It had been years since the world heard anything new from Adele, but when the British singer dropped her first single Hello in October, she showed not only the power of her voice, but the power of one song. As the first music video ever to be filmed with IMAX cameras, Hello’s gorgeous Montreal landscapes and a moving performance from Adele was all it took to break Vevo’s record after being viewed 27.7 million times in its first day. When 25 dropped in November, it accounted for 42 per cent of all North American music sales in its first week thanks to 900,000 pre-ordered units. The notoriously shy singer has been busy making the late night rounds and filming concert specials, all while looking more confident and relaxed than ever. The album has remained at the top of the Billboard chart since its release and with Adele’s recent announcement of a North American tour in 2016, we don’t see 25 going anywhere anytime soon.
Bautista Bat Flip
Summer in the 6ix was mostly defined by a wildly successful season for our Toronto Blue Jays. After 22 years of not winning the World Series (and not even coming close), the Jays were in the MLB playoffs. In a tumultuous game 5, Jose Bautista hit a desperately needed three-run homer. The Rogers Centre crowd went wild and before running his bases, Bautista flipped his bat in a show of athletic triumphant. An entire season of Blue Jays fever amounted to this iconic moment in sports history.
Call Me Caitlyn
The Olympian and reality TV star revealed her new identity on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine in 2015: Bruce was gone and Caitlyn was here. She was named Glamour magazine’s woman of the year and also received ESPY’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Jenner nearly broke the Internet with her Vanity Fair cover and new Twitter account, amassing one million Twitter followers faster than Barack Obama did. Jenner’s first tweet, which read “I’m so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self. Welcome to the world Caitlyn. Can’t wait for you to get to know her/me” was the tenth most retweeted tweet of the year.
It’s been 10 months since #TheDress became the online debate that spilled over into every conversation IRL and the very mention of the viral phenomenon causes us peril. Like the Jennifer/Angelina, Britney/Christina, and NSYNC /Backstreet Boys, The Dress divided humanity into two camps: #blackandblue or #whiteandgold. #TheDress was the biggest fashion moment (and crisis) of the entire year.
After skyrocketing to international fame thanks to a little song called Call Me Maybe and a few tweets from Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen released Emotion this year, her third solo album and follow-up to 2012’s Kiss. With her first single, the radio-friendly I Really Like You, looking like Call Me Maybe 2.0, fans of Jepsen were ready to celebrate the singer’s end of her one-hit wonder status. Unfortunately, Jepsen’s I Really Like You and its accompanying album seemed to miss the mark with buyers, failing to bring in sizable sales numbers. But what Emotion lacked in commercial success, it made up for in critical praise. Landing on just about every Best Albums of 2015 list, Emotion was a retro revelation, giving Jepsen’s lovelorn lyrics danceable beats and making them bedroom ready thanks to her work with producers Dev Hynes and Jack Antonoff. Of course, the lack of sales is cause for concern for music fans who fear Emotion will get lost in the mix of big name releases this year, but that’s only for people who haven’t heard it. Because anyone that has given Emotion a spin knows it’s one of the greatest pop albums of the decade.
All good things must come to an end and 2015 packed some tough goodbyes. We parted with the lovable Leslie Knope and her rag tag group of Pawnee employees in Parks and Recreation. We went back to the ’70s with Don Draper and Peggy Olsen and wanted to stay there even after Mad Men ended. The Kroll Show taped its final installment of Wheels Ontario, Glee harmonized for the last time, and David Letterman delivered his final monologue on The Late Show. In films, The Hunger Games wrapped up its last installment with Mockingjay Part II and we said bye to Peeta and Katniss who thankfully had the odds in the favour.
Hollywood has a new It Girl and it’s Gigi Hadid. This 20-year-old bombshell exploded onto the scene this year thanks to a successful modelling career and an enviable social life. She’s certified l’illuminati and keeps her ever-growing circle of famous friends and lovers close. It’s rare to spot Gigi without a posse of at least three famous friends by her side, whether they are of the Swift Squad or Kardashian Klan variety. Gigi is a new breed of It Girl—she’s fresh-faced, laid back and super personable. This year, Gigi starred in multiple big-name fashion campaigns, strutted her stuff on international runways, and killed every red carpet she was on. Did we mention she’s on her third high profile relationship of the year, this time with former One Direction member Zayn Malik? Go Gigi.
Hotline Bling was Drake’s accidental hit in 2015. No one would have expected this humble track to explode, sheepishly posted to SoundCloud in the wake of Drizzy’s feud with Meek Mill. Hotline Bling went on to be Drake’s highest charting single of 2015, peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 list (he has Apple Music to blame for missing the top spot). The song and its lyrics along with the accompanying dance-friendly video became a cultural phenomenon in 2015. Every artist raced to remix it and cover it with even Queen Adele gushing about her love for the track. If you need us, we’ll be cha-cha-ing our way into the new year.
