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For hit music, 2011 was the year of girl power. In the Billboard year end charts, seven of the Top 10 albums were from female artists and female artists took the majority of Grammy nominees in the categories record of the year, album of the year, and best solo pop performance, among others. From MTV to Billboard to Grammy nominees to our own office, here’s the consensus on the best ladies of 2011.

Adele

The most listened to song this year is “Rolling in the Deep” from 21. The song’s fierce lyrics give women all the power while the man is left burning in despair. “Someone Like You” also tells girls that once they’ve said goodbye to one man it’s time to move on and find another.

– Seven Grammy nominations, including record of the year, album of the year, and song of the year
– #1 on Billboard’s Top 10 Songs
– #1 on Billboard’s Top 10 Albums
– #1 on MTV’s Best Songs

Lady Gaga

As usual, Lady Gaga pushed the envelope with costumes and creativity in her new album. “Born This Way” certainly hits on girl power as well as power for all races, sexual orientations, religious groups, and economic backgrounds. The music video even shows a stripped Lady Gaga, uncharacteristically without costume, heavy makeup, done-up hair, or over-the-top accessories, showing that she too is accepting of her natural self.

– Three Grammy nominations: album of the year, best pop solo performance, and best pop vocal album
– #3 on Billboard’s Top 10 Albums
– #5 on MTV’s Best Songs

Rihanna

Rihanna hit the top of the charts with her feature in Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.” But “We Found Love” from Talk That Talk also snuck its way into popularity. More hopeful than Adele, Rihanna sings to the ability to find love even in your weakest moments.

– Six Grammy nominations, including album of the year, song of the year, best pop vocal album
– #9 on Billboard’s Top 10 Albums
– #3 on MTV’s Best Songs

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj is an overnight sensation who exploded this year with her debut album Pink Friday and hit single “Super Bass.” Playful and flirty, Nicki Minaj explores the fun side of being a girl, batting eyelashes at boys across the bar, the fluttering heart of a new crush. But she knows she’s hot stuff, which means he better treat her right.

– Three Grammy nominations: best new artist, best rap performance, and best rap album
– #8 on Billboard’s Top 10 Songs
– #7 on Billboard’s Top 10 Albums
– #2 on MTV’s Best Songs

Posted on December 29, 2011
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