The 2023 Slappy Awards
Wow — 2023… what a year for Blackbird Spyplane and Concorde, where among other distinctions we’re closing things out like “Recon Odysseus” back in our rightful home of “Sletter Ithaca,” a.k.a holding down the No. 6 slot in the culture-newsletter leaderboard Top 10.
And of course we remain the No. 1 source across all media for “unbeatable recon.”
This year we tapped in for interviews with a range of visionary Spygoats. We published an award-winning investigation into the effect of Ssense on “the cool clothes ecosystem,” grieved over the Death of Thrifting and railed RIGHTEOUSLY against the End of Cool Small Cars.
We launched a rich index of Beautiful Life Improving Spyplane Staples, a master Concorde Cute Swag Index of every single item shouted out in Concorde so far and a G.I.F.T.S. Guide that you can tap year-round…
Then, before the clock struck midnight?? We rounded up the Best Pants Out, Erin killed it with a two-part Home Goods Special Report, and just this past Tuesday I (Jonah) dropped one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful Profound Contemplations we’ve ever published, on the question of Do We Really Need More Clothes??
That’s just a small slice of the excellence we were inspired to serve up by you, the dopest readership across all newsletters.
And speaking of excellence, today we’re serving up our annual Slappy Awards — a celebration of 2023 Greatness across culture & jawnscraft…
We’re talking about slappy
theories about the ending of Emma Cline’s The Guest
moodboard-dominating .jpegs and more !
⚠️🌎 First, though, please believe that Blackbird Spyplane remains a subscriber-supported miracle: We don’t run ads, we don’t do aff*liate links except with eBay treasure and books. O no ! We skip past the fake s**t and simply write about things because they rock and because we know they will improve your life. That’s an “unbeatable integrity” that Classified Tier Spyfriends make possible. Thank you.
We keep it one hundred and couldn’t do it without reader support. Come on behind the Classified Recon Curtain today — Jonah & Erin
🌎⚠️ If BBSP brightened yr inbox this past year and you’re still on our public list, come on behind the recon curtain, life’s better in the Spyplane Inner Sanctum and we undercharge wildly for it. Also the sletter makes a true “gift that keeps on giving” — why not give your friends & loved ones a Classified blessing too?
Now enjoy the Slappies !! J & E
8 Best independent clothing lines that have been killing it for a minute but came through with stepped-up power in 2023 and you gotta be stoked imagining what they’ve got coming next (unranked except for No. 1)
🏆 Henry’s: A one-man denim-wizardry operation out of Toronto, Keith Henry spent the year crafting not just his signature cult-beloved jeans but an ever-growing range of sell-out button-ups, and banger boxy jacket (the Swoop) after banger boxy jacket (the brand-new Criterium), proving that man is as nice with it outside the pants realm as within!!
11 Best Albums of the Year (unranked, but Mac DeMarco is No. 1)
There is no reason that 9 hours — you read that right !! — of unreleased demos, uploaded in one fell swoop, should work. But as we discovered listening to this baby 3 separate times all the way through, this is an epic sonic journey through the brain of one of our generation’s true chune kings, whose sketches are 100x stranger and sicker than lesser artists’ finished work. So yes, we felt compelled to salute the bravado, candor and unconventionality of one of our favorite musicians dropping a d*mn hard drive on the people, but the fact that it rips secured it the Top Spot.
Unimpeachable Color Family that Tasteful Clothes-Rockers Generally Loved in 2023 but, Friends, We Gotta Diversify the Chromatic Portfolio a Touch in 2024:
All beige, tan, taupe and 🟫BROWN🟫 everything — maybe with some black or olive green tossed in on days you were feeling spicy — as captured in this IG story from Never Cursed…
Pants of the Year
Our blowout Trouser Excellence Report is here
Sneakers We Respect in a Vacuum but After Decades of Goatedness and a Few Years of Decline They’re Currently at their Lowest Point of Coolness Ever
Retro Jordans, especially in non-O.G. colors but also, sorry, just all of them — even the IVs and my personal strange favorites the Bordeaux 7s. Js have never looked as costumey & washed on foot as they do right now, don’t get mad if you love them, that’s fine, it’s simply a fascinating objective socio-cultural fact!!
Spyplane Top 5 Sneakers of the Year (unranked except for No. 1)