Plenty of good albums were released this year, but here are some of the ones we loved.
Pop cleanup jobs don't come any more satisfying than this one by the once-shadowy R&B auteur, whose flashy new collaborators only make him seem more twisted.
Many expected the outspoken country singer to go rogue on the follow-up to her hit debut. But Pageant Material turned out to be something smaller and more poignant: an adventurer's tribute to the comforts of home.
First known as a chatty YouTube personality, Sivan arrives on his debut album as a fully formed - and radically sincere - electro-pop diarist.
A collection of deeply funky, disarmingly intimate slow jams from the Los Angeles soul-music crew. They've clearly outgrown their beginnings as an Odd Future side project.
This 26-year-old jazz singer broke out several years ago with her smart, showy interpretations of durable standards and obscure curios. But here she's most impressive in her deeply felt originals, which show off the haunted quiet side of her powerful voice.
He's the guy "real music fans" love to hate, but it's hard to deny that the Biebs' latest release is little short of brilliant. Dude can sing, and he knows (people who know) how to make a tune irresistibly catchy.
For this Atlanta hip hop duo, a brutally short attention span was a virtue on its twitchy, weirdly hypnotic debut.
It was too big to fail, and so of course it didn't. But with vivid production and songs about her life as a new parent, Adele's latest chart-buster felt as much like a personal statement as an exercise in brand management.
In a year full of shallow '80s revivalism, the Killers frontman got real emotional depth out of those processed drums and Bruce Hornsby-style piano licks (played in this case by Hornsby himself).
The boyband's farewell before a hiatus that's likely to be permanent, Made in the A.M. combines soppy goodbye songs with loose, lighthearted moments that demonstrate just how much One Direction will be missed.