Inside Amy Schumer
It’s good to be Amy Schumer. The comedian first started to gain traction a few years ago thanks to her no-holds barred jokes on Comedy Central’s Roasts and eventually scored her own skit show on the same network. She’s taken on everything from Friday Night Lights to women’s rights in the third season of Inside Amy Schumer without missing a beat. Schumer expanded to the big screen this year with her successful rom-com Trainwreck and landed a multi-million dollar book deal. Her posse of friends now includes Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt and Aziz Ansari, and there’s also the possible engagement to Bradley Cooper that she likes to bring up. If we were Cooper, we’d be turning that joke into reality.
Justin Bieber’s Instagram
Unless you’ve been in year-long coma, you know that Justin Bieber was a big deal this year. Such a big deal in fact, that even his Instagram antics have earned him a spot on our year-end ABCs. Throughout the year, Biebs’ has turned his little square photos into headline stories. Whether it was Justin posting topless photos of himself to prove his Calvin Klein ads weren’t edited, counting down the days until What Do You Mean dropped, commenting on Drake’s new buff physique, promoting Purpose‘s track list, posting ambiguous throwback photos of his ex-bae Selena Gomez, or tracking down the identity of a random girl who we learned was Wolfie Cindy, Justin kept things on his grid interesting. And we’ll keep following.
Kendall and Kylie
It would be nearly impossible to make a year-end pop culture list without mentioning the Jenner sisters. Kendall and Kylie, who go by models, designers, business women, headline-makers etc., had a record year. Everyone has always had their eyes on the Kardashian family, but 2015 really brought the Jenner women into the spotlight. Kendall and Kylie, aged 20 and 18 respectively, already have a long list of achievements under their names. From their clothing line collabs to runway shows to Kylie’s infamous lips, we could not stop talking about this sister duo that we loved to hate and hated to love.
CLaverne Cox’s role as Sophia Burset in Orange Is The New Black was a game changer for the transgender community. With OITNB now in its third season, Cox has risen to fame as the first transgender actress to be nominated for an Emmy. She covered Time magazine in May and even posed nude for Allure. Cox is at the forefront of the trans* equality movement—a movement that shows no plans of slowing down in 2016.
Miley Cyrus Naked
In 2015, we saw a great deal of Miley Cyrus. And we mean a great deal. The former child star seemed to appear naked or nearly naked in public more than we saw her clothed. Between the Paper magazine cover with her pet pig Bubba Sue, the micro mini VMAs costumes displayed during her hosting duties, the Interview mag #Me issue, and Cyrus’ latest Terry Richardson shoot for CANDY magazine, the singer left nothing to the imagination in 2015.
It was a quiet summer in Toronto until rapper Meek Mill took to Twitter to call out Drake for not writing his own raps. That’s when 74-year-old Toronto city councillor Norm Kelly stepped up to defend Drizzy, tweeting “You’re no longer welcome in Toronto, @MeekMill”. Since then, Kelly has found his way into Drake’s inner circle, famously accompanying Drake during the annual Toronto Raptors Drake Night. Drake even invited Kelly to join him during a surprise appearance at Ryerson University’s Frosh Week events. Norm Kelly is a legend, just like the kind Drake sings about on the opening track of If You’re Reading This.
After the surprise departure of Zayn Malik from One Direction in early 2015, the question on every Directioner’s mind was of course, will the band break up? After One Direction confirmed their upcoming March hiatus, the next question was, how will they sound without Malik? Without slighting the former One Direction member, Drag Me Down was a roaring single that became an anthem of self-empowerment and acted as the lead single off the boy band’s fifth studio album, Made In The A.M. With plans to do everything from travel to release solo music to act, the four remaining members of One Direction will likely continue to captivate fans and headlines during their two-year hiatus. Now only a single question remains – will they eventually return?
Is religion cool in 2015? We’re not really sure, but we do know that Pope Francis became a bit of a rock star when he visited the US this fall. Closing down three major cities to accommodate thousands of worshipers, Pope Francis coverage took over every news station for a week. The Catholic figure head has been making impressive strides to bring the church into the 21st century since his appointment, speaking in favour of women being given more power in the church, urging people to help slow the effects of climate change, taking a more lenient view on gay rights, and even joining Twitter.
Rapper Fetty Wap went from virtual unknown to one of the biggest break out artists of the year thanks to his infectious ode to good women in the song Trap Queen. Celebrating the virtues of loyalty and trust, Fetty Wap’s off-tune rapping style helped him reach the number two spot on Billboard and win the BET Hip Hop Award For Best Track of the Year and earn Fetty Wap the title of MTV’s Artist to Watch. Now where are those pies we keep hearing about?
