2011 Time Capsule: The Year of the Pop Diva and the Queer Anthem

2011 saw the release of an extraordinary number of legendary pop songs.

Photo by: Aron Visuals / Unsplash

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

Rihanna - Man

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

Beyoncé - Run the World (Girls) (Video - Main Version)

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)

And last but not least, Rebecca Black's "Friday" went super-viral and lodged itself in everyone's brains for eternity.

Rebecca Black -

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

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''

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.

Kate and William offer a wave from the balcony to the masses gathered at Buckingham Palace. Not visible: a handful of revelers who decided to splash around in a nearby fountain Britain Royal Wedding PicturesPhoto by Matt Dunham/AP/Shutterstock

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.

Music Reviews

Why "Baby Shark" Is an Evil Song—And Top 40 Hit

"Baby Shark" is incantatory, spell-binding, and creepy as hell.

Baby Shark Family

Image by Goh Soo Wye (Shutterstock)

After garnering over 2 billion views on YouTube, "Baby Shark" is now charting at No. 32 on U.S. Billboard's Hot 100.

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Highlights of New Games and Announcements from Nintendo Direct

The Livestream on Sep. 13 Unveiled News, Trailers, and New Gameplay

On Sep. 13, Nintendo Direct aired with a livestream of the newest announcements, trailers and information about Nintendo, their consoles and the respective video games.

The company stated that they will focus on the Switch and 3DS as their primary topics, along with some details about Nintendo Switch Online, a paid online service that launches next week on Sep. 18.

Only small details have been shared about Switch Online so far — there are pricing tiers, and subscribers will have access to 20 games from their NES library. The company unveils more in their livestream, a week late due to a delay from Japan's earthquakes.

The official pricing tiers announced were $3.99 for a one-month membership, $7.99 for three months, and $19.99 for 12. A Family Membership is also available for $35 a year and can be shared with up to seven people. The 20 classic titles have been revealed to include soccer, tennis, Super Mario Bros., Tecmo Bowl, The Legend of Zelda, and others. Three additional games will be released each month for the rest of 2018. Switch Online will also have classic controllers that will be available for $60 for two, and the service will have the ability to save data on Cloud Saves.

One huge announcement was that the beloved game Animal Crossing will be coming to Switch — the feel-good animal simulation started out on the DS, moved its way to mobile, and now scoots its way to the Switch console, arriving sometime in 2019.

Going off of that, Isabelle — your local Animal Crossing guide — will be joining the cast of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The trailer shows Isabelle sporting some on-character attacks with a fishing rod and bucket, but we definitely don't know how powerful she is yet.

Turning over to Super Mario Bros news, Nintendo Direct also announced that a Luigi's Mansion sequel will be coming to Switch in 2019, a powerful accompaniment to the game already headed to 3DS. The livestream announced that the 3DS game will have a two player co-op option and amiibos.

Nintendo revealed a new Yoshi game, too — Yoshi's Crafted World sports a look very similar to Paper Mario animations and will be the first official Yoshi themed game on Switch. The Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Bundle was also revealed — the pack will include a Smash Bros-themed dock and Joy-Cons.

Additionally, a deluxe version of New Super Mario Bros. U is coming to the console in 2019 — the Switch debut will include 164 courses, new playable characters such as Nabbit and Toadette and the Super Luigi U option.

Other non-Super Mario Bros news included Final Fantasy 7, 9, 10, 12 coming to Switch along with Katamari Damacy, Just Dance, NBA 2K19, Lego DC Super-Villains, and more. Splatoon 2 will be getting an update, and tabletop games will also be coming to Switch — titles include Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, and Pandemic.

In other 3DS news, Kirby's Epic Yarn will be transitioning from Wii to handheld.

There will definitely be more releases — and probably surprises — along the way for the rest of 2018 and all of 2019. We might not know what they are but we do know this — Nintendo isn't going anywhere.

Amber Wang is a freelancer for Popdust and various other sites. She is also a student at NYU, a photographer and intern at the Stonewall National Monument.

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INTERVIEW | Triple Threat Alex Sparrow

Actor, Musician, Dancer, Model, and More!

"I used to be torn apart between acting, directing, and writing music, until I learned how to combine all of it."

