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Student newspaper of Strath Haven High School

Panther Press

Student newspaper of Strath Haven High School

Panther Press

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TRENDS: Best of 2023 (Sasha’s Version)

A few of the best experiences of a media-saturated year, according to one senior. We had to cut about 600 words for the print edition—this is the full edit.
Some of the best media of 2023, according to our editor. Barbie: Rodrigo Prieto (Director of Photography) The Last of Us: HBO Renaissance: Eras Tour: Aerosmith Tour: Guts: What was I made for:

Best Artist: Taylor Swift

It’s been a long time coming, but we all knew she could do it. Number one artist on Spotify, and number one artist in our hearts. Even if you’re not a fan like those in her 0.5% of Spotify listeners, I think anyone who lived through 2023 knew that Taylor would end up on top. 

Taylor Swift has always been iconic in the music industry, but this year was a game changer for her career, hence why she is THE top artist of this year. 

If you’ve been paying attention to Swift’s latest album releases, you may notice some familiar titles coming back into circulation. 

For those who aren’t fans, you should know that Swift has made history in the last few years, specifically this year with the release of two album re-recordings: Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) in July, and 1989 (Taylor’s Version) in October. 

Swift broke Spotify on both release dates for the overwhelming number of listeners. Fans not only attacked Spotify and Apple Music with their desire to re-enter their Speak Now and 1989 eras, but broke Ticketmaster as well. 

The Ticketmaster crash took place last November but continued throughout this year as tour dates approached. Swift’s tour began in the spring and is set to continue into 2024 with even more US dates joining the pre-existing international dates. 

The popularity of her music and existence in general caused tickets to sell out within minutes… again. She continues to amaze us each day and keeps fans on the edge of their seats for more re-releases and potential new albums. 

Best Album: Guts

2023 was a year packed full of album releases. There are so many to choose from, but one came out on top. 

Fans of Olivia Rodrigo lost their minds when “GUTS,” was first released and after only two months, it’s become a fan favorite from this year. The album is packed full of emotion and any teenager can admit that the lyrics cut deep.

Starting with a bang, Rodrigo’s “all american *****” set the record straight. She is that girl. When you play the album from start to finish you can experience every kind of feeling a teenager can have and that’s a tall order. Closing with a gut-wrenching song about growing up and moving on to bigger and brighter things, “Teenage Dream” makes you feel all the tough feelings. 

Those who didn’t fall in love with the album must not have heard the line “Dazzling starlet, Bardot reincarnate,” in Rodrigo’s heartbreaking ballad “Lacy,” or maybe they did and need a quick reply to remind themselves of the genius poet that Rodrigo has become. Her album deserves all the love it’s received, and trust me when I say that there was, and still is, a lot of love to give it. 

In addition to Rodrigo’s album release, Travis Scott’s “Utopia” is one for the books.

Not only does it feature 19 full songs, each with unique and original lyrics, but it also includes a variety of guest artists who add their own flare to each piece. Artists like SZA, Beyonce, Drake, Kid Cudi, Bad Bunny, and several others are featured on the album, adding to its already amazing sound.

What makes Scott’s album so great is how different it is from his previous releases. He dives into different sounds and changes his lyrical style for this album which was taken too well by his listeners. The album did incredibly well and received one of the highest ratings of the year. Songs like “MY EYES” and “PARASAIL,” show a softer side of Scott’s discography and contain lyrics of an insanely talented artist, “Look in my eyes, tell me your tale / Do you see the road, the map to my soul?” 

Best Movie: “Barbenheimer”

Barbie, for those who watched, was life-changing. Not only did Greta Gerwig reimagine the world that young girls grew up loving brightly and beautifully, but she also made us feel things. 

Besides the obvious appeal of pink, glitter, and ten thousand pairs of pumps, Barbie was able to reach a part of my soul that I forgot existed. Gerwig brought out the child in all of us and made us laugh, cry, and think about what the purpose of life is all in two hours. 

The movie, while targeting sexism and the obvious patriarchy, was also able to entertain those who don’t identify as women. 

The Barbie movie was intended for all audiences; men, women, and those who identify as nonbinary or genderqueer. There is a Barbie, Ken, or Alan for everyone and Gerwig’s ability to enter the audience with inclusivity and bring back such a special franchise was the reason for its success. 

Trends followed Barbie around the world, specifically on social media with those dressing in pink to honor Barbie and her iconic style. Barbie made the year her own and welcomed us along on her journey. 

Oppenheimer featured a different side of the film that we loved just as much as Barbie.

Without all the pink and glitter, Oppenheimer got back to the basics of cinema. The muted tones and distinct era-appropriate clothing were of note when watching.

