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. 



Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Altered State
Sept. 17 2014 11:51 PM The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
Dear Prudence
Sept. 18 2014 6:00 AM All Shook Up My 11-year-old has been exploring herself with my “back massager.” Should I stop her?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 17 2014 11:48 PM Spanking Is Great for Sex Which is why it’s grotesque for parenting.
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?