Bad Year; Good Content

2020 in review

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Normally these types of lists come out before the new year, but who cares about time anymore?

2020 was a weird one. A virus named for a Mexican lager ravaged planet Earth. The US government fucked up even more than usual. The chaos queen was voted out of the White House by a zombie and a cop. We all became captivated by a TV show starring Hugh Grant.

Whenever the world gets bleak, I comfort myself by remembering that a compelling book or album or movie is around the corner. It’s one of the few things I can count on.


Grimes hasn’t made a bad album, but this is probably her most sophisticated, combining everything she does best — the sublime looping of Visions and bewitching glossolalia of Halfaxa and the expertly produced pop hooks of Art Angels.

Inner Song sounds like light dancing on a wall or the rippling surface of a lake. I listen almost every day, which feels appropriate for an album about “seeking something spiritual in the act of repetition.”

Glitchy bangers in lowercase, yes plz.

This album makes me actually miss parties. “Nice Guy” makes my booty shake involuntarily. The stacked vocals on “Holographic” are to die. Inventive and raunchy from start to finish.

I don’t go to church, I just listen to Ana.

Coolest classically trained harpist since Joanna Newsom!

Breathy electric r&b at its finest.

Pitchfork called these tracks “icy trap languor” which is the vibeeeee.

Predictable and great, your fave dive bar in 2009.

The album is whatev but sampling “Baby Boy” by Beyonce ft. Sean Paul…gënius!!!

Paired with the moving Arthur Jafa-directed video (made me cry), Kanye at his best.

I’m dying for a new Tirzah album or track but this is all we’ve gotten since Devotion so I’ll take it! Stunning like everything she does.

Azealia covering Interpol is what dreams are made of.

When I need to cry I just put on this song.

(I love you) Can you be my babe? (And I fucking hate you) Can you be my babe? (I love you) Can you be my babe? (And I fucking hate you)

Sappy formulaic r&b, inject it into my veins.


Brooding, cinematic, devastating.

I mean… you have ears.

If I were president Tinashe would be as famous as Beyoncé.

Junglepussy would also be as famous as Beyoncé.


An alt gay and the peculiar rich girl next door embark on a loving and devastating friendship in gothic Southern California.

Conversations with Friends but gayer and more frigid.

I wasn’t super taken by the story (motherhood blah) but I adored the writing. Colombia Journal wrote: “Strong’s prose presents precise, staccato sentences that, even in their profound minimalism, are laden with anxiety that propel us to keep turning the page.” That’s the vibe!

I’m still thinking about when the protagonist’s mom says to her on page one: “Why don’t you cut yourself, take some pills, starve yourself, drop out of school, and suck some dick, Nina?” True love, baby!

Homoerotic nerd friendship rife with class tension ends tragically. At the climax, I GASPED.

The mistress strikes up a bizarre friendship with the wife in creepy suburbia. The writing is absolutely stunning. Hate her.

Zan’s delightfully Angeleno Gen Z sapphic love story made me CRY.

An anorexic starves away her lesbian desires (who can relate?). This book also made me GASP.

Beautiful & electric, love the bitch who wrote it.


A party girl slash writer can’t stop getting sexually assaulted (who can relate?).

Gay alcoholic teens being dreamy in Italy. Chloe Sevigny plays a lesbian. Killer soundtrack.

Cutie queer skater girls acting a fool and making New York City look desirable for once.

Love at its most demented. Captivating.

Denise. Richards. As. A. Lesbian!!!!! (In Denial.) ❤

It’s like if Aaron Sorkin had written Euphoria.

Seriously romantic.


Beautifully shot and peculiar and poignant with an unexpected lesbian twist.

My fave genre — lake house psychosexual thriller. (See also Always Shine, Queen of Earth, Clementine.) Aubrey is fantastic.

From the directors of that freaky Austrian art-house film Goodnight Mommy, but infinitely more watchable. I have a special fondness for this spooky film as it was the last one I saw in theaters this year. Le sighhhhhh.

vagablonde (unnamed press, may 2020); bad lawyer (hachette books, spring 2021)

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