What I loved about Oppenheimer was the details. Each actor nailed their part and reached levels I couldn’t have imagined from a movie I knew nothing about. Oppenheimer took on challenging subject matters and historical events that may not be pleasant to rehash but did so classically and elegantly.

Biopics are hit or miss and Oppenheimer was most definitely a hit. Besides the obvious appeal of Cillian Murphy’s acting and his phenomenal display of emotion, other actors reached out of their comfort zones to make this movie and we are so glad they did.

Best Concert (tour): Eras Tour and Aerosmith Farewell Tour

The Eras tour was monumental. The highest-grossing concert tour in history, and it’s not even halfway over. Everything, down to Taylor’s thirty-second quick changes, was precise. 

Songs from childhood to 2022 made audience members feel all of the feelings. This tour broke the internet, literally. Ticketmaster’s crash in 2022 will be remembered for years as well as the sold-out theaters when the tour movie first hit AMC.

This tour was nostalgic but well-crafted at best. Surprise songs, costume changes, bedazzled guitars, and surprise album releases made this tour unlike any other. 

Whether or not you like, love, or despise Taylor Swift, you have to admit that she knows how to put on a show, and how to make it worth the two thousand dollars you may have spent. 

Another tour of note was Aerosmith’s Peace Out: Farewell tour. Although cut short due to Steven Tyler’s vocal issues, the tour was a culmination of over forty years of music. Every album on their discography was represented at the tour, filling the audience with feelings of nostalgia as the band said their final goodbyes.

Beyonce’s Renaissance was another tour that was an undeniable success.

Fans filled the stadium to belt out songs from the last twenty years of Beyonce’s career, and all who attended can agree that it was a magical atmosphere. Another incredibly high-grossing tour, people came from all over to attend the various tours in both the US and Europe. The first leg of her tour had sold out stadiums left and right and longtime fans scrounged for last-minute tickets to see their favorite artist.

Both Beyonce and Taylor released tour movies that packed theaters for weeks and even now, the Renaissance movies are filled with adoring listeners dressed in merch and glittering outfits for the occasion.

The concert itself ran over two hours, almost as long as Swift’s three-hour tour, and featured songs from various albums. Dancers filled the stage for each number and gave the audience an amazing show filled with love and packed to the brim with talent.

Beyonce knows how to put on a spectacular performance and give fans an unforgettable show.

Best Song: What was I made for? (Billie Eilish)

Anyone who has heard Billie Eilish’s heartbreaking ballad “What Was I Made for?” knows the emotional damage this song is capable of doing. 

Written for Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” the song is about growing up and finding meaning in life as an adult. 

“I used to float, now I just fall,” is Eilish’s tear-jerking opening lyric and those who have listened can agree that it continues to get more sad as the song progresses.

In the Barbie movie, the song is used as background music for a montage of Barbie’s nostalgia. 

A trend followed on TikTok where scenes from various users’ childhoods flashed on the screen using the caption “Girlhood” with Eilish’s ballad playing. This trend took over the summer, with women and girls all over the internet sharing their favorite memories and the things they love most about being a woman. The videos were seen by Eilish and even she released her version of the trend. 

“What was I made for?” made us cherish our childhood memories but also think about who we want to be and how to make the most of our lives. 

It’s not the best song to play at your next party, but it is a spectacular choice for when you’re feeling a little bit nostalgic and need a good cry. 

Best TV Show: The Last of Us

For those who love a good Dystopian novel or film, this apocalyptic TV show will do your favorite dystopias justice. 

Surrounding a world taken over by an infectious zombie-like disease, this show is entertaining, and action-packed, but funny all at the same time. Even after watching the pilot episode, viewers can see that they’re in for a wild ride when streaming the show. 

Even without having played the video game that served as inspiration for the show, I still found that this movie eviscerated its competition for the best show of 2023. We laughed, we cried (in terror), we turned away when things got a little too gory for our taste, and we enjoyed the rollercoaster. 

Besides the adrenaline rush you will get when watching, expect to be on the edge of your seat the whole time. 

The show received 4.7 million views across the various streaming networks it premiered on and followed closely behind House of the Dragon’s overwhelming audience. 

According to Deadline, the series averaged over 32 million views per episode, which is a LOT. Fans spoke highly of Pedro Pascal, the show’s leading male actor, but also gave rave reviews about the show itself. 

Its 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes just goes to show that it’s worth a watch, and clearly deserves its “Best of 2023” title. 

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About the Contributor
Sasha Binder '24
Sasha Binder '24, Editor-in-Chief
Sasha Binder is a senior and co-Editor-in-Chief of this year's newspaper. Outside of Panther Press she enjoys dancing, listening to music, and playing with her dog.
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