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Music in 2014 came in all different forms, as it usually does. But it was something about this year that was a bit different. Singles were quickly pegged as viral sensations and parodies were made even quicker, sweeping the internet by a storm.

But this was also the year of  feminism thanks to Beyonce and Pharrell.

What was noticeably missing from the charts was notorious bad girl, Rihanna. Fans and critics were expecting an album from the Barbados beauty and were left with nothing. Not even a single.

From the ballads that made us swoon to the songs that we couldn’t stop dancing too, take a look at our picks for the top albums in 2014.

Pharrell Williams, ‘G I R L’

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This year can easily be described as the year of Pharrell.  With arguably the most popular song to date, ‘Happy’ the hit maker’s first single off the album became a viral sensation and scored numerous honor and awards, the latest being a star on the iconic ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame’.  The album features collaborations from Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys and Miley Cyrus.

Sam Smith, ‘In the Lonely Hour’

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Although he’s fairly new to Americans, the magnetic vocals of Sam Smith have long since created a buzz in the U.K. His first domestic release garnered such attention and admiration that Vibe magazine named him Soul Singer of the year. His single ‘Stay with Me’ undoubtedly had everything to do with such an honor.

Chris Brown, ‘X’

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After spending four months in prison, Chris Brown was finally able to put out his long awaited sixth album. With his infectiously popular single, ‘Loyal’ burning up the airwaves and the project’s first single, ‘Fine China’ still getting spins, music critics alike applauded this record’s diverse sound. Within the first week ‘X’ sold 146,000 copies, debuting at number two on the Billboard 200. And here’s a little known cool fact, R. Kelly helped produce several tracks on the album.

Mali Music, ‘Mali Is…’

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What do you get when you mix gospel, soul and hip hop? A Grammy nominated singer by the name of Mali Music. His hit ‘Beautiful’ earned him a performance spot on ‘American Idol’ after Jennifer Lopez heard the song. Soon after, his popularity skyrocketed, earning him his first Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album.

Michael Jackson, ‘Xscape’

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In an extremely cool project, MJ released his second posthumous album, which included original music from 1983-2001. With the help of Timbaland, L.A. Reid and a team of other notable producers, they also reworked eight songs to give them a more modern, contemporary feel. The project’s first single, ‘Love Never Felt So Good’ features Justin Timberlake and was first recorded by Michael in 1983. The album debuted has sold over 400,000 copies in the U.S. and over 1 million worldwide.

Trey Songz, ‘Trigga’

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R&B’s bad boy released his sixth album in the summer of 2014. Soon after, it topped the Billboard 200 charts at number one with the support of its singles ‘Na Na’, ‘Touchin, Lovin’ ’ and the popular ‘Foreign’, which featured Justin Bieber on the remix. To date the album has sold over 260,000 copies.

Toni Braxton & Babyface, ‘Love, Marriage & Divorce’

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One of music’s favorites finally got together and made an entire album and we’re here for it! In a collaboration project, soul crooners Toni Braxton and Babyface gave us 11 songs that feed into our desire for relationships and the tragic turn of events when they end. Debuting at number 4 on the Billboard 200, it sold 67,000 copies its first week. To date, it has sold over 200,000 copies in the U.S.

Iggy Azaela, ‘The New Classic’

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No matter your personal thoughts of the white Australian rapper, Iggy has dominated the music scene this past year. Quickly crossing over into the rap genre, Iggy debuted her first album under the helm of T.I.’s record label ‘Hustle Gang’. Since joining forces, she’s won every award known to man this year, including the very controversial Favorite Rap/Hip Hop Album at the American Music Awards.

Tank, ‘Stronger’

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The R&B soul crooner has famously created albums that are reserved for some alone time with your boo, so imagine everyone’s surprise when he dropped a project that was anything but. ‘Stronger’, Tank’s sixth album was a vast departure from the music that made him a sex symbol. The first single, ‘You’re My Star’ is very reminiscent of The Jackson’s and features an old school retro R&B vibe.  The album debuted at number 13 on the Billboard 200.

*Honorable mention

Beyonce, ‘Beyonce’

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Although it was released just a few weeks shy of 2014, Beyonce’s fifth album is one of the most important things that happened to music – ever. Often cited as one of her most explicit albums to date, themes of sex, feminism and motherhood run rampant throughout the album.  In its first three days, it sold 878,773 copies word wide, making it the fast selling album in the history of the iTunes store. The album also came complete with a video for every song. Soon after a tour, a calendar and clothing line inspired by the album was released.

What are your picks for top album of the year?

(Photo Source: Michael Jackson, Pharell, Iggy Azaela, Sam Smith, Tank, Chris Brown, Mali Music and Toni Braxton’s Facebook pages)

Top Albums Of 2014  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

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