Hollywood loves taking classic movies and shows we love, replacing the actors with hotter, younger, more relevant personalities, making the films 3D, and re-releasing them to the masses. Sometimes, the results are dreadful. Sometimes, they’re actually pretty decent. There were a whole mess of reboots released in 2015, with some messier than others (we’re looking at you, Fantastic Four). Notable success stories includes Mad Max: Fury Road, a rejuvenated, smart, feminist version of the original ’80s classic and Jurassic World, a movie that transformed Parks and Rec’s lovable idiot Andy Dwyer into a sexy, kickass dinosaur whisperer.
Even before its massive release this Friday, Star Wars has already dominated 2015. The biggest franchise in film history is returning to the big screen after ten years. The Force Awakens is expected to break records left and right, with the film showing in over 4,100 theatres in the coming week. The super-secret script has been kept under wraps throughout filming and will surely be dissected by fans for years to come. We just really want to see the Millennium Falcon IRL.
The reign of Stephen Harper ended this fall with an impressive Liberal majority win. After a rise in youth engagement and voter turnout, the population booted Harper and gave Justin Trudeau a chance to carry on his father’s legacy. Since being elected, Trudeau has provided Canada with a cabinet of 15 men and 15 women, welcomed the first of many Syrian refugees to Canada, and has even starred in his own Vogue shoot. We can also thank our PM for giving us the greatest, sassiest response of the year that works as a clapback for anyone who questions our lifestyle: “Because it’s 2015”.
It’s difficult to believe to believe there was a time before Uptown Funk, but the Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars collaboration was only released in November 2014. Spending 14 weeks at the number one spot on The Billboard 100, the single is now cemented in history as only one of seven songs to achieve such longevity in the top spot, with the last song earning that distinction being Black Eyed Peas 2009 hit I Gotta Feeling. The high energy jazz and funk-inspired Uptown Funk is a true collaboration of artists and genres, pulling sounds from around the world. It’s permeated every medium, from TV to movies to advertising campaigns. Your mom loves it. Your grandma loves it. And even though you’re sick of it, you still know it’s an incredible track.
Vevo Records Broken
What did it take in 2015 to break Nicki Minaj’s Vevo Record for 19.6 million views in the first 24 hours for her booty-celebrating Anaconda video? A whole lot of supermodels. At least, that’s what did it for Taylor Swift, whose cameo-filled futuristic assassin video for Bad Blood broke Minaj’s record with 20.1 million views in its first day on Vevo. Swift didn’t hold the title for long, thanks to Adele’s cameo-friendly video. Actually, there was only one other actor besides Adele in Hello. Lots of special effects? Nudity? Action sequence? The answer to where all of your bobby pins go when you lose them? Nope, just Adele looking stunning while walking through the picturesque Montreal countryside. That’s all it took to shatter the previous records with an incredible 27.7 million views. Hello, it’s me, we’re not wondering if you watched the video because we’re pretty sure you did.
The West Siblings
While North might have been in the spotlight for her adorable ballet outfits and antics, Kim and Kanye’s second child was making headlines even before he was born. We all knew that Kim and Ye were having trouble conceiving, thanks to their never-ending TMI marathons of Keeping Up With The Kardashians on E!. Once Kim was finally pregnant, the world rejoined. We then held our breaths as the famous couple eventually revealed the sex of their baby boy. Once Kimye baby #2 was born, the world again stood still in anticipation for the name. All hail Saint West
If you are a celebrity reading these, there’s a good chance you went through a devastating break up in the public eye this year. We’re sorry to hear that and we’re also single if you’re ready to get back out there. In 2015, we saw the end of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield, Kayley Cuoco and Ryan Sweeting, Big Sean and Ariana Grande, Amy Poehler and Nick Kroll, Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green, Zayn Malik and Perrie Edwards, Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick, Gigi Hadid and Cody Simpson, then Gigi Hadid and Joe Jonas, and most painfully, Kermit and Miss Piggy. It’s not easy being green…and single.
YouTubers have been dominating the entertainment field for a few years, but their impact has never been felt more strongly than in 2015. Here at Much we launched the Much Digital Studios and partnered with some of the country’s most exciting voices online. The 2015 Streamy Awards celebrated the best in YouTube, with Much Digital Creator Jus Reign receiving a nomination. From book deals to TV shows to movies, YouTube has become the biggest casting couch Hollywood has ever seen. Late night has taken notice, with The Tonight Show and The Late Late Show battling for viral domination on a nightly basis. What does all this mean for the average viewer? Millions of opportunities to learn, laugh, cry, dance, and procrastinate.
In 2015, this 19-year-old blossomed from a Disney starlet into a smart, outspoken, advocate for young women of colour everywhere. She proudly rocked dreads to the Oscars Red carpet and defended her look when she was the victim of blatant racism. She called out Modeliste magazine for editing her thighs and hips to look smaller, slamming retouched images and the unrealistic beauty standards the media sets for young women. She’s remained graceful despite those transgressions, always accepting apologies from her critics with no hard feelings. Also, she had her own Barbie modeled after her—dreads and all. If that’s not the mark of a successful year, then we don’t know what is.