered, really complex woman. She's lying to the people she loves and has been for a long time. The interesting thing about Younger, however, is that the show never really presents her as a villain for keeping a secret. Her secret is usually used to further comedic plots and shenanigans (such as trying to keep Kelsey out of Thad's computer). But this year, we got the chance to see this secret elevated as a more serious character flaw. She might be lovable and fun, but Liza is also a liar and — eventually — does cheat on Josh. Everyone tells Liza that she's a good person, but this year was the first time we, the audience, were really meant to question that. Is she still good if she's lying, cheating, and sabotaging her relationships? I would argue that she is because her secret was never a malicious one; but being good doesn't mean being innocent and Liza is guilty of a lot in 2016.

But oh, how I love this amazingly complex female character. She's one of the most underrated characters on television right now and I'm so excited for Younger to return next year so that I can follow more of her journey.

Show That Had So Much Potential This Year But Lost it All: Arrow

Oh, Arrow. My sweet, stubborn, occasionally downright stupid Arrow. 2016 was definitely not a good year for this show. Between the horrible baby mama drama that led to regression in Oliver Queen like we've never seen before and a pointless, dismissive storyline for Felicity (in addition to the sidelining of Diggle and reintroduction of a stale storyline with his brother just for the sake of drama), this show could have had it all. Unfortunately, Arrow chose to spend most of 2016 focusing on manufactured drama that served to drive the audience away from its characters, not closer to them. Add to that the predictable plot twists, an array of villains, lackluster flashbacks, and a midseason finale that was relatively pointless and you'll know why this show made it onto the naughty list this year. Here's to hoping that Arrow and its writers return to the show I knew and loved — the one that was occasionally campy, but provided character growth and didn't focus on sleight-of-hand tricks or the continual resurrections of Laurel Lance incarnations — in 2017.

(Honorable mention: The 100. I'm pretty sure that between the City of Light, Jaha, the way Lexa died, and Bellamy's blatant character assassination, the only good thing to come out of this season of The 100 was the Kane/Abby romance. And even that was thwarted by the stupid City of Light. Here's to hoping this show can remedy its mistakes and come back stronger in 2017. I'm crossing my fingers, at least.)

Most Annoying Character on Television (Female): Alison Hughes, The A Word

The A Word quickly became one of my favorite shows this year. It was fresh, funny, but also wildly emotional and had a cast full of characters who I could empathize with. ... Except for one. Alison Hughes, the mother in the series, was the most insufferable character. She constantly blamed everyone else for her issues and for the issues her son had, never willing to take responsibility in her parenting or in her marriage. She treated her teenage daughter dismissively, and instead favored Joe — her young autistic son. It was her inability to learn why her behavior was so wrong and her unwillingness to change that made Alison the most annoying (female) character this year.

Most Annoying Character on Television (Male): Steve, Fuller House

Back in the day, I loved Full House. Sure, it was cheesy and you could always tell what the "moral of the week" would be. But I have literally seen every single episode of the show, and was intrigued in the Netflix reboot of the series, Fuller House. Just like the original, I was excited to at least see all of my favorite characters return — including Steve. I mean, come on: Scott Weinger worked on Galavant recently, was the voice of Aladdin, and a huge part of my childhood. Unfortunately, even through Weinger gave his performance his all, the writing of Steve was atrocious, leading him to become the most creepy, obsessive male character on television this year. He couldn't grace a scene without me being annoyed by him. Steve used to be a lovable, albeit aloof, character on the original series. But he loved D.J. earnestly, and always respected her wishes. Fuller House saw a really intense, really possessive version of this character and was equal parts annoying and problematic.

Television Show That Left Us Too Soon: Galavant



Galavant was the musical, meta comedy that 2016 could have desperately needed in this pre- and post-election time. Just think of how much better the end of this year would have been if we would have been able to face it with song.

