Best of the 2010s
January 14, 2020
This past decade has had a lot of ups and downs for the entertainment industry. We witnessed the birth and death of yet another boy band, the rise of a great cinematic universe, and novels that will go on to leave behind a legacy for years to come.
In these three articles Arts and Entertainment staff writers discuss favorite movies, shows, songs, albums, and books of the 2010s. This list includes a range from young adult fiction to historical nonfiction, and from punk to rap.
Rachel’s pick — “Vicious” by Victoria E. Schwab
Books were definitely a huge part of my decade, I have lost track of how many books I have read, but there is unquestionably one that stands out — “Vicious” by Victoria E. Schwab. The book was released in September of 2013.
The way Schwab uses plot twists and character development in the story astound me without fail every single time.”
— Staff Writer Rachel Laposka
“Vicious” is an unlikely anti-hero seeking out revenge on the supposed “hero.” The novel follows the story of two college roommates, Victor and Eli, who work together to write their college thesis centered around the idea that near-death experiences can leave victims with supernatural abilities. Their hypothesis ended up being correct, but it resulted in possibilities the pair had never anticipated, causing Victor to be in prison for ten years before he breaks out.
I am a sucker for a good anti-hero story and calling this novel a good story is an understatement. The way Schwab uses plot twists and character development in the story astound me without fail every single time.
“Vicious” is a novel I have read several times and each read-through, I find another minute detail that connects back to cliffhangers throughout the story-line.
Joslyn’s pick — “Every Last Word” by Tamara Ireland Stone
Published in 2015, Tamara Ireland Stone’s “Every Last Word” is my favorite book from this decade. The book is about a popular girl who has a secret. She has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she cannot turn off.
She struggles with identity, who her friends truly are, and her secret. She then meets a girl who introduces her to poetry and a secret, tight-knit club of poetry writers. Slowly she begins to feel normal until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.
It takes readers through a riveting storyline that has twists, romance and a view of how some people struggle with disorders such as OCD. Books like this one always interest me and because it’s such an interesting story, it’s my favorite book.
Jordan’s pick — “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas
Along with the book’s magnificent plot, it was also the first time I could truly see myself in the main character of a novel.”
— A&E Editor Jordan Owens
Before 2015 I never liked reading, but now it is one of my favorite things to do. I have read so many novels since 2015, it was hard to pick my favorite. Though the more I thought about it, there is only one book that has helped me through the toughest time in high school: “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas.
This book is about a teenager named Starr who witnesses her childhood best friend’s death because of a police officer. “The Hate U Give” follows Starr in the aftermath of the shooting and how she deals with the nation commenting on what happened.
Along with the book’s magnificent plot, it was also the first time I could truly see myself in the main character of a novel. Before Angie Thomas I had not read a fictional book where the main character and the author were black.
I relate to Starr’s struggles of not being accepted by the people around her, which causes her to not truly accept herself. Whenever I am confused about knowing who I am, I just read “The Hate U Give” to see Starr’s character development, and it helps me become more sure of myself.
Television shows and films
Jordan’s pick — “The Originals”
Since it is a spinoff show from the “The Vampire Diaries,” I was first introduced to “The Originals” that way. Usually, spinoffs of shows are not satisfying and rarely get picked up for a second season, though this series, ironically, is better than the original.
Even though this is my favorite series of this decade it does have some faults. The first half of season one, released in 2013, is disappointing. When watching the show I told myself that I would stop at the end of season one regardless of if “The Originals” was renewed. When watching it I said I would only make it through the season, but as the show progressed the plot and conflict became better.
This show is filled with the best character growth across a series and relationship bonds that I have ever seen.
Joslyn’s pick — “Dunkirk”
“Dunkirk,” released in 2017 and directed by Christopher Nolan is not a well-known movie like “Frozen” or “Harry Potter,” but that does not detract from its quality.
“Dunkirk” is based on the true story of WWII when German forces advanced into France, trapping troops on the beaches of Dunkirk.
The movie does not have much dialogue but being someone who loves history, especially learning about the world wars, this is definitely my favorite movie.
Rachel’s pick — “The Good Place”
This American sitcom takes place in a world known as the Good Place, an afterlife that is nothing short of Heaven. When Eleanor Shellstrop, a not-so-great person from Arizona, finds herself in the Good Place by mistake, she enlists the help of complete strangers to assist her in her ongoing challenge of staying under the radar.
“The Good Place” is a show I can rewatch over and over without growing tired of it. There is just something about the whole “I am not supposed to be here but I think I deserve to be here” trope that pulls me deeper into the show each watch through.
Usually, I am not a huge fan of TV shows. I typically get bored with them after a while and my short attention span dreads the thought of having to sit through an agonizingly long episode. With “The Good Place,” however, I found myself shamelessly watching episode after episode until I inevitably finished the entire show.
