Wednesday, July 18, 2018
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What pop culture from 2017 made you most hopeful for 2018 and beyond?

Can we all just agree that 2017 has been a toilet fire of epic proportions?

Seriously, between all the strife and discord and tragedy and loss, it feels like 2017 was engineered in a lab to feel like a kick in the shins from the moment you woke up in the morning. Not long after we proclaimed 2016 the worst year ever because we lost David Bowie and Prince, 2017 was all "Hold my beer" before tossing a lit Molotov cocktail into the ceiling fan above our collective heads. Not to get overdramatic about it or anything.

But let's not dwell on the past 11-plus months of garbage. Let's think about the future. Let's think about some of the many good things that came out in 2017 — specifically, the things that give us hope that 2018 and beyond won't be so bad after all.

We're not simply talking about the best pop culture of the year — we all know Big Little Lies was well made, and Baby Driver was really cool, and George Saunders' Lincoln In the Bardo was a pretty good book. Every year has great stuff like this.

What we're talking about is the stuff that looks forward, the lights that point to something even brighter down the road. Maybe it was the young stars of Stranger Things 2 or The Florida Project, warming your souls with their charm and heartfelt performances. Maybe it was the dawn of a new generation of cinematic talent, from Get Out's Jordan Peele to The Big Sick's Kumail Nanjiani to Call Me By Your Name's Timothee Chalamet. Heck, maybe it was the trailer to Marvel's Black Panther or Avengers: Infinity War. Those are both coming out in 2018. So next year's bound to be not ALL bad, right?

Here, I'll start: Lorde's Melodrama. The 21-year-old New Zealand pop singer isn't exactly a new face (thanks, Royals), but her sophomore album Melodrama nonetheless felt like a great leap forward, delivering intelligent and unconventional singles that reimagined what a teenage pop confessional could be. It's one of the year's best LPs — it's nominated for Album of the Year at next year's Grammys — and it's made Lorde's upcoming first-ever concert in Tampa on April 11 perhaps my most anticipated local concert of the year. So we've all got that to look forward to, right?

Now it's your turn. What music, films, TV shows, books, Internet ephemera and other pop culture from 2017 makes you feel good about our present and future? Leave your answers in the comments!

— Jay Cridlin

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