Ranking things is hard – understatement. So look, there were many sound R&B albums in 2014 – don’t let the abysmal sales dissuade you. That said, there were only a couple of truly great ones – led by one unopposed homerun – that sit atop the standings. Here are the 25 26 Best R&B albums of 2014…maybe.
1) D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
There was no better R&B album in 2014. It’s not even that close as D’Angelo came back in a huge way. R&B hasn’t sounded like this since…you get the idea.
Two Favorites: “1000 Deaths” & “Sugah Daddy”
2) Sam Smith, In The Lonely Hour
If you consider Smith’s album to be an R&B album, well, it definitely sits atop the list.
Two Favorites: “Stay With Me” & “I’m Not The Only One”
3) Mary J. Blige, The London Sessions
London definitely gave Mary a lift. Too bad the sales didn’t give her one as well – no “Therapy” for that, unfortunately!
Two Favorites: “Therapy” & “Whole Damn Year”
4) Pharrell Williams, G I R L
We “came and got it” Skateboard P, and it was G-O-O-D.
Two Favorites: “Happy” & “Gust of Wind”
5) Prince, Art Official Age
Two Favorites: “Breakdown” & “Funknroll”
6) K. Michelle, Anybody Wanna Buy A Heart?
Can’t knock K. Michelle for her exceptional pipes or even her honesty here. She just wants the perfect man, and she knows “Drake Would Love” her!
Two Favorites: “Love ‘Em All” and “Maybe I Should Call”
7) Jennifer Hudson, JHUD
I can’t dance, but the grooves on JHUD certainly made me want to.
Two Favorites: “It’s Your World” and “I Can’t Describe (The Way I Feel)”
8) Trey Songz, Trigga
I am a firm believer that Trey Songz really did invent sex. He loves to sing about it too much.
Two Favorites: “Cake” and “SmartPhones”
9) August Alsina, Benediction
Since it’s the Benediction, let the church say, amen!
Two Favorites: “Make It Home” (featuring Jeezy) & “Benediction” (featuring Rick Ross)
10) Mali Music, Mali Is…
Underrated, I definitely “Believe” in Mali Is… There’s plenty of “Heavy Love” to be found here.
Two Favorites: “Heavy Love” & “Believe”
11) Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Give The People What They Want
Give The People What They Want is just another sound traditional R&B album by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – no “Retreat” necessary here!
Two Favorites: “Retreat!” & “People Get What They Deserve”
12) Kelis, Food
A yummy, yet underrated album – love those “Jerk Ribs” especially!
Two Favorites: “Jerk Ribs” & “Floyd”
13) Ariana Grande, My Everything
Is she purely pop or is she R&B enough to hang? My Everything is a solid album, and the urban influence is strong, so, we’ll put the “Problem” child in the middle.
Two Favorites: “Problem” and “Bang Bang” (Jessie J featuring Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj)
14) Chris Brown, X
He definitely deserves some credit for making a respectable album following that mess named Fortune.
Two Favorites: “Add Me In” and “New Flame”
15) Marsha Ambrosius, Friends & Lovers
Friends & Lovers ranks among the most sensual albums to grace this list. Not everyday there’s a song named “69” – just saying!
Two Favorites: “69” & “Stronger”
16) Luke James, Luke James
Another quietly issued album, Luke James has been building buzz for years since “I Want You” was released.
Two Favorites: “Trouble” and “Options”
17) Aloe Blacc, Lift Your Spirit
He’s a pretty confident dude – I would be to if I were “The Man.”
Two Favorites: “The Man” & “Love Is The Answer”
18) Toni Braxton & Babyface, Love, Marriage & Divorce
Two Favorites: “Hurt You” & “Where Did It Go Wrong?”
19) Tinashe, Aquarius
Two Favorites: “2 On” & “Thug Cry”
20) Joe, Bridges
The lack of flash or maybe just Joe’s continual consistency keeps this album lower than it should be on this list. It’s no “Dilemma” though.
Two Favorites: “Till The Rope Gives Way” & “The Rest Will Follow”
21) Jhené Aiko, Souled Out
One of the quietest R&B albums on this list, it is an interesting listen by all means – no worries and no “Pressure” Jhené.
Two Favorites: “Limbo Limbo Limbo” & “The Pressure”
22) Leela James, Fall For You
Didn’t we all fall for Leela James this year? Fall For You was another fine addition to her discography!
Two Favorites: “Who’s Gonna Love You More” & “Say That” (featuring Anthony Hamilton)
23) Mariah Carey, Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse
We all know it didn’t sell and MC has had a bad year, but the album wasn’t nearly as bad everything else – it definitely has its “Beautiful” moments.
Two Favorites: “Beautiful” & “Heavenly (No Ways Tired / Can’t Give Up Now)”
24) Daley, Days & Nights
Yeah, few people know who Daley is, but they should – this British contemporary R&B singer is legit.
Two Favorites: “Blame The World” & “Broken”
25) Ledisi, The Truth
Though not nearly as distinctive as some of her previous albums, The Truth still shows Ledisi’s craft for making a solid R&B album.
Two Favorites: “I Blame You” and “88 Boxes”
26) Teyana Taylor, VII
Two Favorites: “Just Different” and “Request”