Music was an important aspect of my life growing up, so I decided to make a definitive list of iconic songs/artists that helped define specific time periods of my childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. This is the third and final in my 3 part series of posts. Each time period will contain 10 highlights, in no particular order, that I felt best fit my experience. This last one was a little difficult as it is the most fresh in my mind. It was hard to choose just 10 things, so some of your faves I have tried to incorporate into other categories. So sit back, relax, and relive your youth.
This post goes out to the middle 80's babies (84-86).
1. Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga came out of nowhere in 2008 with infectious dance beats and quirky lyrics. Along with her larger than life persona and legions of little monsters, Gaga quickly became a household name. "The Fame" & "The Fame Monster" produced hit after hit, but her most important record was the 2009 smash "Bad Romance" which won her 2 Grammys and was certified 11x platinum. Her epic video for the song "Telephone" was an experience in itself and featured the lovely Beyonce. Since her meteoric rise to fame, Gaga has released 3 more studio albums including 2014's "Cheek to Cheek", a jazz collaboration with Tony Bennett. Gaga can also be seen in the new season of "American Horror Story".
2009: Lady Gaga - Bad Romance
2010: Lady Gaga ft. Beyonce - Telephone
2. Festival Bands
With the rise in popularity of music festivals, also came the rise of the festival band. These are bands who are popular in their own right, have tons of fans(both casual and die hard), and fit most* anyone's general music taste. This makes them a prime act to add to a multi-genre festival. They may be the reason you decided to come to the fest or you chill out and watch them while you wait for your fave to take the stage. These bands typically tour the most popular festivals such as Coachella, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, and Glastonbury. None have mastered the art of being the festival band as well as Florence + The Machine. Each of their songs is a musical journey and front woman Florence Welch's vocals are perfect for the laid back vibe that accompanies festival culture.
2010: Florence + The Machine - Dog Days are Over
Honorable Mentions: Alabama Shakes - Don't Wanna Fight / Awol Nation - Sail / Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
It surprised everyone in 2009, when then Degrassi actor, Aubrey Graham, dropped his 3rd mix tape "So Far Gone". Seemingly over night, Jimmy Brooks became a hip hop/R&B sensation on the popularity of the single "Best I've Ever Had". Drake has since started his own label "October's Very Own (OVO)" and refuses to slow down. He released 2 surprise mix tapes in 2015, the 1st of which "If Your Reading This it's Too Late" helped spawn numerous memes and internet jokes. Drake is a constant in the news due to his high profile hook-ups, collaborations, and most recently his feud with rapper Meek Mill. Drake brushes off claims of ghostwriting and criticism by constantly delivering smart and innovative songs, which will keep him in the spotlight for more years to come.
2010: Drake - Over
2010 :Drake ft, Nicki Minaj - Up All Night
4. Skateboard Rappers
Sometime in the late 00's a new kind of rapper emerged. One that wore mid calf socks with vans, cargo pants and hoodies. They rapped about drugs, women, and their bling. They created fun party songs that you can chill and smoke to. They embody a street style that many teenagers try to emulate. They have collaborated with all kinds of artists from EDM to Rock. Perhaps the most successful of his peers is 33 year old Lil' Wanye. Having been around since the late 90's, Lil' Wayne has made a name for himself with his numerous features with popular artists such as Drake and Nicki Minaj. A stint in jail and a brush with death hasn't slowed him down and he continues to release popular songs in 2015. Wiz Khalifa came onto the scene in 2010 and hasn't looked back. His singles get regular rotation on both hip hop and pop stations all over the US. His most recent single "See You Again" with Charlie Puth holds the record the most streamed track on Spotify for a single day (4.2 million times on 4/13/15).
2008: Lil' Wayne ft. Static - Lollipop
2010: Wiz Khalifa - Black and Yellow
Honorable Mentions: A$AP Rocky - Fucking Problems / Tyga - Rack City / Rae Sremmurd - No Type
5. EDM crossover hits
Electronic dance music slowly crept its way back into the mainstream in the late 00's. Many popular recording artists were branching out and testing the waters by having EDM producers make them radio friendly tracks. Daft Punk gained traction after their stellar performance at Coachella in 2006. David Guetta(nope.) had several radio hits in collaboration with numerous artists from Akon to Sia. Diplo has been producing music for a variety of artists such as Madonna and Usher. However, none are more popular than Calvin Harris. Harris gained popularity with his album "18 months", but it wasn't until his collab with Rihanna that he became a music superstar. "We Found Love" was an international hit that spent 10 weeks at #1 on the billboard hot 100 and became the the longest running #1 single of 2011. Calvin continues to generate hit after hit including "I Need your Love" ft. Ellie Goulding and "Sweet Nothing" ft. Florence Welch. Most recently, Calvin made waves by starting a romance with another musical powerhouse, Taylor Swift. Zedd has also enjoyed success on mainstream radio with his singles with Hayley Williams "Stay the Night" and "Break Free" with Ariana Grande. While critics and music aficionados argue that these EDM crossover hits all sound the same, it hasn't slowed their artists from climbing the charts.
