Let's take a walk down memory lane...
Popdust's Time Machine series will take you on a journey through the best, worst, and most nostalgia-inducing pop culture events of each year of the past decade. This is not a definitive or comprehensive report; instead, it's a trip down memory lane as we near the onset of our own roaring '20s.
"Tik Tok" was on the radio, we were all obsessed with Sarah Palin's family and Snooki, and Obama was president. It's hard to believe that all happened a full decade ago; so much (and somehow so little) has changed.
Where were you back then? Take a moment to close your eyes and let yourself remember. Can you hear it—a mosquito's whine? It's getting closer… Wait, that's not a mosquito... It's the sound of a prepubescent Justin Bieber singing his heart out in harmony with a million vuvuzelas. Welcome back to 2010.
2010: The Year of Oddly Violent Yet Playful Pop Music
In 2010, pop music was generally rather terrible, and a 16-year-old named Justin Bieber was dominating the charts. Bieber rose to prominence around 2008, but by 2010, he was one of the first supermassive social media success stories.
Justin Bieber - Baby ft. Ludacris (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com
That same year, another, very different star named Adele released a song called "Rolling in the Deep." Robyn also released the iconic "Dancing On My Own," a glitter-covered party girl named Ke$ha released a banger called "Tik Tok," and Rihanna also released her Eminem collab "Love The Way You Lie," a song that still slaps but probably wouldn't be acceptable in 2019. Another great collab, Hayley Williams and B.O.B.'s "Airplanes," soundtracked middle school dances everywhere.
Adele - Rolling in the Deep www.youtube.com
Ke$ha - TiK ToK (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com
"Like A G6" inspired incredible aggression in middle school volleyball games (can you tell I was in middle school then?). Cee Lo Green had everyone alternating between "F**k You" and "Forget You," and Willow Smith dropped "Whip My Hair."
Cee Lo Green - Forget You www.youtube.com
In 2010, Janelle Monae dropped her first LP, The ArchAndroid, and Katy Perry's Teenage Dream topped the charts. Kanye West joined Twitter and unleashed the magnificent My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy on the world, and music was never the same. The same year, Taylor Swift found a stadium-filling pop audience with the release of the album Speak Now (and all this while from her 2009 confrontation with Kanye West was still reverberating through the faltering blogosphere).
Katy Perry - Teenage Dream (Official) www.youtube.com
Kanye West - Runaway (Full-length Film) www.youtube.com
Television Gets Queerer and Even More New Jerseyfied
On TV, Glee reigned supreme, giving us heart-wrenching moments such as Kurt's rendition of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and Archie's "The Safety Dance." (Remember when a simple queer declaration of love felt almost impossibly subversive and inspiring to your younger, gay heart?)
GLEE - I Want To Hold Your Hand (Full Performance) HD www.youtube.com
Fringe, Breaking Bad, Parks and Recreation, Friday Night Lights, Modern Family, and Madmen were also airing, and the surreal animated hit Adventure Time debuted its first episode. 2010 was the year Lost ended, and American Idol lost Simon Cowell after crowning Lee DeWyze, one of the most forgettable Idols ever. Snooki dominated our collective imagination thanks to the success of Jersey Shore, and The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien aired its last episode. Steve Carrell announced he was leaving The Office and Oprah announced her departure from late night TV.
Jersey Shore cast along with Nicole aka Snooki explains THE PUNCH on Entertainment Tonight 2010 www.youtube.com
Conan's last "Tonight Show" Monologue 1/22/10 www.youtube.com
2010 was also the year of the undead. The Walking Dead and the Vampire Diaries were successful 2010 debuts about undead folk, one bunch far sexier than the other.
Movies Obsess Over Vampires, Cryptids, and Superhuman Heroines
In addition to dominating TV, vampires lit up the silver screen in 2010. That year, Twilight Saga: Eclipse totaled $300 million in sales. (What was with our collective obsession with vampires?)
Twilight Eclipse Battle Vampires & Wolf Pack Fighting Scene www.youtube.com
Another kind of cryptid, Mark Zuckerberg, became even more famous when the film The Social Network hit theaters. (He was also crowned Time Magazine's Person of the Year). Another franchise installment—gloomy Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I—hit theaters. Emma Stone won us over in Easy A, and so did Chloe Grace Moretz as the little girl in Kick Ass. Inception had us all questioning reality; the film Precious was an indie hit. Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, and Winona Ryder starred in Black Swan, Toy Story 3 and Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World sparked cult followings, The Hurt Locker took the Oscar, and 2011's Oscar winner, The King's Speech, debuted in November.
Easy A (2010) - A Pocketful of Sunshine Scene (1/10) | Movieclips www.youtube.com
People Still Read Books
People still read books in 2010. Amazing, right? That year, two franchises starring very powerful women dominated the public's imagination: The Hunger Games and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series. Jonathan Franzen's Freedom also garnered high praise, but Patti Smith's Just Kids won the National Book Award.
