Arbitrarily Grading The Year That Was: A Look Back At The Major Music Happenings of 2010.

If the '00s were dominated by hip-hop, this decade looks as if it's being dominated by electronic music.

While electro-pop has had some resurrections over the years, it's now a mainstay of popular music. Look no farther than one Lady Gaga for proof: This year, she became the first artist in history to have her first six singles reach the Billboard Top 10. And, on top of Gaga's achievements, the charts this year were either dominated by new electro-pop acts such as Taio Cruz and Ke$ha or by other artists jumping on the bandwagon, such as Usher, Katy Perry, and Chris Brown.

But electro-pop's rise wasn't the only news this year: As Miley Cyrus and company reach adulthood, the industrial machine was in need of a new tween sensation -- and they found one in Justin Bieber. His meteoric rise turned the YouTube star one of the youngest artists to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 100.

Worldwide, the only thing bigger than Justin Bieber in 2010 was the World Cup, where, with the advances of technology, Shakira's "Waka Waka" was heard by billions of people living in all corners of the planet -- to the tune of 267 million views on YouTube, over 500 million views during the opening ceremony on television, and over 700 million views during the World Cup Finals commercials.

But don't let all the mainstream news discourage you. From taking a journey into Kanye West's fantasies to reanalyzing the suburbs with Arcade Fire and learning how to have a chivalrous break up with Cee-Lo Green, the year also had it's fair share of artistic genius.

In other news, bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers finally came out of hiatus (minus John Frusciante) as bands like Fall Out Boy finally disbanded to the pleasure of ears everywhere. Other musical departures came as Paul Gray of Slipknot, Teddy Pendergrass, El Shaka, and Teena Marie all passed before their time.

Anyway, all this news has us wondering: How would this year be graded? Was is a net plus or loss from previous years? We decided to look into these questions and arbitrarily grade the year's happenings, event by event. See the results after the jump

January (-6)

Jan 2: Ke$ha's "TiK ToK" tops the charts | Trashy music has a new definition. | -3
Jan 4: Nick Jonas & The Administration debuts in Dallas | The only talented Jonas Brother ditches the rest of the group. | +1
Jan 13: R&B Soul legend Teddy Pendergrass dies. | Closing the door on the casket. | -2
Jan 22: Hope for Haiti Now Telethon | It was like the Livestrong fad, but shorter. | +2
Jan 29: The Red Hot Chili Peppers make their live comeback with new guitarist, Josh Klinghoffer | Now they're just the Red Hot Chilis | -1
Jan 31: Taylor Swift wins Album of the Year at The 52nd Annual Grammy Awards | It's not like people respect the Grammys anyway. | -3

February (+3)
Feb 6:  Fall Out Boy breakup | February 6 will now be known as Rock Independence Day | +3
Feb 4: Avril Lavigne releases "Alice (Underground)". | It doesn't even hit the charts, meaning the faux-punk queen might finally be done. | +2
Feb 18: Wyclef and company releases "We Are the World 25 for Haiti" | According to Jay-Z, it's Auto-Tuned terror with good intentions. | -2

March (-2)
Mar 9: Gorillaz release Plastic Beach | Bruce Willis appears in the "Stylo" music video. That's enough to get our praise. | +1
Mar 15: Lady Gaga becomes the first artist in history to send her first six singles to No. 1 on the Billboard charts. | Better Gaga than Ke$ha. | +1
Mar 23: Justin Bieber releases My World 2.0 | The hit song "Baby" goes for world domination. | -3
Mar 26: Usher goes electro-pop with Raymond v Raymond | The electro-pop bandwagon is beginning to get full. | -2
Mar 27: Erykah Badu releases the video for "Window Seat" | It featured a small budget, one take and nudity. A perfect viral video? You bet. | +1

