With a musical landscape as fragmented as ours has become in 2011, it's easy to miss even some of the most ubiquitous hits. That’s why every year now I look forward to DJ Earworm’s all-embracing mashup of the year on the charts—his annual “United State of Pop.”
So what does pop sound like circa 2011? A big part of what makes the Earworm mashup great—the 2011 edition was posted last night—is that you get relatively little editorializing. Sure, in this you’ll hear a little of what our favorite critics have been anatomizing over at Slate’s Music Club, and you'll pick up on some of the trends Slate’s critics and others have pointed out throughout the year. (These 25 hits don’t highlight the return of the sax solo, but towards the end they do pay tribute to The Year of the Whistle.)
But mostly you hear a lot of the silly common ground (let’s not say lowest common denominator) that best brings us together. If we’re looking back at 2011, perhaps it’s okay if the sounds that most united us add up to little more than this: “Boom.”
TODAY IN SLATE
Forget Oculus Rift
This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.
The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals
The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team
The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad
Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band
Can it be again?
Smash and Grab
Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?