The Biggest Moment of 2022

“I’m here to try and elevate everybody”

With no thought of the massive psychological damage it would cause to middle aged children and the dread it would impose on their already suffocating sense of mortality, with no consideration given to the fact that it was Christmas 2021, like, yesterday, 2022 is soon coming to an end. In previous years I have trailed the year’s Necessary Evil’s list of the year’s best music by naming the year’s best in comparatively unimportant sectors such as films and video games. 2022, however, saw an event so momentous that it renders all other debate on art or even the wider human condition comparatively meaningless, and so I owe it to my legions of fans, I owe it to the internet, I owe it to the culture itself to mention it. Not only that, but I’ll have to try and explain its importance to non wrestling fans, which might actually beyond my ability.

I’m not saying that this was the only thing that happened in 2022, just that all other stories pale somewhat in terms of significance and longterm repercussions. We all enjoyed the Conservative Party exposing the Capitalist lie that money indicates real value as some of the richest people in the country incompetently accused each other of being incompetent with such incompetence that it’s likely to freeze and/or starve a large section of their constituents. Lol! I am literally rolling on the floor laughing. I am a ROFLcopter. This isn’t new though, and of all the talk about opinion polls and potential general election losses, the ruling class fighting amongst themselves while the lower classes suffer is hardly new, will result in no revolution, and the best possible scenario in this country’s broken political system is the other party get in and basically continue the same shit. Sure, The Queen died, and in doing so revealed the longstanding lie that the UK is in some sense a developed country separated enough from its colonial history and repressed shame to be capable of rational thought. But will there really be any longterm ramifications of a gross head of a gross imperialistic state being replaced by a perhaps more gross son in a shamefully gross role? Come back to me when Charlie boy uses his accession press conference to bury the whole Royal Family and throw the whole system into doubt. In fact, have Charles Windsor come to me himself after that. I’d kiss his ugly face. Kings have press conferences, right? OK, we also had Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars, after which Twitter had so much fun that Elon Musk decided he had to stop it. Because of… a weed meme or something…? Honestly, it’s hard to know with that nincompoop, he has the brain development of a thirteen year old Trust Fund kid, and so is extremely hard to understand as an adult. These things also happened, and I’m not ignoring them. The war in Ukraine also happened, which I am ignoring, because it’s difficult to make jokes over. Not necessarily for taste reasons – when has that ever stopped me before? – more that it’s a conflict with absolutely no good guys that any glib comment is likely to support fascism and imperialism in some form if just by association.

Hey! Speaking of ‘no good guys’! Speaking of… fascism…? No, I stretched the segue too far, should have stopped after the first one.

Go into business for yourself

30 Jordana: Something to Say to You

2020 #59 (Jordana), 2021 #56 (with TV Girl)

Jesus, everyone, Jordana was twenty one years old when she released this incredible record back in December 2020 (Making it. Eligible. For this year’s. List. So sick of having to explain how this works), isn’t that just terrifying?

For her, I mean. This isn’t one of those “Whaaaaa! They’re so young and I’ve comparatively failed in life!” takes. Partially because – Jesus fucking Christ – those mournings are so boring. We’ve all failed in life, that’s what connects us so beautifully as people, and even the ones we assume haven’t still think they have, let’s not create divisions by imagining any one of us is making a better go of this shitshow we call existence. Mostly because, seriously, you eventually get to an age where fucking everyone is younger than you (except Caroline Shaw, of course), you stop being such a big baby about the whole thing (“Malala Yousafzai was only fifteen years old when she was shot in the face by Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan gunmen?! Lucky!! What had I done by that age??”) and instead switch to being in constant mortal dread of your own imminent demise. It’s honestly a cool transition.

I’ve got something more to say to you

37 JPEGMAFIA: LP!

2020 #16, 2019 #34, 2018 #44

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaars!! Pe-ggy! Pe-ggy! Pe-ggy! The latest astonishing collection by hip-hop’s premier avant garde electronica pushing Communist! You know what that means? That’s right: some of the most progressive and experimental music currently being made by any artist, in any genre, in the entire world. Oh, but most importantly, loads of wrestling references.

