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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Kitten, 'Kitten'
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16/20

16. Kitten, 'Kitten'

Chloe Chaidez's musical prodigiousness was apparent to anyone who saw her band Kitten open for Paramore in 2013 — she wailed, crept around the stage and held her own in the face of a hyper-dynamic headliner. The band's debut album reveals how much range Chaidez possesses as a pop star. Bookended by sinewy dance track "Like A Stranger" and the stark "Apples and Cigarettes," punctuated by "G#," a gorgeous rainbow swirl of fuzzed-out guitars and teary goodbyes, Kitten doesn't have a defining genre. But it provides a platform for Chaidez to show off her impressive pipes and her willingness to use them in whatever way strikes her fancy. M.J.

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