Top 5 Albums of 2011: The Music Year in Review

Posted on December 19, 2011

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2011 was the year when music and pop culture fused mercilessly to become one. As we watched in awe, Lady Gaga morphed into a man. Adele finally got something other than a dance anthem to go to #1 on the Billboard charts. Beyonce’ performed a Jackson-style dance routine before revealing her baby bump. Rihanna became the ultimate Queen of Filth. Britney had yet another comeback, and told us to dance until the world ends. All in all, this year is one to be remembered, and it gave us some truly outstanding albums. With the help of Croatan students, as well as official data from the Billboard charts, the Top 5 releases of the year have been determined.  

  1.  Adele- 21  Although Adele had gained previous success with her 2009 debut song “Chasing Pavements,” nothing could ever compare to the explosion that became her second album, “21.” When it was released this year, it spent a record total of thirteen weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200, and provided her with the addictive radio hits “Rolling In The Deep” and “Someone Like You.” The U.K. songstress is now one of the most respected artists in the music industry, and with her unforgettable and soulful voice, it’s easy to see why she has earned the title of top album of 2011.                                           
  2. Jay-Z and Kanye West- Watch the Throne  These two rap megastars joined forces to effortlessly create one of the most impressive albums of either of their careers. Although Kanye was still recovering from extreme public criticism after the “Taylor Swift incident,” good friend and fellow music mogul Jay-Z took him in and helped him get back on his feet. With astoundingly inventive tracks including H.A.M.,” “Otis,” and “Lift Off,” this album was one of the year’s highlights and worked as the reassurance that questioning Kanye fans needed.                                                                                                      
  3. Lady Gaga- Born This Way  After bursting onto the scene back in 2008, Stefani Joanne Germanotta, known by her infamous stage name Lady Gaga, has proven to be one of the most talented stars of our time. No matter how blindingly strange or crass she may be, it’s no doubt that she has legions of wildly dedicated supporters who will stand by her through whatever seemingly insane endeavor she may pursue. “Born This Way” was the defining album of her career, and gave her some of her biggest hits to date including “Judas,” “The Edge of Glory,” “You and I,” “Marry the Night,” and of course the title track, which quickly became the fastest-selling single in iTunes history and broke Britney Spears’ record for Highest Chart Jump on the Billboard Hot 100.                                                                                                                                                                                   
  4. Nicki Minaj- Pink Friday   Before releasing her debut album, Minaj had been around for many years, popping up for guest appearances on various artists’ songs. She had collaborated with the likes of Kanye West, Trey Songz, and Christina Aguilera before she even put out her own material. When her first set “Pink Friday” did arrive in the first quarter of the year, she made her mark in a way no other female Rap artist had before. “Super Bass,” along with other smash singles “Did It On ‘Em” and “Fly (Feat. Rihanna),” helped Nicki knock Lil’ Kim off her throne and take over as one of the most talked-about new stars.                                                                                                                                                                                                               
  5. Beyonce’- 4  At the MTV 2011 VMAS, Beyonce’ Giselle Knowles finally announced her pregnancy after rumors had swirled for months… but not before releasing yet another brilliant album. Kicking off with the feminist anthem “Run The World (Girls)” and continuing with the breakup ballad “Best Thing I Never Had,” Beyonce’ brought it like it had never been brought before. The album spent two weeks at #1 on the Billboard charts, and the third single “Countdown” showed that even with a baby in her tummy, Queen B could still rock it out as good as ever.                                                                                                                                    
Reported by Logan Haithcock
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Posted in: End of the Year