‘Genius Lyrics’ Breakdown Of The THON 2021 Line Dance
The 2021 THON line dance has officially arrived, and with that, Onward State is here to break down the lyrics and explain every reference noted in this year’s song.
From plenty of Zoom jokes to the hot UPS guy and even a shoutout to Charli D’Amelio, this year’s line dance managed to mention plenty of what happened in the wild year that was 2020. Here are the meanings behind every lyric.
Verse 1: Penn State
Zoom takes over campus classes, // grab your sweats and blue light glasses
Penn State students have officially entered their third semester of Zoom classes due to the coronavirus pandemic. While students did return to campus and some in-person classes began on February 15, folks are still likely meeting with the majority of professors through a computer screen.
With that in mind, there’s no doubt that the Zoom fatigue is real. It’s no wonder so many students are logging onto their online classes with a hoodie and sweatpants on, along with a pair of blue light glasses while staring at a screen all day.
Mask up, slow the spread // Wellness days clear your head
Penn State launched its “Mask Up Or Pack Up” campaign when students returned to campus this past August. The university shared the saying on signs, outside campus buildings, and on social media to reinforce the message that students would face repercussions if they didn’t follow COVID-19 guidelines.
After that message was repeated throughout the first semester, one of the university’s biggest initiatives of the last few months were wellness days. With spring break eliminated, three non-instructional days have been scheduled for students throughout the semester.
Students already experienced one of these days just last week, and many feel that they simply won’t be enough to replace a week-long spring break.
New horizons we envision // Serve and celebrate tradition
Homecoming 2020’s theme was “Envisioning Nittany Horizons.” Last year’s Homecoming week was held from October 10 to 18, and while new horizons were envisioned, traditions were also honored with a virtual parade and featured clips from alumni and community members.
UPS man can’t compare / Woah, hold up! Was that a bear?
Penn State students collectively swooned for “Hot UPS Bae” throughout the fall 2020 semester. The UPS driver, also known as Conor McCann, went viral over TikTok videos that featured him carrying boxes and delivering packages with some serious swagger throughout State College.
Penn State’s other viral sensation of 2020 was quite literally a bear. A black bear was spotted roaming through Penn State’s campus back in September, and made its way throughout much of Eastview Terrace. Despite a confusing few moments, the all-clear was eventually given once the bear was cleared from campus.
Baby’s closes, say farewell // candelight at Taco Bell
Nittany Nation was forced to let go of two beloved downtown businesses this past year. Baby’s Burgers and Shake went up for sale in early August with a plan to find new ownership, but that remains up in the air.
As for another College Ave. staple, Taco Bell was forced to say goodbye. The chain closed its East College Ave. location on February 26, and students mourned the loss by holding a candlelight vigil that got national attention and was even mentioned on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”
Class gift access we select // change the code, a new respect
Penn State announced in December that the Class of 2021 voted to use its Class Gift to create Penn State’s first-ever Student Access And Equity Fund.
The fund will support individuals who “contribute to the diversity of the student body” and are unexpectedly in need of help affording expenses not covered through financial aid. The gift will largely be funded through gifts from students graduating in May, August, or December 2021. Those interested in donating to the Class of 2021’s gift can text “ClassGift2021” to 41444 or visit the Student Philanthropy Network’s Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter pages.
Trace McSorley throws a dime / HUB to hangout rain or shine
Former Penn State football quarterback Trace McSorley got plenty of attention this past season. The Baltimore Ravens back up signal-caller went viral on TikTok alongside Matty Fresh’s song titled “Trace McSorley.”
One of the lyrics of the now famous song mentions throwing it “on a dime” and that’s exactly what McSorley did this season. The Nittany Lion connected with Marquise Brown for a 70-yard pass that went down as his first NFL score. Later in the season, McSorley checked in for Lamar Jackson to help spark Baltimore’s comeback victory against the Cleveland Browns.
Due to limited space in the HUB thanks to COVID-19 precautions, a huge tent was pitched on the HUB Lawn where students could sit at tables and hangout “rain or shine” in a safe manner.
Football ends the season strong / cardboard cutouts raise the song
After a program-worst 0-5 record to kick off its 2020 campaign, Penn State football bounced back by winning its final four games of the season. The Nittany Lions earned their first victory of the season over Michigan at the Big House, and rolled over Illinois 56-21 to close out the year.
James Franklin’s squad couldn’t have any fans rooting them on in Beaver Stadium besides friends and family of players, but the team managed with cardboard cutouts scattered throughout the stadium. Along with Nittany Lion fans, some of our favorite cutouts included some friendly animals, Robert Pattinson, and even Sneezy the Squirrel.
Verse 2: World Events
COVID makes our lives transform // worldwide strength reborn
As to no one’s surprise, this year’s world events verse was opened with a mention of COVID-19. The first case of the virus in the United States was reported in late January 2020, and slowly developed into a nationwide and worldwide issue by March.
From there, the country slowly shut down. Penn State announced on March 18 that it would hold the rest of the spring 2020 remotely, and from there people everywhere learned just how reliant they’d have to be on Zoom to go to classes, do their jobs, and stay connected with family.
Those lost we remember // legacies live on forever
More than 300,000 people were killed by COVID-19 in the United States in 2020. The U.S. now sits at more than 400,000 deaths, but many who were lost have been remembered with memorials, moments of remembrance, and commemorative stories.
Black Lives Matter stories shared // marching forward everywhere
After George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25, Black Lives Matter rallies and protests swept the nation. Those across the country shared their stories and marched for equality, including in downtown State College.
