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Here is our guide to some of the best albums of 2014. Some you are sure to have heard of (T. Swift anyone?) but hopefully there are some new artists you can have the pleasure of discovering for the first time.

Nicki Minaj - The Pinkprint


The third studio album for Nicki Minaj shows the hip hop artist in a more reflective mode. There are definitely dance tracks (“Trini Dem Girls” is one such hit) but all in all the record feels more mature and well-developed than her previous efforts. Already well-received by critics, Minaj shines in this cohesive project that aims to bring her back to her hip hop roots.

Ex Hex – Rips


The debut album by indie rock veterans Mary Timony, Laura Harris and Betsy Wright does just what the title promises. This record is great rock, plain and simple. Timony shreds on the guitar, as always, and the band seems to be having a blast all the while. A definite highlight of the year.

Azealia Banks - Broke With Expensive Taste


This long-anticipated follow-up to Banks’ 2012 mixtape Fantasea proves well worth the wait. Banks clearly illustrates her rap skills on this album, backed by beats that range from dancey to hard.

Shabazz Palaces – Lese Majesty


This record shows the talented artists behind Shabazz Palaces in a more complex musical place than ever. Lese Majesty joins thoughtful lyrics to beautiful dance beats. A great listen no matter what your mood is.

Beck – Morning Phase


A throwback to Beck’s chilled-out Sea Change days, this album is full of beautiful tunes that easily transition from one to the next. The artist’s first real album in six years, these tracks are easy to listen to again and again.

Mitski – Bury Me At Makeout Creek


This beautiful indie album is available to listen to first on the artist’s Bandcamp page. Dreamy vocals sometimes turn harsh, but this record is always a delight to listen to. Learn the lyrics if you’re trying to mend a broken heart.

Taylor Swift – 1989


The pop princess has done it again. Her marketing genius prevails, making her fans thirsty for what the artist has acknowledged as her first real pop album. No matter what genre you want to call it, the songs hit one high point after another. From the empowering “Shake It Off” to the bad-girl “Blank Space” and the catchy “Style,” there is something here for anyone that likes pop music.

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