Year in review: 2019 pop culture favourites

Photo Credit: Mackenzie Gerry

Photo Credit: Mackenzie Gerry

This year, the basic girl trend saw a big revival. We have upgraded from the Ugg boots and Lululemon leggings paired with a Juicy sweater. The Lululemon leggings are the only feature that withstood the test of time. However, it is now a necessity to pull white Nike socks over the hem of the leggings. Once the socks are hiked up, white Air Force 1s are the next basic girl staple. Oversized sweaters and tees complete the 2019 basic girl look. In the winter, a North Face vest is a must-have. Hair and makeup wise, basic girls left the concealer covered lips and thin eyebrows for glossy chapstick and natural, thicker eyebrows. Basic girls nowadays typically rock scrunchies and messy hair, opposed to the fried straight hair that I wore for all of high school (ruined my hair but it was still worth it). I am a huge supporter of being a basic girl, even if it means wearing my Air Forces year-round, so I stand by this trend.

Hustlers was a standout movie this year. It featured some big names, like Cardi B and J Lo and was an overall great flick. It had a scandalous appeal — with sex, money and drugs featured frequently throughout — but also had a feel-good storyline. This was a 2019 milestone movie because it had tons of diversity and was empowering as a female to watch. The soundtrack was great, the acting was on point, making it a standout overall. Hopefully, in upcoming years more female-centric movies make waves like Hustlers did.

When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? by Billie Eilish dropped this year and was a huge game-changer on the music scene. Eilish brought her own unique sound to the top of the charts, a huge feat in and of itself. She has become a role model for teens as someone who is different from the norm but is still incredibly successful. Her style has risen to icon status, as she wears whatever she wants and owns it, again making her a very lovable, well-rounded artist. Eilish’s album features hugely popular songs like, “bad guy” , “you should see me in a crown” and “when the party’s over”. Eilish brought back alternative, edgy music in 2019.

On the opposite end of the fashion trend spectrum (sorry to all the basic girls out there), I have been absolutely transfixed with the slow shift of editorial-inspired makeup into everyday looks. This is everything from the glitter, rhinestones and colour blocks artists Doniella Davy and Kirsten Sage Coleman brought to the characters of Euphoria (having been asked by the show’s creator specifically to “create the next makeup trend”, no less) to the Milk Makeup glossy eyelids and tattoo stamps that have been scattered around Instagram for a couple of years now. Even smaller makeup risks — brightly coloured eyeshadow and liner, blush on the tip of the nose — are slowly becoming embedded in everyday looks. Makeup has always held many opportunities for artistry and self-expression and it’s exciting to see the boring mattes and contours that defined the middle of the decade be shafted for something creative and fun.

Tyler, the Creator’s Igor is easily my favourite album of the year. Although brimming with strong emotion, Igor is gracious about it, hoping to work through hard feelings instead of lamenting. I’ve grown up with Tyler, the Creator and watched him grow into his own, as he’s become more dynamic and original in each medium he manages to master. Igor is a testament to this; the thought that Tyler had moved on from rap didn’t even strike me upon hearing his distorted voice crooning over breezy, soulful funk and R&B, impeccable down to the tiniest details. Although Tyler is perpetually shapeshifting as an artist, he never feels disingenuous. The vulnerability weaved through every lyric on Igor says as much. Aside from lead single “Earfquake”, standouts from this album for me are “What’s Good”, “I Think” and “A Boy Is A Gun*”.

Alright, my actual favourite of 2019 is The Lighthouse, but in order to not be redundant, I’m picking the work of another up-and-coming horror auteur. Midsommar is the first film I saw this year that stuck with me. This film is a fever dream painted with the colours of an idyllic fantasy, where even the most depraved nightmares are brightened in the glimmer of sunlight. Coming so soon after surprise standout Hereditary, Ari Aster’s sophomore effort could’ve dropped the ball for his career entirely. But Midsommar manages to keep you stunned for the entirety of its whopping two-and-a-half hour runtime. Florence Pugh is on her way to becoming a household name and Midsommar will no doubt be a landmark in career. Pugh plays Dani, a woman shackled by chains of grief and sorrow, lost in a world where nobody has the heart to care. Guilted by the recent tragedy that struck her, negligent and no-longer-interested boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) is forced to bring her along on a boys’ trip to Sweden that turns macabre fast. The daytime horror is twisted yet darkly comedic and ultimately unforgettable. 2019 ended a decade that ushered in a new wave of mainstream horror-adjacent filmmakers towards the end, all of whom had a new film premiere this year. Aster is only one name amongst others, namely Robert Eggers, Jordan Peele and Jennifer Kent, to watch in the future.

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