20 Best Pop Albums of 2016

Rihanna, Gaga, the 1975 and more of the year in hooks

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Carly Rae Jepsen, 'Emotion: Side B' EP
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6/20

6. Carly Rae Jepsen, 'Emotion: Side B' EP

When Carly Rae Jepsen released her opus of the heart Emotion in 2015, she let slip that she had written some 250 songs for the project. Emotion: Side B collects eight of the cast-offs from that album, and it's not shocking that they're as satisfying as any other pop released in 2016, foregrounding Jepsen's ability to imbue a diary entry's worth of feelings into a single syllable. "Higher" anchors its besotted lyrics and fizzy synths with storming New Wave drums; "Cry" turns a coffee-klatch lament about a reluctant lover into a tear-jerking ballad. Even "Store" flips the sing-song refrain "I'm just going to the store, to the store" into a Dear John letter to be danced (and cried) along with. M.J.

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