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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

28 - Thursday, January 9, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Best TV Shows of 2013

HBO

2. Orange Is The New Black 3. Game of Thrones

4. Scandal

Online streaming is the new
broadcast television, Netflix is
the new prime time and orange
is the new black - orange and
cell-block grey, that is. Based
on ex-inmate Piper Kerman's
memoir of the same name,
"Orange Is the New Black" has
introduced color to a monoto-
nous TV landscape and view-
ers to the unexplored bunks
of an all-female prison: It
bares the diverse realities of
women, unmatched by even
the most righteous TV ring-

leaders (see: Ryan Murphy
and his choir of misfit toys).
In an institution where indi-
viduality is traded for uniform
jumpsuits and shackles, it's the
characters' and cast's identi-
ties - socioeconomic, racial,
religious, gender and sexual
- that swiiiiirl to form one of
the most enlightened, vulner-
able and witty scripts of the
year. For once, we're crossing
our fingers for a longer prison
sentence.
-BRIANNE JOHNSON

Westeros is a massive world.
What "Game of Thrones" does
brilliantly is that it shows us
the pieces that fill this world,
without spending too much
or too little time in one place.
The third season of "Game of
Thrones" spent quite a bit of
time allowing the show's strong
ensemble to speak with their
own voices. The best example
of this is what they did this
season with Jamie Lannister
and Brianne. There's no way to
talk about this season without

mentioning the best scene on
TV this year not from "Break-
ing Bad." "The Red Wedding"
serves as the climax for the sea-
son and for the series. The writ-
ers and actors executed it as
close to perfectly as they could
with the impact they were look-
ing for: shock, surprise and sad-
ness.
This is a large world filled
with intriguing characters that
make spending time in Wester-
os highly worth the investment.
-ALEX INTNER

After three seasons, this
political thriller on ABC still
never has a dull moment. Oliv-
ia Pope, played by the brilliant
Kerry Washington, kicks ass
and takes names, all while
maintaining flawless (mostly
white) outfits. A quick wit-
ted, calculating career woman,
Washington's character por-
trays women in a way that
many shows don't dare to - as
the political equivalent of men,
able to manipulate and control
situations with natural ease.

2013 was a great year for "Scan-
dal" and the mid-season finale
left social media ablaze with
astonishment over the unfore-
seen plot twists. Despite a lack-
luster romantic arc between
Olivia and President Fitz, this
show continues to impress.
Like the red wine constantly
in Pope's hand, "Scandal" has
aged wonderfully, and surely
2014 promises even more nail-
biting, seat-falling-off-of splen-
dor.
-EMILYBODDEN

Best Singles of 2013

CBC

1. Kanye West 3. James Blake

5. Orphan Black

"Blood on the Leaves"

"Retrograde"

The single best performance
on TV this year came from the
star of "Orphan Black", Tatiana
Maslany ("The Vow"). Not only
does Maslany craft one compli-
cated and layered character; she
creates seven. The show follows
a group of clones, all of whom
are played by Maslany. She
provides a center to the show,
and is the primary source of its
greatness. But a show can't sur-
vive on performance alone. In
its first season, "Orphan Black"
crafts a brilliantly executed
mythology for its characters. It

manages to take an incredibly
unrealistic premise - the exis-
tence of clones - and just for a
second, makes it seem realis-
tic. It allows the science fiction
elements to develop the story
without being overbearing.
"Orphan Black" took a ridicu-
lous premise and ran with it,
creating an advanced and com-
plicated mythology. It also cast
a perfect leading actress in
Maslany. This adds up to make
it one of the best Sci-Fi shows
on TV right now.
-ALEX INTNER

In a haunting six minutes,
Kanye West manages to make
statements about racism and
fame that most artists can't
make in an entire album. "Blood
On the Leaves" wavers between
incredibly profound statements
about conspicuous consump-
tion and racism, sampling Nina
Simone's version of "Strange
Fruit," to Auto-Tuned vocals
of Kanye singing about molly.
Yet in the range between an
emotional history of American
racism and lyrics like "She Ins-

tagram herself like #BadBitch-
Alert," "Blood On the Leaves"
represents the climax of Yeezus
and quintessential Kanye West.
The song doesn't have overt
statements politically, socially,
or musically. ButKanye's repeti-
tion of"We could've been some-
body," even if he's talking about
a drug-fueled hookup, lingers.
In the same vein, "Blood On the
Leaves" stands out among the
other Yeezus tracks because it's
both complex and catchy.
-HANNAH WEINER