2011: Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna - We Found Love
2012: Zedd ft. Foxes - Clarity
Honorable Mention: Jack U ft. Justin Bieber - "Where are you Now" / DJ Snake ft. Lil Jon - Turn Down for What / Lana Del Rey - Summertime Sadness
6. Grown up Disney/Nick Starlets
Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, and Miley Cyrus. The holy trinity of children's programming all grown up, and they want everyone to know. All have been fairly active since the end of their respective children's shows, but they are slowly evolving into the artists that they want to be. Selena Gomez has had mediocre success with her slew of pop singles and movie roles, but her relationship with Justin Bieber shoved her into the international spotlight. Demi Lovato also has enjoyed moderate success with her radio friendly singles and active instagram account. She made headlines due to a very public battle with mental illness and substance abuse, but has since overcome her issues to become a role model for body positivity and mental health. Perhaps the most random 180 has been Miley Cyrus. Hoping to shed her Hannah Montana image, Miley started out as the girl next door pilates queen, but has since transformed herself into a pot smoking, nudity loving oddity. She had one of the biggest singles of 2013 "Wrecking Ball" with an equally iconic music video. She continues to push the envelope and seems to not care about her detractors.
2013: Miley cyrus - Wrecking Ball
Honorable Mention: Demi Lovato - Give your Heart a Break / Selena Gomez - Come & Get it / Ariana Grande Ft. Iggy Izalea - Problem
7. Katy Perry Vs. Taylor Swift
Both of these leading ladies burst onto the music scene in the late 00's to much fan fair. Taylor had a strong country demographic and slowly morphed her music into a pop/country hybrid. Katy has been pop perfection from the start and recently tested the EDM waters with her track "Dark Horse". Both have had high profile relationships even sharing the same man at one point. Both seemed to be on friendly terms until Katy supposedly stole Taylor's back up dancers for her tour and they have been cold to each other since. Many passive aggressive, social media swipes and supposed diss songs later and the ladies still havemt buried the hatchet. Taylor has assembled her army of models or "squad" while dating one of the most successful producers in the industry, Calvin Harris. Katy has been mostly busy with her world tour and her off and on again relationship with John Mayer. Both ladies are superstars in their own right, and the drama that ensues between them only fuels their popularity. Maybe one day the ladies can forgive and forget...
2010: Katy Perry ft. Snoop Dogg - California Girls
2012: Taylor Swift - I Knew You Were Trouble
8. Viral Music Videos
Social media and the advent of youtube in 2005 single-handedly changed the music industry forever. Now, fans could watch or listen to their favorite artists online and on demand...without paying for the music. Many artists have been discovered on youtube such as Colbie Caillat and Justin Bieber. Youtube views are also now a part of the formula for calculating the #1 single on the hot 100 chart. Youtube has also given rise to the "Viral music video". These are songs that may or not be in regular rotation on radio stations, but their videos live in infamy on the internet. Whether it's people making their own versions to the song till it's officially dead, or just replaying the ridiculous videos over and over again...viral music videos are here to stay. South Korean pop star Psy truly embodied this phenomenon. With over 2 billion views on youtube, Psy became an overnight celebrity with his catchy single "Gangnam Style". You literally could not go anywhere in 2012 without seeing or hearing this song. The equally wacky video helped catapult Psy to youtube fame.
2012: Psy - Gangnam Style
Honorable Mention: Baauer - Harlem Shake / Pharrell - Happy / Rebecca Black - Friday
9. British Invasion
England has always had great musical artists that have crossed the Atlantic and climb the US charts. Acts include The Beatles, Queen, The Spice Girls, & Oasis. The most recent wave of British acts was led by the late and great Amy Winehouse who wowed music critics and fans alike with her soulful voice and meaningful lyrics. Unfortunately, Amy passed away at the age of 27, but her legacy in music lives on. Many others followed suit including Sam Smith who dominated the 2015 Grammys. However, none could compare to Adele who burst onto the scene in 2008 with her debut album "19". She went on to win 2 Grammys the following year including the dreaded Best New Artist. Fortunately, The curse of the new artist Grammy did not seem to hurt her career as she steamrolled forward with her 2nd album "21". Adele became the 1st female artist to have 3 simultaneous top ten singles in the Billboard hot 100 as well as being awarded the longest running one album by a female solo artist on both the UK and US charts. It has been rumored that Adele is releasing her 3rd studio album by the end of 2015.
2010: Adele - Rolling in the Deep
2006: Amy Winehouse - Rehab
Honorable Mention: Sam Smith - Stay with Me/ Ellie Goulding - Burn / One Direction - That's What Makes you Beautiful
10. The Fall & Rise of the Spears
Britney Spears was on top of her game in the middle 00's. Fresh of the recent success of her 5th studio album "In the Zone" and her Onyx Hotel world tour, Britney was the reigning princess of pop. Fans continue to try to pinpoint the exact moment it all went wrong, but many accept that her relationship with Kevin Federline sent Ms. Spears on a dark path. To cheating rumors, late night partying with Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton, shaving her head, the umbrella incident, and subsequent 5150 hold...Britney Spears had hit rock bottom...and very publicly for that matter. Somehow thru all of this, Britney managed to release her best album to date "Blackout". However, An embarrassing "comeback" performance on the MTV VMAs further proved that Britney was not ready to return to the limelight. Cut to another year later, her life under conservatorship, and a new album...Britney seemed to be "almost" back to her old self. With each passing year, Britney has proven that she is overcoming her past issues and continues to be successful, most recently starring in her own Las Vegas residency: Britney Spears: Piece of Me.
2007: Britney Spears - Gimme More
2011: Britney Spears - Till the World Ends
Video Sources: 3334353637383940414243444546474849
Info Sources: my memory & 6789
Image Sources: 12
What are some of your musical memories, ONTD? Part 1 posted HERE Part 2 posted HERE