There are a lot of songs you might have forgotten about from 2011 that were massive hits commercially. If you’re trying to make a playlist for this year then keep reading to find out what tracks make our list of the 30 best songs from 2011!
1. Rolling In The Deep – Adele
First on our list is Adele with Rolling In The Deep, which was her first single released from her second album, 21. This song is all about feeling like a scorned lover, and it was her breakthrough hit, which helped her gain international attention. In the US, it was her first big hit and topped the Billboard Hot 100, Adult Contemporary, Mainstream Top 40, and Adult Top 40 charts. It also topped the charts in over 21 other countries and was acclaimed for its lyrics and Adele’s vocal power.
2. Someone Like You – Adele
Adele makes our list again with Someone Like You, which also was on her album 21, and this track is all about the heartbreak that comes along with a bad breakup and trying to move on without that other person in your life. It was a huge hit and the lyrics along with her voice were praised by critics. It reached number one on the Adult Pop Songs, Billboard Hot 100, and Adult Contemporary charts.
3. Born This Way – Lady Gaga
Next up is Lady Gaga who had a smash hit with Born This Way, which quickly became an anthem for those in the LGBTQ+ community as well as an anthem for women and minorities. This track was referred to as her freedom song, and it comes from the album of the same name. The track hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100, Mainstream Top 40, Dance Club Songs, and Dance/Mix Show Airplay charts.
4. Shake It Out – Florence + The Machine
Florence + The Machine released Ceremonials in 2011, and one of the hit songs from that album was Shake It Out. This track was the first single from that album, and it’s all about Florence Welch letting out everything she regretted from her system that had been troubling her for a long time.
There are some gospel parts to this indie rock song, and it’s almost an anthem of sorts. The track was even nominated for a Grammy in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category. It went to number one on the Adult Alternative Songs chart, four on the Dance Club Songs chart, and nine on the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart.
5. What The Hell – Avril Lavigne
Up next is Avril Lavigne who made waves with her successful song What The Hell, which comes from her album Goodbye Lullaby. The track was all about her wanting freedom, and it was praised for how catchy it was along with the lyrical content. It was an international success and reached the top spot in Japan. This song made it to eight on the Mainstream Top 40, 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, and 12 on the Adult Top 40 chart.
6. Firework – Katy Perry
Next is pop singer Katy Perry with Firework, which was everywhere in 2011 and is famous for being in the movie The Interview, but has been in other films and television shows such as Shameless too. The song is a dance and pop track that is meant to be inspirational and an anthem.
While some critics thought she had less-than-stellar lyrics for this song, her voice was praised by the critics. It landed at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, Adult Top 40, Adult Contemporary, and Mainstream Top 40, just to name a few, and is one of her most successful and popular tracks to date.
7. Grenade – Bruno Mars
Bruno Mars makes our list with Grenade, which comes from his debut album called Doo-Wops & Hooligans. This track is about having a broken heart, and even when he showed the woman how much he loved her, it was unrequited. His vocals and the lyrics were praised by critics, and most thought this was the best song on the album. It went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100, three on the Adult Top 40, and 11 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
8. How To Love – Lil Wayne
Rapper Lil Wayne is next up with How To Love, which made it to one on the Rhythmic Chart and hit number two on the Hot Rap Songs chart. This track comes from Tha Carter IV and was his first time landing on adult contemporary radio stations since he usually was only found on R&B and rap stations. Its crossover success is probably why it peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100. It was also nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for Best Video With A Message.
9. Headlines – Drake
Drake makes the list with Headlines, which comes from his album Take Care, and it’s one of his most well-known songs. This track made it to number one on the Rhythmic Chart while hitting two on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop charts, and it peaked at 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.
10. Barefoot Blue Jean Night – Jake Owen
Next is country superstar Jake Owen who had a hit with Barefoot Blue Jean Night, which comes from the album of the same name. This track made it to number one on the Hot Country Songs chart and 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. If you’re looking for a summertime anthem, this is one to check out because it will help you celebrate the fun and carefree vibe we all feel during the warm summer months.
11. Pumped Up Kicks – Foster The People
Foster The People are best known for Pumped Up Kicks, which was their breakthrough song and comes from their debut album Torches. This track was upbeat although the song itself is about a troubled young man named Robert and his homicidal thoughts. Thanks to being uploaded for free, they received a record deal. It made it to three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was one of the biggest tracks of the year!
12. Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 Feat. Christina Aguilera
Rock band Maroon 5 makes the list with Moves Like Jagger, which features Christina Aguilera and comes from their third album Hands All Over. This song has disco and similar elements, and it’s more electropop than some of their other hit tracks. It is all about how a guy can impress a woman through dancing. The song made the charts in more than 18 countries and hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Top 40 charts in America.
13. S&M – Rihanna
Next up on our list is Rihanna who had a huge hit in 2011 when she released S&M from her album Loud. While critics had issues with the sexual lyrics in the song, it was a track that was incredibly popular. It made it to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and Mainstream Top 40 charts and became one of the more popular songs from this album.
14. Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO Feat. Lauren Bennet And GoonRock
Calling all fans of 21 Jump Street, LMFAO is on our list with their rock Party Rock Anthem, which comes from their album Sorry For Party Rocking. This song was an international success and topped the charts in multiple countries including America, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Iceland, and Norway. It won an MTV Movie Award in the category of Best Music and landed at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and Mainstream Top 40 charts.
15. Motivation – Kelly Rowland Feat. Lil Wayne
Kelly Rowland, who you might know as a previous member of Destiny’s Child, released Motivation on her third solo album called Here I Am. This track was one of the biggest songs of the year. There is a sexy element to the track, and her vocals are very powerful, which might be why it hit number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
16. Just A Kiss – Lady A
Country music group Lady A makes the list with Just A Kiss, which comes from their album Own The Night. This was one of the last tracks that was recorded for this album, and it’s all about two new couples who are starting their relationships. It was inspired by everyone in the band and their own experiences, so it’s a personal song for the group.
