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| Opinion |

Ten of 2011's Best-Selling Albums and the Real Reasons They Sold So Well

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​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.

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL.

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