The years between 2010 and 2019 changed how we consume music, view stardom, and buy the items we covet. They saw influential brands surface and fade and athletes shift our world, taking their platforms from the court and the field to our timelines as their profiles grew and influence widened. And they set the tone for what our culture will become in the decade that follows.
In looking back at the 2010s, we asked ourselves one question: What, in those 10 years, affected us the most? As 2009 drew to a close, we were downloading songs from iTunes (or the legally grey platforms of the blog era) as we watched rap morph into something that would have been unrecognizable at the turn of the millennium. We were scrutinizing images that circulated through networks predating Instagram, most of us still on computers we carried in backpacks. And we were discussing sports, sneakers, and fashion on forums, usually without the aid of .gifs and video.
Ten years later, that era feels prehistoric. Which is why, instead of ranking what came after it, we’re focusing on how the ’10s informed the culture we live in and consume. It’s all led to a world that feels as though it was shaped by our tastes. This is the Complex Decade.