2009: a Pop Culture Year in Review

Note: Watch this video for a mixtape mash-up of pure pop bliss from 2009.

When I think back on 2009, the first thing I will think of is that it was the most creatively inspiring year of my life.  It’s been a long time since artists seemed to be so excited about their craft and dedicated into putting out work that is interesting, thought-provoking, and daring.  We got Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” video, Beyonce evolving into Sasha Fierce, a new slew of young Hollywood actors rebelling against the formula Lindsay Lohan had strewn along, and a surplus of young indie bands releasing some of their most original work yet.

So, come inside for a look back with me and be sure to leave your comments for some of your favorite parts of 2009.

THE EXPLOSION OF GAGA

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You couldn’t go anywhere this year without hearing, reading about, or seeing Lady Gaga. While I definitely was not a fan of hers this summer, her brilliant “Bad Romance” video and appearance on SNL won me over.  There really is no one else in the game as dedicated or as nuts as Gaga.  And we love her for it.

TWILIGHT HAPPENED; EVERYONE WITH AN OUNCE OF FEMINISM DIED INSIDE

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Much like Gaga, Twilight was virtually inescapable this year.   But sadly, unlike Gaga, Twilight , the story of a girl who has absolutely no self-respect and only cares about winning the love of a vampire, had nothing to back itself up on.  After months of hype and magazines declaring stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson this generation’s answers to Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke, “New Moon” debuted as a huge box office smash but with blistering reviews.  It’s currently sitting at 28% on Rotten Tomatoes with the current consensus being: The Twilight Saga‘s second installment may satisfy hardcore fans of the series, but outsiders are likely to be turned off by its slow pace, relentlessly downcast tone, and excessive length. It didn’t help that most critics deemed Stewart’s performance laughable either.

BEYONCE COMES INTO HER OWN AS SASHA FIERCE

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This was the year that Beyonce reached icon-level after the premiere of her “Single Ladies” video in November of 2008.  Going on to release as many hit singles as humanly possible in one year (Halo, Video Phone,  Diva etc) and then proving herself to be one of the classiest women in music at the VMAs by displaying the most grace and humility MTV has ever seen, Beyonce was finally and rightly so, hailed Woman of the Year by Billboard magazine in November.

MICHAEL JACKSON DIES

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In life, Michael Jackson was looked at as a freak who used to be one of the best entertainers in the world.  In death, the world finally recognized and mourned what a great musician we lost.  It was shocking, tragic, and made all the more sad when “This Is It” was released and proved that MJ was still in top form.   Child molestations accusations aside, there will never be another Michael.  You’re missed, MJ.

YOUNG HOLLYWOOD GETS CREDIBILITY

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Remember when that used to be the constant headline on every newstation, magazine and newspaper?  Well those days are long gone now.  After years of girls like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Richie, and Britney Spears destroying the public’s perception of Young Hollywood, a new group of renegades came in and changed everything.  Gone are the days where young actresses were seen out clubbing every night and young actors are known for the douchey behavior, and in it’s place is a group who cares more about their work than fame.  Check out my list for the leaders in this group here.

LINDSAY LOHAN BELIEVES SHE’S STILL SOCIALLY RELEVANT; WORLD CARRIES ON WITH THEIR LIVES

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This has definitely not been a golden banner year for Lindsay.  Her Ungaro collection was literally mauled by fashion critics, her movie “Labor Pains” was sent straight to cable (ABC Family nonetheless), and her girflriend Samantha Ronson finally left her. But not to be outdone by her flailing celeb status, Lindsay recently promised on Twitter “LOHAN MANIA!” this year in 2010.  Can’t wait for that one!

JAMES FRANCO FINALLY GETS RESPECT AS AN ACTOR

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It hasn’t always been easy to be James Franco.  A few years ago he was starring in wonderful movies like “Flyboys”, “Tristan + Isolde”, and “Annapolis.”  But then James did some Funny or Die videos, got a slew of award nominations for “Milk” and then gave the middle finger to everyone by appearing on “General Hospital” beginning in November.  Somehow during all of this he also still found the time to host one of the best SNL’s of the season too. And now he’s one of the most respected, and down to earth, actors in Hollywood.  Congrats, James!

INDIE BANDS TAKE OVER

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Yes, I laugh at hipsters just as much as the next person but I also know they put out some GREAT music this year.  Where would be without some Grizzly Bear, St. Vincent, Devendra Banhart, or Dirty Projectors to liven up our parties this year?  NYC is responsible for a slew of these bands and I can only hope they continue to put out truely creative and addictive music thi year too.

TAYLOR SWIFT STEALS THE HEART OF AMERICA

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In retrospect, if Kanye West hadn’t stolen Taylor Swift’s moonman we all probably wouldn’t love her as much as we do now.  But after that, everyone and their mother picked up her CD and fell in love.  World domination seems to only be a few steps away.

And that’s it!  It’s been a wild and wicked year, and I can’t wait to see what this year is going to bring.  And I’ll be writing about all of it every step of the way.

Who blew off the right side of your brain this year, TMB-ers?  List them here!

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