Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: Top 25 Albums

First posted 12/31/2011; updated 1/8/2021.

Dave’s Music Database:

Top Albums of 2011

Based on a combination of year-end lists (see sources at bottom of page) and overall status in Dave’s Music Database, these are the top 25 albums of 2011:

  1. Adele 21
  2. Drake Take Care
  3. PJ Harvey Let England Shake
  4. Lady Gaga Born This Way
  5. Michael Bublé Christmas
  6. Bon Iver Bon Iver
  7. Jason Aldean My Kinda Party
  8. Florence + the Machine Ceremonials
  9. St. Vincent Strange Mercy
  10. Jay-Z & Kanye West Watch the Throne

  11. Ed Sheeran Plus (+)
  12. Eric Church Chief
  13. Foo Fighters Wasting Light
  14. Beyoncé 4
  15. Coldplay Mylo Xyloto
  16. The Black Keys El Camino
  17. James Blake James Blake
  18. Fleet Foxes Helplessness Blues
  19. Arctic Monkeys Suck It and See
  20. The Decemberists The King Is Dead

  21. Frank Ocean Nostalgia, Ultra
  22. Trey Parker & Matt Stone with Robert Lopez (composers) The Book of Mormon cast album
  23. Rihanna Talk That Talk
  24. One Direction Up All Night
  25. Radiohead The King of Limbs

Resources and Related Links:

Adele's 21 is 2011's album of the year.



Released: January 19, 2011

Peak: 123 US, 123 UK, 135 CN, 132 AU

Sales (in millions): 14.0 US, 4.9 UK, 31.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: pop/blue-eyed soul


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Rolling in the Deep (Adele Adkins/Paul Epworth) [3:49] (11/29/10, 17 US, 2 UK, 13 CN, 3 AU, 119 AC, 113 A40, 114 AA, 21 MR, 61 RB, 15.25 million sales worldwide)
  2. Rumour Has It (Adkins/Ryan Tedder) [3:43] (5/14/11, 16 US, 85 UK, 16 CN, 60 AU, 4 AC, 2 A40, 11 AA, 40 MR, 2 million sales worldwide)
  3. Turning Tables (Adkins/Tedder) [4:10] (5/7/11, 63 US, 62 UK, 60 CN, 34 AU, 0.5 million sales US)
  4. Don’t You Remember (Adkins/Dan Wilson) [4:03]
  5. Set Fire to the Rain (Adkins/Fraser T. Smith) [4:01] (3/12/11, 12 US, 11 UK, 2 CN, 11 AU, 13 AC, 13 A40, 2 AA, 31 MR, 5.9 million sales worldwide)
  6. He Won’t Go (Adkins/Epworth) [4:37]
  7. Take It All (Adkins/Francis White) [3:48]
  8. I’ll Be Waiting (Adkins/Epworth) [4:01] (8/4/12, 29 AA)
  9. One and Only (Adkins/Wilson/Greg Wells) [5:48]
  10. Lovesong (Robert Smith/Laurence Tolhurst/Simon Gallup/Boris Williams/Pearl Thompson/Roger O’Donnell) [5:16]
  11. Someone Like You (Adkins/Wilson) [4:45] (1/24/11, 15 US, 15 UK, 2 CN, 17 AU, 14 AC, 19 A40, 2 AA, 9.4 million sales worldwide)


4.005 out of 5.00 (average of 25 ratings)

Quotable: “Pop music should take more cues from Adele and this album.” – Nick Freed, Consequence of Sound

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Adele’s 2009 debut album, 19, was a Grammy-winning smash hit that revealed the British singer/songwriter’s knack for bittersweet soul and folk-infused love songs that brought to mind an infectious mix of Dusty Springfield and Terry Callier. The album earned her a ton of fans, and interest was high for the inevitable follow-up.” AMG

“In many ways, her sophomore album, the similarly age-appropriate-titled 21, is a continuation of the sounds and themes Adele was working with on 19. She is still the bluesy pop diva with a singer/songwriter’s soul and seemingly bottomless capacity for heartbreak.” AMG That last point is key in 21 becoming a blockbuster. 19 “was a polite, tasteful set of soul-inflected pop” RS’20 but for 21, Adele “dug deep and came up with a modern masterpiece of post-breakup soul music.” RS’20

