The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Four years in review

| Friday, May 13, 2016

Scene review webSusan Zhu


The Class of 2016 walked onto campus on Aug. 19, 2012 with “Call Me Maybe” still ringing in their ears — the result of both tear-filled parent drop-offs and Carly Rae Jepsen’s summer single. From 2012’s countless car karaokes and parodies to Jepsen’s 2015 perfect pop album “E*MO*TION”, the Class of 2016 has matured and evolved alongside the state of pop music.

Sit down, put on some of the jams of the past four years and take a look back at the music, films and pop culture phenomena that defined the highs and lows of your four years at Notre Dame.


Twilight Saga: “Breaking Dawn – Part 2” — November 16, 2012

As a new dawn was breaking over your Pinterest-inspired freshman year dorm room walls, a saga was ending. You pulled out your books (annotations defining your Team Edward or Team Jacob status) from the drawer you threw them in after your roommate made a snarky comment about a Twilight BuzzFeed quiz to reread marked passages before watching the finale of Edward and Bella’s cringe-worthy onscreen drama.

“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.”

“Harlem Shake” — February 2013

“And do the Harlem Shake.” And we did. And it was 2013 and it was great. The horse-masked, hip-gyrating movement 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 the phenomenon’s 175 million views or even organized your own spoof with fellow freshmen.

Miley Cyrus VMA performance — Aug. 25, 2013

The combination of foam fingers, giant teddy bears and a former Disney channel star sounds like the entertainment during the seventh-inning stretch of a South Bend Cubs 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, Cyrus’s twerking and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” made headlines for weeks.

“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, won two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original song and prompted the John Travolta “Adele Dazeem” mess-up.

“Beyoncé” 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 2014 Super Bowl where she lit up the stadium so much that the power shut off — or was it the Illuminati? With “Lemonade,” Beyoncé carried her mysterious release schedule, video-based album and important Super Bowl performances into 2016.

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.

“1989” Taylor Swift — Oct. 27, 2014

This album converted us all to T-Swift fans. No one is “above” her music now — including all the celebrities she Instagrammed with #SquadGoals, called to stage on tour and recruited for her “Bad Blood” music video. However, her decision to remove her discography from Spotify was detrimental to house party soundtracks everywhere, leaving a “Blank Space” where “Shake It Off” once resounded.

“To Pimp A Butterfly” Kendrick Lamar — March 15, 2015

Kendrick’s third studio album delivered important music and an important message: to empower those who have been deprived of power and the means to obtain 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.

“Jurassic World” — June 12, 2015

“Jurassic World” raked in the third-highest worldwide box office grossing in history. However, the film was pushed to fourth with December’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” release. The two films capitalized on nostalgia and a new generation of fans for the franchises.  

“Hamilton” — August 6, 2015

The rap-influenced musical opened this summer and as people just can’t “Say No To This,” it has pretty much been sold out since. For the “Helpless” of us who “Wait For It,” the soundtrack on Spotify helps us “Stay Alive” while deprived of a coveted Broadway seat. The production was just nominated for a record-setting 16 Tony Awards and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda has been seen everywhere from the White House to “Inside Amy Schumer.”

Drake inspires all Instagram captions and Halloween costumes — 2015

Drake solidified himself as a meme in 2015. His “Hotline Bling” music video inspired groutfits, Timbs and dad dancing on Halloween (and a T-Mobile Super Bowl commercial). He sat on top of mountains, mantles and The Cheesecake Factory roofs on Twitter as a makeshift Elf on the Shelf Photoshopped from his “Views” cover art. At least 47% of all 2015 Instagram captions can be traced back to a Drake lyric.

“Made in the A.M.” One Direction — Nov. 13, 2015

One Direction released their fifth album “Made in the A.M.” in November. The title was rumored to reference the absence of Zayn Malik — After Malik (A.M.). The group is currently on an “extended hiatus” and the release left Directioners wondering if the album was the last they’ll hear from the group — meanwhile, ZAYN released his first solo album “Mind of Mine” in March 2016.

“Purpose” Justin Bieber — Nov. 13, 2015

This was a banner, banger year for Bieber. “Love Yourself” succeeded “Sorry” as number one on the US Billboard Hot 100. “Where Are Ü Now” won a Grammy. Kanye West tweeted that “What Do You Mean” was his favorite song of 2015. All of this cemented his frequent airtime at Michiana’s hottest clubs and dorm rooms.

“25”Adele — Nov. 20, 2015

Adele’s “25” was the release fans had patiently waited for: Scene touted it as “a safe, pleasant enough album that reinforces her place as a pop music icon.” “21” won Adele seven Grammys and was the world’s best-selling album of the year for 2011 and 2012. “25” was the biggest-selling album release since “21.”

“The Life of Pablo” Kanye West — Feb. 13, 2016

Three title changes, sloppy rough draft track lists, reworked songs and changed deadlines — “TLOP” was unprecedented in its shifted release, live-streamed Madison Square Garden hype session/fashion show and subsequent wait time. West’s album and accompanying tweets solidified his “spaz in the news” persona alongside his solid discography as the self-proclaimed “greatest artist of all time.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About Erin McAuliffe

I'm Scene's editor and a senior Marketing & Journalism student. To quote the exquisite Sadie Dupuis, "I'm not bossy — I'm the boss."

Contact Erin