It’s Time to Celebrate the Greatest Year of the Early 21st Century

Friends, dust off your Juicy Couture terry cloth sweats, Von Dutch hat, Tiffany heart necklace and Coach ‘Signature C’ armpit bag because 2014 isn’t just another year. It marks a decade since 2004—one of the greatest years in the history of early 21st century popular culture.

Here are 14 pop culture milestones from 2004 that you need to celebrate EVERY DAY during 2014 because they made you, me and pop culture into what it is today, for better and for worse.


14) ‘Desperate Housewives’

Life was much simpler when it was just Sunday nights with the ladies on Wisteria Lane.

Then Bravo got involved. [Enter ‘The Real Housewives.’]

13) ‘New York Minute’

Before Mary Kate and Ashley went into the business of designing apparel and accessories for rich old ladies, they made this cinematic gem with Eugene Levy. It was the Olsen Twins final film together, before they traded in their teenage fans for an older demographic that just happens to come with a thousand times more disposable income.

12) Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show Controversy [a.k.a. Nipplegate]

The genesis of the now ubiquitous term, “wardrobe malfunction:” A strange combination of words that are not only indicative of America’s Puritan tradition of sexual repression, but also take “beating around the bush” to the extreme.

11) ‘White Chicks’

Who could forget the scene in the car where Terry Crews sings along to ‘A Thousand Miles?’ Back in 2004, it was just funny. After frequently recreating this scene in my own car—sometimes swapping out Vanessa Carlton for Michelle Branch or Avril Lavigne—watching Terry now is like looking in the mirror.

10) ‘Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County’

A reunion is definitely in order. If not on MTV, then definitely on KTLA.

9) ‘Leave (Get Out)’ by JoJo

JoJo and I were both 13 when this track was released in 2004; a track where she just happens to sing about how she wants her boyfriend to get out of her life because he cheated on her.

Let’s be honest, when JoJo recorded this track, she probably didn’t understand cheating any more than I did. But hey, the chorus is catchy and has a strong feminist message so maybe her momager—by the way, I’m completely making this next part up—thought, “Why not. She’s got a mature voice and she doesn’t have to say any cuss words so no harm done. Girls of all ages will like it. 10 years from now, she’ll look back and probably still like it too.”

I have no idea whether JoJo loves or hates the track that made her famous, but I will shamelessly admit that as an adult, I still listen to it on a regular basis.

8) ‘Goodies’ by Ciara feat. Petey Pablo

In this sexy, Crunk/R&B feminist anthem, Ciara partnered up with rapper Petey Pablo, who dropped the dirty-nasty-but-oh-so-good single, ‘Freak-a-Leek,’ the year before.

Producing your debut single in a genre that tends toward misogyny and collaborating with an artist who recently released a song that explicitly objectifies women? Sorry Bey, Ciara beat you to it.

7) Britney & Kevin got married

via People

Their marriage marked the beginning of the Trainwreck Era for Britney. This photo of the newlyweds is the first in a series of less-than-flattering paparazzo photos taken of Britney through expensive windshields.

During the three years between the release of In The Zone (2003) and Blackout (2007), Brit showed us how not to live. With help from the right people, she managed to pick up the pieces and get back on track. With a bunch of hit albums under her belt and a successful stint as a judge on ‘The X-Factor,’ Britney just started her residency in Vegas. Lindsay, enough is enough. It’s time for you to take a hint.

6) ‘The Notebook’

This is where it all began: the world’s love affair with Ryan Gosling and Hollywood’s unhealthy obsession with positioning Nicholas Sparks adaptations as star vehicles for attractive, up-and-coming actors.

5) ‘Lost’

This show turned J.J. Abrams into a household name and made it okay—maybe even sort of cool—to participate in a fandom.

Look at us now: we’ve gone batshit crazy for a fantasy television series complete with swords, dragons and made up languages.

If that’s not progress then I don’t know what is.

4) ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’ by Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell

This track is the perfect combination of smooth and nasty. It still gets a crowd going.

Pharrell, I still love you but ‘Blurred Lines’ are for amateurs.

3) Facebook

The launch of Facebook is an event that most of us only care about in retrospect. When Facebook launched back in 2004, most people didn’t care. Back then, it was all about MySpace and Xanga. Even for people who didn’t directly participate—such as a dweeb like myself, whose mom refused to let her sign up for MySpace.

2) ‘Mean Girls’

I think I can speak for everyone on this one. We want a cast reunion on Ellen. Announce it already. Ellen, don’t bother worrying about whether or not Lindsay will bail last minute. Let’s face it, her work ethic isn’t great so chances are, she will bail.

But who cares! The effort is what counts. It’s still a party with Tina, Amy, Rachel, Amanda and the girl who plays Gretchen Weiners.

1) ‘Yeah!’ by Usher, feat. Lil Jon & Ludacris

Take that and rewind it back. Even Usher knows that he can’t top this track. Why do you think he says, “If you want to scream yeah / Let me know and I’ll take you there,” in his 2012 single Scream? Sure, I’m close reading and adding meaning where I see fit.

Ten years may have passed, but it doesn’t matter where I am. Whether I’m in the car with the windows down, at the kitchen table on a saturday morning or at a club–I’m still screaming Yeah!

And if you read this far, I know you are too.


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