Attempting to Understand Billboard’s Artists of the Decade List


It is no secret that trade publication Billboard is painfully irrelevant. However, its latest “Artists of the Decade” list cannot be debated — it has been objectively compiled. Never mind the fact that Billboard equated “Artists of the Decade” with “the 20 music stars with the best performance on the Billboard 200 albums chart and the Hot 100 over the last ten years.” We let this happen, at least when we still bought CDs. After the jump, explanations on how Creed, Nelly, Nickelback, and others snuck into the Top 20 most-sold albums of the decade list.

Number 7: Nickelback Despite being stoned on stage (yes, we mean with rocks thrown by their own fans), lampooned endlessly on YouTube, and chemically straightening his golden locks, Chad Kroeger and crew have never sat down and thought, “You know what, I think we suck.” Perseverance and blindly struggling to achieve our goals in the face of adversity are wholly American values. Nickelback reached number seven not because we actually thought they were good, we just liked what they represented. “We’ve just accepted that we’re never going to be the critics’ darlings, and we’re OK with that.” You tell ’em Chad, you tell ’em.

Number 18: Creed This band was broken up for half the decade. It’s just incredible that they even made the list at all. What, then, was our morbid fascination with Creed in the 00’s? Like Nickelback, Creed didn’t have a whole lot going for them. In a similar string of Nickelback-ian setbacks, Creed was sued by their fans, lampooned endlessly on YouTube, and had a lead singer whose tongue is located in his throat. As evidenced by their 2009 comeback, which reached number one the rock album’s chart, we have a profound desire to forgive. To love Creed is show to show that you are a merciful, merciful creature. Since Creed has the Christian rock appeal, their loving fans forgave and forgave, album after album. Hence, number 18.

Number 20: Christina Aguilera Christina is all too aware of her appeal. “I constantly change my image, Luckily, from what I can tell from reading letters and conversing with them when on tour, my fans love and are always open to my love for change,” she explained. Let us recall that Christina did the whole bellybutton ring thing in the early 00’s, then abruptly transformed into a red light district dancer, then into Marilyn Monroe, and then into an indie chick. It’s important for us to confirm that we are not static beings; we have the capacity to become what we want to be – to evolve. Buying a Christina Aguilera album is one’s unconscious support of free will.

Number 3: Nelly Even though we haven’t heard much of Nelly since the early 00’s, his chart dominance is highly understandable. It’s a simple case of right beat (The Neptunes’ production), right time (when people still bought CDs), and the right message (primality). “Hot in Herre” spoke to our instincts in addition to our love for cold, hard William James pragmatism. 1) It’s getting hot in here. 2) Take of all your clothes. You just can’t argue with that.

Number 13: Pink Pink’s dominance, unlike that of Nelly, is extremely difficult to comprehend. She beat out Kelly Clarkson, Kanye West, Ludicris, and Rihanna, among others. The only clue we have is Pink’s unabashed Julia Roberts-like romantic comedy romanticism. In ’05, Pink proposed to her motorbiking boo, Carey Hart, with a sign (“Will you marry me?”) and then the words (“I’m serious.”) written on the back. He accepted, they broke up three years later, and got back together this year. It’s like a Disney story…sort of. Okay, we’re stumped on this one. Help us out in the comments below.