2011 saw the release of an extraordinary number of legendary pop songs.
2011 was a turbulent year, a year of the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street, of murdered dictators and earthquakes.
In terms of American pop culture, it was a time of great exuberance and energy. Female pop stars dominated the airwaves, as did the British Royal Wedding, as political unrest tangled with the public's desire for flashy distraction. Here are the pop culture highlights of 2011.
Music: Fridays and Queer Anthems
2011 was the year of the pop diva, and an almost unfathomable number of iconic hits by women hit the airwaves that year. Katy Perry and Adele dominated the charts, Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" became a queer anthem, Britney Spears' "Hold It Against Me" played perpetually, and Rihanna dropped her scandalous "S&M," the absolutely legendary "Man Down," and another song about Friday, "Cheers (Drink to That)".
Lady Gaga - Born This Way www.youtube.com
Rihanna - Man Down www.youtube.com
Avril Lavigne had us bopping along to "What the Hell" and Nicki Minaj had everyone learning the words to "Super Bass." Beyonce released "Love On Top" and "Who Run the World? (Girls)" and Jessie J. put out "Domino." Carly Rae, of course, dropped "Call Me Maybe."
Nicki Minaj - Super Bass www.youtube.com
Beyoncé - Run the World (Girls) (Video - Main Version) www.youtube.com
There were some sad bangers in the midst of all the girl power; Demi Lovato put out "Skyscraper" and Lana Del Rey dropped her mysterious amalgamation of found footage for "Video Games."
Lana Del Rey - Video Games (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com
And last but not least, Rebecca Black's "Friday" went super-viral and lodged itself in everyone's brains for eternity.
Rebecca Black - Friday www.youtube.com
Folky boys Conor Oberst, Wilco, and Jeff Magnum of Neutral Milk Hotel all had big years—the first two dropped great albums and the third reemerged from obscurity with a flood of unreleased gems. The ukulele also grew in popularity, taking center stage on the hit album w h o k i l l by tUnE-yArDs.
That year, we also tragically lost Amy Winehouse, who passed away at 27.
Movies: Franchises Come to a Close
2011's greatest hit was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, which smashed box office records. It was also a good year for the Twilight franchise; in Breaking Dawn, Part I, Jacob the werewolf imprinted (or fell eternally, irrevocably in love) with his former love interest's, Bella's, baby daughter.
Twilight 4 Breaking Dawn Part 1 Jacob imprints on Renesmee, the Cullens and the werewolves fight Y www.youtube.com
Overall, it was a strange year for film. The Artist had everyone falling in love with an adorable dog; Drive polarized audiences, and so did The Descendants; and the heart-wrenching Like Crazy had everyone sobbing.
Las mejores escenas de Uggie ''The artist'' www.youtube.com
TV: Escaping to Sweeter Times
Like the movies, television favored escapism, with shows like The Great British Bake-Off and Downton Abbey transporting viewers to other, sweeter times. Game of Thrones promised that "winter is coming," and South Park gave us "tween wave."
Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Fringe, and other dramas gained continued success.
Entertainment: Kate and Pippa Middleton Make History
2011's biggest entertainment event may have been the Royal Wedding, which dominated America's hearts. Kate Middleton's dress went down in history.
Royal Wedding - Carriage Procession To Buckingham Palace And Departures Bustle
In terms of viral trends, honey badgers and planking were huge. The year's top Twitter trends were:
It wasn't a great year for Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan, whose hard-partying habits (and lawsuits) made headlines constantly. Lady Gaga arrived to the Grammys in a giant egg. Kim K. and Kris Humphries married and got divorced. Beyonce announced she was pregnant. Justin Bieber debuted his relationship with Selena Gomez–and was also slammed with a paternity suit. Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher broke up. Anne Hathaway and James Franco hosted what was called "the worst Oscars ever."
That was 2011... A year of divas and distraction, chaos and comedy, and of course, the only 11/11/11 any of us will be alive for.
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Breaking down the bias of comfort films.
With the constant onslaught of complicated news that 2020 has brought, sometimes you just want to be able to shut off your brain, relax, and feel happy.
Enter comfort films. These are the feel-good movies that feel like a warm hug when you finish them, the ones that allow you to escape for a short while. We often turn to these types of films in times of trouble or extreme stress, and when we're not sure what films of this nature we should watch, we turn to the Internet for options.
His sophomore album "King of R&B" is nothing groundbreaking, but it's dripping in charisma
It's impossible to hate Jacquees.
His voice is silky smooth, his smile is genuine, he's candid and calm in interviews, he's cute, he can even dance a little. His creative style is unique enough to stand out among his modern-day contemporaries but is referential enough to the '90s that even listeners above the age of 40 will find ways to connect with him. He seems to be an old soul, immune to the petty drama that plagues the current mainstream music scene.
When The Breakfast Club tried to poke and prod at Jacquees's brief online scrimmage with XXL Freshman YK Osiris earlier this year, Jacquees dismissed it with a shrug: "I don't know who that is." When asked about his love life, he emphatically said that he wants a family and that he remains loyal to his love interest Dreezy. He is confident enough in his craft to name his album the King of R&B but humble enough to immediately acknowledge this self-proclaimed title by no means makes him "The Best." "Every day, a star is born," he sings on the T.I.-assisted opener, "and if we talkin' kings, there's more than one."
Jacquees - Fact Or Fiction www.youtube.com
As a result, the 25-year-old's sophomore effort should be viewed more like a mission statement. It trades the sprinkles of creative risk seen in 4275 for a more refined, commercial sound, with songs like "New, New" and "What They Gone Do With Me" existing solely for radio takeover. Moments of mass appeal like this have already begun to draw criticism. "The album's production is synthetic to the point of being shallow," writes EXCLAIM! "Jacquees tries hard to emulate his heroes, instead of letting himself be inspired by them."
The criticism is fair, but in the world of commercial R&B, Jacquees is still circling the A-team, with Tory Lanez and Chris Brown—both frequent collaborators and close friends—touring together this summer and having their biggest year to date. King of R&B, with features from heavy-hitters like Quavo, Summer Walker, Lil Baby, Young Thug, and Gunna, reaffirms Jacquees's well-deserved seat at the table. The tracks are earworms in the best way, and you can't hate on the guy's vivacity. The album is an easy listen, but with tracks like "Fact or Fiction" and "Warning," we also see a more refined Jacquees that should quiet the critics who will inevitably call him a sell-out. King of R&B or not, Jacquees's charisma remains infectious.
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