At the outset of 2011, it seemed that one album would rule the year: Lady Gaga's heavily hyped sophomore set, Born This Way. Gaga made a splash but wound up being overpowered by an act many claimed was her opposite, the soulful British songstress Adele, whose 21 was a runaway international hit. Adele skillfully spliced the modern and retro, creating a sound with a broad appeal that wound up complementing the thoroughly modern sounds of acts as diverse as Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, Florence & the Machine, Foster the People, and pop perennial Britney Spears.

Adele - 21
Katy B - On a Mission
Brite Futures - Dark Past
Colbie Caillat - All of You
Kelly Clarkson - Stronger
Cobra Starship - Night Shades
Florence + the Machine - Ceremonials
Foster the People - Torches
Selena Gomez & the Scene - When the Sun Goes Down
Joe Jonas - Fastlife
Lady Gaga - Born This Way
Lenka - Two
Lights - Siberia
LMFAO - Sorry for Party Rocking
Rihanna - Talk That Talk
Nicola Roberts - Cinderella's Eyes
Britney Spears - Femme Fatale
Yelle - Safari Disco Club