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1. 25, ADELE
The Brit sensation's third album was well worth the almost five-year wait. With her powerhouse vocals and aching lyrics, Adele understands better than ever how to boost Kleenex sales – and sell albums: 25's tear-stained torchers, confident kiss-offs and charming odes to her child sold an unheard-of 3.38 million copies in its first week.
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2. E-MO-TION, CARLY RAE JEPSEN
The woman responsible for the 2011 smash "Call Me Maybe" returned with a near-perfect pop record. The '80s-inspired set cemented a career far greater than those three ubiquitous words. Turns out there's absolutely nothing "maybe" about her.
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3. PURPOSE, JUSTIN BIEBER
The comeback kid said "sorry" for his tabloid-happy years by fusing his soulful vocals – RampBiebs – and dance-pop hooks.
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4. TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY, KENDRICK LAMAR
The rapper made sure he was heard in America's conversation on race with this hip-hop set, tinged with jazz and funk.
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5. HOW BIG, HOW BLUE, HOW BEAUTIFUL, FLORENCE + THE MACHINE
The rocker wailed her way through a breakup with some seriously hooky fare-thee-wells.
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6. TRAVELLER, CHRIS STAPLETON
Nashville's best-kept secret (he's written for George Strait and Tim McGraw) took home top CMA honors for his debut.
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7. AMERICAN BEAUTY/AMERICAN PSYCHO, FALL OUT BOY
Their latest pop-punk stompers were big enough to fill arenas and catchy enough for Top 40 radio.
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8. UNBREAKABLE, JANET JACKSON
She teamed up with Missy Elliott, paid homage to Michael and reclaimed her crown on her first LP in seven years.
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9. A HEAD FULL OF DREAMS, COLDPLAY
The band updated their anthemic rock with dreamy synths on this upbeat departure.
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10. REBEL HEART, MADONNA
While working with of-the-moment producers (Kanye West, Diplo), she remained unapologetically Madge.
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