“She is able to avoid the pitfalls of sappiness and triteness that can easily come with the lovelorn, and instead comes across as mature and headstrong, though maybe a little lost.” CS “The best thing the album does is to showcase Adele’s titanic vocal ability, which – more than a few times on 21 – is simply spine-tingling.” AMG

The album was primarily produced by Rick Rubin in Malibu, California, and Paul Epworth in London. WK After recording a full album with Rubin, she preferred earlier demos and used most of those instead, making “for an even rawer and more emotional experience.” RS’20 Adele described the album as “different from 19; it’s about the same things but in a different light.” WK BBC Music called the album “simply stunning” and “genuinely brilliant” WK while the Herald Sun said that the album is “further evidence that Adele is something special.” WK Will Dean of The Guardian called it “a progressive, grown-up second collection” WK while Bernadette McNulty of The Telegraph said with her “voice that goes straight to the heart” “she out-divas them all.” WK

“Last time around we got the…folk-soul ballad ‘Daydreamer’ to slowly draw us into the album; here, Adele immediately injects us with the propulsive gospel fever-blues anthem Rolling in the Deep.” AMG Adele describes the song as “a dark bluesy gospel disco tune.” WK “It is also ridiculously sexy and one of the best singles of any decade.” AMG “The quiet, muffled, and steady opening guitar line fits like a glove under Adele’s raspy alto voice.” CS “The beat drives and stomps you into a frenzy. The Supremes-esque backing vocals complement the banging piano and jangling tambourine, while Adele lets her voice loose.” CS

That song landed at #2 on the U.K. charts, but the follow-up, Someone Like You, gave Adele her first #1, coming on the heels of her performance of the song at the 2011 Brit Awards. Meanwhile, “Deep” was still in the top 5 and over on the album chart, 21 was at #1 for a fourth week while the 19 album recharted in the top 5. It gave Adele the rare feat of being the first living artist since the Beatles in 1964 to have two top 5 hits on both the singles and albums charts in the U.K.

“Elsewhere, we get tracks like the blues-inflected Ryan Tedder [singer/songwriter from OneRepublic] co-write Rumour Has It and the old-school-style soul cut He Won’t Go, which are terrifically catchy, booty-shaking numbers and exactly the kind of songs you want and expect from Adele.” AMG The latter is one of the album’s “angrier songs” CS “Seeing this song live or in a stripped down setting would make one bawl like a child. You’ll want to pump your fist and pound your chest.” CS

Turning Tables is a piano ballad with another Tedder co-write and was produced by Jim Abbiss. Dan Wilson helped write the “country style ballad” Don’t You Remember, a Rubin produced track. Producer Fraser T. Smith produced the strongly pop-influenced” WK “why-isn’t-it-playing-everywhere rumbler Set Fire to the Rain.” CS

“The “upbeat style” I’ll Be Waiting deals lyrically with the “rekindling of a lost love” while One and Only features a “powerful vocal performance.” WK The second-to-last track, Lovesong, is a cover of the Cure song which they took to #2 on the U.S. pop charts in 1989.

“The centerpiece of the album [is] the mega-ballad showstopper Take It All. Co-written by her ‘Chasing Pavements’ partner Francis White, the song begins with Adele proclaiming ‘Didn’t I give it all?’ Delivered starkly at first with Adele set against simple piano accompaniment and later backed by a gospel choir, it’s an instant-classic sort of song in the tradition of ‘The Rose,’ ‘And I Am Telling You I Am Not Going,’ and ‘All by Myself’ that could stand over the years as a career landmark for the singer and a cathartic moment for fans who identify with their idol’s Pyrrhic lovelorn persona.” AMG

“Ultimately, Adele does give us her all on 21, and for now that is enough.” AMG “Pop music should take more cues from Adele and this album, and less cues from other soul-wannabes/more-dancehall-hits like Duffy or Amy Winehouse. Adele should be the future of the radio, and in the near future she will be.” CS

Resources and Related Links:

Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 2/24/2012; updated 4/23/2022.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Top 50 Songs of 2011

Dave’s Music Database:

Top 50 Songs of 2011

These are the top 50 songs of the year based on their overall performance in Dave’s Music Database, which is determined by combining chart data, sales figures, streaming, video views, and aggregates from 30 year-end lists (sources at bottom of page).

