Billboard have released their roundup of the year’s biggest success (via sales, streams, airplay, “impact”), and the results might surprise you. Like, for one, Justin Bieber wasn’t even invited to the party. So for this rare annual edition of “Who Charted?” SPIN breaks down the two biggest charts in the land: The Billboard 200 albums list, and the Hot 100 songs stack, and sheds a little light on the state of our musical nation. Hold onto your butts.
Albums! Okay, so this isn’t a surprise exactly, though it is weird. The year’s No. 1 album goes to a 2011 long-player, Adele’s 21. She was also named artist of the year, which she deserves since hers is only the 21st album in the Nielsen SoundScan era (est. 1991) to achieve diamond status — yes, 10 million copies sold. No. 2, also weird, goes to a Christmas album. In fact, it’s an album called Christmas by, ugh, Michael Buble, which also came out in 2011 though was repackaged this year with an extra song. No. 3 goes to Drake’s Take Care, which explains why we’ve noticed ourselves cringing at his modern maudlin man vibes of late — please Aubrey, take care, give us some time to recover. #YOLO, after all. Taylor Swift’s totally surprising Red comes in at No. 4, which really is an achievement considering it’s had less than two months to prove its worth (which is, after all, considerable). And then we have One Direction in at No. 5 for … oh, who cares. No. 6 goes to Luke Bryan, who we can only assume makes some Real Amurica music since his album is called Tailgates & Tanlines. Despite our attempts to sink ’em (good fight, boys), Mumford & Sons make No. 7 with Babel. Rihanna nabs No. 8, but not for Unapologetic — she posted bigger gains for her late-2011 LP Talk That Talk (so expect the new one on the 2013 list). Props to Lionel Richie, in at No. 9 for his duets set Tuskegee. And who sneaks in at No. 10? The Black Keys with El motherfucking Camino. Well, alright.
Songs! Speaking of victories for indie, Gotye and Kimbra have the No. 1 song of the year for “Somebody That I Used to Know.” Only 2013 will tell if that will mean anything lasting to the respective careers of the Aussie-Belgian boy that could and his Kiwi gal pal, or if that excellent earworm’s mainstream success was mere fluke, setting them up for a lifetime of has-been jokes based on their one hit’s name. And speaking of one-hit wonders, Carly Rae Jepsen is in at No. 2 with “Call Me Maybe” — call us hate-y, but we’re ready for something a bit more committal. And though the world’s hipsterati are divided on how to feel about fun., this chart-watcher is very happy to see their Janelle Monae-backed “We Are Young” take No. 3. If we could skip No. 4, we would, but we can’t so it’s been reduced to a parenthetical (Maroon 5 ft. Wiz Khalifa, “Payphone”). Ellie Goulding’s done some cool shit in 2012, so we’ll give her a pat on the back for “Lights” coming in at No. 5. Dig our eardrums out with a spoon for No. 6 (the Wanted, “Glad You Came”). At No. 7 sits her highness Kelly Clarkson, with “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” No. 8 goes to 777 psychopath Rihanna and EDM’s human awards receptacle Calvin Harris for “We Found Love.” No. 9 belongs to Nicki Minaj’s goofy, barely rappy Eurodance fist-pumper “Starships,” and, as much as we hate to end on a down note, No. 10 is One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful.” Gah.
– Our country doesn’t care about rap music. Like, at all.
– One Direction made it onto both lists. Backstreet’s back, baby.
– Mumford and the Black Keys are pretty much it for guitars. And Luke bro.
– PSY has been snubbed, is music’s new political prisoner post-Pussy Riot.
– Taylor Swift and Adele deserve all of the good things given to them.
– What Amurica is listening to: