By: Lime Green Giraffe Copy Editor, Avery B. 

What was the world like 10-years ago? I can barely remember myself (second grade me was not quite up to date on pop culture) but a decade ago still feels like it was just yesterday. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is curious about what was all the rage back in 2009. What was playing on the radio? What were people tuning in to on TV? What were the blockbuster movies? What were people wearing? Well buckle your seatbelts and turn on your time machines, because we are taking our own blast to the past in search of answers.  

Music in 2009 saw the release of some incredible hits and the rise of some amazing stars that we still admire today. Lady Gaga debuted with her hit single Just DanceTaylor Swift came out with her second album Fearless, and Beyoncé gave us her fourth album I Am… Sasha Fierce. Kelly Clarkson released her fourth album, All I Ever Wanted, and her lead single My Life Would Suck Without You still holds the record for the biggest jump to number one on the Hot 100 Chart. Justin Bieber also notably released his first single, One Time. 

According to the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, the top hits of 2009 were… 

    1. Boom Boom Pow by The Black-Eyed Peas 
    1. Poker Face by Lady Gaga 
    1. Just Dance by Lady Gaga ft. Colby O’Donis 
    1. Gotta Feeling by The Black-Eyed Peas 
    1. Love Story by Taylor Swift 
    1. Right Round by Flo Rida 
    1. I’m Yours by Jason Mraz 
    1. Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) by Beyoncé 
    1. Heartless by Kanye West 
    1. Gives You Hell by The All-American Rejects 

In terms of music events, Bruce Springsteen performed at the Super Bowl half time, and Metallica was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And who could forget the infamous Kanye MTV Video Music Awards incident? When Taylor Swift went up to accept the Best Female Video award for You Belong with Me, Kanye West interrupted her by grabbing the microphone and saying that Beyoncé actually had the best music video that year. His phrase “I’mma let you finish” was later turned into an internet meme but he received quite a lot of backlash for the incident at the time. Sadly, 2009 was also the year the world lost superstar Michael Jackson right before his final series of comeback concerts.  
Now beyond music, this was also a huge year for TV shows debuts. On Disney Channel, Jonas, the hit show starring the Jonas Brothers, was introduced to young audiences everywhere, capitalizing on the popularity of Camp Rock from the year before. Also on the Disney Channel, the Disney Channel Original Movies Princess Protection Program and Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie were released that summer. 
GleeModern Family, and Parks and Recreation both started in 2009 and were immediately widely popular with the public. Other debut shows that have become TV staples in the past decade include Cake BossShark Tank, and American Ninja Warrior 
The TV shows that had built up quite the following in 2009, all included on TIME magazine’s top 10 list, were Mad MenBreaking BadThe OfficeLost, and Sons of Anarchy.  
While these shows were keeping people entertained right in their living room, the big screen had its own fair share of blockbuster movies that kept audiences pouring in. Avatar, the highest-grossing film worldwide even to this day, came out in 2009. Other notable movies included the romantic comedy 500 Days of Summer, Pixar’s Up, and Disney’s Princess and the Frog. 2009 was also a huge year for movie sagas. The sixth Harry Potter movie, The Half Blood Prince, was released as well as the second installment in the Twilight saga, New Moon. Additionally, X-Men Origins: Wolverine became the fourth movie in the X-Men franchise and the first Fast and Furious movie also made its way into theaters.   

The world of literature 10- years ago was dominated by the Young Adult (YA) genre and books filled with adventure, dystopian societies and magic. Some of the most notable works released that year include: 
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins  
  • The Maze Runner by James Dasher  
  • The City of Glass by Cassandra Clare 
  • The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan  
All of these books were installments in hugely popular YA series. However, beyond just YA books, the famous book turned movie The Help by Kathryn Stockett also hit shelves in 2009.  
The fashion of 2009 was a mix of the casual vibe sported in the mid to early 2000s as well as a focus on a more preppy look. 2009 saw the revival of late 1980s/early 1990s street wear, bringing back neon colors, gladiator sandals, headbands and knitted sweater dresses. Other fashion staples of the time included ballet flats, black leggings, skinny jeans, and large dangly earrings. Another notable influence on fashion at the time was Japanese street style.  
As far as hair goes, the Justin Bieber long side swept bangs were all the rage for boys. Girls also went for side swept bangs, normally with long straight hair and scrunches in tow.  
 Now the Internet in 2009 was incredibly different than the one we know today. At the time, YouTube was only four-years old, and the most watched video of 2009 only had 120 million views. The video featured Susan Boyle, a contestant on Britain’s Got Talent and her incredible singing voice as she sang I Dreamed a Dream from the Les Miserables (which you can watch here). Other notable videos from this year included a loopy teenager after a dentist appointment and a wedding entrance that features the bride, groom, and their entourage dancing their way down the aisle.  
And of course, we can’t mention the Internet without mentioning the memes. Reaction face comics were all the rage and pretty much define this era of Internet history. Other notable memes include the paintings by Joseph Ducreux, normally accompanied by the old English retelling of popular rap lyrics, as well as Piano CatPhilosoraptor and the interrupting Kanye West. A majority of these memes featured the quintessential block white text on the top and bottom of the photo  
The world 10-years ago seems so drastically distant from today, yet none of those “drastic changes” happened overnight. Who knows what life will look like in another decade? We can only guess what people will remember about popular culture in 2019 and what will be forgotten. However, there is one way to find out… Catch you in 2029! 

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