Check out “Top Songs and Albums of the Year” lists here.

    DMDB Top 1%:

  1. Gotye & Kimbra “Somebody That I Used to Know
  2. Carly Rae Jepsen “Call Me Maybe
  3. Rihanna & Calvin Harris “We Found Love
  4. LMFAO, Lauren Bennett & GoonRock “Party Rock Anthem
  5. Maroon 5 with Christina Aguilera “Moves Like Jagger
  6. Adele “Someone Like You
  7. Fun. & Janelle Monáe “We Are Young
  8. LMFAO “Sexy and I Know It”
  9. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis with Ray Dalton “Can’t Hold Us”
  10. Pitbull with Ne-Yo, Afrojack, & Nayer “Give Me Everything”

  11. Lady Gaga “Born This Way

    DMDB Top 2%:

  12. Adele “Set Fire to the Rain”
  13. One Direction “What Makes You Beautiful”
  14. Kelly Clarkson “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”
  15. Nicki Minaj “Super Bass”
  16. Jennifer Lopez with Pitbull “On the Floor”
  17. Christina Perri “A Thousand Years”
  18. Jay-Z with Kanye West “Niggas in Paris”
  19. David Guetta with Sia “Titanium”

    DMDB Top 5%:

  20. The Black Keys “Lonley Boy”

  21. Flo Rida “Good Feeling”
  22. Coldplay “Paradise”
  23. Of Monsters and Men “Little Talks”
  24. Ed Sheeran “The A Team”
  25. Flo Rida with Sia “Wild One”
  26. Eric Church “Springsteen”
  27. Imagine Dragons “It’s Time”
  28. Lana Del Rey “Video Games”
  29. Justin Bieber “Mistletoe”
  30. Jessie J with B.o.B. “Price Tag”

  31. The Wanted “Glad You Came”
  32. Lady Gaga “The Edge of Glory”
  33. M83 “Midnight City”
  34. Foo Fighters “Walk”
  35. Bruno Mars “It Will Rain”
  36. Luke Bryan “Country Girl (Shake It for Me)”
  37. Hunter Hayes “Wanted”

    DMDB Top 10%:

  38. Adele “Rumour Has It”
  39. Tony Bennett with Amy Winehouse “Body and Soul
  40. Grouplove “Tongue Tied”

  41. Calvin Harris “Feel So Close”
  42. Chris Brown with Lil Wayne & Busta “Look at Me Now”
  43. Foo Fighters “Rope”
  44. Coldplay “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall”
  45. Michel Teló “Ai Se Eu Te Pego”
  46. Jessie J. “Domino”
  47. Florence + the Machine “Shake It Out”
  48. Beyoncé “Love on Top”
  49. Rihanna “Where Have You Been”
  50. Gym Class Heroes with Adam Levine “Stereo Hearts”

Resources/Related Links:

First posted 12/28/2011; last updated 1/18/2023.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Guide to Great Music Resources You May Have Missed

Check out these books by Dave Whitaker available through or Amazon.

Also check the Dave’s Music Database Facebook page for daily music-related posts.

Today I thought I’d depart from my daily history posts and occasional best-of lists to celebrate some of my favorite sources of music information and discussion. I’ve highlighted some of the websites, blogs, and Facebook pages which garner the most views from my eyeballs. Certainly there are a slew of well-known magazines (Rolling Stone, Q), music charts (Billboard, Official UK Charts), Hall of Fames (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame, Country Music Hall of Fame), awards organizations (The Grammys, American Music Awards, The Brit Awards, Mercury Prize), music-themed television (VH1, MTV), and individual artist pages, but I’ve opted to focus on sources which may farther off the beaten path. Here’s hoping they prove valuable resources to you as well.