Show That Should Be Put Out of Its Misery (And Is): Pretty Little Liars

Admittedly, Pretty Little Liars is (and will likely always be) my guilty pleasure. It's got some fun, wonderful actresses in it (shout-out, specifically, to Troian Bellisario who is just amazing as Spencer Hastings), but it's mostly a soapy drama that asks so many questions and never answers any of them. And it's been like that for YEARS. I'm ready for my darling PLL to finally wrap up all of the loose ends it's dangled around for seasons and lay all of the mysteries of "A" to rest once and for all.

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Best Performance in a Television Series (Male): Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

Out of all of the new shows on television this fall, This Is Us is one of the most — if not the most — emotional, well-written, and captivating. Though the entire cast is stellar, one actor stands out from the rest as giving the best performance this season: Sterling K. Brown. As Randall, Brown walks a lot of intricate character balances. Randall is compassionate, hard-working, but also pretty straight-laced. He has a fun, endearing sense of humor (Randall has those dad jokes nailed), and a big heart. From the pilot episode, I could tell that Sterling K. Brown was going to shine. Randall's monologue to his father was incredible — Brown delivered all of the anger, longing, and sadness within it so perfectly. And as a performer, he's only gotten better as the series has progressed. "The Trip" was an incredible tour de force for Brown, whose Randall gets (accidentally) high on mushrooms and hallucinates Jack. Brown also has an amazing scene on a rooftop in "Last Christmas," which is heightened and emotional.

Randall is one of the best characters on television right now, and that's due to the writers of This Is Us, but also because of Sterling K. Brown's portrayal. In the hands of a lesser actor, Randall might come across as either too unbelievable or too uptight. But Brown has this amazing way of balancing out Randall's mild-mannered humor and his compassion for others. He feels deeply for people, and that comes across in the way that Brown depicts him. Randall is an amazing person, father, and sibling to Kate and Kevin. The complexity of his character — and the complexity of the topic of adoption — and racial differences between Randall and his siblings is a driving force of This Is Us, and Brown deftly navigates all of these nuances. For all of that, and the fact that he's a delightful, gracious human being, Sterling K. Brown earns his place as the best male performer this year.

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Best Performance in a Television Series (Female): Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

This year's political climate was... tense, to say the least. In all reality, it was filled with harsh words, blatant prejudices, and even more blatant idiocy. While many of us are entering 2017 with a sense of dread of what's to come — with some really fearing the new year and a new presidency — there is one good thing to come out of this election season: Kate McKinnon's Hillary Clinton. Every week that I watched (and tweeted about) the live presidential debates, I turned off my television with either rage or apathy. But when I watched McKinnon's SNL skit (and credit here, too, to Alec Baldwin's Trump impersonation), I suddenly felt better — happier and more hopeful. McKinnon did an amazing job capturing and reflecting the nuances in Clinton's character and projecting them in her performance. Furthermore, she gave us the personification of a real person who was accessible and hilarious.

McKinnon's heartfelt performance of "Hallelujah" in-character as Clinton was an incredible tribute not only to the late Leonard Cohen but also to the end of the political season. "I'm not giving up, and neither should you" were the only words she spoke before the classic SNL intro, and it was wonderful and poignant to hear them spoken. You can tell that McKinnon poured her heart and soul into this election season as Clinton, and it showed. Not only was she doing Saturday Night Live each week, but McKinnon also starred in a few major box office hits. The woman is incredible, dedicated, immensely talented, and so amazing that there is no one else I can think of this year who deserves this superlative as much as her.

