The Cord’s Best of 2020

The Cord’s

Best of 2020

Quarantine Celebs

Jeff Tweedy

Jeff Tweedy and his two sons have found new ways to entertain their audiences all while in the comfort of their own home. The Tweedy Show was initiated by Jeff’s wife, Susie, directing, commentating and live streaming her family’s often nonchalant set lists over Instagram—the inaugural episode featuring Tweedy in the bathtub. The chemistry and comradery of the family has been nothing short of comforting over the past however many months. The acoustic, spontaneous renditions of Wilco classics are only an added bonus. Even those unfamiliar with Tweedy’s work will no doubt find joy throughout these livestreams. 

Jackson Carse

Jack Black

Jack Black, the 51-year-old actor and comedian has taken to every social media platform he has to educate his followers, make them laugh and do elaborate game reviews. He is handling quarantine like a pro. Youtube @jablinksiGames for vlog footage, music and skits; his 4.6 million Tik Tok followers get to view his hilarious renditions on pop culture dance trends. Using comedy to promote voting, mask wearing and safety measures all while making us fall on the floor laughing from his ridiculously goofy comedy. 

Lauren Symbolik-Berger

Lizzo

I love Lizzo. And ever since she graced TikTok with her presence, my life has been better because of it. Unlike other tone-deaf celebrities who, seemingly out of boredom and their own delusional separation from reality, film themselves talking about how they respect the virus, Lizzo is a breath of fresh air. Hilarious, kind and passionate about the issues facing people in today’s tumultuous political climate, she uses her public platform to spread positivity, awareness and joy.  

Emily Waitson

Tiktok trends

Whipped coffee

When the pandemic first hit and we were instructed to socially distance, many people began to look for new ways to occupy themselves. This South Korean whipped coffee recipe, also known as dalgona coffee, quickly became popular across TikTok in March. It’s made by whipping equal portions of instant coffee powder, sugar and hot water until it begins to form stiff peaks and becomes creamy — it is then added to hot or cold milk. This recipe uses ingredients that you probably already have, which is particularly convenient considering many essential ingredients have been quickly disappearing from grocery store shelves (thanks, panic-buyers). Whenever I see whipped coffee, I’m instantly taken back to the Tiger King and “Savage” by Megan Thee Stallion days of quarantine. 

Alyssa Di Sabatino

“Say So” dance

TikTok dance trends are cropping up daily, often reusing similar choreography in different combinations, but the “Say So” dance is one that went hugely viral at the beginning of 2020. The dance, created by TikTok user Haley Sharpe, was incorporated into Doja Cat’s official music video for “Say So” after her song was popularized by the video-sharing platform. “Say So” has now been listened to more than 635 million times on Spotify. This song is one of many that has gone viral thanks to TikTok. The “Say So” dance is probably one of the most notable TikTok dances next to Jalaiah Harmon’s choreography to K Camp’s song “Lottery,” also known as “the Renegade” dance, which went viral in late 2019. 

Alyssa Di Sabatino

No Nuance November

The newest TikTok trend is ‘No Nuance November,” where people share their hot takes on a subject, usually political in nature, without any sort of explanation. Because the person does not explain their statement, it leaves viewers to mull over the context behind the statement by themselves. The trend was launched by TikTok user Tomás, who encouraged people to post a daily hot take throughout the month of November. Although “No Nuance November” is now over, I can see this trend continuing in some capacity as it allows people to express their opinions without feeling the need to engage in an often burdensome conversation or debate. 

Alyssa Di Sabatino

COVID-19 friendly restaurants

Kinkaku Izakaya

Ever since the premature closure of Waterloo’s greatest Japanese restaurant Yummyaki, it’s been a tiresome period of bland mall-sushi and canned tuna. Well, the search is over. Kinkaku Izakaya, located uptown, is without a doubt the best sushi available in the region. Thankfully, they are available for takeout at a relatively reasonable price. For all the sushi lovers out there, you’d be pressed to find a roll on their menu you didn’t like and Kinkaku’s takoyaki, or fried octopus balls, are a celestial gift from the heavens above. After a long day of doing nothing, I couldn’t think of a better way to induce sleep than to order from Kinkaku Izakaya.

Jackson Carse

Veslo

For those with a hankering for schnitzel and heavy cheese bread, Veslo Family Restaurant is the place to go. Prices are strikingly low for the amount of food provided and delivery times are almost unbelievably fast. Veslo’s shopska salad could convince a carnivore into vegetarianism and their chevapis might just be enough to sway PETA to take a nibble. Their massive platters—delivered in a pizza box—are enough to feed half your block and more. The eight gallons of coleslaw alone will induce a caloric comatose. They are available for delivery through Skip The Dishes and are well worth the price gouge.

