Four years in review
Erin McAuliffe | Friday, May 15, 2015
The class of 2015 walked onto campus Aug. 21, 2011 without apps like Snapchat, YikYak and Uber on its phones. iWatch was only used in vernacular to say things like “iWatched the Game of Thrones pilot” or “iWatched The Oprah Show finale.” Like the students of the senior class, pop culture has changed a lot over these past four years. Sit down, put on some of the jams of the past four years (“Somebody That I Used To Know” seems fitting) and take a look back.
1. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2” — July 15, 2011
As you were preemptively packing for college and simultaneously feeling old and nostalgic, another part of your childhood came to a close with the premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2,” the eighth and final film in the series. However, the film ended with a glimpse into Harry and the gang’s future, setting an inspirational tone for the class of 2015’s venture to the school they picked largely because “South Dining Hall looks exactly like Hogwart’s Great Hall!”
2. Snapchat — September 2011
Snapchat’s release solidified the #selfie movement and inspired college kids everywhere to “do it for the story.” The app’s September release was a coincidental blessing, as it allowed you to send FOMO-inducing selfies to all your high school pals after you had already found some friends. With the apps frequent updates and continued relevance, it is likely most of you will still be using it to document Commencement.
3. “Girls” — March 22, 2012
Lena Dunham’s HBO show has pushed boundaries as a realistic read of four 20-somethings’ careers or lack thereof in New York City. The show thrust Dunham into the foreground as a new favorite actress and writer, as well as feminist and Twitter-follow. If you have followed this show throughout your time at college, the plot may resonate more than ever now as you attempt to enter the workplace or are still “funemployed.”
4. “The Hunger Games” — March 23, 2012
“The Hunger Games” focused on the trials of heroine Katniss Everdeen, but Jennifer Lawrence came out of the film with just as much hype. Her awkward charm, french fry comments and famous falls turned her into her own brand of female heroine.
5. “Les Miserables” — Dec. 25, 2012
The star-studded musical sparked Broadway sing-alongs, Eddie Raymayne-love and Hatha-hate. It’s soundtrack has never been more relevant as you have “One Day More” at our University until it is filled with “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.”
6. “Harlem Shake” — February 2013
“And do the Harlem Shake.” And we did. And it was 2013 and it was great. A true horse-masked, hip-gyrating movement that had 40,000 versions uploaded to YouTube by Feb. 15 (compared to 12,000 just four days prior). Most likely you contributed to at least one of its 175 million views.
7. Miley Cyrus VMA performance — Aug. 25, 2013
The combination of foam fingers, teddy bears and a former Disney channel star sounds like something you would see during the seventh-inning stretch of a minor league baseball game, but somehow these three things found themselves amidst the MTV VMAs and subsequently caused some major controversy. Coming off the “We Can’t Stop” video, “Bangerz” release and hairstyle that rocked the world, Miley’s twerking and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” made headlines for weeks.
8. “Frozen” — Nov. 27, 2013
“Frozen,” the animated Disney film with an empowering message, two strong female leads and a soundtrack so good we have yet to “Let It Go.” The film broke the record for highest grossing animated film and won two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original song and contributed to the John Travolta “Adele Dazeem” Internet phenomenon.
9. “Beyoncé” — Dec. 13, 2013
The album unprecedentedly dropped in the middle of the night and shifted the entire industry of record promotion and release. The album incorporated an audio-visual medium with its short films for each song. The hype carried her to the Super Bowl where she lit up the stadium so much that the power shut off — or was it the Illuminati?
10. 56th Annual Grammy Awards — Jan. 26, 2014
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis walked away with Grammys for Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Album. Their fur-fueled bargain shopping antics somehow eclipsed Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z and Kanye West (a.k.a. the Grammys became even more irrelevant).
11. Ellen hosts The Oscars — March 2, 2014
Ellen hosted The Oscars like it was a middle-school sleepover — taking selfies and ordering pizza — and subsequently won the night. Her selfie/carefully disguised Samsung ad garnered 1.2 million retweets in an hour, beating out Obama’s election night photo as the most popular tweet ever.
12. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge — Summer 2014
The Ice Bucket Challenge took over social media and raised more than $115 million, as well as lots of awareness, for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Everyone from LeBron James to Taylor Swift to your entire Facebook feed participated.
13. “1989” Taylor Swift — Oct. 27, 2014
This album converted us all to T-Swift fans. No one is “above” her music now. However, her decision to remove her discography from Spotify in November was detrimental to house party soundtracks everywhere, leaving a “Blank Space” where “Shake It Off” once resounded.
14. “To Pimp A Butterfly” Kendrick Lamar — March 15, 2015
Kendrick’s third studio album delivered important music and an important message: to empower those deprived of it. In the wake of recent police brutality and the movement for improved racial equality, the funk and jazz-infused album worked to raise awareness and spark conversations around these issues through critically acclaimed tracks.