Best Series — Comedy: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend/New Girl

This year's best comedy series is a tie between Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and New Girl. I could talk for ages about the latter — and have in my reviews — but it was one of the most consistently hilarious shows on television in 2016. It gave us really heartfelt moments (I dare you not to sob at the wedding scene in "Landing Gear"), and amazing character development in terms of Nick Miller and Schmidt. We got the chance to explore Jess' feelings for Nick, saw Winston in a successful career, and were even treated to the appearance of Megan Fox. New Girl has always been a show about quirky people trying to find their place in life, and this year allowed us to really explore what it means for us to grow up — what adulthood looks like when life sometimes doesn't go according to plan. I will always love New Girl, but in 2016 I found myself loving the show even more than I thought possible.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, meanwhile, proved that freshman sitcoms are forces to be reckoned with. In 2016, we got the chance to further explore Rebecca's emotional and mental state as she chases after Josh and falls in love with Greg. Rachel Bloom gave one of the greatest comedic performances on television this year, but also managed to break my heart at every turn. Rebecca is such a deeply problematic character that she needed to be played by someone who understood the subtle nuances of that character. I love Rebecca, in spite of her problems, and I am grateful that 2016 was a year where a network comedy tackled the subject of mental illness in a believable, funny way.

The songs on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend are iconic and 2016 brought us gems like "I Gave You A UTI" and "After Everything I've Done for You," and many more. The show seamlessly integrates the music into the show's canon and comedy (Rebecca has hummed the same musical refrain a few times in the show and various songs' reprises have occurred too).

Really, this CW gem has been just that — a gem: a surprising, but delightful journey through characterization and comedy. If you're not already watching it, catch up on the first season and the first few episodes of season two. You won't be disappointed.

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Best Series — Drama: Stranger Things

Oh my gosh, from start to finish, Stranger Things was incredible. It was scary, suspenseful, funny, smart, and gave us all an amazing dose of 80s nostalgia. I loved the series, and I honestly didn't think that I would at first (I don't do anything remotely scary — like, at all). And I'm so glad that I gave in and watched this Netflix series. I think my favorite thing about the show is the fact that it's nearly all child actors, and they're incredible and fantastic. Sweet, funny, and able to convey a range of emotions during the course of a few minutes, the kids of Stranger Things are immensely talented for their age. Millie Bobby Brown is a force to be reckoned with, having to convey pain and fear and anger without normally uttering more than a few words. Her Eleven is such a resilient, incredible character and this young woman is going to be a star. I know it. Gaten Matarazzo is just the cutest, most amazing source of comic relief in the show. His character, Dustin, brings snacks on a mission — and he's the only one smart enough to do so! Speaking of, Dustin is intelligent and able to, alongside Mike and Lucas, piece together the mystery of the Upside Down just as quickly as an adult. As Lucas, Caleb McLaughlin had a really great arc, and his ability to play not only comic relief and sidekick but also hurt best friend is amazing. And then there's Finn Wolfhard, who serves as the protagonist of the group and manages to carry really heavy, dramatic work for his age. If you haven't gotten sucked into Stranger Things in 2016, make sure that it's the very first thing you binge-watch in 2017.

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Actor I've Grown to Love a Lot More in 2016: Aziz Ansari, Master of None

Aziz Ansari was delightful and brought a great comedic presence to the larger-than-life character of Tom Haverford on Parks and Recreation. Tom is one of the characters who introduced us all to "treat yo self," and Ansari got the opportunity to do a lot of fun stuff with him over the seasons. So when I saw that Ansari had a new show on Netflix — Master of None — I decided to check it out. The series is, tonally, a lot different from his former NBC comedy. But it's just as important and I found myself loving Ansari for a whole host of new reasons. Gone is the slapstick-silly shenanigan, swag-loving Tom Haverford. Ansari's character, Dev, is pretty normal — and it's his normalcy that's so inviting. Ansari  got the chance to play a romantic lead in this show, as well as unpack the complexities of racial identity, sexism, and more throughout the first season of Master of None. And he did it all with an incredible sense of ease and likability.

The Netflix series is billed as a comedy, and it's one that I typify as a "quiet comedy" — that is, the moments that are funny actually serve to make you think, and are often funny in how realistic they are. I really loved Ansari's character in Parks and Recreation, and his in Master of None is so different but no less fantastic. I'm thankful that I got the chance to see him shine in 2016.