From there, the Black Lives Matter movement organized marches and protests that called for the end of white supremacy and police brutality.
Harris a historic pick // Biden’s voted 46
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were elected as President and Vice President of the United States in November 2020. The pair were inaugurated on January 20, and Harris became the first black woman to hold that office.
Biden is the 46th President in the United States, and is even a native of Scranton, Pennsylvania!
Here’s to you, RBG // Boseman in our memory
Legendary Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on September 18, 2020 at the age of 87. “RBG” was the fourth-oldest serving Supreme Court Justice in U.S. history, and was considered a leader in the fight for women’s equality and was truly an American culture icon.
Penn State law professor Stephen F. Ross clerked for Ginsburg in 1980 and even took turns watching over her casket on the steps of the Supreme Court.
Actor Chadwick Boseman died on August 28, 2020 at 43 after an extremely private battle with colon cancer. He starred in several huge movies over the course of his acting career, including “Black Panther” and even played Jackie Robinson in “42.”
Essential workers, we salute // sending love to Beirut
Essential workers in healthcare have served on the frontline in fighting COVID over the past year or so, as nearly 3,000 died over the course of 2020 while fighting the virus. Many of them have been honored through social media throughout the pandemic.
An explosion took place at the Port of Beirut on August 4, 2020. The blast killed hundreds of people and injured thousands more, and left roughly 300,000 homeless. It was reportedly caused by a large amount of ammonium nitrate being stored at the port.
Lakers balling in the bubble // No TP, you’re in trouble
The NBA was able to return to play in late July and finished its regular season in an isolation bubble at Disney World. The playoffs were also played in the bubble, as Lebron James and Anthony Davis led the Los Angeles Lakers to a championship just a few months after Kobe Bryant’s death.
As COVID-19 began to sweep the United States, people began to panic and scrambled to stories to stockpile on supplies. What was one of the most common items grabbed? Toilet paper. Strangely enough, folks really wanted to make sure they didn’t run out of TP.
Space X, rocket soars // Kick is good, Fuller scores
Elon Musk’s SpaceX made history in May 2020 with its launching of its first astronaut mission with the Crew Dragon capsule. NASA’s Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken made a safe return to Earth in August.
More history was made in the sports world when Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller became the first woman to play in a football game in a Power Five Conference. Fuller, who also plays soccer for the Commodores, played placekicker and also became the first woman to score in a Power Five football game with an extra point against Tennessee.
Verse 3: Pop Culture
Joe Exotic tigers roar // Can’t trust Carole anymore
2020 was a huge year for Netflix, starting with “Tiger King.” The show featured Joe Exotic, a tiger breeder who was eventually for arrested for animal cruelty and attempted murder for his hire of his nemesis Carole Baskin.
Baskin herself has been the subject of several internet conspiracies related to the disappearance of her second husband Don Lewis.
Keeping up Leaving E // Outer Banks, relax John B
In keeping up with the TV world, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” finally called it quits after an incredible 20 seasons on E! Kim Kardashian announced the news via Instagram to the shock of her many heartbroken fans.
The ending of one show brought the birth of another, as Netflix’s “Outer Banks” was watched by millions. The show documented heartthrob John B as he tried to solve a mystery in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Tweens everywhere dreamt of living in the vacation community as they were stuck in quarantine.
Clare ditches two weeks in // Tayshia for the win
Yes, folks, more TV!
Clare Crawley was selected for ABC’s “The Bachelorette,” but left after just 12 days of filming when she fell for contestant Dale Moss. The couple has reportedly been dating on and off since they left the show.
Tayshia Adams, on the other hand, stepped in for Crawley and eventually fell in love with Zac Clark.
Trying to fall in love and be in a relationship while being watched by millions on national TV is tough. Shocker!
Lime is acting pretty sus // find impostors Among Us
People managed to keep themselves busy over the past several months by playing “Among Us.” The online multiplayer game allows players to act as “Crewmates,” while a number of them are impostors.
Besides scrolling through TikTok or watching Netflix, plenty of folks have spent time playing this game.
Travvy Burger tops Big Mac // McDonald’s welcomes Cactus Jack
McDonald’s teamed up with rapper Travis Scott (who performed at the BJC back in 2019) to create the Travvy Burger. The sandwich included two slices of cheese, pickles, onions, shredded lettuce, mustard and ketchup, and a beef patty.
Just tell the folks at McDonald’s that Cactus Jack sent you, and you’re ready to rock.
T-Swift Album, how about two? // Harry Styles Vogue debut
Taylor Swift dropped not one but two albums this year. The mega-star first made noise with “Folklore,” but dropped “Evermore” just a few weeks later.
Fellow music star Harry Styles also made some noise this year by featuring in a massive spread in Vogue Magazine in December 2020. The former One Direction frontman made waves by rocking a few dresses and embracing “gender fluidity.”
MJ GOAT “The Last Dance” // PS5 you have no chance
One of the biggest series of 2020 was “The Last Dance.” Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan was featured in the ten-episode series that was released over the course of five Sunday nights. After watching it, many officially crowned MJ as the GOAT.
In the video game world, Sony released the Playstation 5 in November 2020 and described it as the “Play Has No Limits” console.
Duet Charli steal the show // Why don’t you say so?
Last but certainly not least, Charli D’Amelio became a global phenomenon by racking up more than 100 million follows on TikTok. Hailing from a small town in Connecticut, Charli and her sister Dixie are now two of the faces of the fast-growing social media platform.
If you include the biggest stars, you’ll have to include the songs that pair with them. Doja Cat’s “Why Don’t You Say So’ was widely used for TikTok dances and is still extremely popular on the platform.
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