If she was even allowed to talk, Adele might scream for joy at the final tally of iTunes album and single sales released this week. The British soul singer, currently rendered mute following surgery to repair her vocal cords , erased any doubt that 2011 has been the year of 21.
Her Grammy-nominated smash second album, which has sold more copies than any other disc released in the U.S. over the past 11-plus months, took the top spot on the year-end iTunes albums chart, as well as the singles chart thanks to her huge hit "Rolling in the Deep."
iTunes, which does not release sales figures, made it clear that Adele was very good for business, naming her its Artist of the Year as well.
It was the first time one artist has swept the download site's top three awards. "I'm thrilled to top the iTunes album and song charts for 2011 and to be iTunes Artist of the Year is just amazing," Adele said in a statement.
Though it didn't make the final top 10 list, iTunes named Foo Fighters' Wasting Light its Album of the Year, prompting Foos leader Dave Grohl to quip that it was inspiring, and ironic to get the award for "an album made in my garage, totally analog to tape, without the help of any computers at all."
Nicki Minaj was named Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Foster the People snagged Song of the Year for their unshakable ditty "Pumped Up Kicks."
You can bet the competition on the singles chart was pretty tight, as Adele had company from some of the most ubiquitous songs out there this year. Coming in at #2 was LMFAO's inescapable "Party Rock Anthem," followed by Katy Perry's "Firework," Bruno Mars' "Grenade," Cee Lo Green's "Forget You," Pitbull's "Give Me Everything" and Perry's "E.T." Rounding out the top 10: Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger," Foster's "Pumped up Kicks" and Minaj's "Super Bass."
Over on the iTunes albums chart, Adele was followed by Mumford & Sons' steady-selling Sigh No More, Lil Wayne's Tha Carter IV, Kanye West and Jay-Z's Watch the Throne, Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto, and Lady Gaga's Born This Way. Rihanna landed at #7 with Loud, ahead of Drake's Take Care, Perry's Teenage Dream and Mars' Doo-Wops & Hooligans.
MTV is also celebrating the year's best, so tune in all next week to see our panel of experts count down the top EDM artist of the year as well as best overall song and artist of 2011.