Top 5 Art and Entertainment Releases of 2019

The year of 2019 is over and it is finally time to bring an end to my end of the year lists.

This list represents all that was beautiful in 2019. Whether it was a pure form of artistic expression or a well-crafted product, I believe that the following 5 releases deserve to be celebrated.

These are the 3 questions I asked myself when I made my picks:

  • What review score did it receive?

I have a review scale for a reason. If one release gets an 8/10 and another release gets a 9/10, I likely preferred the release that got a 9/10.

  • What type of art/entertainment release was it?

If a movie trailer got an 8/10 and a musical album got an 8/10, the album will have a much greater chance of being chosen since it is more artistically significant. I’m sure you could guess what I would pick between a movie poster and a 15 hour long video game.

  • How substantial was the release?

Continuing on from the previous answer, this also affected how I viewed the release’s artistic significance. However, it is slightly deeper and more complex than merely answering what TYPE of release it was. Answering this question meant I had to take into account how MUCH the release had to offer (which is unrelated to the AMOUNT of content). For example, a 30 minute musical album packed full of interesting ideas has more artistic significance than a 60 minute musical album which is vacant of interesting ideas.

So without further ado, let’s kick this list off…


Warmth by Willy Hooker

Willy’s ‘Thoughtscapes’ took home my #1 spot of the year in my previous year’s list. It was an immaculate, Goliath of an album with a ton of heart and an immense amount of great ideas executed to near-perfection. With ‘Warmth’, Willy expanded on the sounds he created for ‘Thoughtscapes’ and further fleshed out many of the concepts found on that album. “Warmth” and “Another Place” were some of the best and most affecting songs of the year. A beautiful EP that definitely deserves its spot in my 5 for this year.

Link to the review:


The Other Place by Willy Hooker

‘The Other Place’ is the final album in Willy’s trilogy concerning dreams (‘Thoughtscapes’ being the first, ‘Warmth’ being the second). Going for longer and more fleshed out songs compared to his previous efforts, Willy manages to perfectly close out what he started with ‘Thoughtscapes’: forward-thinking proggy instrumentals alongside vivid descriptions of the dream world.

The dream world isn’t always a thing of beauty because sometimes it is a thing of nightmares. Where there is light, there is darkness. Where there is beauty, there is ugliness. Where there is good, there is evil. Where there is a collection of 5 songs this damn good, there is a spot on my top 5 of the year list.

“Warmth Generator” and “Another Place II” are some of the best songs of the year. And the other 3 songs are magnificent in their own right. I highly recommend people listen to the trilogy of ‘Thoughtscapes’, ‘Warmth’ and ‘The Other Place’. And do it multiple times because these albums reward repeat listens.

Listen to Willy’s music here:

Link to the review:


Dorkcore 101 (+ The 102nd Song) by Kevin and the Bikes

Who knew that a meme album would end up on my end of the year list? Released as a 101 song album recorded from 2015-2019 (with song #102 released later on), this ‘Ed, Edd n Eddy’ concept album traverses a wide variety of genres in a way that is both satisfying and impressive. I think that the album’s unseriousness actually works in its favour as ‘Kevin and the Bikes’ are given space to experiment and create without fear of backlash. With song #102 added in, this album lasts over 4 hours. While not every track is necessarily worthwhile on their own, this album is amazing taken as a whole. I love Chunky Puffs!

Link to the review:


Devil May Cry 5

After 10 years, the ‘Devil May Cry’ series finally gets another proper entry. Nero is still the perfect character for people new to the genre with an easy-to-understand and easy-to-execute move-set while Dante is still arguably the deepest character in any action game ever (you never get good at playing Dante, you just get less worse… or maybe that’s just me). Although V is the least fun of the 3 playable characters, he is still a worthy addition due to how different he plays compared to the other 2 characters (I would have liked Vergil, Trish and Lady to be playable again – hell, even throw in Lucia again).

‘Devil May Cry 5’ has incredible graphics and impeccable audio design that lend well to the over-the-top qualities typically found in character action games. The straight-forwardness of the levels are a breath of fresh air in a gaming world that becomes increasingly obsessed with open-worlds. The Bloody Palace is still a great post-game mode for players to mess around in and challenge themselves with.

While I preferred the third and fourth entries in the series, ‘Devil May Cry 5’ is another case of masterful combat in a video game.

Link to the review:


John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Watching this in theaters easily ranks in my top 5 movie-going experiences of all-time. I watched it in digital IMAX and it was absolutely stunning. The ‘John Wick’ series was always above average but this 3rd entry catapults the series to new heights. The story is just the right amount of over-the-top and ridiculous while also maintaining audience interest. Fight sequences are both expertly choreographed and magnificently written (almost every fight tells a story). I was sitting beside a woman that kept audibly gasping during some of the more brutal kills. And she wasn’t the only one who had an audible reaction to the film’s visceral combat as some scenes were powerful enough that the entire audience had an audible reaction (like the throwing knives, the axe to the head, or the book kill at the start).

‘John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum’ was easily my favourite art/entertainment release of the year and also one of the most enjoyable movies of the entire decade. It has a lot of faith in itself as an action film and this is displayed through its full committal to its unique stylings and impressive sequences. If the ‘John Wick’ series continues to be this strong, I wouldn’t mind an endless number of sequels.

Link to the review:

2 thoughts on “Top 5 Art and Entertainment Releases of 2019

    1. There aren’t many movies I have seen in IMAX or digital IMAX where I felt it was worth it but I keep going for the one time it pays off. And this was definitely that time. I am definitely making sure I see John Wick 4 in IMAX.


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