Dave’s Music Database. In the interest of shameless self-promotion, here’s the DMDB right up front. As stated on the Facebook page, the DMDB is for “anyone who loves rating, ranking, reviewing, ranting, and reading about favorite albums, songs, acts, and other things music-related.” The Facebook page often highlights other music pages and scrolling through the “likes” will turn up hundreds of great music pages.

The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era 1954-1999. The first Dave’s Music Database book. Lists from more than 100 sources were compiled into this ultimate cream-of-the-crop list. The website offers sample pages, the full list, and links to watch videos, read lyrics, and buy the music. The book is available through or

Aural Fixation. This is the column I write for online magazine This monthly column launched in April 2011 and offers more in-depth and often tongue-in-cheek analysis of today’s musical trends and how they fit into music history.

Counterbalance. Here’s another column from which features Eric Klinger and Jason Mendelsohn debating the classics as determined by, a site which has aggregated multiple best-of lists, like This is my favorite writing on music out there. Period. In the spirit of music geekdom and in the tradition of the best music journalism, Klinger and Mendelsohn express their insights with wit and humor. Always educational and entertaining.

The Daily Guru. Delivers a daily review of a “must own” album or song each day. Covers a wide variety of eras and genres.

Future Rock Legends. Their tagline: “Uncovering the next generation’s Hall of Fame.”

International Society of Music Snobs & Elitists. Tagline: “A website for those with discerning tastes.”

Tom Lane’s Music Blog. Tom posts quick insights, usually just a paragraph or two, about various musical events.

Music Snoob Daily. Tagline: “Your daily source for something to listen to.”

Not in Hall of Fame. The focus here is on sports as well as music, but the website’s ranked list of the top 500 acts not yet in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is fantastic. They also do an excellent job highlighting who becomes eligible for the Hall over the next few years. A family-owned and operated music and movie mail-order company outside of Philadelphia. Founded in 1980.

Once Upon a Time. Launched in August of 2010, the aim of this blog is to work through the website of the top 3000 songs of all time, in chronological order.

The People’s Hall of Rock ‘n’ Roll Legends. Their tagline is “The only hall of fame BY and FOR the People!” Designed as a sort of alternative Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this site lets site visitors vote on who should be inducted. To date, 200 artists and groups have been inducted. See the complete list here.

Pretty Much Amazing. The website features a blog and reviews focused on indie music. Started by Luis Tovar in 2007.

Rock Hall Monitors. As it says on the blog, “We keep an eye on the goings-on in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation: hat is, what isn’t what could be ,what should be, what oughtn’t be, etc.”

Seven-Inch Vinyl: A Rock and Roll Novel. As the Facebook page says, this novel “chronicles the evolution of rock and roll between the years 1953-1969” from the R&B of rural Kentucky to the juke joints of Memphis, the street corner doo-wop groups of New York, the British Invasions, the founding of Motown, the emergence of the Greenwich Village folk scene, and the Haight-Asbury scene.

Slicing Up Eyeballs: The Legacy of ‘80s College Rock. A celebration of college, modern and alt rock from the 1980s.

This Day in Music. Pretty self-explanatory. The website offers a searchable database to look up any day of the year. Any given day offers plenty of births and musical events of the day. Focus is largely on the classic rock of the ‘60s and ‘70s.

This Day in Rock. Another page with its focus on specific days in musical history.

Todays Song Is…. Here’s the description on the Facebook page: “Quite simply I choose a new song everyday. I have 500 characters in which to describe it and hopefully we'll have people comment on it. I blog together all the songs in the notes section weekly with a playlist. Tell all your friends ... and enemies.”

Ultimate Classic Rock. News about classic rock.

Ultimate Twang. Reviews of classic country albums from the 1950s through the ‘90s.

The Way Back Experience focuses on the 1960s and ‘70s with videos and other media posts celebrating music, movies, television, and other pop culture of the era.