12 Best R&B Albums of 2014 (Mid-Year)

It’s mid-year (or slightly past), and it’s time to catch up with some of the year’s best R&B albums. R&B is not dead, even if the Nielsen Soundscan numbers might lead you to believe otherwise. Previously, in April 2014, an early list of the best R&B albums was published. There are some noticeable changes and reconsiderations (yep we’re talking to you SZA and John Newman), not to mention some new albums joining the fold. Here are the 12 Best R&B albums of 2014.

The Best

1) Pharrell Williams, G I R L 


Pharrell William’s sophomore album is a pleasure to listen to – fun through and through. #1 hit “Happy” isn’t the sole attraction either, as G I R L is chocked full of gems, including “Marilyn Monroe,” “Come Get It Bae,” and “Gust of Wind.” 

2) Trey Songz, Trigga


Trey Songz recorded a truly risqué, unapologetic, contemporary R&B album with Trigga. Songz hits and exceeds all the ‘R. Kelly’ marks – sex, sex, and more sex. Songz has a legit argument for the #1 spot.  Highlights include “Cake,” “Foreign,” “Na Na,” and “SmartPhones.” 

3) Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour


R&B is all about love and heartbreak. British R&B singer Sam Smith delivers exceptionally throughout In the Lonely Hour about love’s issues, specifically one-sided love. In addition to “Stay With Me,” standouts include “Money On My Mind,” “I’m Not the Only One,” “I’ve Told You Now,” and “Make It To Me” (deluxe edition).

4) August Alsina, Testimony


Why is August Alsina’s Testimony so good? Alsina keeps things real, wearing his emotions on his sleeves. “FML,” “Benediction,” and “I Luv This Sh*t” (featuring Trinidad James) rank among the album’s best moments.

5) José James, While You Were Sleeping 


While You Were Sleeping exemplifies José James’ immense versatility as a musician. Featuring a number of styles throughout the album, James offers something for everybody. Highlights include “Angel,” “U r the 1,” and of course EveryLittleThing.

6) John Newman, Tribute



Perhaps initially Tribute was both rated and ranked a bit high. That said, Tribute still ranks among the best albums of the year. “Love Me Again” and “Losing Sleep” are the crown jewels. 

7) Kelis, Food


Honestly, who thought that the “Milkshake”/ “Bossy” singer could deliver a compelling soul album? Food is exceptional, particularly joints “Jerk Ribs” and “Floyd.

8) St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Half the City



The Alabama collective deliver a captivating, authentic retro soul album, led by front man Paul Janeway. “I’m Tore Up,ranks among Half the City’s elite moments.

9) Daley, Days & Nights


Quoting myself:

John Newman Sam Smith may be is the Brit getting the most buzz, but Daley shouldn’t be slept on – dude can flat out blow. Sporting a piercing, soulful tenor, Daley has some sick pipes.

So in essence, Days & Nights ranks among the year’s best and most underrated albums. “Blame The World,” “Alone Together” (featuring Marsha Ambrosius), and “Broken” rank among the album’s best.

10) Mali Music, Mali Is 


Another underrated album (yep, I’m guilty of asserting, “a bit more pizzazz and fanfare would’ve provided more distinction”), Mali Is rightfully ranks among the year’s best R&B efforts. “No Fun Alone” and “Heavy Love” are among the best moments of the effort. An additional pro is that Mali Is retains Mali’s Christian/religious messaging.

11) Mariah Carey, Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse


Mariah Carey’s latest album Me. I Am Mariah may have been a chart flop, but the album itself has some magnificent moments. Lengthy and somewhat scattered, moments that make Me. I Am Mariah among the year’s best R&B albums include “Cry,” “#Beautiful,” and a sensational cover, “Heavenly (No Ways Tired / Can’t Give Up Now).”

12) Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Give The People What They Want


Give The People What They Want isn’t an innovative effort, but the retro-soul album refreshes from a tried-and-true soul collective. “Retreat” and “People Don’t Get What They Deserve” rank among the best of the effort.

Others considered:


Aloe Blacc, Lift Your Spirit: Aloe Blacc definitely is “The Man.Lift Your Spirit isn’t the type of album to just blow you away, but there are some fine moments. “Love is the Answer” is the other ‘big-gun’


SZA, Z: A nice debut from SZA, but I overrated the album.

61CDEHhqbdL._SL500_AA280_Ledisi, The Truth: Another solid LP from Ledisi, though not her best. “I Blame You” and “88 Boxes” stand out.

81xd9sCbxDL._SL1500_Joe, Bridges: Joe’s albums don’t tend to be full of flash, but particularly as of late, the veteran R&B singer has been incredibly consistent.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. i’ll take joes album all over the rest of those other albums and he been on fire. he might have been in r kelly’s shadow, however he is making a statement now. i can’t stand trey no songz. being a broke younger R.Kelly knock off is comedy. joe is doing that thing right now, R&B never has died or will die because though the industry wants to make a joke of it by having rappers tryiing to croon,etc.. where would rappers be without sampling and living off R&B? anyway i hear some decent songs, however only Joes album kinda has moved me lately but we ain’t got alot of depth in the game until it gets back to just writing and having your own musical lane. peace

    1. brent80 says:

      I can respect that by all means. Always appreciate your insightful comments!!!

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