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The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

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Barbie, Blondie and Belly

Summer 2023 Media Recap
Fair use from Warner Bros, Republic Records, Netflix

Summer of 2023 had a plethora of major pop culture events and releases. Although this article won’t encompass everything that premiered over the past few months, I’ve included some notable movies, albums, shows and songs.

“Barbie” and “Oppenheimer”

It seems like everyone and their mother (literally) went to see either the Barbie movie or Oppenheimer in theaters on July 21st. Being at the theater on and around release day was an experience in itself, as tickets were sold out for the first two weeks of both premieres. Many movie-goers donned general pink outfits and specific costumes (such as ‘Flower Power Barbe’) to watch Barbie, and all-black trench coat ensembles to watch “Oppenheimer.” Both films had been anticipated for months, with July 21 being called ‘Barbenheimer Day.’ Some people on social media scheduled their day around seeing both movies, with espressos before Oppenheimer and brunch before Barbie. I myself saw Barbie, and I enjoyed it so much I actually wound up seeing it three times! The movie struck a chord in myself and many other female viewers, as it touches on a wide range of women’s struggles that we relate to. The combination of Barbie’s brilliance and its surrounding excitement caused it to make over $1 billion in less than a month. 

Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)

Announced at her ‘The Eras Tour’ on May 7 and released on July 7, Taylor Swift re-recorded her third studio album “Speak Now” in order to reclaim it and make it “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version).” The new version of the album included all of the classic songs, plus six ‘From the Vault’ tracks. Some of these include artists Swift was inspired by when she made the original album, such as “Castles Crumbling” featuring Hayley Williams of Paramore, and “Electric Touch” featuring Fall Out Boy. These songs, as well as the charting “I Can See You” made the album into something new and updated for 2023, giving the vault tracks a more rock feel compared to the country-pop style of the original songs. An interesting move Swift made in this re-record was changing a seemingly misogynistic lyric in the song “Better Than Revenge.” In the original chorus, Swift sings “She’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress.” In the new version, though, she changes the line to “He was a moth to the flame, she was holding the matches.” Overall, the album is moderately different from the original release, but it is nonetheless a powerful summer listen.

“The Summer I Turned Pretty” Season 2

“The Summer I Turned Pretty,” the show based on Jenny Han’s book of the same name, returned this summer for its second season starting July 14. In season two, Isabel “Belly” Conklin (Lola Tung) continues to grapple with her romantic interest in brothers Conrad (Christopher Briney) and Jeremiah (Gavin Casalegno) Fisher. However, when familial complications cause the familys’ summer house to be in jeopardy, the group must put their issues aside to fight for the place that brought them together. Much like other teen dramas such as Twilight and Gilmore Girls, there have been established teams for Belly’s love interests (I, personally, am Team Conrad all the way). This season had a lot of twists and turns, and the anticipation was only intensified with the weekly episode releases. After only a few weeks, “The Summer I Turned Pretty” was renewed for a third season, coming next summer.

Songs of the Summer

There seemed to be many ‘songs of the summer’ this year. With Taylor Swift touring across the U.S., it’s no surprise that her song “Cruel Summer” has resurfaced on the charts. Many songs from the Barbie Movie soundtrack have been extremely popular, which makes sense considering the lineup of the album. Bangers like “Barbie World” by Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice, “Dance the Night” by Dua Lipa and “Speed Drive” by Charli XCX are all incredibly fun to blast while driving with the windows down, while “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish could definitely be added to a sad playlist. Country songs have been popular this summer as well, with Luke Combs’ “Fast Car” and Morgan Wallen’s “Last Night” placing on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Other notable pop singles include “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus, “bad idea right?” by Olivia Rodrigo and “Calm Down” by Rema and Selena Gomez.

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About the Contributor
Modesty Manion, Multimedia Editor
Hi there! My name is Modesty, I’m a senior and it’s my third year on Echo. This year I'm Echo's Multimedia Editor, and I am so excited to grow Echo's digital impact! I'm on the varsity nordic ski team, as well as the cross country team, and I love coffee, Gilmore Girls, pop culture, hiking, camping and thrifting. 

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