From its opening notes, it's
evident that "Retrograde" is
not only the standout track on
James Blake's excellent Over-
grown, but also a song capa-
ble of stirring deep emotions
and transporting the listener
to another place completely.
Blake's otherworldly hums
compliment the sparse base-
line, and his haunting falsetto
creates an atmosphere of both
beauty and melancholy. It is
rare to find a song that reso-
nates on a personal level, but

Blake paints a canvas of isola-
tion and love through his soft-
ly sung lyrics. "Retrograde"
defies any specific genre label,
and is both a tasteful example
of what modern electronic
music should sound like and
an elegant R&B song. "Ret-
rograde" will endure as one
of the most listenable songs
of 2013 for both its modern
style and its classic evocation
of emotions that anyone can
relate to.
-JOSH FRAZIER

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4. Arctic Monkeys
"Do I Wanna Know"

The Arctic Monkeys' "Do I
Wanna Know?" is a downright
catchy tune. The sustained sim-
plicityofthedrummingemphasiz-
es the clean, bluesy feel the guitar
provides, creating a basic rhythm
for the songto center itself around.
The main riff is played over a few
times during the intro prior to the
introduction of the vocals, hook-
NTERSCOPE ing in the listener. Lead singer
Alex Turner's slow, almost slightly
drugged sounding vocals then add
e i a more-than-mild flair of badass to

the song in the verses. The high-
pitched backing vocals in the cho-
rus contrast Turner's lower pitch
nicely, and combined with the
groovy main guitar riff give the
song an outer spacey feel. In some
ways, this single is highly similar
in nature to many of The Clash's
notable singles like "Should I Stay
or Should Igo":while"DoIWanna
Know?" isn't some amazing musi-
cal feat, it's nonetheless a fun, out-
standingsingle.
-KEN SELANDER

2. Daft Punk ft. Pharr
"Get Lucky"

IRW m a

5. Vampire Weekend
"Diane Yong

If you spun your car's radio
dial long enough this sum-
mer, you would inevitably
hear Pharrell endlessly, hyp-
notically chanting "We're up
all night to get lucky," lyrics
that, while banal on paper,
would always enthusiastically
make you bob your head and
smile. Before "Get Lucky,"
Daft Punk had only ever had
one song even crack the U.S.
topl100, but with a track that
would be as strongly received
at a '70s disco as it was in
2013, as popular with hipsters
as with pop music lovers, it

danced its wa
heads and re
Sure, the so
six minutesc
ing about get
the catchiest
10 years, so it
and impecc
that, for the
every summe
and get-toget
Punk's disco
we could ever

my into America's
fused to get out.
ng's nothing but

of Pharrell sing- In2013, EzraKoeningreached
ting laid, but it's new levels of cryptic lyricism
song of the last with "Diane Young," the lead
mpossibly upbeat single from his band's stunning
ably produced album Modern Vampires Of The
background of City. Over a strange, horn-led
r bonfire, party beat, Koenig croons about torch-
her in 2013, Daft ing Saabs like a pile of leaves, and
genius was all discovering the subtle turn of
want. phrase in the title (Diane Young/
dying young) makes the song's
message even more muddled. It's
a track that absolutely shouldn't
ADAM THEISEN work - in fact, the first few notes

are downright excruciating -
but slowly the off-kilter, rocka-
billy vibe builds into something
incredibly distinctive and fun.
The strongest part of "Diane
Young" is undeniably its pitch-
shifted chorus, where Rostam
Batmanglij transforms Koen-
ing's normal voice from demonic
to chipmunk and back again. On
a darker, more mature album,
this track stood out as an upbeat
(and welcomed) outlier.
-JOHN LYNCH

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