6. Lady Gaga, 'Born This Way'
Nobody thought she'd make a nice, quiet little record. But none of Gaga's previous exercises in musical plussizing prepared us for this kind of anything-goes extravagance. Born This Way saw the dance-pop queen embrace homegrown Eighties schlock pop and Springsteenian romanticism. But its spirit is pure Gaga. From the stirring power ballad "Yoü and I" to the freak-flag-waving title track, it is a record with a message ("Rejoice and love yourself today") and a sound commodious enough to take in just about everyone: "gay, straight or bi," "black, white, beige, chola descent," "capital H-I-M" – and Yoü, and I.