I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but this throwback post was particularly hard for me to put together. Don’t get me wrong, 2008 was a huge year for pop culture. But at the ripe old age of 16, I was becoming a lot more comfortable with exploring things outside of the mainstream. In fact, I went out of my way to. As a result of this, a lot of what I associate with 2008 didn’t actually come to fruition in 2008, if that makes sense. That being said, hindsight truly is a beautiful thing and when I was putting together this post I was reminded of the many iconic pop culture moments that did happen in 2008. I think sometimes you have to look back a few years to truly appreciate what things were like at the time. And I guess that’s the reason why I love putting together these throwback posts so much. I thrive on reminiscence and nostalgia. Anyway, this has been a long intro, let’s jump straight into 2008!
In 2008 I was 16-turning-17 and in my first year of VCE, also known as Year 11. Before I continue I’d just like to take this opportunity to make clear that Year 11 is a bit of a waste of time. There’s such a big deal made about it being the gateway to Year 12 and honestly, none of it really had a huge impact on our final results in Year 12. So yeah, it was overhyped. It was, however, the year that spare periods or “study” periods were introduced and man did I take advantage of that initiative. Especially on Mondays when I only had one morning class…
2008 started off strong, I had received a silver 80GB iPod classic for Christmas, so taking the bus to school became a whole new experience for me. I would spend the journey to and from school exploring my music collection, it was such a novelty to have access to literally all of my CD’s. I usually liked to listen to emotional and impactful songs in the morning and saved the more up-tempo stuff for the afternoons. I’m not really sure why but that was my system.
I was now a pro at taking public transport, and good thing too because I certainly wasn’t getting my drivers licence anytime soon. My casual sales position at a men’s workwear store had come to an end, so I was a little more strapped for cash than the previous year. It wasn’t all bad though, as it forced me to be a little more thrifty with what I spent my pocket money on. My best friend Luke and I started op-shopping quite frequently in 2008, and actually found some pretty cool stuff! I have such fond memories of this time in my life and it’s a good reminder when I feel like our current budget is a little tight. There’s definitely some truth in the phrase “the more you earn, the more you spend.”
In 2008 I guess you could say I experienced the typical “coming-of-age” storyline you might find in a B-grade teen movie. I experienced the short-lived highs and lows of teen romance, got drunk for the first time and decided I’d give hanging out with the “wrong crowd” a go. You know, all the cliche things. It was an interesting year to say the least, and I was so desperate to claw my way out of the safety bubble I had grown up in. I look back now and see a girl who was very naive, I trusted people I barely knew way too much and then was surprised when they let me down. Moments like these were huge learning lessons for me and ones that I’m glad I had. That being said, sometimes I wish I had handled things differently, been a bit more confident in certain situations. I wish I had thought more of myself in 2008, I was so insecure in my body and even in my personality. I suppose it’s normal to feel this way when you’re a teenager though, even if it’s often cringe-worthy to look back on.
It must be said that one of the most notable things of my life happened in 2008: I started this blog. I can still remember the day so vividly, it was a rainy Sunday afternoon in July and I had been thinking about doing it for a little while. My blog was my own private sanctuary where I could express my thoughts and feelings and post cool pictures. Never in a million years would I think I’d still be here blogging nearly 13 years later.
Me on my 17th birthday on holidays in Singapore. Can we please just take a moment to appreciate the ridiculous bug-eye sunglasses? I got them on eBay and thought I was sooooo cool.
As I said before, 2008 was a year where I discovered a world of music outside the top 40. With the aid of MySpace I discovered a bounty of alternative bands and also got pretty into a lot of 80’s and 90’s music. That being said, 2008 most certainly still produced the goods and Coldplay’s Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends is a great example to start with. This is my favourite Coldplay album of all time, it genuinely feels like I’m time travelling every time I listen to it. One of my favourite things about the album is how the songs are broken up, they often start out fairly sombre and slow and then break into something unexpected. There’s also a lot of different instruments featured in each song which I think is really cool.
