The year 2011 is quickly, sadly, drawing to a close. Except it’s not sad! We’re moving ahead with the speed of an iPhone 4S! And before you let separation anxiety and fear of change get the best of you — no one looks adorable pouting in a party hat — let’s take a moment to reflect on the year in pop music. Being MTV Buzzworthy, the home of all things pop, we took an exhausting, in-depth look the biggest trends in pop music in 2011. It wasn’t an easy job, but… it’s actually our job! So, here are the songs, sounds and stars who were all over pop music in 2011.
+ Everyone covered and/or remixed “Marvin’s Room”: Drake did it first, but Chris Brown remixed it, Teyana Taylor covered it, and R&B singer Sammie covered it. Paula DeAnda put out “I Can Do Better,” and even CODY SIMPSON put his spin on “Marvin’s Room” with “Evenings In London.” But no one did it better than JoJo. Even Drake agreed.
+ Everyone covered Lil Wayne’s “How to Love”: Justin Bieber made an acoustic remix of “How To Love”, Demi Lovato covered “How To Love” on VH1’s Top 20 Live, pop solo singer Tinashe and R&B singer Brandon Hines (who is INCREDIBLE, btw) all covered Weezy’s heartbreaker.
+ Taylor Swift covered EVERYONE: Over the course of her seemingly endless “Speak Now” tour, Taylor covered Britney, T.I.’s “Live Your Life,” Eminem, Nelly, Usher, Bieber, Shawn Colvin, Jimmy Eat World, Switchfoot, Nicki Minaj, Flo Rida, Uncle Kracker (!!!) and even Bryan Adams, often bringing out artists as surprise guests.
+ Pop stars put out videos like MACHINES: Beyonce put out SIX official videos this year! Eight if you count her Live At Roseland DVD performance videos. Rihanna and Pitbull put out five videos, six if you count “Fly” with Nicki Minaj. Britney put out four videos, Lady Gaga put out FOUR videos (probably five, since “Marry The Night” is due out any minute, and six if you count her “The Lady Is A Tramp” duet with Tony Bennett, Bruno Mars released four videos, and Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj put out three videos each.
+ Everyone made SUPER dramatic, cinematic videos: Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away” video featured a heartbreaking ending we didn’t see coming, Dr. Dre’s “I Need A Doctor” video featured a car crash, death and a return to life, Britney’s “Criminal” video was shot like a modern-day Bonnie & Clyde, and Rihanna’s “We Found Love” terrified us in a very Darren Aronofsky kind of way.
+ 30 Seconds To Mars played everywhere: Seriously, these guys played 135 shows in 2011 alone. By the time December 7 rolls around, they’ll set a world record for most shows played within a single album cycle. Top that.
+ Britney Spears lap-danced everyone: Every seat in the house on Britney’s “Femme Fatale” tour is a good seat, but one seat in particular was the best seat in the house. The chair (actually, it’s a bed?) Britney put centerstage, upon which very special guests were treated to a lap dance. Very lucky fans got a lap dance from Britney, and so did some celebrity VIPs: Britney gave Joe Jonas a lap dance, Jason Trawick got a special ride, and DJ Pauly D enjoyed a lap dance from Britney too.
EVERYTHING GOT EMO AND/OR OKAY
+ Hip-hop got introspective: For every swag-brag record there were real-talk, real-problems introspective tracks, like Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Welcome To The Jungle” (and most of Watch The Throne, for that matter), Eminem/ Bad Meets Evil’s “Lighters,” and Lil Wayne’s “How To Love,” plus sad songs by Drake (most tracks, but especially “Doing It Wrong”), Kid Cudi’s 2 Be Continuum’s navel-gazey “No One Believes Me,” and Lupe Fiasco’s conscious “Words I Never Said.”
+ Pop music got introspective: I’m okay, you’re okay, we’re all okay, okay? was a recurrent theme in pop music, from Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” to Demi Lovato’s epic “Skyscraper” to Pink’s “F****** Perfect” reminded us that we all have insecurities, and that we’re all perfect the way we are.
Check out more of the biggest pop music trends of 2011 after the jump!