Actor I've Grown to Love a Lot More in 2016: Kristen Bell, The Good Place

An NBC comedy by Mike Schur, starring Kristen Bell and Ted Dansen was right up my alley before I even knew the premise of The Good Place. I love Kristen Bell, and I've loved her for years. (Tragically, I think I'm the only person in the world who has never seen Veronica Mars, but I digress.) But in 2016, I have come to love and appreciate her even more as an actress on The Good Place. Eleanor, the character that Bell plays, is narcissistic and sabotages others. But because of a clerical error, she ends up in "the good place" — a take on heaven where she has her own home and her own soulmate. But because Eleanor is terrible, she will stick out like a sore thumb unless she learns how to blend in and maybe — just maybe — become "good." Even throughout the first few episodes this season, we've gotten to see Eleanor grow and become better. And Bell is the actress who is able to make all of this believable.

I think the reason that Kristen Bell is so perfect as Eleanor is because while the character is often a terrible human being, Bell elicits empathy with every performance she gives. So even though we know Eleanor deserves to be in "the bad place," we root for her to stay in "the good place" and learn to become more compassionate and selfless. Very few actresses can simply make a facial expression that causes me to burst out in laughter, but Bell is one of those actresses. She's incredibly talented, both comedically and dramatically, and has already done wonders with the character of Eleanor. I can't wait for The Good Place to return to we can see more of her performance.

Television Show I Keep Meaning to Catch Up On: Poldark

I keep hearing mixed things about Poldark this season, which makes me anxious to finally catch up on it, since the last episode I watched was the season premiere this year. I've already been spoiled for a few of the things that take place, and am interested to see them in context in order to fully understand the narrative. Alas, Poldark just seems to be one of those shows that I'm destined to put off until the season has finished so that I can binge-watch it in its entirety.

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Television Show I Wanted to Like But Didn't Get There: Designated Survivor

I honestly thought I was going to be so hooked on Designated Survivor this season. I absolutely loved the pilot, and thought it had all of the makings of a great drama. After a few episodes, however, the show began to decline in quality and I began to stop watching (thanks, in part, to the fact that Younger airs at the same time). Seeing articles pop up from TV Guide these days about the show declining and having issues, however, I realize I might not be missing anything spectacular. And that's sad, because this show had so much promise. SO MUCH.

Television Show That Was Sacrificed Thanks to Television Scheduling: Frequency

Frequency was a show that I tried to watch live for a few weeks, but then fell behind on because it airs during that small window I have on Wednesday nights to write my Arrow reviews. When I stopped watching, it was trending the same way that Designated Survivor was though — a series that began with a lot of promise but was slowly slipping into all of the trappings freshman dramas fall into. I might try to catch up on the show this summer if I hear good things about it, but right now the lack of buzz has made it nearly impossible for me to muster up the energy to binge-watch and catch up.

Television Show I'm Most Anxious to Marathon in 2017: Brooklyn Nine-Nine

The third time trying to marathon this show has to be a charm, right?


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Best Movie Adaptation of a Book: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

I'm a huge Harry Potter nerd, and I'll tell you that any and every chance that I get. So when I heard that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was going to be released in theaters, I jumped at the chance to see it. And while the movie was a bit different than I expected it to be, it was a much-needed back into the wizarding world and, for that, I'm thankful. Fantastic Beasts provides some good world-building and set-up for the next few movies. And I was pleasantly surprised by the CGI and all of the magical effects that occurred throughout the film. The acting was really good, and the characters are fresh and separate from those we see in the original Harry Potter films. I appreciated that a lot, because it's easy to compare the two franchises and any distinctions Fantastic Beasts can make that separate it from the original films are necessary. In spite of the fact that the first bit of the film is a tad slow for my taste, Fantastic Beasts was a great way to adapt the fictional Newt Scamander's book about magical creatures and bring it to life.

