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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 16, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 50
BEST OF MUSIC: Hottest artists of 2011
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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BEST OF MUSIC: Hottest artists of 2011

by Albert Rodriguez, Jessica Price, Shaun Knittel, and Jerry L. Peerson - SGN A&E Writers

Who had an unbelievable 2011? These 10 artists, who were selected collectively by our music team.

Hottest Artists of the Year (in order)

1) Adele

Nobody really came close to matching Adele's banner year. A few artists nearly equaled her album sales, but as a complete package - commercial success, critical acclaim, fan base swell, awards circuit - this girl truly dominated 2011. Better yet, she didn't have to reduce herself to skimpy outfits or racy music videos to grab our attention. She sang and we listened. A. Rodriguez

2) Bon Iver
Justin Vernon brings his Wisconsin mountain sound to the masses, inspiring lumberjack beards from coast to coast while garnering more Grammy nods than he could fit into his stocking cap. J.L. Peerson

3) Lady Gaga
Whatever she does, we watch and take note. Some of her stints missed the mark - that drag king get-up on the MTV VMAs was wonky - while others, like her passionate plea to Congress to take action on teen bullying, are whole-heartedly admirable. Besides this, she released one of the biggest-selling albums of 2011, Born This Way. A. Rodriguez

4) Amy Winehouse
News of Amy Winehouse's death traveled fast last July - not only because her music was so well-loved, but because everyone wanted her talent to triumph over her personal demons. Lioness: Hidden Treasures was lovingly compiled by long-time musical partners Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson in close association with Winehouse's family, and is already one of the fastest-selling albums of her short career. J. Price

5) Nicki Minaj
While Missy Elliott was on vacation, a new female hip-hop star was hatched. Nicki Minaj is one crazy chick, the kind who'd put her cigarette out in your wig. On the other hand, she enjoyed a red-hot year touring with Britney Spears, appearing on SNL, collaborating with Kanye, releasing her first proper album, beating an all-male lineup for the MTV Hip-Hop Video award, and earning a Grammy nod for Best New Artist. She'll work next with Madonna. A. Rodriguez

6) Bruno Mars
Despite his ego, Bruno Mars was walking on sunshine this year. The Honolulu-born musician won his first Grammy, launched a successful tour with Janelle Monae, posted a huge hit ('Grenade') on the charts, and racked up more Grammy noms (Album, Record, Song of the Year), all in 12 months. Simply put, Mars was on his own planet in 2011. A. Rodriguez

7) Fleet Foxes
After scrapped sessions, release dates pushed back, and strains in personal relationships, outdoing their stellar 2008 release seemed questionable, but with the Grammy-nominated Helplessness Blues, Robin Pecknold and friends raise the bar, sounding quite far from helpless. J.L. Peerson

8) Katy Perry
Love her or despise her, Perry has climbed to superstar status around the world. An unprecedented six hit singles from the same album (Teenage Dream), a sold out tour, SNL hosting gig, voiceover role in the box office smash The Smurfs, more Grammy nominations, and a candy-covered Rolling Stone photo sum up her spectacular year. A. Rodriguez

9) PJ Harvey
With Let England Shake, the elusive PJ Harvey turns her normally introspective lyrics outward, resulting in a unique album that's one of her most inspired in years. J. Price

10) Michael Jackson
Two years after the King of Pop's death, his popularity still soars. While the trial of Conrad Murray sadly re-surfaced his final moments, Cirque du Soleil's theatrical homage to the icon was a thriller of a good time. A. Rodriguez

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BEST OF MUSIC 2011:
Albums and singles

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BEST OF MUSIC: Hottest artists of 2011
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BEST OF MUSIC 2011: LIVE PERFORMANCES by Albert Rodriguez and Jessica Price
SGN A&E Writers


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BEST OF MUSIC 2011:
SGN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

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BEST OF MUSIC: Worst of music 2011
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Lashes Christmas Show - R Place's holiday must-see
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Homo for the Holidays a one-of-a-kind holiday smash
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Hillary Clinton's most impressive speech on human/lgbt rights in Geneva ...most incredible


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The genius of Jason Robert Brown
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Scorsese's Hugo pure cinematic magic
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Muppets still make a rainbow connection
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Q-Scopes by Jack Fertig
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Northwest News
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Letters
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Owen Meany's Christmas an enjoyable night
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A Dyke About Town: Cris Williamson glows
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Blu-ray enhances great Mahler
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Dramatic and poignant, Tori Amos stills the Paramount
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Wacky Wisemen skewers the holidays
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