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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11. "Weird Al" Yankovic, 'Mandatory Fun'

In a post-YouTube world where there's only a handful of hits that could comfortably be called "ubiquitous" anymore, pop parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic had to set his sights on the biggest targets possible — "Fancy," "Blurred Lines," "Happy," etc. Luckily those songs were monsters for a reason and Yankovic, simply by dint of holding himself to his own exacting standards, cleanly sliced through the morass of here-today-gone-tomorrow online comedy. "First World Problems" is the best Pixies song released in at least a decade and "Foil" — which combined Al's 30-year obsession with food and the barely there beats of Lorde's "Royals" — might be one of the smartest realizations of his abilities yet. M.J.

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