Defining the Decade: 2010
December 9, 2019
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January 6, 2020

Defining the Decade: 2011

2010 got the decade off to a flyer. In 2011, we saw Adele breakthrough with her debut album, 21, Lionel Messi won only his 2nd Ballon D’Or, and so much more. Without further ado, let’s get to it.


  • Adele drops her breakthrough album, 21
  • The King’s Speech” which would go onto to win multiple awards, is released in the UK
  • Lionel Messi wins his second straight Ballon D’Or, edging teammates Iniesta & Xavi to the award
  • Wikipedia turns 10 years old
  • Marine Le Pen, the politician who later goes on to propose “Frexit”, becomes leader of the National Front Party
  • Egyptian Revolution of 2011 begins, several demonstrations across Cairo and Alexandria against President Hosni Mubarak’s regime. The beginning of the “Arab Spring”


  • Green Bay Packers win Super Bowl XLV, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25
  • Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday goes #1 on the Billboard 200, spent 11 weeks on the chart already
  • Hosni Mubarak resigns as President of Egypt, after 18 days of protests
  • Uprisings begin Bahrain and Libya against their leaders, inspired by events in Egypt
  • Writer and activist Maya Angelou awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama
  • Christian Dior suspends chief designer John Galliano after anti-Semitic remarks
  • Jessie J drops her debut album, “Who You Are


  • Lupe Fiasco drops “Lasers” album, with hits like “The Show Goes On” and “Words I Never Said
  • Charlie Sheen is fired from CBS’s Two & a Half Men
  • Wiz Khalifa drops “Rolling Papers“, with the mega-hit, “Black & Yellow


  • Game of Thrones premieres on HBO
  • Fidel Castro steps down from the Cuban Communist Party after 45 years
  • President Obama publicly releases his birth certificate, proving he is indeed American


  • Osama bin Laden, the FBI’s most wanted man, is killed by US Special Forces in Pakistan
  • Oprah Winfrey airs the last-ever episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show, ending a 25-year run
  • New Boyz drop what becomes their final album, “Too Cool to Care”
  • Lady Gaga releases her second album, “Born This Way


  • Dallas Mavericks claim the NBA Championship, beating the Miami Heat 4-2
  • Big Sean drops his debut album, Finally Famous
  • First-choice draft pick Kylie Irving joins the Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Italian economist Mario Draghi becomes President of the European Central Bank (ECB)
  • Christine Lagarde becomes the first woman to be elected head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).


  • Snapchat is released
  • Gotye appears with “Somebody I Used to Know“. Disappears forever afterwards.
  • The final Harry Potter film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2“, premieres in London
  • South Sudan gains independence and separates from Sudan


  • Facebook launches separate messaging app, “Facebook Messenger”
  • Jay-Z & Kanye change the game forever with the release of what may be the greatest hip-hop collaboration album of all time, Watch Throne
  • Muammar Gaddafi is overthrown as Libya’s President
  • Due to his illness, Steve Jobs resigns as Apple’s CEO; hands over to Tim Cook
  • Australia win the final Tri Nations Ruby Series; Argentina to join future years as its re-branded as the Rugby Championship
  • Lil Wayne’s 9th album, Tha Carter IV, is released


  • The Zambian opposition party Patriotic Front (PF) oust the ruling MMD, and Michael Chilufya Sata becomes President
  • Occupy Wall Street, a protest movement against economic inequality, begins in New York
  • Ed Sheeran drops his debut album, +. J. Cole also debuts with his album, Cole World: The Sideline Story
  • Ashton Kutcher makes his debut on Two and a Half Men
  • Gay men and women are allowed to serve openly for the US military for the first time
  • Carly Rae Jepsen breaks into superstardom when she releases hit single, “Call Me Maybe“. We all sang it, don’t lie.


  • US State Department offers $10 million reward for any information relating to Abu Barkr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS.
  • Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is killed
  • According to the UN, the global population crosses the 7 billion barrier


  • Drake releases his Take Care album, and knowingly or not, makes “Draking” go mainstream. One Direction drop their debut album, Up All Night.
  • Minecraft is released
  • After 11 months of protests in Yemen, President Ali Abdullah Saleh signs a deal to transfer power to the vice president, in exchange for immunity.


  • The Iraq war comes to a formal conclusion, as the last US troops leave the country.

Billboard’s Top 10 for 2011:

  1. Rolling in the Deep – Adele
  2. Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO feat. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock
  3. Firework – Katy Perry
  4. E.T. – Katy Perry feat. Kanye West
  5. Give Me Everything- Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer
  6. Grenade – Bruno Mars
  7. Super Bass – Nicki Minaj
  8. Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera
  9. Just Can’t Get Enough – The Black Eyed Peas
  10. On The Floor – Jennifer Lopez feat. Pitbull

And that’s that for 2011! For all Spotify users, don’t forget to check out our “Defining the Decade” playlist that we are continually updating, and stay tuned for the next post on 2012: the end of the world!

Written by @Wenguss