Girls rule, rap goes evil, sax returns: A snapshot of the last six months in pop
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More so than movies, music gets evaluated by calendar year: December's top-10-list-making flurry is akin to Oscar season when it comes to summing up The State of the Art Form. So it makes sense that July, midway point on the calendar, would be time to talk about how the year in music is shaping up.
Below are the five broad trends—generously defined— that come to mind when thinking about what's been happening over radio, music blog, and iPods in 2011. A lot, of course, has been left out—so let the end-of-year arguing begin, six months early.