2013 was a year characterised by lists, even in death.
As such, there was a huge selection of best-ofs worst-ofs and middle-ofs at the end of the year.
But which list came top? My obsessive need to rank everything in my life, from partners to ramen, demanded that I rank these rankings, and fast! So, which lists are worth your time this year? Find out below.
Rolling Stone, your bumbling junkie uncle who has very strong opinions on a lot of issues he has absolutely no clue about. He seemed fun and edgy when you were younger, but now you suspect he’s going nowhere fast and you’re finding it difficult to stifle your yawns when he starts to vent his ever-so-predictable opinions. Still, if you’re looking for a list of very definitely, decidedly OK music from 2013, you could do both better and worse than their latest offering to Ambivalentia, the Goddess of Mediocrity.
Hollywood reporter give us their top ten TV stories of 2013. As I’d never heard of any of these stories before checking this list out, I can only be thankful to whoever compiled it. However, that does sort of raise a question as to just how top this ten was.
If ‘best’ is defined as ‘most popular’ (and there’s no compelling reason why that’d be such a terrible metric), Goodreads has you covered. Don’t let Dan Brown’s presence on this list though, genre stinkers to one side there are some fine additions to your book collection to be had here. Plus, you’ll be able to actually talk about them with your colleagues and co-workers.
The fifty best pieces of tech in 2013 – a year some derided as the year of empty gestures and lame apps from Silicon Valley. Although it’s a solid list, this list is about some pretty expensive hardware, so approach with some healthy scepticism and read the comments for some alternate views.
Some of the best adverts from 2013 – from America, but check out some of the creativity these adverts display. And no, best adverts is not a contradiction in terms. Smart-ass.
Well, shut my mouth, Vines are still a thing. The new GIF, even, although gfycat is working hard to make longer HTML5 videos just as popular. Check out the most gripping ten vines of 2013. If you like things falling over and awkward amateur comedians, boy are you in for a treat.
This is a great list of films from all over the artistic spectrum, and although some of its choices seem questionable it’s generally a fine overview with a hell of a lot of thoughtful even-tempered reviews to enjoy.
If you can stomach the huge pop-up ad for the magazine subscription, you’ll be rewarded with a feast of terrible, terrible foodstuffs concocted by American food companies and restaurants in 2013.
42. more tv
The worst TV shows of 2013, as chosen for you by Business Insider. Why these were ever made is beyond me – many of them seem to be hugely dependent on the talent the show can muster, which in these cases wasn’t all that impressive.
41. sci fi & fantasy
If, like me, you’re interested in what’s been happening in the world of televisions tuned to dead channels, players of games and redemption arks since the 2000s ended but haven’t had time to filter the wheat from the chaff, io9 has got your back. Don’t waste your time, especially when that time is the future.
40. more music
Pitchfork have a beautifully simple design for their list, and the writing talent to justify their choices. Their top ten looks fairly similar to Rolling Stone’s top ten, so there’s obviously a pretty strong consensus on who won the music this year. Despite a certain homogeneity, their list as a whole has at least a little bit more variety and at least a couple of interesting choices along the way.
39. more sci fi & fantasy
The highlights and lowlights from SFX tells us what they considered to be the best fantasy and sci-fi movies of the year, but not much more than that. The choices are solid and definitely worth a watch, including a couple of minor films you may not have noticed at the cinemas. Everything you might expect from an end-of-year list (but not an ounce more).
Don’t say your crisps taste like Chorizo when you’ve just ground beef connective tissue into a powder and mixed it with artificial paprika flavourings in a big vat. It insults us both.
The most pretentious crisps of 2013, everyone, proving that no topic is too obscure for a top ten (plus one).
For professional writers, Copyblogger is invaluable. If you’ve been slacking, their list of writing reading material from 2013 should get you properly up to date. No excuses now!
36. more books
Who said you can’t judge a book by its cover? Fifty of the year’s best, from Casual Optimist.
Web Design Ledger go out of their way to share the best of web design this year – the most influential, most successful, and the trendsetters.
34. more music
It doesn’t feature Blurred Lines anywhere, but aside from that Mandatory’s list of the worst songs of the year is impossible to find fault with. These are, indeed, some terrible songs. You may recognise them as the songs your gym will NEVER STOP PLAYING.
33. lady gaga
Buzzfeed take art-illiterate schmucks like me through every cultural reference in Lady Gaga’s Applause. Pretty interesting stuff, even if you’re not a fan.
The best and worst tablets of 2013, from The Guardian. A video list, it’s a considered approach to the tablet market, evaluating tablets based on how well they fulfil the needs of consumers rather than just the technical stats or the performance.
31. even more books
It’s difficult to argue with Chamber Four’s worst books of the year – although they ignore obvious targets like the dreary Sookie Stackhouse saga, of course.
For those of you who are looking beyond Breaking Bad for your science fix, here’s ten incredible gifs from the Smithsonian illustrating some amazing features of cutting-edge biology and physics.
29. more tech
It’ll be out of date before too long, but Tom’s Hardware are nothing if not thorough when it comes to computer hardware. Check out which CPUs give the best bang for your buck when it’s time to get your game on.