EVERYONE COLLABORATED ON EVERYTHING
+ Everyone made blockbuster collaborations: Kanye West joined Katy Perry on “ET,” and Missy Elliott teamed up with Katy Perry for the “E.T.” remix. Britney got an assist from will.i.am on “Big Fat Bass.” Adam Levine joined Gym Class Heroes on “Stereo Hearts,” Christina Aguilera joined Maroon 5 on “Moves Like Jagger,” Justin Bieber and Usher teamed up again for “The Christmas Song.” Bruno Mars teamed up with Eminem and Royce da 5’9″ by way of Bad Meets Evil on “Lighters.” Beyonce teamed up with Andre 3000 and J. Cole on “Party.” Bruno Mars also hopped on Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa’s “Young, Wild, & Free.” Drake and Rihanna paired up on “Take Care,” Nicki and Drake got married in Nicki’s “Moment 4 Life” video, then Nicki and Rihanna teamed up for “Fly.” Lupe Fiasco and Trey Songz collaborated on “Out Of My Head.” Usher and Romeo Santos got together for “Promise.” Rihanna was featured Coldplay’s “Princess of China” (and later covered Rihanna’s “We Found Love.”) Pusha T and Tyler, The Creator got together for “Trouble On My Mind.” Tony Bennett teamed up with Lady Gaga, John Mayer, Amy Winehouse, Mariah Carey (and more!) on his Duets II album, Beyonce teamed up with Jay-Z and Kanye on the Watch The Throne track “Liftoff,” Rick Ross teamed up with half of all hip-hop in remixes and on Maybach Music Group’s Self Made Vol. 1. Metallic and Lou Reed collaborated on an entire album — the bizarre Lulu. Pitbull teamed up with Jennifer Lopez for “On The Floor,” “Rain Over Me” with Marc Anthony, and Enrique Iglesias for “I Like How It Feels.” And, of course, Pitbull had the biggest collaboration of the year: “Give Me Everything,” a four-way gargantuan club jam, featuring Ne-Yo, Afrojack and Nayer.
AND ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING ELSE…
+ Adele was all over everything: Adele’s 21 album is set to be the top-selling album of 2011, and if you turned on a radio and didn’t hear “Rolling In The Deep” or “Someone Like You” then your radio probably wasn’t plugged into the wall. Adele essentially crushed 2011.
+ HOT CHELLE RAE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN HOTTER: Holy s+++ 2011 ruled for these guys.
+ Nicki Minaj made EVERY FACE KNOWN TO MAN: And some we didn’t even know were possible. Ace Venture ish right there.
+ Pop singers became rappers: Justin Bieber rapped on everything this year, Selena Gomez rapped for her MTV EMA promo, Taylor Swift covered Nicki Minaj’s “Superbass,” and Chris Brown rapped his way through 2011 with his “Real Hip-Hop” series.
+ The hip-hop underground blew up: Curren$y signed to a major, Danny Brown’s XXX mixtape ruled music blogs, ASAP Rocky signed for HOW MUCH (!?!?!?!?), Big K.R.I.T.’s Return of 4Eva was one of hip-hop’s most exciting releases of the year, Theophilus London bent genres, beats and minds (and MAN that dude can dress), Lil B is neither gay nor does he have AIDS if you’d just listen to the guy! Oh yeah… and even your dad probably knows who Odd Future is at this point.
+ Adam Levine took his shirt off: But it never gets old, does it?
+ Lana Del Ray: No music blog was complete without her!
+ Rebecca Black: She had that one song?? About… Thursday or something? I don’t remember.
+ Rock didn’t die, okay?: Just ask Coldplay, whose Mylo Xyloto album broke a first-week digital sales record, selling more than 80,000 digital copies in one week. Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, as did Evanescence’s self-titled third album, their first album in half a decade. Also reemerging after a five-year gap between albums, Incubus released If Not Now, When?, Blink-182 got the band back together and released Neighborhoods, their first album in nearly eight years. Red Hot Chili Peppers’ I’m with You marked the band’s tenth (!!!!) studio album. And relative newcomers Foster The People had everyone whistling the deceptively depressing “Pumped Up Kicks” all year.
+ Saxy time: Lady Gaga’s “Edge Of Glory” and Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” featured an awe-inspiring sax solo, and Patrick Stump and M83 weren’t afraid to blow back to the sweet saxy sound of the ’80s.
What were your favorite pop music trends of 2011? Tell us in the comments below! And check out the funniest music videos of 2011, and get more of MTV’s Best of 2011 music, TV show, movies, and news coverage.