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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Ed Sheeran, 'X'
20
10/20

10. Ed Sheeran, 'X'

Ed Sheeran and friend/collaborator Taylor Swift seem to have come to the same conclusion. Following up the standard singer-songwriter fare of his 2011 debut, Sheeran goes pop with no reservations, singing, "I'm not a rapper, I'm a singer with a flow." On X, Sheeran becomes an R&B lothario and riffs like a hip-hop raconteur, and his storytelling capabilities get the beats they deserve thanks to guest producers like Pharrell Williams and Rick Rubin. That bit of groove is just what Sheeran needs for biting musings on everything from heartbreak to how he got "so faded," on "Bloodstream" B.S.

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