20 Best Pop Albums of 2014

From Taylor Swift’s platinum victory to Kitten’s under-the radar triumph, the year in huge hooks

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Ariana Grande, 'My Everything'
20
5/20

5. Ariana Grande, 'My Everything'

Despite Miley's relentless twerk party, Nickelodeon has surpassed the Disney Channel as the alma mater of America's pop contessa. With her savvy second album, Ariana Grande expands her tiny, retro-tidy shadow, leading with a trio of undeniable Max Martin-polished boom shots — sax-squawking funk frolic "Problem" (with Iggy Azalea), gloriously soaring EDM flex "Break Free" (with Zedd), pulsing prom ballad "Love Me Harder" (with an awakened the Weeknd) — and then reaching in unexpected directions. "Hands on Me" (featuring a bubbly A$AP Ferg) is a winningly goofy sex jam, while the Benny Blanco/Cashmere Cat collabo "Be My Baby" explicitly ushers Grande from the soda counter to bottle service. C.A.

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