The Best of 2014

art, Film, music, Theatre

As 2014 comes to an end, I’ve decided to look over what were, in my opinion, the best movies, albums, songs, theatre productions and art exhibitions of 2014.

Best Movie: PaddingtonAlthough I haven’t been able to see many of the films I wanted to this year, I was disappointed with much of what I did see. Paddington, which I saw very recently, was a delight, and was absolutely hilarious. Whilst I did watch critically acclaimed films, such as Gone Girl, none was as memorable as this touching and heart warming movie.

Best Album: The Lonely Hour, Sam Smith

After releasing a few singles, such as “Money On My Mind” and featuring on Disclosure’s “Latch”, Sam Smith released this album, which lead to the singles “Stay With Me” and “I’m Not the Only One” being blasted out of radio stations for most of summer and autumn. With his beautiful voice and the heartfelt lyrics, it’s not hard to see why.

Best Songs: “I’m Not the Only One”, Sam Smith

As well as being my favourite album of the year, I loved Sam Smith’s song “I’m Not the Only One” enough for it to be one of my top two songs of the year.

Blank Space, Taylor Swift

In a departure from her country roots, Taylor Swift’s album was firmly pop, and whilst  I was originally sceptical, “Blank Space” was an undeniable delight. Turning even those most opposed to her music into fans, and working as a biting response to the media’s portrayal of her, it was a catchy masterpiece. Read my full review of her album here: https://nellymair.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/taylor-swift-1989-album-review/

Best Theatre Show: Made in Dagenham

I’ve been lucky enough to go the theatre quite a lot this year, and despite seeing revered musicals such as “Les Miserables”, “Miss Saigon” and “Once”, my favourite was the upbeat “Made in Dagenham.” Funny, yet uplifting, and with catchy and humorous songs, it was a thoroughly entertaining night out. Read my full review here: https://nellymair.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/made-in-dagenham/

Best Art Show: Battersea Affordable Art Fair

I generally prefer group shows to those with single artists, and whilst The Royal Academy Academy Summer Exhibition lacked many stand out works this year (apart from that by Yinka Shonibare) and the Frieze Art Fair was slightly too wacky for me, the Battersea Affordable Art Fair got the balance just right. With a combination of intriguing modern art and more classic work, I found it a fascinating show.

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Taylor Swift 1989; Album Review

music

A polaroid of Swift with shoulder-length blonde hair wearing red lipstick and a long-sleeved sweater with a picture of birds in the sky. Her face is cut off by the frame above the nose and "T. S." and "1989" are written on the white polaroid frame with black marker.Taylor Swift’s new album “1989” was officially released on October 27th, and one thing is clear; she is certainly leaving her country music roots behind her. Abandoning her guitar and adding synth background music, the tone is very different to her previous albums – which already had clear pop influences. Personally, I’m not sure if this movement is a good one for her career – sure 1989 is selling extremely well at the moment, with suggestions that she might break records – but I am curious as to whether these dance tracks will have the same lasting effect as her previous songs. Regardless, whilst I much prefer the ballads of her previous albums, I still think she has some great songs on here.

Particular favourites of mine are; “Shake It Off” – a song I do think will be a lasting anthem; “Out Of The Woods” – an unbelievably catchy tune about insecurity within a relationship; “Blank Space” – which mocks the paparazzi’s hyperbolic view of her as a “man eating, jet setting serial dater”; “Style” – another very singable and sexy song about an on-off relationship.

Whilst I enjoy some of the songs on her new album, I do think that there is the danger of her becoming less original as her new sound is very similar to many other female pop artists. I am curious as to how her direction will progress after this album.