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 ›
Protest music aside, there is a slew of good underground music out today
An invigorating slew of protest music hit the shelves today.
Detroit-based emcee Tee Grizzley collaborated with Queen Naija and the Detroit Youth Choir to craft a melodic ballad that attempts to open up a dialogue with police. Meanwhile, alt-Jazz pioneer Terrace Martin took a different approach in his collaboration with Denzel Curry, Daylyt, G Perico, and Kamasi Washington, with "Pigs Feet" being more of an angry f*ck you than an attempt at communication.
Thank God Selena got out while she could.
Selena Gomez has released a new song called "Lose You to Love Me," which many fans think is a final goodbye to her famous ex Justin Bieber.
For anyone needing a refresher on the Baldwin-Bieber-Gomez love triangle, Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber famously dated on-and-off from the time they were teens. They broke up for the last time in March 2018; Bieber started dating Baldwin in June, and the pair got engaged in July.
After Bieber and Baldwin celebrated their wedding, fans watched Gomez's moves with bated breath. A sleepy, sad-faced selfie Gomez garnered over 8 million likes.
The social media drama has continued. Precisely four minutes after the star posted "Lose You To Love Me," a glittery piano ballad that erupts into a lush chorus, Hailey Bieber posted a screenshot of the song "I'll Kill You" by Summer Walker, a song that is mostly about a woman warning another woman to stay away from her man. Gomez's many devoted fans have criticized Mrs. Bieber, comparing each of their reactions in a series of scintillating Tweets. Many have pointed out that Gomez's song in no way seems to imply that she wants JBiebs back; instead, it seems to praise the end of a toxic relationship.
Bieber also posted something after Gomez's song dropped, though it's slightly more cryptic: An extremely high-definition image of a very annoyed-looking cheetah.
Personally, I'm happy for Selena. She's a complex, talented, strong woman and she shouldn't have to deal with somebody as obviously needy as Justin Bieber. In so many of the interviews with Bieber and Baldwin, Bieber seems to describe Baldwin as the steady, stable contrast to his heavily tattooed chaos, but really, it just seems like Bieber's looking for someone to take care of him. Thank god Selena got out of there when she could.
Still, maybe we shouldn't all be so quick to attack Hailey Baldwin and Justin Bieber. They're probably fighting like hell right now to preserve their marriage in the name of Jesus Christ, while Selena Gomez just released the best song of her career—which isn't saying all that much, but still. Anyone who watched them fall for each other in 2009 knows why this is so important.
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