It also means that, unfortunately, there’s little space between the much appreciated wrestling call outs to actually talk about Peggy’s music. But do you need any more explanation on how he’s such a generational talent? A thousand articles by writers far more talented than me* have already written lengthy pieces and conduced many interviews that shed light on why you should be deeply ashamed if you’re not already on the Peggy Train. ‘LP!’ (always a fan of exclamation marks) retains a lot of the more melodic and slightly less abrasive styles that he presented on his recent (amazing) EPs, but uses it to only squeeze his music into more unique places. It’s a fucking banger.

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Necessary Evil 2021 (70 – 61)

70 Kings of Leon: When You See Yourself

(2016 #104, 2008 #17, 2007 #1!)

I’m allowed to still have Kings of Leon, right? You people will still consent to this? This is still OK, yeah? Nobody’s feeling mistreated in any way? I don’t want this to be one of those things where I was almost sure you were OK to me playing with my gross old man testicles while you watched holding back tears.

Remember that Simply Red song Holding Back the Tears? Well that’s what it was about. Mick Hucknall was so ahead of his time. He was trying to teach us, why did we refuse to learn? What’s that? It was actually called Holding Back the Years?? Well, shucks… Ah well, I’ve written it now.

I’ve done well, haven’t I? I’ve, like, mostly irradiated all the bullshit white guy rock that was honestly the entirety of all music I consumed before the age of about 19. I like to think that my end of year lists, while being a no way near exhaustive list of new music, is at least a forward thinking and progressive exercise in highlighting new and exciting progressions in style and presentation and in many different (and often new) genres. What’s your favourite Turmeric Trancotone album of 2021? Gotta be #26, right?

Continue reading “Necessary Evil 2021 (70 – 61)”

Necessary Evil 2019 (16-11)

Boooooooooooooooooooooooooo-yar!! This will actually take us up to the top ten! And it’s not even Christmas yet!! Just to be clear, you should all be very impressed.

16 Pickle Darling: Bigness

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Just… gorgeous. ‘Bigness’ seems almost like it was intended as something of a wry, ironic name, as Mr Darling deals in ostensibly small scale music. His songs can initially seem so slight, polite, inoffensive and casual, all linked with a voice so hesitant and unassuming that it’s the volume and urgency that a fruit fly might adopt if it wanted to get the waiter’s attention at Costa Coffee to inquire as to what was taken its Hazelnut Praline & Cream Latte so long but didn’t want to make too much fuss. The tags that the album is identified with on Bandcamp are alternative; bedroom pop; christchurch; new zealand; pop; indie; indie pop; Christchurch, which tells you one thing… Well no, it firsts lets you know that Pickle Darling is from Christchurch, New Zealand, as he’s so keen for you to realise that that he states it twice, but the second thing that the tags tell you is that ‘Bigness’ is a bit of a cheery, unassuming and- in the words of Helltown– ‘bedroom bullshit‘ kind of record. It’ll be fine. It’ll be cheery, a little bit twee but well meaningfully pleasant. Most of all though, it’ll be small.

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(…)

Continue reading “Necessary Evil 2019 (16-11)”

Necessary Evil 2019 (77-74)

77 Princess Nokia: Metallic Butterfly

Metallic-Butterfly

As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m a big believer in getting into artists solely because you like the cover art of their album. Well, guess what? I freaking loved the cover of ‘A Girl Cried Red’ by Princess Nokia. A Latin-American woman in a Slipknot shirt giving me the finger? Yes please, that’s all that I ever want, give that to me now, please, let me chow down on that, nomnomnomnomnom, thank you sir, can I have some more. Do you see? Well, I got the album, I loved it, and then was left with two main questions:

  1. Where do I get to get more of this stuff and then shovel it into my ears?
  2. So, what, is she the daughter of some sort of monarchy based around mobile phone manufacturers? Is she the daughter of the king of the Nokia phones, or is each different member of that particular royal family a different type of phone? Like is her brother Prince Samsung and her great aunt Duchy LG? I mean, the king has to be King iPhone, don’t it? Not based on quality, but one assumes that actual phone sales would feature in most prominently when deciding the lineage of such a monarchy. But if Nokia’s parents and older siblings die and she ascends to the throne, does she then take on the name iPhone? You can’t be having phone manufacturers royal house being run by a fucking Nokia, what is this, 2002??