Another one of my favourite albums came to fruition in 2008, Panic! At The Disco’s Pretty.Odd. It was a huge departure from their previous sound and just so different to everything else out at the time. Pretty.Odd is an album that sounds best when you listen to it from start to finish, each song sort of melds into one another. I wish I could describe it better, but you really do need to listen to it to understand what I mean.
Some bands and artists I discovered in 2008 include Ladytron, Lykke Li, Kate Nash, Crystal Castles and M83. I was a big fan of electronica at the time but had also branched out into indie pop, a lot of which I discovered on MySpace. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Those. Were. The. Days.
As for pop music, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry came onto the scene in 2008 and represented a new wave of pop stars we hadn’t seen since Madonna. T.I, Rihanna Chris Brown, Kanye West and Jordin Sparks also dominated the top 40 in 2008 and RNB music was hugely popular at the time.
How can I talk about 2008 without mentioning that my all-time favourite TV show had recently come to fruition? Gossip Girl was introduced to us in late 2007 and by the time 2008 rolled around I can safely say the world was hooked. I didn’t start watching it until the back end of 2008 as it wasn’t on free to air TV, so I had to resort to buying the DVD’s on eBay. It’s also worth noting that The Hills was in its third season, which is where I really think the series hit its high. Mary-Kate and Ashley also released their coffee table book Influence which I got for Christmas. I chose the Mary-Kate cover, if you were wondering.
At the end of 2008 we also experienced the “comeback” of Britney Spears after a tumultuous few years of bad press. We obviously have a lot more insight now as to how that process came about, which makes me deeply sad to think about. In 2008 however, we were really naive and I was so excited that the Britney I knew and loved was back.
MY TOP 5 FILMS OF 2008
This is a really weird list, I’m not going to lie. Like music, I was more interested in discovering movies that were a little bit older…
I saw Juno at the movies during the summer holidays before school went back. I’d say it was probably one of the first indie movies I ever saw and subsequently, I developed quite a taste for them. The story follows Juno, a teenager who navigates her way through the ups and downs of an unplanned pregnancy. It’s a genuinely sweet movie and really quite hilarious at times. It also has a great cast, I highly recommend.
I was slightly too old to get around the Camp Rock hysteria, but I must admit, I didn’t hate this movie. It’s a good movie to have on in the background, while you’re doing something else. It’s also worth a watch purely for the 2008 throwback, I mean, look at how young and innocent Demi Lovato is there. Not to mention the Jonas Brothers and that hair…
RACHEL GETTING MARRIED
In this movie, Anne Hathaway plays a drug addict who is discharged early from rehab to attend her sisters wedding. It was the first adult role I’d ever seen her play and I was so impressed with her performance. The film was shot in a naturalistic style and takes place over only a few days, which I was a big fan of. I also loved the way this movie captured the family dynamic of the characters, it feels like you’re a part of it when watching it.
The concept of the antics that take place at an all-girls boarding school set in the english countryside was obviously very appealing to me at 16. I definitely saw this at the movies. This movie is actually pretty stupid but it’s a bit of teenage fun, I suppose. It was also our first introduction to Russel Brand and the cast also featured a bevy of english models I had come to appreciate through my various copies of Vogue. There’s a sequel too so it must be good, right…
BRING IT ON: IN IT TO WIN IT
I have no shame in admitting I appreciate each and every Bring It On movie in the franchise. The more, the better in my opinion. Excuse the pun, but bring it on, I say! This movie obviously lacks the character development and “cheer” humour that the first movie was able to produce, but how much can we expect from the fifth instalment in the series? This movie is worth the watch purely for Ashley Benson, pre- Pretty Little Liars in my opinion. And also, for the cheesy dialogue.
And that my friends, concludes my 2008 throwback. I hope you have enjoyed this instalment and as always, please let me know if you’d like me to cover a specific year next on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
Until then, please enjoy my 2008 throwback playlist and make sure to follow me on Spotify for all my other playlists!