20 Best R&B Albums of 2014

The year in tough lovers, elusive chanteuses, purple royalty and more

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Mary J. Blige, 'The London Sessions'

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.

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