April (-1)
Apr 13: Far East Movement's "Like a G6" hits No. 1 | Suburban Asians make dance gangsta rap? | -1
Apr 14: Wiz Khalifa releases Kush and Orange Juice | Hip-hop has a new vanguard. | +1
Apr 16: Coachella 2010 | Thom Yorke and Flea strut their stuff. | +1
Apr 26: M.I.A releases controversial video for "Born Free." | A video with naked fat people and murdering ginger kids isn't controversial, it's just plain stupid. | -1
Apr 27: B.o.B releases The Adventures of Bobby Ray | Suburban hip-hop makes it's first big splash. | -1

May (0)
May 18: The Black Keys release Brothers | Black Keys produced by Danger Mouse = Heaven. | +2
May 25: New York Times releases M.I.A. article calling out her exaggerated history | M.I.A goes indie Vanilla Ice. | -2

June (0)
Jun 1: Taio Cruz releases Rokstarr | Yet another British invasion. | -2
Jun 8: Dixie Chicks have a reunion tour | Yes, country does have more artists than just Taylor Swift. | +1
Jun 10: Bonnaroo 2010 | Conan O'Brien goes from late night to performing at festivals. | +1
Jun 11: Shakira's "Waka Waka" dominates the planet. | Wait, why does a Latin pop star have the official song for an African World Cup? | -1
Jun 18: Miley Cyrus releases Can't Be Tamed | Parents are furious by her sexualization. | +1

July (+2)
Jul 7: American Idols LIVE! cancels eight of its 38 shows because of falling ratings. | Good run, American Idol. We thank you cultural icons like William Hung and Sanjaya. | +2

August (+6)
Aug 3: Arcade Fire releases The Suburbs | Music videos go interactive | +2
Aug 6: Lollapalooza 2010 | Arcade Fire, The Black Keys, Lady GaGa, Erykah Badu, MGMT, and The Strokes all in three days. | +1
Aug 19: Cee-Lo Green releases "Fuck You" | Already a contender for song of the millenium. | +2
Aug 20: Wyclef Jean's bid for president of Haiti is rejected. | It's fair to say that you should be living in the country where you're running for president | +1

September (+2)
Sep 12: Lady Gaga wears a meat dress at the VMAs. | Eat that, PETA. | +1
Sep 24: Linkin Park releases A Thousand Suns | Linkin Park invents the oxymoron that is artistic nu-metal. | +1

October (0)
Oct 19: Miley Cyrus' Hannah Montana character releases her final album, Hannah Montana Forever  | Key words: "Final album." | +1
Oct 8: The Eagles headline Austin City Limits 2010 | Apparently the concert promoters are against young people. | -1

November (-1)
Nov 16: iTunes releases The Beatles discography. | Too bad everyone already owns the Beatles. | -1
Nov 18: Dr. Dre releases "Kush," the first single off his long-awaited album, Detox. | At this rate, Detox will be released in about 90 years | +1
Nov 22: Kanye West releases My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy | The highlight of the year. | +4
Nov 21: Justin Bieber wins Best New Artist at American Music Awards | Say what?!?!?!? | -3
Nov 30: Black Eyed Peas release The Beginning | We can't wait till they decide to quit and release The End. Oh, that was their last album's title? What the crap? | -2

December (-2)
Dec 5: Nicole Scherzinger quits The Pussycat Dolls. | Who were the other girls anyway? | +1
Dec 14: Sony BMG releases Michael Jackson's Michael. | Michael moonwalks in his grave. | -2
Dec 26: Teena Marie Dies | Sad news, considering how she helped break the racial barrier in soul music. | -1


2010 Overall: +1

So, there you have it. After starting out terribly with its worst month of the year, January (which scored a -6), the year bounced back, thanks in large part to its strongest, August (which earned a +6 rating). And, all in all, the year actually didn't turn out too bad! Fueled by the fall of Fall Out Boy and Kanye's artistic adventures among other events, we'd say this year has been an overall plus for the progression of music.

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Sartaj Chowdhury
Contact: Sartaj Chowdhury