2011 was the year Beyonce counted down to 1, Frank Ocean tried to numb the pain, Bon Iver knew he wasn’t magnificent, and Adele tried to find a suitable replacement for an old flame. It was a year of magnificent songs, and these 20 tracks represent a gorgeous pastiche of veteran artists and talented newbies. The Billboard.com staff got in a room and fought it out, each staffers repping their personal favorites.
From weirdo R&B to epic hardcore to a certain heartbroken British singer-songwriter, 2011 offered a diverse array of quality full-lengths that we kept replaying in our offices. The whole team weighed in and the votes have been tallied, so now we can proudly present the Billboard staff’s picks for the top 10 albums of 2011.
You can probably guess our No. 1 favorite of the year, which won by a landslide. A word on why: Adele’s “21” became one of those very rare moments in the music world where an album is as commercially successful as it is critically praised, not to mention beloved by fans across all demographics.