What defined the 2010’s: pop culture

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The 2010’s have officially finished, and it’s time to take a look back on what defined pop culture, from Rebecca Black’s “Friday” to VSCO girls.

Music of the decade

Popular songs of the decade were increasingly diverse and inclusive. Music in the first half of the 2010s was marked by songs like Rebecca Black’s ”Friday,” Justin Bieber’s ”Baby,” Ke$ha’s ”TiK ToK,” and Train’s ”Hey Soul Sister.” Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” and Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” reflected changing styles of music in the following years. Around the same time, Coldplay used unconventional instruments to create a distinct sound. Many artists like Miley Cyrus and Macklemore were well-known pop acts when the decade started but are now less popular.

2015 marked a comeback for many artists including Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, and Taylor Swift. Adele, one of guidance counselor Sara Skoda’s favorite artists, released another hit, “Hello.” Ms. Skoda commented, “We were listening, singing along, and crying with so much of her music throughout the decade.” In addition, 2015 saw a rise in viral musical dances like the Harlem Shake and the “Whip Whip Nae Nae.”

A diverse array of music defined the second half of the decade. K-pop bands like BTS rose following the release of Psy’s “Gangnam Style” in 2012. Senior India Lott said that when Gangnam Style took off, “everywhere I [I went]… people were doing this dance.”  

Sophomore Cate Nguyen said, The emergence of Korean pop music during the mid-to-late 2010s allowed… [for more Asian representation] in [America’s] music industry]… as many K-pop groups broke records in American award shows.”  

Rap was also very popular in the late 2010’s, from Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” to Drake’s “In My Feelings” to Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus’ hit “Old Town Road.” Classical Language teacher Marianthe Colakis said, “[The Old Town Road remix is] the only crossover I can think of between country music and hip hop. I hear about it everywhere… [and] it’s even been translated to Latin.”  

Ed Sheeran became a pop icon with his classic hits “Perfect” and “Thinking Out Loud” and young stars like Shawn Mendes, with hits such as “Stitches” rising up the charts. 2018 also saw the rise of more emotional hits such as Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “Shallow”, alongside energetic ones such as Panic at the Disco!’s “High Hopes.” The unimaginable popularity of this decade’s music is a reflection of how music has influenced our pop culture.

Favorite entertainment of the decade

One of the biggest trends in entertainment this decade was the Rainbow Loom, bracelets made of small, interlocking rubber bands. Cate said that the Rainbow Loom allowed “people of all ages to get creative and make their own jewelry [and] charms.”  Around the same time, Silly Bandz also became popular. The Fidget Spinner debuted and was a hit among people of all ages. “The marketing of this device led to many reproductions and eventually ‘upgraded’ styles,” said senior Mohammad Rahman.

Video games also had an impact on our pop culture. Minecraft has remained one of the most popular video games over the last ten years, despite its fluctuating popularity. Minecraft Youtuber BeckBroJack said at Minefaire in November 2019, “I think Minecraft will always come back it’ll be relevant just because it’s a very timeless game [and] it’ll eventually come back stronger than ever as time progresses.”  

Mobile games like Angry Birds, Flappy Birds, Candy Crush, and Pokémon Go were extremely popular this past decade, with the rise of smartphones. Fortnite made a splash in 2018; Dr. Colakis even said that she’s seen “whole Quizlets dedicated to it” and that “it’s especially popular with Trivia and Knowledge Club members.” 

Companies also released new game series and consoles, such as the Xbox One and PS4. Nintendo’s popularity skyrocketed with the release of the Nintendo Switch and new games based on the timeless Super Mario Bros and Pokémon franchises.

Movies and television also had a big impact on this decade. There was a modern revival of the “Disney Renaissance” through the proliferation of Disney movies in pop culture, from Frozen to Zootopia. Disney became a juggernaut in the media industry, with their acquisitions of Lucasfilm (Star Wars) and Marvel. In 2019, Disney topped off a decade of success with Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame. “Even people who haven’t kept up with the movies still came to watch it,” said sophomore Marykate Wee.

Disney Channel and Disney XD maintained their popularity for many years with shows like Jessie, Austin & Ally, Phineas and Ferb, and many more. Despite the loss of Cameron Boyce this past year, the nostalgia surrounding Disney will be present for anyone who grew up during this era.  

Other films that took prevalence during this decade include the “Despicable Me” franchise, “How to Train Your Dragon” series, and many more. In addition, the 2010s marked a time of digitized media subscription services like Netflix and HBO. The increase of popularity for shows such as Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead show how popular paid streaming services were in the 2010s.  

Food trends of the 2010s

Within the past 10 years, we saw diets shift toward vegetarianism and veganism out of concern for the environment and animal rights.With this, more plant-based foods have risen in popularity, including the Impossible Burger, which is entirely made of plants. 

Asian cuisine, from Vietnamese to regional Chinese, has also become more common. Bubble tea is now readily available in most communities in the United States, from the chain stores like Kung Fu Tea and Gong Cha to shops like Tiger Sugar and Mi Tea.  

In the 2010’s we also saw rainbow-colored foods and stranger trends like charcoal deserts. Poke bowls incorporated Hawaiian cuisine with modern twists in the mainstream culture. Food photography, blogging, and social media helped facilitate the rise of the food trends, from Mike Chen’s food adventures around the world to the rise of social media.

Photo by Nikki Ng, Managing Editor.

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