Time to take a first look back at the best of 2012

Opinion Column

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

You load 16 tons and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt.

— Tennessee Ernie Ford

As the end of another year approaches — and, yes, it does seem that we were just “auld lang syning” 2012 in — it’s almost time for all the “best-of” lists commemorating the past 365 days.

Since it’s always a good idea to get there first, the following is a list of some of the best of 2012, a year that will finally see Lee Child’s wonderful Jack Reacher character come to the big screen (Friday), even if the 6-5, 250-pound former military policeman is being played by 5-7, 150-pound Tom Cruise. (Will I still watch? You better believe it ... Reacher rocks!!)

BOOKS: Two of these (by Jo Nesbo and Don Winslow) are all the more memorable because they enticed me to seek other works by the writers, and I found even more amazing stuff. 10. “Paterno” — Joe Posnanski; 9. “Headhunters” — Nesbo (The Herald’s cops reporter Pete Skiba turned me on to him; read his “The Devil’s Star” and “The Snowman”); 8.”The Family Corleone” — Ed Falco; 7. “The Kings of Cool” — Winslow (read his “The Death and Life of Bobby Z” and “The Winter of Frankie Machine”); 6. “The Wind Through the Keyhole” — Stephen King (yes, he’s still our greatest storyteller); 5. “Back to Blood” — Tom Wolfe; 4. “The Racketeer” — John Grisham; 3. “My Cross to Bear” — Gregg Allman (with Alan Light); 2. “A Wanted Man” — Child; 1. “Creole Belle” — James Lee Burke (Dave Robicheaux rides again, and one of the two greatest living Southern writers hasn’t lost a step.)

ALBUMS: Even more of a dying art form than Cubism, there were still some amazing musical masterpieces available during the year. 10. “Smoke Sessions” — Swisha Man Slim (local boy does good); 9. “Boys and Girls” — Alabama Shakes; 8. “Uno” — Green Day; 7. “Channel Orange” — Frank Ocean; 6. “Psychedelic Pill” — Neil Young & Crazy Horse; 5. “Blunderbuss” — Jack White; 4. “Black & Blu” — Gary Clark Jr.; 3. “Celebration Day” — Led Zeppelin; 2. “Tempest” — Bob Dylan; 1. “Wrecking Ball” — Bruce Springsteen (he is, after all, still The Boss).

SONGS: Narrowing this list down to 10 was a tall order; there were actually quite a few really good songs released in 2012. And, yes, most of them are pop songs, but I’m of the opinion that good music is good music, even if it’s played to death by tweens everywhere. 10. “Ho Hey” — The Lumineers; 9. “Irish Frank” — Unbreakable Bloodline (This song was, I think, written before this year, but it deserves recognition for its freshness.); 8. “I’m Wide Awake” — Katy Perry; 7. “Domino” — Jesse J; 6. “T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)” — will.i.am, Jennifer Lopez, Mick Jagger; 5. “We Are Young”/”Some Nights” — fun. (both really good songs); 4. “Call Me Maybe” — Carly Rae Jepsen; 3. “Someone That I Used to Know” — Gotye; 2. “Bangarang” — Skrillex; 1. “Springsteen” — Eric Church (on Church’s 2011 album “Chief” but released in 2012, and an incredible song).

TV SHOWS: As I randomly wrote a list of the shows that were really good this year, imagine my surprise when it hit me that most of them were on either NBC or Showtime. “Revolution” offered a cool take on an old concept, with easily TV’s hottest newcomer, Tracy Spiridakes; and Don Cheadle was his usual wonderful self on “House of Lies.” 10 (tie). “The Voice” — NBC (and I pretty much detest Christina Aguelera)/”Modern Family” — ABC; 9. “Revolution” — NBC; 8. “Parks & Recreation” — NBC; 7. “House of Lies” — Showtime; 6. “Episodes” — Showtime; 5. “Curb Your Enthusiasm” — HBO; 4. “Dexter” — Showtime; 3. “Shameless” — Showtime; 2. “The Newsroom” — HBO; 1. “Parenthood” — NBC (really came into its own as TV’s best show, and established Jason Katims — “Friday Night Lights” — as the medium’s MVP).

MOVIES: Frankly, I didn’t see 10 movies this year that weren’t animated (there are finances to consider, plus I’d rather watch talking animals with my 10-year-old than sit alone through an epic). Here, then, an abbreviated top seven. 1. “The Dark Knight III” 2. “Argo” 3. “The Hunger Games” 4. “Contraband” 5. “Taken 2” 6. “Safe House” 7. “Pitch Perfect” 8. “Magic Mi” ... Just seeing if you were paying attention. I did not — repeat, did not — see “Magic Mike” this year, nor will I watch it on Pay-per-view or any of the movie channels (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I will, though, make a concerted effort to see more movies in 2013.

Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.


agirl_25 2 years, 10 months ago

Books - zip (but I did read the Bobby Z book a few years ago, fantastic.... and loved it)---- Albums - zip---- Songs - zip----(I exercise to "Moves Like Jagger"..PT says whatever helps) Movies - zip (so far but Pitch Perfect is on my Netflix list)--- TV - I like The Voice (and I am on an NBC panel...and we are a Nielsen family, and only watch 3 shows a week....go figure)


Sister_Ruby 2 years, 10 months ago

Most of the movies mentioned glorify violence, guns, blowing stuff up, fireball explosions, and killing people.


FryarTuk 2 years, 9 months ago

I don't do these types of columns. I follow Darrell Royal's rule - Take one day at a time and scratch where it itches. I'm just gonna change channels.


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