12/10/2014 12:58 EST | Updated 12/10/2014 12:59 EST

Best Pop Albums Of 2014


Women have become such a dominant force in pop music that when I finished compiling my top 10 list I realized there wasn't a single boy in the bunch. Admittedly, that's because Sam Smith was slotted in our R&B list, I'm ambivalent about One Direction and viscerally disliked that Magic! album. But even with those bestsellers, the biggest musical genre is largely estrogen-fuelled.

And by biggest, I mean BIGGEST. While pop music has always stood for popular, the fragmentation of subgenres and ever-shrinking radio playlists have made pop into the musical one per cent while the rest of the 99 per cent fight over listener scraps.

But what's most interesting about pop is how it's risen to the occasion. Influenced by hipster-beloved artists like Robyn, who proved that pop could be as high-quality as any genre, the top acts like Taylor Swift have stepped up their game while newcomers like Charli XCX are pushing even more progression.

This list also looks beyond the charts to some of the underground pop acts whose experiments are driving the overall genre toward greater heights.