11 Artists' Favorite Albums of 2011

11 Artists' Favorite Albums of 2011

What blockbuster Brit singer crossed all genre lines to make Skrillex, Zac Brown Band and Kelly Clarkson's lists of the best albums of the year? Which rapper tag-team won Joe Jonas' heart? Which international darlings insisted that some 2010 albums were still where it's at? Find out as we ask 11 artists from the worlds of pop, country, rock, and dance which records reigned as their favorite albums of 2011. The answers will surprise you.

Critics' Picks: 10 Best Albums | Readers Poll: 2011 Awards
Billboard's Year In Music: Charts & More


1. "21" - Adele

"Adele never fails," Clarkson says. "Her voice, lyrics and melodies on this record are haunting reminders of the need to be needed and loved, and to love with your whole heart. It's beautiful!"

2. "Four The Record" - Miranda Lambert
3. "Mylo Xyloto" - Coldplay
4. "Red River Blue" - Blake Shelton
5. "Ceremonials" - Florence and the Machine


1. "21" - Adele
2. "Watch the Throne"- Kanye & Jay Z
3. "Nostalgia, Ultra" - Frank Ocean
4. "Undun" - The Roots
5. "Torches" - Foster of the People




"The reason why I chose this album is because it really came out so left of center, but had such an immediate influence and impact on the electronic scene," Skrillex says. "It was that album everyone was talking about. The album had so many elements from dubstep to hip hop and soul, but it all works so well. In this rising culture of electronic music it touched so many people in different parts of the scene. I can't wait for the next thing by him, this project is still very much a mystery and very intriguing to me."

2. "Split the Atom" - Noisia
3. "Kill The Noise" - Kill The Noise
4. "House of Balloons" - The Weeknd
5. "21" - Adele


1. "21" - Adele
2. "Stronger" - Kelly Clarkson
3. "Watch The Throne" - Jay Z and Kanye West
4. "Four The Record" - Miranda Lambert
5. "Born This Way" - Lady Gaga


1. "21" - Adele
"For six months, the Adele record was the only record I listened to while I was riding my motorcycle," Zac Brown says. "Now, when I hear songs off of that record, I can almost feel the wind in my face."

2. "1978 December" - Sonia Leigh
3. "Smoke Ring Halo"- Wood Brothers
4. "Four The Record" - Miranda Lambert
5. "Revelator" - Tedeschi Trucks Band


1. "Bon Iver"- Bon Iver

Seeing this live show cemented this as my favorite record of the year. Brilliantly crafted, melodic worlds that seem to touch me differently each time I hear it. Endlessly inspiring.

2. "Metals"- Feist
Miss Feist is one of my favorite songstresses and she doesn't disappoint with her current record," Bareilles says. "Textured, unique, sweet and sad. She killed it."

3. So Beautiful or So What" - Paul Simon

"This record is reminiscent of some of my favorite early Simon works. As classic sounding and pure as a 'Graceland' or 'Rhythm of the Saints,' yet with a transcendency that feels modern and earnest. I feel like I got to know Paul in a whole new way with this record."

4. "Hurry Up We're Dreaming" - M83

"I'm not normally someone who is a huge fan of the shoe-gazing, synth-driven power pop, but I loved this record. I thought it was poignant, and the kind of huge sound that makes you want to throw on a pair of headphones, hit the streets, and get lost in it all."

5. "Barton Hollow"- The Civil Wars
"Two individual singer songwriters came together to write and sing a record that I believe is classic in every sense of the word. This record will stand the test of time, and I have rarely heard two voices better suited for each other. What a gem."

Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley

1. "Revelator" - Tedeschi Trucks Band
It's been a long time since I've gotten into a blues record the way I have this one," Kelley says. "Finally someone has mixed great basic blues songs with strong melodic hooks and great songwriting."

2. "Take Care" - Drake
"One of the chillest and most unique rap records I have heard in a long time. The production is so creative and the songwriting is so honest."

3. "One Spark" - Gabe Dixon
"This guy is based out of Nashville and I think he has one of the most listenable voices. His melodic sense is very reminiscent of Paul McCartney."

4. "Tailgates And Tanlines" - Luke Bryan
"Very proud of my good buddy and the record he has made. The production and songwriting on this record is going to take Luke into superstar status... mark my word."

5. "Wasting Light" - Foo Fighters
"One of the best rock bands we still have left. Love the raw sound in this record. I work out to this record all the time, fires me up."


"Doo-Wops & Hooligans" - Bruno Mars
Sohee: "Teenage Dream" - Katy Perry [note: this is a 2010 release]
Lim: "Talk That Talk" - Rihanna
Yubin: "Hands All Over" - Maroon 5 [a 2010 release]
Yenny: "21"- Adele
MAROON 5 Maroon 5's James Valentine

1. "The English Riviera" - Metronomy
"Just found out about this band this year," Valentine says. "Can't stop listening. Has the best harmonic aspects of seventies style Steely Dan with a contemporary Daft Punk/Phoenix dance music sort of production. Favorite track: 'The Bay.'"

2. "The Harrow & The Harvest" - Gillian Welch
"These songs were definitely worth the wait. Sounds so good. Dave Rawlings continues to be one of my favorite guitar players. Favorite track: 'The Way It Goes.'"

3. "Strange Mercy" - St. Vincent
"Annie Clark is another one of my favorite guitar players with one of my favorite voices with one of my favorite brains because this shit is sick. Favorite track: "Cruel.'"

4. "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy"- Kanye West [a 2010 release]
"We listened to this for the first time backstage somewhere in Sweden I believe, and our minds were blown. Favorite Track: 'Monster.'"

5. "Goblin" - Tyler, The Creator
"Tyler's conversations with himself on this record are amazing. I wish more musicians would allow themselves to go this far outside. Favorite Track: 'Window.'"

1. "Own The Night" - Lady Antebellum
"This album is packed with great songs," Degraw says. "I've had the opportunity to be in the writing room with Charles and Dave and it was one of the most inspiring writing sessions I've ever had. This band is going to be around when we're old and gray."

2. "Wasting Light"- Foo Fighters
3. "El Camino" - The Black Keys
4. "All Of You" - Colbie Caillat
5. "Paper Airplane" - Allison Krauss and Union Station


1. "Forget" - Twin Shadow
"This album is packed with great songs," Degraw says. "George came to my house before he was Twin Shadow to work on some of his songs," Penguin Prison says. "At that time they sounded more like The Strokes - nothing at all like the album that he ended up releasing."

2. "Bon Iver"- Bon Iver
"He took it to the next level for this album. It's more complex and full of instrumentation than his debut which works well in my opinion. The highlight of the album, "Beth/Rest," appears to be inspired by Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me." Amazing."

3. "Holy Ghost!" - Holy Ghost!
"I helped make some of the songs on this album so it has to be included here. They had been working on some of these songs for something like three years, changing them over and over again. I am happy they finally finished it and it's great to see them live as a band too."

4. "Watch The Throne" - Jay-Z and Kanye West
"How could this not have been a classic album? I feel that at this point these two need each other. They both become better when they come together to make music it seems to me. Apparently they are going to make another one next year so that's good news."

5. "The Suburbs" - Arcade Fire [a 2010 release]
"This is my favorite album of theirs. It is pretty rare these days to make a 16 track album in which every song is top notch. 'Modern Man' is my favorite."

Critics' Picks: 10 Best Albums | Readers Poll: 2011 Awards

Billboard's Year In Music: Charts & More