Continue reading “Necessary Evil 2019 (77-74)”

Money in the Ranked part 3 (5-1)

OK, we’re definitely finishing this fucker…

Part 1

Part 2

5: Wrestlemania 24

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How many words have I vomited onto my fingers then indelicately smeared across my keyboard in respect of Money in the Bank matches? Ten thousand? Fifteen? A million?? Probably closer to the latter*. A lot, I think we can agree.

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(*Or should I say, probably closer to the LADDER?!?! Yeah. A good, solid pun. My worry is the word ‘latter’ is probably not in wide enough usage for the fucking killer joke to really hit home. I know, it’s not fair, my burgeoning comic career is being badly hampered by my audience’s lack of vocabulary. Again. It’s like when my 12 night stand at the Comedy Club received scathing reviews (“If AIDs had sex with cancer, and frequently drank moonshine during the pregnancy, the severely mentally disabled child would be Alex Palmer’s stand-up set” – Time Out) because nobody understood my hilarious observation of how the word ‘Brexit’ kind of rhymed with the third person singular active indicative of the Latin word for ‘understand’. Screw you, plebs, my 45 minutes on the topic are killer and I ain’t dumbing it down.)

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Money in the Ranked part 1 (22-11)

All 22 WWE Money in the Bank ladder matches ranked. Listen, I thought the title would work better than it does, just go with it, OK?

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The Money in the Bank (from hereon in referred to as ‘MITB’, because I’ve got a lot of writing to do and I am a very, very lazy man) ladder match is the best idea that WWE have had since Steve Austin’s turn to the dark side at the end of Wrestlemania 17 in 2001 signalled the end of the Attitude Era and drew the curtain on the last period which wrestling seemed in any way relevant or widely notable. It’s arguably the only good idea they’ve had in that 18 year period. Save perhaps having The Miz replace Ted DiBiase jnr. as the lead actor in ‘The Marine’ franchise from ‘The Marine 3: Homefront’ onward. Yeah, WWE make movies now. And yeah, they’re all terrible.

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There have seriously been 6 of these fuckers

The premise- 5-10 wrestlers battle to use ladders to reach a contract swinging over the top of the ring which allows them a shot at any title they choose at any time they want over the next 12 months- is simple but ingenious, and allows for great storytelling potential and the chance to quickly promote a wrestler into the main event picture. Of course, this potential is more often than not completely squandered, because WWE are generally incompetent and we’re not allowed to have nice things.

Ranking the matches is difficult, because save a handful of amazing bouts and a smaller, Jeremy Beadle sized handful of slightly poorer ones, they’re almost always a similar level of ‘alright, pretty good, I suppose’. However, I am perhaps the greatest blogger of my generation- the ‘Heart Blog Kid’ Blog Michaels, or ‘Stone Blog’ Steve Blogstin, if you will- so I knew I had the ability to do it. I had initially planned to write this list in the build up to the 2018 Money in the Bank pay per view, back when there had been exactly 20 matches, and it would have made so much more sense. Alas, now there are 22 and, to be completely honest, I can’t even promise to finish it in time for 2019’s event exactly two weeks from today. But it’s a cash cow that the WWE are unlikely to put down for a long time yet, so there’s always the chance of a top 24 in 2020. Or perhaps a top 26 in 2021. I mean, I’ve started it now and I’ve already realised it’s going to have to be two parts…

Let’s see how long this takes!!

Continue reading “Money in the Ranked part 1 (22-11)”

2 Janelle Monae: Dirty Computer

I know, I know, she’s not number one. This was all set up to be perfect, wasn’t it? Nobody has ever won Necessary Evil more than once, and after her outstanding debut won it way back in 2010 before anyone important was even born, it seemed as if it was all set up for her to make history. But she’s at number two. I’m as shocked as you are.

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It’s something I’ve been struggling with since April. The reason so many albums were seriously considered as being 2018’s best is because for near eight months I was furiously searching for a reason to not hand it to Janelle Monae.

Continue reading “2 Janelle Monae: Dirty Computer”