The sitcom is perfect for anyone who wants some casual viewing or even someone who enjoys a solid plot.
Kathleen’s pick — “The Avengers”
“The Avengers” was the beginning of fans’ obsession with the Marvel Cinematic Universe that grew throughout the course of the decade. Although it was not the first Marvel movie, since “Iron Man” came out in 2008, “The Avengers” was the movie that sparked my interest in the 10-year, 22-film saga.
Starting with “The Avengers” at the beginning of the decade and then ending with “Avengers: Endgame” just proves how captivating this movie saga has been. The entire MCU has perfect movies bringing justice to the comics, while still capturing audiences who have never read them.
The film has actors perfectly fit for their roles and the special effects that make it less of a comic book-based film about superheroes, and more of just a cool, entertaining action movie. This movie helped shape the decade since “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter” were at two different parts of the decade. The MCU saga dominated the entire ten years
Songs and albums
Jordan’s pick — Cardi B’s album “Invasion of Privacy”
Cardi B having the confidence to not care what people may think of her and say what she feels is why I like her.”
— A&E Editor Jordan Owens
For a long time, I was never into one artist. I just listened to a mix of music by a mix of artists. Though after listening to one of Cardi B’s songs I was instantly hooked, which is why my favorite album of the decade is “Invasion of Privacy.”
This album, released in 2018, is about Cardi’s life from before to after she became famous. It features phenomenal tracks like “Get Up 10,” “Drip,” and my favorite song off the album, “Best Life.”
Featuring Chance the Rapper, the artists explore going from not having much to becoming famous, the struggles of being famous, and not listening to their haters. It is a great song to dance to and get pumped up for any occasion.
Cardi B having the confidence to not care what people may think of her and say what she feels is why I like her. She brings so much of her personality to this album, which makes it my favorite of the decade.
Rachel’s pick — The Maine’s album “Forever Halloween (Deluxe Version)”
Choosing my favorite album from this decade was not an easy task — most of my time is spent listening to music. That being said, the album I chose is one that I can listen to for hours on end and never grow tired of it: “Forever Halloween (Deluxe Version)” by The Maine. Both the original and the deluxe album were released on June 4, 2013.
The Maine is a band that I have been listening to since about 2014, and “Forever Halloween” is the first album of theirs I have ever heard. Naturally, I have a strong affinity for the album, seeing as it is the reason The Maine is my all-time favorite band. The indie-rock album is composed of twelve songs. The deluxe version has an additional four tracks, including my personal favorite “Bliss.”
“Bliss” has always stuck with me for some reason. I cannot tell if it is the empowering lyrics or the clean guitar solos throughout the song. Lyrically, the song explains how harsh the realities of life can be and how to escape them to achieve even the tiniest bit of “Bliss.”
“Forever Halloween” will always stay with me. The message of overcoming anxieties in life and living everything up to its full potential has shaped me into who I am today.
Joslyn’s pick — Twenty One Pilots’ album “Trench”
Twenty One Pilots have exploded in popularity. Just starting to listen to them in 2016, their favorite album of mine released this decade was “Trench,” released in 2018.
My three favorite songs on the album are “My Blood,” “Smithereens,” and “Jumpsuit.”
“My Blood” is about someone staying there for you no matter the problem. “Smithereens” was written about Jenna Joseph, Tyler Joseph’s wife. “Jumpsuit” is a song with a hefty background.
“Jumpsuit,” along with its counterpart “Nico and the Niners,” introduces the fans to the fictional town of Dema and Tyler Joseph’s alter ego called Clancy, the opposite of Blurryface who is evil. The song centers on Clancy’s quest to escape Dema, wearing a yellow jumpsuit. The jumpsuit is the only way he can avoid being captured by the bishops, the watchers and controllers of the city because they cannot see the color yellow.
The meanings conveyed through lyrics and how Tyler Joseph even manages to convey feelings through the music itself is amazing.
Kathleen’s pick — fun.’s song “We Are Young”
It has a certain mood to it that just makes it one of those that you can just scream to while in the car with your friends. ”
— Staff Writer Kathleen Stephens
Because this was an entire decades review, I chose a song that I’ve been listening to for almost the whole decade. The uplifting lyrics of “We Are Young,” performed by fun., have kept it on all my playlists.
It has a certain mood to it that just makes it one of those that you can just scream to while in the car with your friends.
I remember being in about second or third grade hearing this song every morning on the way to school, which is really weird because it’s the first song I add to my playlist whenever I make a new one.
The song is special to me because it reminds me of when I was little, but it also brings back a memory of when all my friends and I sang it around a table during the summer. It just brings people together.
Its carried me through the decade and has kept its place at the top of my playlists.