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
The #1 song for the better part of May was yet another Macklemore cut, the lengthy, commercial-ready "Can't Hold Us," which surged past Pink's "Just Give Me a Reason" even as we were gasping for, well, Mackleless.
But, of course, May is the sweet, sweet month when we swiftly identify the song (or songs) of the summer so that we can invariably grow sick of them and want to chop our ears off before the summer solstice even arrives. In 2013, both such songs buzzed Pharrell Wiliams' smooth pipes through our earbuds and deep into our craniums. And both carried the lingering echoes of 1970s disco. Daft Punk's soultastic "Get Lucky" premiered in April, but it was May when the falsetto-laced horndog anthem slid past "Thrift Shop" as the year's top-selling single in the UK, pounced to No. 2 (and eventually No. 2) on Billboard's Dance/Electronica chart, and nestled its way into virtually every earthly social gathering containing more than four human beings at a time. And, speaking of falsetto-laced horndog anthems, May was also the month when Pharrell and Robin Thicke performed "Blurred Lines" on The Voice. The track quickly shot up the Hot 100 on its route to summer smash status; that, of course, was before the song (and accompanying video) courted the ire of the Internet for its misogynistic lyrics, unleashing think piece upon think piece. Weren't we so innocent?
Elsewhere in music: Disclosure, Vampire Weekend, and The National all released critically lauded LPs that are topping year-end lists today; As I Lay Dying's frontman was arrested in a murder plot; and Taylor Swift took home eight awards from the Billboard Music Awards, though Miguel was the real winner.
The #1 Movie
But while "Get Lucky" and "Blurred Lines" fostered party-happy messages while transporting listeners to the soul universe of the 1970s, The Great Gatsby, released on May 10, had Long Island millennials partying like it was 1924. (And people not on Long Island—the movie played all over!) Baz Luhrmann's lavish adaptation was the fourth highest-grossing movie of the month; not far behind (though far enough to label it a disappointment), The Hangover 3 solidified May's boozy pop-culture slant. Meanwhile, at Cannes, Blue Is the Warmest Colour took home the Palme d'Or.
The Month in TV
In mid-May, NBC's The Office aired its final episode after nine seasons, a climax The Wire's Richard Lawson deemed unfulfilling. Arriving just in time to fill the Dwight-sized hole in our hearts, though, was Arrested Development, which returned on Netflix for the early summer binge. Oh, and Mad Men—remember Mad Men?—heated up in late May, as did the Scripps National Spelling Bee that aired on May 29.
May was the month that set the absurd Yeezus promotional process into accelerated motion: Kanye sung in a studded mask at the Met, projected "New Slaves" onto physical landmarks in 10 different cities, and debuted new tracks on Saturday Night Live. (Reminder: In May, Yeezus wasn't even actually finished yet; it was released on June 18.) Meanwhile, on May 13, TV icon Barbara Walters confirmed her retirement and made her teary goodbye, while the following day, Angelina Jolie revealed that she had a double mastectomy. Also in May, we lost founding Doors member Ray Manzarek and also maybe possibly Grumpy Cat, who got a movie deal.