A NOTE FROM A&E EDITOR, MATTHEW SALZANO: To wrap up the last issue of The Mast for 2014 A&E writers Michael Diambri, Brooke Thames and I decided to share our favorite pieces of entertainment media throughout this past year — giving you a month to catch up before 2015 starts.
Neon Trees introduced their new album with their hit single “Sleeping With A Friend,” but this track is just one of the many fun anthems that fill the 10 slots on the album. Quirky-cool lyrics mixed with punchy beats and lively rhythms makes this a pop-lover’s dream – and my personal dance album of 2014. -BT
When I first heard “Marilyn Monroe,” the first track of “Girl,” I hated it. I thought it sounded off pitch, or something. But I couldn’t get it out of my head. Before long, I had the album stuck on repeat. Williams’ talent for creating infectious tunes is why this is my album of the year — it is pop gold. -MS
This is Del Rey’s darkest, sexiest album to date. Although radio stations won’t play her music because “it’s too sad and slow,” Del Rey isreally becoming a force to be reckoned with in the music industry. Del Rey truly is “blessed with beauty and rage.” -MD
Not only does “Chandelier” provide a great amount of lyrical and emotional depth, but also vocals that blow me away every time I hit the repeat button. Sia truly sings “like tomorrow doesn’t exist,” and the passion in her voice is what makes this track exciting to listen to again and again. – B.T.
Smith sings like an angel and makes you cry like a baby. The song simply draws you in — it is an outstanding achievement in pop ballads. – M.S.
If Hozier preached at my church, I would be in the front row every Sunday. Alternative music fans have been entranced by this song since the day it was released. Now even the mainstream kids are starting to love it. This song is going to be a hit for a long time. – M.D.
Freshly released to fanatics in theaters nationwide, “Mockingjay Part 1” reigns supreme for films that made their debuts in 2014. While this latest installment lacks the fast-paced action of its predecessors, the film is jam-packed with intricate plot, dramatic character evolution and political intensity that keeps the audience captivated for the entire two hours of the motion picture. – B.T.
“Boyhood” is a masterful piece of cinema. Filmed over 12 years with the same actors, the movie documents the life of a fictional family in real-time. It is a coming-of-age story about the struggles and joys of life. The movie is long, subtle and so impactful. Months after seeing “Boyhood,” I was still thinking about it and having my heartstrings tugged by it. I have never experienced a movie like this. – M.S.
You are the wrong girl if you don’t like “Gone Girl.” Read my entire review from the Oct. 24 issue of The Mast. – M.D.
Season two of “House of Cards” rocked my world. Kevin Spacey continued to amaze viewers with his excellent performance as Francis Underwood. The political drama got even more intense, and the show proceeds to amaze me with its technical excellence. If I remember any show from 2014, it’ll be this one. – M.S.
Not only was the cast of “Big Brother 16” fantastic — mastermind Derek, good-hearted Donnie, and lying, cheating, backstabbing Frankie — but the twists and turns of this season made the competition a must-watch for all BB fanatics. The many surprises, which shocked and excited viewers along with explosive drama, made this season of “Big Brother” the greatest that I have ever enjoyed. – B.T.
“Parks and Recreation”
Leslie Knope is my hero and my muse. “Parks and Recreation” is the quirkiest, most lovable show on television and I can’t wait for it to return in January 2015 for its final season. – M.D