19. JoJo, 'Mad Love'
Few pop albums this year were as eagerly awaited as the third release by JoJo, some 10 years in the making. In that decade, the "Leave (Get Out)" singer grew out of her teens, weathered label drama that would have sunk many a career, and released brooding singles that only hinted at where she'd wind up. Possessing a keen maturity that blends pop's feisty nature with a seen-it-all wisdom, Mad Love is a showcase for JoJo's vocal power and versatility: The title track transforms her into a torch singer, "Honest" pairs take-me-as-I-am lyrics with her upper register, and "Music" searingly chronicles her reaction to the loss of her father. JoJo's comeback album solidified her as one of pop's most dynamic stars, her hard-won knowledge and undeniable vocal prowess combining for a potent record of real talk. M.J.