Mapping the brave new world since “Channel Orange”

It’s been almost four years since Frank Ocean dropped his last album, and the world is a far different place.

There’s something about the four-year cycle. It’s no coincidence that the Summer Olympics (the far superior of the two Olympics), presidential elections (the far superior election) and leap year (the far superior year because it has a whole extra day) all fall on the same turn of the sun. If the rumors are true, then a Frank Ocean album drop will be elevated to the same pantheon.

I was going into my senior year of high school when I first heard about the perils of the super rich kids with nothing but fake friends. Now I’m going into my senior year of college and looking back on how different the world was in the distant past of 2012.

Taylor Swift was not yet exposed as a snake.

It’s hard to imagine, but Taylor Swift was still America’s Sweetheart in the summer of 2012. She was a few months away from the launch of her fourth studio album RED and four years away from secretly being recorded by evil mastermind Kim Kardashian West giving her husband permission to talk about her sex life in his song “Famous”. Her biggest controversy in 2012 was losing her country roots.

The Warriors had almost half as many wins as loses

The Golden State Warriors had a dismal outing in the 2011–2012 season. They went 23–43, and did not qualify for the playoffs. The biggest news for the franchise was their draft. In June, the Warriors picked up Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and crotch-obsessed Draymond Green. The newest Warrior Kevin Durant was picking up the pieces of his Oklahoma City franchise after falling to the Heat in 5 games, hoisting Lebron to his first Larry O’Brian Trophy.

The biggest campaign snafu was “binders full of women”

In 2012, the biggest gaffes the Republican nominee Mitt Romney would get into was the mild mannered “binders full of women” faux pas at the Town Hall Debate. If Donald Trump said binders full of women now, it would be a welcome reprieve from the cringe-worthy quotes/tweets/attacks he spews on a daily basis. The last week alone has been a great lesson for student journalists in picking out which outlandish, newsworthy quote they should lead with when talking about Donald Trump.


  • Harambe was a happy-go-lucky gorilla and not yet the victim of police violence
  • Overly Attached Girlfriend, Bad Luck Brian and Ridiculously Photogenic Guy were the biggest memes in 2012
  • J. Cole hadn’t gone double platinum without any features yet
  • Kony was still on the loose in 2012 (he still is today but everyone cared a lot more in 2012)
  • There was no dog Snapchat filter
  • Drake hadn’t gone Super Saiyan Drake yet
  • “What Does the Fox Say” was still a year away from being the most annoying Internet trend since planking
  • Andrew Garfield was still Spider-Man
  • I still ran cross country
  • Nick Sage hadn’t grown a mustache yet
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