Ten of 2011's Best-Selling Albums and the Real Reasons They Sold So Well
The Queen of All Media, Perez Hilton, is all about the latest Nielsen Soundscan totals, which feature a number of the gossip blogger's faves, like Lady GaGa and boring old Adele.
For Crossfade, though, Soundscan is a lot like the Grammys: It don't mean shit. Yeah, great, the illiterate, Facebooking masses spend one million iTunes spacebux on Justin Bieber autotuning Lil Wayne's wettest farts. Oh yeah, we're absolutely positively fucking sure that "music" will stand the test of time.
Wanna know the real reasons this garbage makes so much money? Well, check the jump for ten of 2011's biggest sellers, and what convinced so many fools to buy them.
The Artist: Coldplay
The Album: Mylo Xyloto
Units Moved: 467,000
The Real Reason This Album Sold: Radiohead fans are generally a conservative bunch. And when Thom Yorke's sugar plum flower power interpretive dancing gets a little too abstract, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin provides this nation of mouthbreathers with the safe and sentimental sonic wallpaper that it so desperately needs.
The Artist: Britney Spears
The Album: Femme Fatale
Units Moved: 713,000
The Real Reason This Album Sold: Once upon a time, Britney Spears was public enemy number one when it came to influencing your tweenager to dress up like a promiscuous tart. But these days, suburban parents are begging their daughters to put down the Gaga and get back to a more familiar, traditional, low-concept kind of sluttiness.
The Artist: Beyoncé
The Album: 4
Units Moved: 940,000
The Real Reason This Album Sold: Mrs. Jay-Z + Baby bump media bump = Megahit! And uhhhhh ... She's Beyoncé.
The Artist: Bruno Mars
The Album: Doo-Wops and Hooligans
Units Moved: 976,000
The Real Reason This Album Sold: Comparable to the aforementioned Spears/GaGa and Coldplay/Radiohead dichotomies, people listen to Bruno Mars when Justin Bieber gets a little too intense.
The Artist: Taylor Swift
The Album: Speak Now
Units Moved: 3,776,000
The Real Reason This Album Sold: Outside her central fanbase (high-fructose corn syrup-chugging Tea Party enthusiasts), the only reason anyone has given a flying fuck about Taylor Swift in the past three years is because Kanye West interrupted her acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. And Swift's numbers in 2011 are the greatest testament to the sustained trickle down of being turned into a meme in real-time by Kanye.
The Artist: Justin Bieber
The Album: My World 2.0
Units Moved: 2,970,000
The Real Reason This Album Sold: Justin Bieber makes millions of dollars because shrieking and/or Twittering tweens (and the parental wallets they have the power to summon) are late capitalism's most nutrient-rich (flushed with cash) host organisms.
The Artist: Lady GaGa
The Album:Born This Way
Units Moved: 1,948,000
The Real Reason This Album Sold: The Gay Agenda is real and Gaga is the harbinger of the impending homo-transcendence of 2012. Just joking ... Lady Gaga's just a genius.
The Artist: Rihanna
The Album: LOUD
Units Moved: 1,547,000
The Real Reason This Album Sold: We have nothing bad to say about Rihanna. This album sold because it rules. And hey, it's not on this record, but "We Found Love" is the best song of 2011, the 2010s, 2000s, and all of recorded human history.
The Artist: Nicki Minaj
The Album: Pink Friday
Units Moved: 1,663,000
The Real Reason This Album Sold: Click here
The Artist: Adele
The Album: 21
Units Moved: 4,673,000
The Real Reason This Album Sold: We attribute the entirety of Adele's success to what we call a Reverse Winehouse bubble, where polite, tea-sipping society ladies who lunch are the only UK pop-stars that Americans can bring themselves to love.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.