With the frost of winter dawning upon us, 2019 is officially coming to a close, signifying not only the end of a year, but the end of the decade. 2019 has been another wild year with the buzz of pop culture circling in our everyday conversations. Here’s my own take on 2019’s pop culture highlights.
HBO’s Euphoria is easily one of my favorite TV shows of the year. Initially, it was branded as a typical teen drama to me, and I felt that it was just basking in the hype. However, once I watched the first episode, I was honestly hooked. It does a great job at being highly addicting, and I had to restrain myself from watching too many episodes in one sitting. It’s fast-paced and intense, with an overall likability leagues above other teen drama shows on the air. All of the characters excel in their roles, my favorites being queen bee Maddy and disillusioned Cassie, both of whom I feel really mature as the first season progresses in its short 8-episode run. The writing, direction, cinematography and soundtrack complement each other perfectly in a show that’s a visual feast for your eyes. The soundtrack has high replay value, with its powerful and emotive gospel tones set to a cacophony of synthesized instrumentals produced by Labrinth, accompanied by Zendaya. Euphoria is the perfect example of the teen drama that’s more than relevant for younger audiences to watch and learn from. It indulges when it has to, but stays true to its principles.
As the top film predicted to win big at the Oscars, dark and cynical Joker is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the year. It follows Arthur Fleck’s descent into darkness through a series of life-altering events. Boasting brilliant direction by Todd Phillips and a stellar performance by acting veteran Joaquin Phoenix, Joker shattered a major box-office feat, with its $1B earnings making the highest-grossing R-rated film to date.
It seemed as if the whole world was waiting with bated breath for the release of Avengers: Endgame. With the colossal success of its predecessor, Avengers: Infinity War, Endgame offered the finale to a superhero epic. Spawning numerous memes, inside jokes and fanart, it proved to be a worldly spectacle, on top of being an iconic film.
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
True die-hard fans of Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad were treated to a feast of the senses with El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. A reunion of the beloved cast, El Camino was set right where Breaking Bad left off in 2013. It felt like a proper goodbye to the wildly popular series, and a means of fan service to the hundreds of thousands of crystal-lovin’ fans around the globe.
CASE STUDY 001
Following his last album Freudian in 2017, the Toronto R&B singer continues to explore his sapiosexual world of love and philosophy, with numerous metaphors regarding death, spirituality, and absolution. Tapping into his religious ideologies, he beautifully showcases a prime example of a young man’s vulnerability in regards to his faith, despite the uncertainties that reality poses upon him. Featuring many instruments such as: slide guitar, chimes, and synth, he grasps the listener into an almost psychedelic state. Overall, CASE STUDY 01 has been a treat to his fans, and his success is evident as the album debuted higher than Freudian on both US and Canadian charts.
Norman F*cking Rockwell!
Lana Del Rey
The sophisticated songstress returns in 2019 with a chart-topping new album, Norman F*cking Rockwell! Del Rey yet again returns to common ideas of the lustre of Old Hollywood and the Golden State, but gone are the days of a naïve girl swindled by romanticized views on love. On the new record, Del Rey speaks with the voice of a more experienced woman, one who is tired of failed romantic experiences with emotionally unavailable men. Del Rey’s sultry and deep vocals accompanied with soft piano instrumentals succeed in captivating and enchanting her fans. A deeply raw and mature album.