The end of this year marks the end of a period of life-changing music, movies, TV shows, and yes: memes for many high school students. This year was shaped by hits by debut artists like Lil Nas X and Billie Eilish, and was dominated by monopolistic corporations like Disney and Columbia Records. We’ve organized dozens of polls of Berkeley High students to compile a list of the best songs, movies, TV shows, and memes of the decade that have shaped their childhood.
Thanks to the rapid and uncontrollable rise of TikTok, Old Town Road was voted the song of the year by Berkeley High School students after the infectious rap-country hit was featured in thousands of videos on the platform. The song was re-released by Columbia Records in March, and less than a month later was picked up by Billy Ray Cyrus (yes, Miley Cyrus’s father) who made the first official remix, which is the basis of the long-awaited music video released in May.
Students also voted the following songs as the best songs of their years.
Our Thoughts: Old Town Road was excluded from the Billboard Country top charts because it wasn't country enough, but Lil Nas X has done his best to stuff his hit full of country themes: horses, outlaws, boots, cowboy hats, a tractor, bull riding and even cheating on your baby, all good country staples.
For weeks after the release of Avengers: Endgame, students were constantly encouraging their peers to see the movie to avoid sharing spoilers. Soon, it was expected that everyone had seen the movie at least once, and the internet filled with discussion and memes from the movie. The film that quickly passed Avatar to become the highest internationally grossing film was much more than a cash cow for Disney subsidiary Marvel Studios. No, it was the peak of Marvel’s most successful franchise, and a huge cultural event. Marvel isn’t done yet: they’ve already announced seven movies and five TV shows for the next chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Students also voted the following movies as the best movies of their years.
In a surprising turn, Brooklyn Nine-Nine passed the hottest addition to the Star Wars franchise, The Mandalorian, to become the most popular TV show among Berkeley High students.
We also chose the following shows as honorable mentions:
The Distracted Boyfriend meme was first uploaded by photographer Antonio Guillem to the stock photography website iStock in 2015. Since then, it has quickly become an icon of the internet, and for good reason—it has all the necessary characteristics of a good meme. For one thing, it is versatile, and represents a basic human emotion: jealousy, if under the guise of a cheating boyfriend. The second thing going for it is that unlike more recent memes (such as “Ok Boomer” and “Baby Shark”), this meme is timeless and understandable by almost everyone, and is therefore used by people from all generations with every manner of captions. This meme isn’t going anywhere soon, and definitely deserves its place as the meme of the decade.
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