Best Movie I Saw in 2016: La La Land/Zootopia

I have to call a tie on "best movie" this year, because I can't choose between these two films. La La Land was beautiful — an amazing, refreshing modern take on those old, Hollywood classic movie musicals. There were wonderful callbacks, the music and dancing were exceptional, and Gosling and Stone were fantastic leads. The entire film was gorgeous: shot in Los Angeles, there was a mixture of old and new with neon signs and modern technology. The whole storyline of the film was great, too, and really resonated with me as a young person — sometimes we have to sacrifice our dreams because they're not practical. But sometimes we need to fight for our dreams and chase them down. Unlike classic Hollywood films, this movie has a dose of realism to it that makes it believable, especially in terms of romance. I can't stop listening to the soundtrack and I also can't gush enough about it. (And if you all know me, you KNOW I'm not a film person.)

But then there's Zootopia, which is one of the most — if not THE most — insightful films Disney's ever created. It presents race and stereotyping in a way that is both kid-friendly and also extremely poignant for our day and age. The movie is genuinely funny and sweet, with Jason Bateman and Ginnifer Goodwin at the helm as the animated protagonists. Zootopia provides an important glimpse into what makes us different as people by presenting those differences in animals. In a year when #BlackLivesMatter was such a crucial piece of our history, it was refreshing to see Zootopia present the same messages as that movement, but convert them into an easily-accessible animated medium. I've watched the film at least five times now, and every time I watch, I find something new to love about it. That's the mark of a really great movie.

Actor I Wasn't Surprised to Find Myself Loving: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Moana

I don't know when it happened, but somewhere in the last few years, I really started loving The Rock. Maybe it was when he starred in that cute but cheesy movie, The Pacifier. Nevertheless, I was excited when I heard that he would be starring alongside newcomer (and stellar performer) Auli'i Cravalho as a demigod in Moana. And The Rock didn't disappoint! Not only was he endearing as a voice actor, but he was also incredibly funny and had a great song, to boot ("You're Welcome" gets stuck in my head randomly throughout the day). I wasn't surprised to find myself loving him more in 2016 than I have in previous years, and hopefully we'll get the chance to see him in more roles like this in the future.

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Actress I Wasn't Surprised to Find Myself Loving: Emma Stone, La La Land

Gosh, Emma Stone is just a revelation in La La Land. Playing the struggling actress, Mia, who lives with three other girls and is just trying to make it on her art, the character needed the relatability someone like Emma Stone brings to her roles. There is this inherent likability in her as an actress that makes it really easy to fall in love with — and understandable as to why the other characters do too. Not only does Stone portray an engrossing, relatable character, but she also sings and dances. Her performance of "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)" had me crying in the theater. It was just so beautiful, so raw, and so delicate. The emotion Stone conveyed in that scene convinced me that she really knew what it was like to dream a seemingly foolish dream, but to keep believing in it. As always, Emma Stone brought the comedic moments (her timing and delivery are two of the most impressive things about her — not everyone can have the spot-on comedic timing that she does), but she also really delivered the emotional beats of the script. I've loved her before 2016, and I'll continue to love Emma Stone

Buzzed About Movie of 2016 That I Won't See Until 2017: Loving

This film looks amazing and I'll probably cry my eyes out. I'm really interested to see it next year, and am sure that it will live up to the hype that it's gotten.

Most Talked About Movie of 2016 That I Have Not And Will Not Likely See: Batman v. Superman

I had no real desire to see this movie beforehand (I'm a DCTV girl, but when it comes to movies, I generally skew toward the Marvel end of the spectrum), but after reading the divisive reviews of the film this past year, I'm thankful I didn't waste my money to see it. I'd much rather save up to go see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2!

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Movie I Really Did Mean to See in 2016: Finding Dory

It'll be the first movie I see in 2017, I promise.

(I think for some reason, I meant to see this in theaters, but then life got in the way. And, you know, I'm a 27-year old who doesn't have a small child to accompany her to this animated Disney movie.)