Tech Goes Hands-Free and Becomes More Eerily Invasive
Technologically speaking, social media was well on its way to becoming an election-altering superpower. Facebook reached 550 million users, and Twitter also became forebodingly powerful. Fun fact: The top 10 Twitter Trends of 2010 (via blog.twitter.com) were the Gulf Oil Spill, FIFA World Cup, Inception, Haiti Earthquake, Vuvuzela, Apple iPad, Google Android, Justin Bieber, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, and Pulpo Paul.
In terms of gaming, Angry Birds, the game that was all the rage, and PlayStations were everywhere. Hand-free gaming systems like the Kinect and the XBox 360 created new visions of what was possible with gaming. The iPhone 4 dropped, escalating the smartphone wars, and the iPad was introduced in January 2010. Not everyone was happy about technology's rapid intrusion into our personal lives; Net neutrality and online privacy were some of that year's most enduring and prescient buzzwords.
Everyone Loves Betty White
In 2010, America fell hard for Betty White, who starred in a now-infamous Super Bowl Snickers ad. Tiger Woods apologized to the public and made his return to golf. The Demi Lovato/Ashley Greene/Joe Jonas love triangle dominated teen magazine covers, and Lindsay Lohan's shenanigans were plastered all over grocery store tabloids. The video "Bed Intruder" went viral. Lady Gaga wore a meat dress to the VMAs, and Prince William proposed to then-plebian Kate Middleton. Bedbugs took over New York. The population of Greenland dropped from 3 to 2. Sex positivity was all the rage. The word "hipster" became universally loathed.
Betty White Snickers Super Bowl Commercial 2010 www.youtube.com
Lady Gaga Poses in the Meat Dress www.youtube.com
Overall, it seems the general critical consensus on the American pop culture landscape in 2010 was that it was a year of much noise and very little substance. "In popular culture, 2010 was an elephant's call unmodulated, a bleat, a squawk, a low-level blare," wrote Steve Johnson in the Chicago Tribune. "You put your fingers in your ears, and you still couldn't block it out. 2010 was a vuvuzela, all tone, no rhythm, the operational definition of unearned attention."
We had no idea what was coming, did we? Still, looking back, it seems that by 2010, the seeds for what social media and even politics would become had already been sown, though the pop culture landscape was oddly wide-eyed and innocent, even ignorant and uncritical. The political remained quite separate from the personal, at least in terms of mainstream media coverage, and the Internet was still something that was separate and less important than reality. How times have changed… or have they?
- 2010s - Wikipedia ›
- Biggest Pop Culture Moments of the Decade - 2010s Entertainment ›
- Top 10 Pop Culture Moments of 2010 | | The Young Folks ›
- 2010s Decade: Best in Music, Style, Pop Culture, Sneakers & Sports ›
- 2010 Year in Review - News and Pop Culture 2010 ›
- What is the most underrated pop culture of the 2010s? ›
- The Top 10 Everything of 2010 - TIME ›
- 2010 History, Trivia and Fun Facts ›
- The moments that defined pop culture in 2010 – The Mercury News ›
- 50 Wonderful Things From 2010 : NPR ›
Using a Black dialect isn't a meme—it's cultural appropriation.
As Black Lives Matter protests have rightfully taken the world by storm over the past couple of months, we're long overdue for thorough evaluations of just how often aspects of Black heritage have been co-opted by white audiences.
It should be obvious that much of fashion and music as we know it today was invented by Black people. We (hopefully) all know by now that we can no longer accept Blackface and use of the n-word by non-Black people as the norm—and Internet users have tried "canceling" offenders in the public eye, with varying degrees of success.
Meme economy reports: now is the time to invest in Gnarly Davidson!!!
Is Gnarly Davidson the next big meme?
Early reports this morning are saying that Syd Weiler's beloved Trash Doves have been co-opted by the alt-right. When Nazis take something as innocent as a spastic floppy bird drawing from us, what can we do? Why do Nazis have to ruin everything pure and good?
But as the meme sun sets on Trash Doves, it rises for Gnarly Davidson, which is the name of Cee Lo Green's new alternate persona that appeared last night's Grammy Awards. Gnarly Davidson – a portmanteau of Gnarls Barkley and Harley-Davidson – looks like a cross between C3PO and Zordon from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, and he's already sneaking into memes everywhere.
Here are some early Gnarly Davidson memes; we guarantee these won't be the last you see of him.
I edited Ceelo Green into the background of pics of Trump in his apartment and holy shit 😂😂😂 https://t.co/VurY7DMJ1w— Jesse McLaren (@Jesse McLaren)1486947516.0
Is Gnarly Davidson the next big meme? Early Google Trends reports have valued Gnarly Davidson slightly above Trash Doves, and while both are more popular than #SaltBae, neither seem anywhere close to "Howbow Dah." By the way, if you still haven't sold your #SaltBae stock, now is definitely the time.
Meme interest report from Google Trends