YouTube Rewind Disappoints for a Second Time

Lauren Farrell, Staff Writer

Last year, the annual “YouTube Rewind” left so many viewers dissatisfied that it became YouTube’s most disliked video ever at 17 million dislikes. The tradition is meant to showcase the trends, music, popular creators, and all things pop culture in one video to highlight the impact YouTube had on that year. The 2018 edition was cursed with poor casting, a weak script, excessive politics, and way, way too much Fortnite for its audience’s liking.

This year, YouTube has attempted to make amends with “YouTube Rewind 2019: For The Record.” In big, bold letters, the video announces, “In 2018, we made something you didn’t like. So in 2019, let’s see what you DID like.” Thus begins a montage of the most successful videos from across the platform. But between the shots of most-liked creator videos, it is clear something critical is missing. The 5.9 million dislikes of the 2019 edition already more than double its 2.5 million likes. The comment section criticizes the lack of ambition, risks, and personality.

In its successful 2013 through 2017 videos, the most popular YouTubers danced to hits and took part in internet phenomena, such as the ice bucket challenge in 2014 and Five Nights at Freddy’s in 2015. This is why Rewind was so special: all the big things of the year put together in different fun scenarios and dance scenes. It evoked good feelings and nostalgia about the year in the viewer, and made its audience feel like it had a large impact on the platform. 

In 2018, YouTube began to stray from storylines and scenarios, but this year’s Rewind completely ditched these aspects and became more like a WatchMojo “Top Ten Things of the Year” video than anything else. It simply gave facts and statistics, like which dance videos were big and who became a sensation that year. In what is seemingly fear from its shortcomings, YouTube has ditched everything that was the point of Rewind in the first place. Without the trends, memes, or TikTok references, it is not an accurate representation of the year. 

Continuous unimpressive videos like this can have dire consequences for the platform. Two poorly made Rewinds in a row has hurt the site’s reputation. The use of montage instead of artistry has made YouTube look like it does not care about originality anymore. Kiersten Buckley, FTHS junior, says, “Honestly, I feel like YouTube didn’t try as hard with the Rewind this year. I admire the fact that they acknowledge their mistakes from last year, but the format of the video this year made it appear like it was very hastily made.” Judging from the reviews and comment so far, Buckley is not alone in her disappointment.

It is clear that YouTube either needs to revert to its original Rewind technique or quit making them all together. Jessica Lynch, FTHS senior, comments, “They get worse every year. YouTube already has lost its original charm. I think… as Joji [a YouTuber] would say… IT’S TIME TO STOP.” One bad video can be ignored, but two consecutive misses shows that YouTube has not been listening to the requests of its viewers. People have lost interest completely in Rewind, like Kayla Ailey, a FTHS senior, laments, “I heard it was terrible, so I didn’t even watch it.” Rewind’s disappointing reputation has repelled crowds from watching its own videos.In the past, Rewind was not supposed to be about YouTube, rather, how YouTube had an impact on the world. This video showed no impact, was far from entertaining, and neglected the advice given by 17 million viewers last year. One can only wonder if this harbingers a weakening in YouTube’s power in the media. Either way, all can agree on this: 2019 deserved better.