Movie I Will Get Yelled At For Not Wanting to See: Deadpool

So here's the thing: I love Ryan Reynolds. That man can charm me all day in a rom-com. But ask anyone who knows me, and they'll tell you that raunchy humor isn't my thing. I don't really care for it, and it makes me more uncomfortable than prone to laughter. So when I saw the trailer for Deadpool last summer in Hall H at Comic-Con (an experience I won't soon forget), I thought it was good but not something I would willingly spend money to see.   ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


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Artist/Band I Was Surprised to Find Myself Loving As Much As I Did: Hailee Steinfeld

I've had "Starving" stuck in my head for weeks, and I have no regrets about it (and if you asked me earlier this year, I would have said that I had "Love Myself" stuck in my head for weeks, too). I love Hailee Steinfeld and think she's a force to be reckoned with — she can sing and dance, act, and is hilarious. There aren't too many artists these days who have the best of all worlds, but she does. She was fantastic in Begin Again, and I've heard nothing but good things about her performance in The Edge of Seventeen. Her songs are catchy and she's an adorable human being. Four for you, Hailee Steinfeld. You go, Hailee Steinfeld.

Best Album: The Hamilton Mixtape



Now that THAT is out of the way, let's talk about The Hamilton Mixtape, shall we? It's genius, and I love the fact that so many different artists collaborated on the album — and often, even on tracks — in order to pay homage to the brilliance that is Hamilton. I mean, take "Satisfied," for example. You've got Miguel, Sia, and Queen Latifah singing together. And yet it somehow really works. Andra Day's "Burn" is just raw and beautiful. "Congratulations" is my favorite on the album, by far, and I often listen to it on repeat three or four times. You've got some comedic relief in Jimmy Fallon and The Roots' version of "You'll Be Back" (which I love). And then there's the brilliance of the original tracks — "Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)" is probably my favorite out of all of these, effortlessly combining lyrics from the original soundtrack into verses about the plight of immigrants in our country today — the reality that they have to work harder than anyone else just to get by.

Honestly, if you love Hamilton and haven't listened to this already... drop everything you're doing right now and listen. You can thank me later.

That One Song That Was Annoyingly Catchy: "Cake By the Ocean," DNCE

Oh, Joe Jonas and your new band. This was the perfect summer song to sing aloud in your car on the way to the beach or the mall or Target or anywhere, really. It was annoying how catchy the chorus was, mostly because you knew that as soon as you heard it, you were doomed to have it play in your head all day. I think this was stuck in my head for at least half of the year.

That Song That Was Good... Until It Was Overplayed: "Heathens," 21 Pilots

The first time I heard "Heathens," it was actually in the trailer for Suicide Squad, and I thought it was a really cool track. The second time I heard "Heathens," it was on the radio and I thought, "Hey, this is still a really cool track." The fifteen billionth time I heard "Heathens," I thought, "I really wish they would stop playing this song now."

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That Song That Was Good... Even When It Was Overplayed: "Closer," The Chainsmokers (feat. Halsey)

I will never grow tired of this song, which is good because it's on about three different radio stations at any given time these days. I don't know what it is about it, but I just love bouncing around in my car to the track — especially once Halsey's verse comes in.

The Song You’ll Never Admit to Liking (But Secretly Know All The Words To): "Sorry," Justin Bieber

I think this one pretty much speaks for itself. We all love to hate the Biebs, but we also all secretly know the lyrics to any song of his that's currently on Top 40 radio.

That Song You Couldn't Get Out of Your Head: "Can't Stop the Feeling," Justin Timberlake

If you didn't dance around in your car (or a car — any car, really) to this song at least once this year, you're either a robot or you're lying. "Can't Stop the Feeling" is the perfect dance song (it even has the word "dance" in the lyrics!) and just a fun, upbeat track. Though there are clearly many songs this year that were earworms, this was one of the biggest for me. I still love it, though.

What were some of your best/worst of 2016? What did you think of my list? Sound off in the comments below and let me know your thoughts!


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