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The best of 2014

BY JUSTUS FLAIR | DECEMBER 18, 2014 5:00 AM

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Best Albums

1989, Taylor Swift

Swift’s transition into pop music was met with rousing success, as 1989 — with the hit singles “Shake It Off” and “Blank Space” — became the top-selling album of 2014 the same week as its release.

X, Ed Sheeran

He may have been out-done by his bestie and former touring partner Swift, but Sheeran’s second album certainly holds its own. Sheeran keeps his perfect lyricism from + and adds in his recent experience, always keeping his words authentic.

In the Lonely Hour, Sam Smith

With a voice as seductive as Smith’s, I was not expecting this deep, heart-felt album, but I was glad to be surprised. Smith is a glorious human who’s soothing power-house voice can fill my study time any day. (Advice: Listen to Smith’s live version of “Lay Me Down” from “Saturday Night Live.” Pure gold.)

Best Films

Boyhood

Twelve years in the making, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood hit theaters in July 2014 and immediately generated Oscar buzz. The film follows a dysfunctional 21st-century family, centering on Mason Evans from age 6 through the start of his college career.

The Lego Movie

Grossing almost $500 million worldwide, this computed-animated children’s film was the Frozen of 2014. Chris Pratt (star of the summer blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy) voices the modest Lego toy Emmett, tasked with saving the world from Lord Business.

Best New TV Shows

“How to Get Away with Murder” (ABC)

If law school was anything like this show, I’d take the LSAT immediately. Prestigious defense attorney Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) teams up with five students to solve classic murder mysteries, using stylized, suspenseful flash-forwards.

“The Flash” (CW)

One of the most critically acclaimed fall shows, “The Flash” (along with DC’s other new superhero series, “Gotham”) steals a bit of Marvel’s TV and box-office thunder by stylishly staging the story of the Fastest Man Alive.

Best Books

Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn

Though the novel came out in the summer of 2012, the film adaptation released in October kept the huge hype surrounding it alive. Written from dual perspectives of Nick and Amy, a married couple, the book spans Amy’s disappearance and the subsequent investigation into her life with her husband.

Not That Kind of Girl, Lena Dunham

If Not That Kind of Girl could be summed up in two words, they would be “real talk.” Dunham has never been shy, and she puts it all out there in her book, unapologetically. She’s funny, or course, but also insightful and passionate.

Best Video Games

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)

One of this year’s biggest hits for Nintendo. Its varied characters and challenging levels will canonize it as one of this year’s definitive classics for old-school players.

Super Smash Bros. (Wii U)

The long-awaited fourth entry to Nintendo’s brawler series brought the hype for both casual and hard-core fans alike. It’s release finally gave Nintendo’s Wii U system a desperately needed competitive edge.

The Wolf Among Us (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC)

The first season’s worth of Sheriff Bigby Wolf’s adventures provided a gritty and realistic diversion from other public-domain fairy-tale crossovers. Like the Walking Dead projects before it, Wolf Among Us has shown that some fictional worlds can be made into fantastic games.

Notable Pop Culture Moments

Solange and Jay-Z

No one’s really sure what went down in that elevator (pun totally intended), but the world was shocked. If you haven’t seen the video, it shows Solange Knowles going ballistic on her sister’s husband, kicking and punching him repeatedly before being forcibly pulled off him. Family drama, man.

The selfie that broke Twitter

Ellen DeGeneres decided hosting the Oscars wasn’t enough and decided to shut Twitter down with a Bradley-Cooper-taken selfie featuring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, and Jennifer Lawrence, among others. Within an hour of posting, it had become the most retweeted tweet of all time; it now has more than 3 million retweets.


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