Lady Gaga is the breakthrough pop story of 2009. Her first album The Fame generated four consecutive top 10 pop singles. However, the eight-song EP or short album The Fame Monster took everything a step further for some of the best pop music of the decade. The collection opened at #5 on the charts and included the smash hit single "Bad Romance."
Madonna charged into the new decade with one of the most critically successful albums of her career. Working with French producer Mirwais, she stepped further into electronic music than in the past but still easily retained the pop and rock elements that made her a musical superstar. The title song went straight to #1 on the US pop singles chart and it was followed into the top 5 by "Don't Tell Me."
In many ways Rihanna's third studio album is more a collection of singles than really a cohesive album, but what a grand collection it is. Before it was finished, the album spun off seven top 40 pop singles including three #1's, "Umbrella," "Take a Bow," and "Disturbia." The album went to #2 in the US, was certified double platinum and received six Grammy Award nominations.
Rapper T.I. was already very successful on the album chart with two consecutive #1 hits, but in 2008 he cranked things up a notch with Paper Trail. Punched up production and a pair of T.I.'s first #1 pop singles, "Whatever You Like," and "Live Your Life", helped the album be his first certified double platinum. Two more top 5 pop singles are included, and the collection received five Grammy Award nominations including for Best Rap album.
Britney Spears returned with her album Blackout. However, it was her 2008 album Circus that really consolidated her success. She is confident and the album is filled with great pop songs. Circus went straight to #1 and generated three top 40 pop singles including Britney Spears' second career #1, "Womanizer."
Former *NSYNC boy band member Justin Timberlake became a solo pop star with his first album Justified. In 2006 with the release of FutureSex / LoveSounds, he drew critical acclaim as well. The album is mostly a collaboration with songwriter and producer Timbaland with a slightly futuristic dance-pop sound. The collection went straight to #1 on the charts and included three #1 singles, "SexyBack," "My Love," and "What Goes Around Comes Around." Grammy voters celebrated the album with four awards and a nomination for Album of the Year.
When the Black Eyed Peas' female rapper and singer Fergie decided to put together a solo album, no one really expected the level of stardom that was to come. A playful attitude and will.i.am's surefooted judgment on what songs to give his bandmate resulted in a sparkling debut pop release. The Dutchess ultimately generated three #1 pop singles, "London Bridge," "Glamorous", and "Big Girls Don't Cry," plus two more that hit the top 5. The album sold over four million copies making Fergie a star.
Mary J. Blige, the queen of hip hop soul, was leading a life of drugs, alcohol, and abusive relationships leading up the recording of this landmark album. This self-assured and cohesive, while still personal, collection debuted at #2 on the album chart and included the massive #1 hit single "Family Affair." The songs "No More Drama" and "Rainy Dayz" also hit the top 20. No More Drama was nominated for R&B Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards.
On the strength of her debut collection Songs In A Minor, Alicia Keys was hailed by critics and the public alike as one of the hottest young talents in the music business. Her second release The Diary of Alicia Keys confirmed her status. She deftly paid tribute to classic R&B and brought it into the present with breathtaking style. The Grammy Awards recognized the release as the R&B Album of the Year. Ultimately, it sold over four million copies and generated three top 10 pop singles including the #3 hit "You Don't Know My Name."
Eminem's third studio album is an introspective masterpiece with songs touching on a wide range of personal topics including Eminem's relationship with his mother and his wife, his drug use, his impact on American society, and the chilling examination of fan mania on "Stan." The album was a tremendous commercial success selling more than 1.7 million copies in its first week of release making it the fastest selling solo album of all time. The Marshall Mathers LP won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album and was nominated for Album of the Year. The album includes the top 5 hit single "The Real Slim Shady."