Most “Year in Review” lists are pretty predictable. Such lists are usually jammed pack with consensus contenders for big industry awards such as the Oscars and Grammys and they tend to be reflections of what is “popular” as defined by sales and marketing. Indeed, the typical “Year in Review” list highlights highly profitable popular culture.
As the pop culture columnist for Canadian Dimension Magazine, I use a different set of criteria to assemble an annual “Alternative Year in Review” list showcasing elements of progressive popular culture from the past year that aim to change the world. There are a lot of great socialist, feminist, anti-racist, and decolonial works produced every year – but it is hard to keep track of them all.
As such, I have created the following list by polling CD collective members as well as supporters on social media to see what they were watching, reading, and listening to in 2015. I have also added my own recommendations. This list is by no means exhaustive or representative. So please contribute to the conversation by adding your own suggestions in the comments and on twitter @CDN_Dimension
- “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” by Run the Jewels feat. Zack de la Rocha
- “I am a Rifle” by Propagandhi - a cover of a The Rebel Spell song in memorial of Todd “Serious” Jenkins
- “Suplex” by A Tribe Called Red feat. Northern Voice
- “Harperman” by Tony Turner
- “Stealing All My Dreams” by Blue Rodeo
- “Our Own Blood” by Fucked Up feat. Tanya Tagaq
- Power in the Blood by Buffy Sainte Marie
- Women’s Rights by Childbirth
- Back to the Woods by Angel Haze
- Sun Coming Down by Ought
- War on Women by War on Women
- Bicker and Breathe by RVIVR
- Nothing to Lose But our Fear: Resistance in Dangerous Times by Fiona Jeffries
- Indigenous Nationhood: Empowering Grassroots Citizens by Pamela Palmater
- The Horrors: An A to Z of Funny Thoughts on Awful Things by Charles Demers
- Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call* by Arthur Manuel and Grand Chief Ron Derrickson
- Worth Fighting For: Canada’s Tradition of War Resistance from 1812 to the War on Terror Edited by Lara Campbell, Michael Dawson and Catherine Gidney
- White City, Black City: Architecture and War in Tel Aviv and Jaffa by Sharon Rotbard
- Red Rosa: A Graphic History of Rosa Luxemburg by Kate Evans, Edited by Paul Buhle
- Step Aside, Pops by Kate Beaton
- The Outside Circle by Patti Laboucane-Benson and Kelly Mellings
- Dismaland: Bemusement Park by Banksy
- The Rise and Fall of Civilization by Kent Monkman, Gardiner Museum
- Now’s the Time by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Art Gallery of Ontario
Unfortunate Sayings That (Hopefully) Die Hard in 2016
- “Like a Boss” / “That’s Boss”
- “We need a strong middle class”
- “All Lives Matter”
Sean Carleton is a member of the CD collective and writes The Popular Front column on pop culture.
I would like to thank the following CD collective members, subscribers, readers, and followers for contributing suggestions: Matthew Brett, Julia Smith, Jonathan Lockyer, David Hugill, Kevin Matthews, Edwin Janzen.