This year's top artists are a diverse lot represented by two of the world's biggest pop divas, a plethora of critically adored indie faves, some new talents emerging from the hip-hop underground, a couple of veteran Americana acts, and a few alt-rock legends among many more.
Some of 2011's best songwriting came from artists whose work could be broadly defined as "alternative". Few of these artists fit the mold of the traditional singer-songwriter, creating music the blurs the lines defining genres.
We celebrate the life and work of singer-songwriter and Sparklehorse frontman Mark Linkous, who will be remembered as one of the most earnest, distinctive American songwriters of his generation. Truly, he will be missed.