Top 10 Culture: 2017 in Review

Audrey Vieira, Commentary Editor

Narrowing 12 months of music, movies and moments down to the 10 that defined 2017 is no easy task. We witnessed falls from grace and redemption arcs, brand new faces walk into the spotlight, and seasoned cultural veterans show that old dogs can learn new tricks. Without further ado, here is the best of pop culture that 2017 had to offer.


  1. For me, 2017 didn’t start with a bang. It started on February 1. I finally stopped writing “2016” on my schoolwork out of habit. I rushed into fourth period and shouted, “Beyoncé’s having twins!” I spent the first half of the year anxiously wondering whether she’d welcome boys or girls and when the twins would arrive. As 2017 now slows to an end, I adore her nearly six-month old twins Rumi and Sir Carter, and wonder if they know of their mother’s talent as a performer.


  1.  “It” arrived in theaters on Sept. 7. Based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name, the film became a pop culture phenomenon during the Halloween season. Despite its R rating, “It” earned $688 million and made box office history as the highest grossing horror of all time, unadjusted for inflation. Read the Eagle Angle’s review here.


  1. Harry Styles made his debut as a solo artist and actor, releasing a self-titled album in May and portraying terrified soldier Alex in Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk,” which arrived in theaters in July. Both projects showcased sides of Styles I never noticed before One Direction announced their hiatus. I almost failed to recognize him upon seeing his album’s pastel pink aesthetic and hearing its classic rock influences, but now see his talent as a performer more clearly than ever before. Read the Eagle Angle’s review here.


  1. Jaden Smith certainly kept busy in 2017. He first starred as Dizzee Kipling in Netflix original series “The Get Down,” which was unfortunately cancelled after just one season, and later voiced bachelor Kaz Kaan in “Neo Yokio,” an original Netflix anime created by Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig. However, Smith especially surprised me when he released his debut album “Syre” on Nov. 17. I found his skills as a rapper and the visuals for his songs absolutely stunning, especially for a 19-year-old debut artist. While Smith has yet to announce a follow-up, I hope he continues pursuing his musical career.


  1. After finding myself disappointed by “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad” in 2016, watching “Wonder Woman” finally gave me hope for the DC Extended Universe. With intricate exposition, a phenomenal cast, and an overall theme of empowerment, “Wonder Woman” is more than simply the one DC film I truly enjoyed – it stands as my favorite superhero movie of 2017.


  1. On May 12, Paramore dropped “After Laughter,” their first studio release in four years. The album contrasts upbeat synthpop instrumentals with emotional lyrics detailing depression, forgiveness and lost friendships. Hearing vocalist Hayley Williams sing, “Reality will break your heart / Survival will not be the hardest part” on the album’s sixth track “26” still makes me tear up every time I listen. Read the Eagle Angle’s review here.


  1. Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman announced that the traveling music festival’s 2018 tour will be its last, citing low ticket sales and rising production costs as the reason for its end while promising a final lineup of bands he says “embraced the Warped Tour lifestyle.” As a past Warped attendee, I nearly gasped upon hearing the news of its end. Warped Tour was where artists such as Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Bebe Rexha and even Katy Perry began their musical careers. I’m disappointed to see it shut down, especially when it gave these musicians their fan bases and made many of my favorite summer memories.


  1. Until I heard about 21-year-old rapper Lil Peep (real name Gustav Åhr) and his rise to fame on free audio streaming site Soundcloud, I never believed emo and rap could blend together in a single song, or gain popularity with fans of the two genres. His debut album “Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1” achieved both those tasks. Unfortunately, Lil Peep passed away three months later after an apparent overdose in his tour bus. As musicians including Charli XCX, Dua Lipa and Diplo mourn the tragic loss of Lil Peep, his emo-rap movement continues with more artists following his lead in breaking the boundaries of genre.


  1. Lorde finally released her sophomore album, “Melodrama,” fittingly titled for its heart-wrenching ballads and theatrical reprises. The album earned the two-time Grammy winner a nomination for Album of the Year at the 2018 Grammies, Lorde’s fifth nomination at just 21 years old. If she continues releasing albums as powerful as “Melodrama,” I can only imagine more acclaim in her future. Read the Eagle Angle’s review on it here.


  1. Taylor Swift parodied her negative media portrayal once before on the satirical single “Blank Space” in 2014, but her newest album “Reputation” embraced it when it hit shelves in November. The lead single “Look What You Made Me Do” addresses her 2016 feud with Kanye West, and serpent-themed album merchandise reclaims the snake emojis flooding her social media after the scandal. Still, Swift’s declaration of the death of the “old Taylor” failed to make me support her reigniting a rivalry from 2009. I expected new music, not old drama.

Read the Eagle Angle’s review here.