2016 In Culture

This is an annual review* of my favorite television shows, video games, books, and music albums throughout 2016, my celebration & appreciation of art & culture.

*the lists are in no particular order

TV Shows

I decided to subscribe to Netflix this year. Albeit one small hiccup with a shitty monopolistic telco, I finally re-subscribed once I moved to Australia in August. But I’ve also lost my cable subscription in Indonesia, so sadly no Westworld in my favorite TV shows this year.

Last year favorites: Sense8, Mr. Robot
Honorable mention: The Expanse

“Stranger Things”

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It’s like The Goonies met The X-Files. I especially loved the chunky font, the 80’s Americana, and the captivating soundtrack. Can’t wait for season 2!

“Black Mirror”

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Deeply unsettling, profoundly disturbing, an eerie satire to our modern world: one brilliant television.

A future classic!

Video Games

I bought a PlayStation 4 earlier this year. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Spent countless hours, played all through to the wee hours of the night. But PC gaming is still (and will always be) an important part of my gaming repertoire.

Last year favorite: Europa Universalis IV
Honorable mention: Mini Metro, FIFA 2016

“Sid Meier’s Civilization VI”

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The legendary franchise is back this year, and it delivers.

“Grand Theft Auto V”

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Every gamer must play the GTA series at least once in their lifetime. And GTA V is the best of them. Only got the chance to play this game this year. Well, better late than never.

“The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt”

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One of the best games I’ve ever played. Easily my favorite this year.

Books

Last year I finished 27 books. A tough accomplishment to emulate this year. Although I’ve only managed to finish 20 books, there are some excellent titles on this year’s list.

Last year favorites: “Kembali Membaca Lebih Banyak”
Honorable mention: Zealot (Reza Aslan), The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (Jonas Jonasson), Fatherland (Robert Harris), The Rational Optimist (Matt Ridley).

“Arus Balik” (Pramoedya Ananta Toer)

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A book that should be a mandatory read for every student in Indonesia. A literary classic.

“Guns, Germs, and Steel” (Jared Diamond)

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It’s not easy to explain 13,000 years of our history into one coherent meaningful timeline. This book is one of those successful in this quest.

“The First Muslim” (Lesley Hazleton)

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Previously I knew Muhammad (pbuh) only as an almost mythical figure. This book made him human, like he always wanted to be known. And his humanity made him so much more remarkable.

“Lelaki Harimau” (Eka Kurniawan)

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Who said Indonesian literature is dead? Eka Kurniawan comes to the rescue.

“Ready Player One” (Ernest Cline)

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Let’s just say I’ll be standing first in line when its movie come out in 2018.

Music Albums

A lot of exciting new debut albums this year. But also some amazing sophomore and comeback albums.  The music department has always been satisfying and full of excellent choices. Thank God.

Last year favorites: “Mixtape of 2015”
Honourable mentions: Wild World (Bastille), Malibu (Anderson.Paak), Mind of Mine (ZAYN), Suicide Squad – OST, Phase (Jack Garratt), Femejism (Deap Vally), My Favorite Things (Joey Alexander).

“Blue Neighbourhood” (Troye Sivan)

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One brilliant debut. This young man will go places.

“All I Need” (Foxes)

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Another great album by Louisa Rose Allen.

“RR7349” (S U R V I V E)

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From the geniuses behind Stranger Things’ soundtrack.

“Starboy” (The Weeknd)

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A lot darker. More soulful. Always beautiful.

“White Album” (Weezer)

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When I first heard it, I can swear I thought this was a greatest hits album. All killer tracks.

“Still Brazy” (YG)

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G-funk never die.

“24K Magic” (Bruno Mars)

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If you miss early 90’s R&B, the sound of Bobby Brown, R.Kelly, and Motownphilly-era Boyz II Men, this is the album for you.

You Want It Darker (Leonard Cohen)

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Earlier this year we’ve lost Bowie and Prince (RIP). And near the end we’ve lost another one. Cohen’s death makes this album a lot more sombre and deep.

Hardwired… To Self Destruct (Metallica)

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Finally, Metallica as Metallica. Monster riffs, kick-ass beats. The thrash metal gods are back.

I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It (The 1975)

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Pretentious and perfect at the same time. They are bound for great things.

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