28. more films
Movie Bob attacks his ten least favourite movie releases. He’s pretty spot-on with his criticisms, and nails some of the most underwhelming and pointless films of the year.
Five of Fox News’ worst moments. Cringeworthy, but pretty good reminder of just how bad journalism can get.
In the interests of remaining, ahem, ‘fair and balanced’, here’s a piece from Fox Business about the very worst CEOs of the year. The waste and inefficiency on display is pretty disheartening to behold.
25. more films
Mark Kermode always has interesting opinions, and here he asks for a fresh look at the year’s crop of cinematic offerings. It’s a conventional choice backed by less conventional arguments, and a good mix of movies characterised by supreme technical competence and at least somewhat novel ideas.
24. even more films
AV Club gleefully annihilate 15 of the worst movies of the year. From Hatchet III to Austenland to Gangster Squad, no genre or star is safe. An enjoyable and healthy does of cynicism. Stay tuned for the ‘winner’, which is sure to enrage fans of a certain film franchise.
More CEOs behaving badly on Alternet’s Top 10 Worst Billionaires list. Compelling, and more than a little unnerving.
22. more twitter
Twitter’s name is all too suited for taking cheap shots at the people who fail on it so catastrophically, so I’ll avoid any of the obvious jokes about these particular twitterati. Suffice to say most of them are now crying into their massive ham fists.
IGN offer a different take on the year’s games, focussing on the biggest payoffs most games have to offer – the big boss battles. I’m still waiting for a modern Shadow of the Colossus over here, though.
20. more videogames
Massively’s best MMORPGs of 2013 are well worth a look for those of us (read: all of us) without the time to try out more than one MMORPG at a time.
In a year when the mayor of an important city being busted for smoking crack doesn’t even break the top three, you HAVE to check out this list of the most titillating scandals.
18. more writing
The pick of Brain Pickings, well worth a read and you might even learn something.
National Geographic share a stunning assortment of travel photographs, with striking colours, adorable animals and fascinating geometric patterns for every day of the year!
The National Institute of Mental Health share some of the most important and exciting steps forward in mental health that occurred during 2013. From electroceuticals to organoids and with institutions who have names like BRAIN showing up prominently, it all sounds a bit sci-fi. However, these treatments have the potential to change many people’s lives for the better, forever.
Diversity Inc try to track diversity in large companies, tracking everything from ability to recruit from different ethnicities to the ability to train and retain a diverse workforce. It’s an important role, and CEO Luke Visconti takes an intelligent and nuanced approach to diversity that companies would do well to take note of. This is their top 50 for the year.
15 unmistakeable signs you are an extrovert, from Gawker, was a welcome breath of fresh air and a timely tongue-in-cheek reminder to some of my more vocal fellow introverts that introversion and extroversion are just character traits – not moral strengths or weaknesses.
More useful than it is exciting, this is a look at some pretty awesome tools for designers. Putting some of the most important tools and projects in one place, it’s a great time saver.
12. more news
Here are ten incredibly important stories you might have missed, due to media attention being elsewhere at the time.
11. more design
There’s bad design, and there’s abysmal design. Even though a good half of these are arguably decent at achieving the effect they were going for, the fact that there are fifteen out of thirty album covers which really are so genuinely awful is very sad.
10. life hacks
These life hacks simplified my world a great deal, although they did result in a lot more drinking of cheap fizzy sugar-water than I really should have done. Got to get those ring-pulls somehow!
The ten most thought-provoking superhero comics of 2013. It’s not just comics about war crimes and depressed forty-year-old comic artists which are hitting hard and heavy, superheroes can be interesting too.
8. even more movies
The New Yorker’s best movies of 2013 have to be this high up the list, because they’ve actually gone against the grain and made some interesting choices. Before Midnight, something of a middle class darling, was already a brave choice for the Worst-Of list, but there’s an even more controversial choice on that particular list…
7. even more videogames
The best games of 2013, with insightful and thought-provoking commentary from the New York Times. These guys are the antithesis of the drooling fanboy, with vicious criticisms of even their very favourite video games. Good stuff for the thoughtful gamer.
6. more writing
Longform’s a great site for longer articles. Here are their most compelling reads to get lost in.
5. even more writing
Longreads offer a slightly less playful, slightly more serious list of fascinating long articles, from investigative reporting to human interest. Both Longreads and Longform are excellent for more complex issues which cannot be reduced..
Who trolls the trolls? The Guardian, that’s who, with this inspiring tournament featuring the most prolific professors of profanity to grace our screens. Boo these pantomime villains, boo them! Or ignore them and hope they go away.
3. even more news
What happens when the media gets something wrong? Why, the media mocks them! Thank goodness the media exists, or the woeful inaccuracies of the media would pass completely without mention. This is a fantastic read which may have you questioning why you ever believed in journalism in the first place.
These stories are inspiring, breathtaking glimpses at the vast machinery of the Universe.
1. more photography
Without a doubt the most troubling, questioning, crusading and important list of the year, it’s Reuter’s 93 most important photos. Be warned that many of these images are heartbreaking.