Listen to the Year in Pop in 5 Minutes

Slate's Culture Blog
Dec. 26 2011 2:33 PM

Listen to the Year in Pop in 5 Minutes


Still from the video for Rihanna's "We Found Love," as seen in "United State of Pop 2011."

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.”

For the Music Club’s picks for 2011’s greatest songs, head over to our Spotify playlist.
To look back at 2011 in film, don’t miss “The Best Year-in-Movies Montage Ever?

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 



The World’s Politest Protesters

The Occupy Central demonstrators are courteous. That’s actually what makes them so dangerous.

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The Feds Have Declared War on Encryption—and the New Privacy Measures From Apple and Google

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You

It spreads slowly.

These “Dark” Lego Masterpieces Are Delightful and Evocative


Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.


Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Activists Are Trying to Save an Iranian Woman Sentenced to Death for Killing Her Alleged Rapist

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

  News & Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?