50 Best Albums of 2014

U2 unleashed a brilliant surprise, Bruce Springsteen hit a new peak, St. Vincent made deliciously weird noise and more

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Miranda Lambert, 'Platinum'

5. Miranda Lambert, 'Platinum'

Lambert began as a mainstream-country bad girl. This year, she became an institution. Platinum smoothly balances solo-act introspection with A-list ring grabs, co-starring the likes of Carrie Underwood and Little Big Town. Notably absent, though, is superstar hubby Blake Shelton – sister's doin' it for herself.

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