20 Best Pop Albums of 2014

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

Sia, '1000 Forms of Fear'
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20. Sia, '1000 Forms of Fear'

Sia Furler has been a Top 40 secret weapon for nearly three years, writing or collaborating with Rihanna ("Diamonds"), Beyoncé ("Pretty Hurts"), Britney Spears ("Perfume"), Flo Rida ("Wild Ones") and David Guetta ("Titanium"). With single "Chandelier," Sia finally charted with a song that features herself as the lead artist. The single came attached to 1000 Forms of Fear, a gorgeous package of perfect pop songs featuring the ABBA method: misleadingly happy tunes accompany, and nearly shroud, heartbreakingly revelatory lyrics. Covering everything from her discomfort with fame to alcoholism, Sia made the year's most emotionally naked album and did so with her face hidden from view. B.S.