17. On The Floor – Jennifer Lopez Feat. Pitbull
Jennifer Lopez is on our list next with On The Floor, which comes from her album Love, and it’s all a tribute to her time as a dancer and her Latin background. This track is a pop song that also combines dance, house, and techno, so it’s very bouncy and perfect for the club. It reached one on the Dance Clubs and Dance/Mix Show Airplay charts while landing at three on the Billboard Hot 100.
18. Just Can’t Get Enough – The Black Eyed Peas
The Black Eyed Peas had a hit with Just Can’t Get Enough, which comes from The Beginning. This song was an international success and made it into the top five in countries including the UK, France, Greece, and Australia, to name a few. It hit two on the Mainstream Top 40 and three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
19. Lighters – Bad Meets Evil Feat. Bruno Mars
Lighters by Bad Meets Evil featuring Bruno Mars is next, which was a popular song in 2011 and comes from the EP Hell: The Sequel. Eminem and Royce Da 5’9″ are part of this hip hop duo, and this track landed at two on the Mainstream Top 40 and four on the Billboard Hot 100.
20. Till The World Ends – Britney Spears
Next is pop star Britney Spears with Till The World Ends, which comes from Femme Fatale, and this track is a dance and pop song that had everyone on their feet. There was a lot of acclaim by the critics for this track who said it was cathay and a great anthem. It hit number one on the Dance Club Songs chart and three on the Billboard Hot 100.
21. Who Says – Selena Gomez & The Scene
Selena Gomez released Who Says on her album When The Sun Goes Down, and this song is all about getting back at the haters, specifically, those who cyberbully. It is more acoustic than a lot of other tracks she released, and it made it to number one on the Dance Club Songs chart.
22. Super Bass – Nicki Minaj
Female rapper Nicki Minaj is next with Super Bass, which was from her debut album Pink Friday. This song is all about a romance brewing between a man and a woman, and it has a bubblegum pop type of feel to it. It made it to one on the Rhythmic Chart and two on the Hot Rap Songs chart while peaking at three on the Billboard Hot 100.
23. Black and Yellow – Wiz Khalifa
Attention fans of The LEGO Batman Movie, you might remember hearing Black And Yellow in the trailer, which was a hit song by Wiz Khalifa in 2011. This track was released on Rolling Papers, and it pays homage to his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He sings about growing up in that town, which has the colors black and yellow just like the Pittsburgh Steelers as well as his car. It reached one on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Rap Songs chart.
24. Stereo Hearts – Gym Class Heroes Feat. Adam Levine
Up next is Stereo Hearts by Gym Class Heroes, which features the lead singer of Maroon 5 Adam Levine. This song was from their album The Papercut Chronicles II, and Levine famously sings the hook in this track. It made it to number one on the Mainstream Top 40 and peaked at four on the Billboard Hot 100.
25. My Last – Big Sean Feat. Chris Brown
Big Sean had a hit with My Last, which features Chris Brown, and it comes from his album Finally Famous. This track was a pretty big hit, and it landed on the Hot Rap Songs chart at number one while coming in at four on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
26. Tonight Tonight – Hot Chelle Rae
Next is Hot Chelle Rae with Tonight Tonight, which was released on their album Whatever, and it’s the most popular single of their career with over 3 million copies sold. It hit number one on the Adult Top 40, five on the Mainstream Top 40, and seven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
27. FUCK YOU – Cee Lo Green
Cee Lo Green was massively popular in 2011 when he released the song FUCK YOU, also known as Forget You for the clean version. This song is all about heartbreak and the music industry, and it was from his album The Lady Killer. It received a lot of positive reviews from critics and landed at number one on the Mainstream Top 40 while landing on the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Top 40 in the number two position.
28. Good Life – OneRepublic
Rock band OneRepublic is on our list with Good Life, which comes from their album Waking Up, and it’s found in movies and television shows such as Eat Pray Love and One Tree Hill. What’s cool about this song is that there are different versions for different states and cities because the band recorded multiple versions. It made it to number one on the Adult Top 40 and landed at number two on the Adult Contemporary chart, but it only peaked at eight on the Billboard Hot 100.
29. The Show Goes On – Lupe Fiasco
Lupe Fiasco makes the list with The Show Goes On, which was released on his album Lasers. This track was a fairly big hit when it came out and landed at number four on the Hot Rap Songs chart, six on the Mainstream Top 40, and nine on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
30. Dirt Road Anthem – Jason Aldean
Lastly on our list is Jason Aldean with his cover of the song Dirt Road Anthem, which comes from his album My Kinda Party. This track is all about thinking back on all of the good times and having Southern Pride and values. It made it to number one on the Hot Country Songs chart and seven on the Billboard Hot 100.
From the time she was little, Florence loved listening to music and quickly learned how music can make you happy and feel fulfilled. One of her favorite memories is being in the garage with her dad working on classic cars with the local rock station blaring in the background. Ever since Florence was 3, she loved grunge music and spent hours listening to bands such as Alice in Chains, Mad Season, Soul Asylum, and Soundgarden.
She also enjoys classic rock, modern rock, nu metal, alternative rock, and old 90’s R&B. Her love of music grew as she got older, and used music to help her get through tough times in her life. More often than not, you’ll see Florence with earbuds in while she’s writing, cooking, cleaning, and doing other tasks. She also loves to debate music with her friends such as which lead singer is the best vocalist, the most iconic guitar solos in music, and what songs are really the best of the decade.