There is almost nothing Alex Sparrow can't tackle. He's on a hit television show on Lifetime, UnReal. He has modeled and danced. And most importantly, he has released some killer music tracks that he couldn't be more excited to share with everyone. But five years ago, he thought none of this would have been possible after a life-threatening accident. Sparrow opens up about all of this to Popdust by sharing his inspiring story and telling us what is coming up next.

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F*** Yeah It's Summer. LISTEN NOW!

Improv Group On The Spot Just Dropped the Raunchiest, Craziest, and BEST Song of the Summer You Will EVER Hear

On the Spot

It's loud, it's proud, it's the NSFW song of the summer you've been waiting for...

On The Spot, an NYC-based improv troupe, has come up with this Lonely Island style summer anthem, and it is something special. Featuring gratuitous language, ridiculous rhymes, killer breakdowns, and an over-the-top embrace of all things Summery, it is both unstoppably hilarious, and just a damn fine party jam. "The song was born from a full cast rehearsal which was guest run by the amazing Rachel Rosenthal," says On The Spot director Patrick Reidy, "She encouraged us to create choruses that were as dumb and simple as possible." The rest is all on the screen.

The video features the On The Spot team jamming out on Coney Island beach in a variety of increasingly gratuitous scenes to increasingly gratuitous lyrics. The bar is set high by Andrew Whitbeck chanting the opening chorus, "F*** yeah it's summer, got my T-shirt on, and I'm going to the pool, and I wanna get it on," which immediately sets this party to eleven, and won't ever let it come down. First up is Pat Reidy rapping on the boardwalk, shirt blowing in the breeze, chest tattoo out and proud, telling wintertime it can go do something you can't bring up at your grandmother's birthday.

This is followed up by Chris Catalano making a Harry Potter innuendo you will never be able to un-hear. Then Andrew Del Vecchio jumps in on unnecessary acoustic guitar, and performs what may be the most lit version of "Wonderwall" ever. La Dynasty shows up and drops some of the filthiest fire since Fresh Kills was the subject of an arson attack. Hot on the heels of that is Nathan Armstrong breaking it down in seductive Boyz II Men fashion (and also dumping you because it's summer). The chorus then comes back in, and just when you think it can't get any more insane, Thomas Burns Scully emerges from the ocean, Jason Momoa style, and rips in to a solo. The chorus repeats forever as awkward white men and gorgeous women dance on the sand until the end of time.

If you have ever listened to The Lonely Island and felt great about your life, then this track is for you. If you like over-mixed, over-autotuned, Pitbull style, takes-itself-way-too-seriously club anthems, then this track is for you. If you used to sit in your room and play Weird Al on repeat, then this track is for you. If you like smartly written (but hugely raunchy) lyrics about the middle three months of the year, then this track is for you. Watch the video multiple times and you will pick up new details each time. It's that good.

On The Spot isn't normally an unstoppable party juggernaut though. While they definitely do know how to pump up the jam and worship the gods of summer, their regular grind is creating improvised musicals every Monday night at the Broadway Comedy Club. Their show has been critically lauded over and over again, and has attracted guest stars from the heights of Broadway. If you liked this video, you will love this show. Go see it.

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Listen to F*** Yeah It's Summer

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ROLE PLAYGROUND | Does Mulaka's mythos make up for it's broken gameplay?

On one hand, it's nice to know some very base knowledge about a new culture - but does the game stack up?

Games often take a lot of liberties when drawing from mythologies: God of War, Dante's Inferno, Assassin's Creed, etc. All of these games took what they wanted from canon and presented a modified and video game-friendly version, goddesses and creatures they barrowed. Mulaka, a new game from small time Mexican indie developer, Lienzo, joins this tradition with their action-platformer, Mulaka.


In Mulaka, you are a Sukururame, a shaman of the Tarahumara people of Mexico. You travel around the various landscapes and have the simple task of helping villagers and seeking help from the gods to prevent the destruction of the world. Throughout, you learn more and more about the Tarahumara people and their beliefs and their myths.

It's a lovely soirée into a culture that I've never learned about - and while I can't speak to its accuracy, it was nice to see that there was effort put into educating the audience as we played.

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