Jackson Carse

Box Marley Jamaican Kitchen

I always have an appetite for Caribbean food but there were never too many options close to campus—that is, until Box Marley opened this summer. Located inside the Great Food Hall at the corner of University and King, Box Marley is a take-out style restaurant that specializes in Caribbean cuisine, with vegan options as well. The portions have become more generous since they first opened and everything is priced pretty affordably. Food is prepared and packaged with a quick turnaround time so that you don’t have to stick around the store too long, making it a COVID-19 friendly take-out option. They have an online ordering system through their website and they also offer free delivery if you call their number, making it all the more convenient. 

Alyssa Di Sabatino

Top TV Binges

Impractical Jokers

No one on the entire planet makes me laugh more than the Impractical Jokers. What is best described as a “reverse prank show”, Impractical Jokers can be caught on both Netflix or binged on YouTube. Four friends from Staten Island—Joe, Sal, Q and Murr—are sent throughout New York City with the sole, often successful task of embarrassing the hell out of each other. Whether it’s Sal’s reluctant tattoo of Jaden Smith or Murr having all the hair on his head shaved before taking a new driver’s license photo, every episode of this show will leave you gasping for air, cackling at their sheer willingness and dedication to entertain.  

Jackson Carse

The Crown, Season Four  

Season four of the acclaimed Netflix series The Crown tackles the beginning and subsequent breakdown of the highly-publicized marriage between Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana. And boy, is it worth the watch. While it can be viewed as a standalone in the series, I highly recommend watching the previous seasons, especially if you have any interest in the British monarchy. This season successfully cultivated a newfound love for Princess Diana and a hatred for Prince Charles, particularly amongst Gen-Z audiences—and rightfully so. The Crown does an excellent job of introducing such prolific public figures to a younger generation of viewers. It’s clear from the countless TikTok videos I’ve seen about it that the hype is pretty widespread and justified. It also features the brilliant Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher, which is an added bonus to an already wonderful cast. 

Emily Waitson

The Queen’s Gambit 

One of Netflix’s latest releases, The Queen’s Gambit, has received high accolades from viewers. Set in the 1950s and 60s, the story follows Beth, an orphaned chess prodigy, on her journey to become the greatest chess player, while she also struggles with emotional problems and substance dependency. Beth is played by Anya Taylor-Joy, who is also known for her roles in Split and Peaky Blinders. Admittedly, a show about chess does sound a little boring, but since its release in late October the show has become Netflix’s most-watched scripted miniseries. It’s even credited with causing a surging interest in chess — luckily you don’t have to understand chess to watch the show.

Alyssa Di Sabatino

Top albums

Gaslighter by The Chicks

Making their debut back to the music scene after 14 years with a changed name and an agenda for vengeance, Gaslighter by The Chicks—formerly The Dixie Chicks—ranks as one of the best albums released in 2020. The album contains 12 up-beat songs that weave into a powerful story told by the three artists about gender relations and politics. According to Time Magazine, who ranked the album number four in their “Top 10 Albums of 2020 List”, the album title itself is a nod to sexism in the political and private spheres of the  21st century. One of the best songs on the album is “Julianna Calm Down”, which starts soft and slow but progressively becomes more lively and fast-paced in a calling to women to feel confident, fearless and powerful amidst solidarity. Including all individuals from around the globe, never-more has this message been so important than in times like these. 

Meg Murphy

Eternal Atake by Lil Uzi Vert

After keeping fans waiting for almost two years, Lil Uzi Vert dropped his long-awaited album Eternal Atake in March 2020. The album—which has largely been received as worth the wait—is split into three parts, representing Uzi’s three personas: Baby Pluto, Renji and Lil Uzi Vert. The album espouses Uzi’s familiar sound while taking listeners on an alien experience, following Uzi as he is abducted by aliens and travels through space. All in all, this album has lived up to the hype. Every song is fast-paced, futuristic and cohesive: favourite tracks are “Silly Watch” and “Homecoming.”

Alyssa Di Sabatino

Folklore by Taylor Swift 

While I spent the majority of my time during lockdown eating sleeves of Oreos and binging too many Netflix shows, Taylor Swift created an absolutely stunning album that quickly became my personal favourite of hers. Without a doubt, I think Folklore is one of Swift’s strongest albums overall and the writing is where her talent truly shines through. Each song is beautiful, vivid and effortlessly captures a different story (I’m looking at you, “The Last Great American Dynasty”). A satisfying blend of romanticism and escapism, Folklore is a shift into something unique, especially for Swift. Even if you’re not a fan of her other music, I highly recommend giving this album a chance.

Emily Waitson

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