2013 #YearInReview: Bringing on the #NewYear!

What can I say? It’s been a hell of a year. From traveling overseas, to graduating, to getting a full-time job, to traveling even more, to growing even closer to friends, to testing allegiances, to letting new people into my life, to taking chances and making them pay off and finally to ending with a family trip to my mother’s old stomping grounds: Malaysia.

The family just taking selfies outside of the KL Petrona Towers. NBD.

The family just taking selfies outside of the KL Petrona Towers. NBD.

Yes, a lot of stuff happened this year. And having the great support network behind me really helped. Whether it was going on fifty million job interviews, finishing up those last credit hours, creating my first short film, or just navigating through office politics, my family, friends and mentors always had my back. Thank you so much for your advice and help during this huge transition period. When I say that I could not have done it without you, I pretty much mean it 😉 . The road I have embarked upon would have been a lot more rocky than it was had these people not been there when I was in need. It would have been doable, but in the sense that I would not have been able to enjoy myself as much. And that’s no fun.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy…” Don’t worry, I won’t have a Jack Nicholson freak-out moment lol 😛

I got to learn a lot about myself, especially when interacting with others. Whether it be a study in human nature or the kindness of strangers, people still surprise me. Hell, even today, before the clock struck midnight here in Singapore, the staff of our hotel surprised me when they told us to sneak into the pool area to get a better view of the fireworks. Because of this, we didn’t have to trek all the way down to the Singapore City shore (twenty minute walk). When people are randomly nice (and you’re not going to see them again), it is sometimes good to just go with it and not internally question their intentions. Some people can just be genuinely nice!

In terms of music and film, I finally broadened my film tastes, watching a canon of French New Wave films, along with French films in general. One that stood out for me recently was Blue Is The Warmest Color. Everything about it was beautiful, from the shots, to the non-overprocessed dialogue, to the acting. Everything seemed spot-on. It all made sense. The only thing I could have done without were the gratuitous and long sex scenes. While a two-minute scene could still be tasteful when shot a certain way, having a fifteen-minute celebration of the main character’s body was a bit overzealous in my opinion. While it did fit with the rest of the film, I feel that it could have been edited to make the overall film less long. But, either way, it was a great film the explored the boundaries of innocent curiosity and sexuality. And the ridicule that may come about as a result of one’s inherent qualities.

Music-wise, I’m sure you’ve read my Top 50 posts (50-11 here and top 10 here). But, this year, we had multiple artists try to change up the release strategy for an album, most notably, Beyoncé’s self-titled fifth LP and Justin Bieber’s Journals. Let’s start with the Biebs. He took the iTunes release model: churn three songs out to the public in anticipation of your album within a month period; and turned it on it’s head. He spent eleven weeks, trickling out a new single every week until he reached the LP release date and just allowed the whole thing to be bought. This type of album teasing, while relatively strenuous on the part of the average pop consumer, really worked for his fanbase, since they were able to look forward to a new release every Monday. I know two of the biggest Beliebers I know (my niece and one of my coworkers) LOVED the new releases. And this way, Bieber was able to keep what really mattered (the music) in the spotlight, instead of his crazy self. While one artist is promoting and shedding a part of his album every week for general consumption, another (namely Beyoncé) chose to work quietly and diligently and surprise the world by dropping her album one late night in December.

Beyoncé is an anomaly because she is part of a handful of artists who could truly pull off an album release with absolutely NO marketing and PR beforehand AND debut at No. 1. Many other artists do this lol, they just aren’t as successful… Refer to any indie artist haha. Radiohead did do something similar with their LP In Rainbows, except theirs was free for a year before being released commercially. what Beyoncé did was reinject life into a dying industry. When artists can sell 98,000 copies of an album and debut at No. 1, there definitely needs to be a change within the existing system (no offense, Selena Gomez; Stars Dance is a good album!). Beyoncé created the full package: a full-length LP, with (pretty kickass) videos, and an interactive experience. She cut out the middle man and focused on the music. The album, dubbed a visual experience by Queen Bey herself, was supposed to return to listener to the album listening experience, when it was not about the hype or the popularity of a single. What I don’t necessarily understand is what era of music is she falling about; the 19th century? Because every artist back in the day relied on radio and the single release. I admire what she tried to do, and I’m especially happy with the whole package; it was her most solid effort to date. An album I could enjoy through and through.

And of course during this time, our pop divas Katy, GaGa, Miley and BritBrit proved that the old ways of doing CDs is still alive; whether it’s alive AND well is up to the business-aspect interpreter. Personally, I don’t think that traditional album campaigns were very successful this year, as compared to past years, but that’s just my opinion.

Now that that tangent is over, here are some of the things I’m looking forward to doing this year:

  • Watch an Indian film every two weeks
  • Become more active, which CAN be working out twice a week (at least)
  • Write a full for-television series (so far I’ve finished half of an episode, but it’ll be a process; television requires a whole other writing style, especially when compared to feature-length screenwriting)
  • Travel bimonthly
  • Read a new book every month
  • Choreograph something new every two months
  • Get into a Business School of my choice (unless I find a substantial position somewhere- fingers crossed!)
  • And much much more, I’m sure.

2013 was full of many surprises, many pleasant, some relatively unpleasant, but all full of life lessons and personal growth. Here’s to hoping 2014 brings about even better fortune!

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Side note: Here is what WordPress generated regarding my year in blogging:

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,700 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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