The Year That Was, 2013 is far too large of a topic to tackle all at once, even when only focusing on the pop culture aspects. Breaking things down month-by-month feels like the smarter call. We'll be working our way through the year one month at a time, remembering the songs, films, TV, and other fun/horrifying stuff that we may well have already forgotten.
The #1 Song
Though Miley's "Wrecking Ball" was in the top spot when the month began, it was soon knocked out by Lorde's "Royals." Yes, October was the month when we all became obsessed with—and then started debating the merits of—the then 16-year-old New Zealander goth's massive hit. As the song grew in popularity, the criticism also came in. A post on Feministing by Verónica Bayetti Flores called the song "deeply racist" because its lyrics seem to take aim at the type of wealth flaunted in rap and hip hop by black artists. Of course widespread debate—the "Royals" question made its way onto CNN—was far from settled: the song would hold onto the top spot for another month.
The #1 Movie
October was a big month for movies, the month when films that had premiered at festivals like Toronto and Telluride started hitting theaters. But the biggest of all of these was Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity, which was not only hailed by critics, but also became a box office powerhouse, and has ultimately grossed over $250 million, not to mention its impressive international haul. The success of the space epic was encouraging news since it was proof that a completely original movie could still be a big box office success.
Of course, Gravity was not the only film to come out this month. After being declared the Oscar front-runner in September, 12 Years a Slave made it into theaters, as did Paul Greengrass' Captain Phillips. Robert Redford also took a critically acclaimed journey on the high seas in All Is Lost, while Cameron Diaz had sex with a car in the panned The Counselor, and The Fifth Estate was one of the year's most notable failures. Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake's Runner Runner did't do too well either.
The Month in TV
One of the biggest TV events of the month was also one of the saddest. Though Cory Monteith died back in July, in October, Glee memorialized him with the episode "The Quarterback." In many ways, watching the episode was appropriately devastating, and it was impossible not to remember that, though in character, this really was a group of young people mourning their friend.
The month also saw the start of Alec Baldwin's MSNBC show Up Late, and, well, we all know how that worked out. The CW launched their Mary Queen of Scots by way of The O.C. drama Reign, which introduced the world to a sexy version of Nostradamus. Meanwhile, Scandal returned and people were excited.
We also said goodbye to the first crop of new shows to kick the bucket. R.I.P. Lucky 7, Ironside, and Welcome to the Family. You will not be missed.
Kanye West proposed to Kim Kardashian at a baseball stadium. McKayla Maroney won the vault title at the gymnastics World Championships. We went to New York Comic-Con. And celebrities wore really dumb costumes to Halloween parties. Looking right at you, Julianne Hough.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.