18 Albums That Made 2006 A Great Year For Pop: From Fergie To Beyonce To Paris Hilton

When it comes to pop, there are few years as fun — and far-ranging — as 2006, one of the most formative eras for mainstream pop in recent memory. We saw dueling SoCal queens/band frontdivas go solo and pop princesses pay homage to sounds both retro and of-the-moment.

Former newlyweds raced to the charts to air out their auto-tuned, hook-heavy pain. Legends were set in stone — Amy Winehouse as an icon for the ages; Justin Timberlake as a pop visionary; Pink as the rebellious voice of her generation — as well as launched. (Welcome to the top of the charts, Taylor Swift and Rihanna.)

Disney saw its musical fortunes soar with High School Musical and Hannah Montana; gifted-but-troubled songbirds like Kelis and JoJo saw the wings of their rising careers clipped. To paraphrase “Stars Are Blind” super-stan Charles Dickens, “2006 in pop was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the Paris Hilton of times.”

Relive it all by flipping through the gallery above, one essential album at a time!

What was your favorite album or single from 2006? Let us know below, or by hitting us up on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.