The year 2005 was a playground for pop musicians; the internet was not yet mainstreamed to the degree it is now, so album sales had not yet declined, and MTV still aired videos. Yet, by 2005, gossip sites were hitting their stride simultaneously, and Lindsay Lohan was feeling the burn.

That year, Lohan was basking in the release of her well-selling debut album, Speak, which hit number four on the Billboard charts. It was the same year of her best-recognized role, as Cady Heron in Mean Girls. But despite being crowned a golden girl, it clearly wasn’t all champagne and roses and 1 p.m. wake-up calls at the Chateau Marmont for Lindsay—at least not yet (her first arrest occurred in 2007). No, Lindsay was simply bothered by the fame, the way the paparazzi stalked her, waiting to catch her doing something silly or ill-considered so that they could hold up her image like a mirror to the wayward and sullied youth of our amoral nation. 2005 was the George W. Bush presidency; we needed true facts to prove to our country’s leadership that America was going to hell in a handbasket. Lindsay Lohan provided the proof.

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And yet, she wasn’t going to take this shit sitting down. “Rumors” was a brave rebuttal to Lindsay’s haters, a bold assertion of her agency and right to be in the club having fun without journalists, with their pens and notepads in the club, and photographers, with their soul-stealing apertures. She is sharp; she is resolute. She is gyrating, by herself, in an elevator, closed-circuit television representing the big-brother-style surveillance she felt she was constantly under, furthered by the tense guitar stabs beneath her vocals that emphasize the gravity of the situation. Let. Lindsay. Live:

Why can’t you just let me

Do the things I wanna do

I just wanna be me

I don’t understand why

Would you wanna bring me down

I’m only having fun

I’m gonna live my life

But not the way you want me to

Lindsay did not play by the rules, despised the cage within which society kept her. Ten years ago, “Rumors” was nominated for a MTV Video Music Award for Best Pop Video, a category now occupied by the likes of Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran and Maroon 5. She lost to Kelly Clarkson for “Since U Been Gone,” a better song, video, singer for an eminently more universal concept—while most everyone can relate to the feeling of liberation after a break-up, only a select few can understand what it’s like to have a horde of khaki-wearing middle aged men chasing them around everywhere with long-lens cameras. (Haters are, of course, universal, but Clarkson’s song was simply more uplifting.)

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Today, Lindsay Lohan spends her time being the Ron Popeil of Instagram and living in London. Her brush with pop stardom was brief but burned bright.


Contact the author at julianne@jezebel.com.