6. Mary J. Blige, 'The London Sessions'
Twenty years since her debut, Mary J. Blige is on her third or fourth act at this point — and she still managed a creative breakthrough in 2014. During a month-long residency of sorts in England, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul called on a surprising crew of people like Sam Smith, Disclosure, Emeli Sandé and other contemporary U.K. luminaries to make a record that convincingly encompasses doo-wop, classic soul, deep house and gospel — all the American music the country's most celebrated pop exports been reworking for the last decade. Your move, Mark Ronson. C.D.