This ranking is from Music Mania and I made a few changes.
15. Class Actress - Movies
Technically an EP, Movies is a synthpop work produced by Elizabeth Harper, Giorgio Moroder, Neon Indian and Mess Kid. This is the first work by Class Actress as a solo artist. Movies is inspired by "the films of '80s excess, glamor and self-discovery" and Harper wanted it to be "a dark story of a woman who explores the glamorous fantasy life of a Hollywood party girl." Songs are catchy and have dark atmosphere , while the production is polished and evokes the 80s synthpop music works.
Highlights: More Than You, Movies
14. Marina and the Diamonds - Froot
One of the better pop albums this year. Marina still manages to deliver unique pop music with interesting lyrics. Like Janet's Unbreakable, this album is very cohesive and because of that I feel like I am listening to the same song over and over again. I am not saying it is bad or something, but a little bit of differently structured songs would have made the album diverse a little bit.
Highlights: Savages, I'm A Ruin, Happy
13. Janet Jackson - Unbreakable
I am not a fan of this kind of music, but I find this album very listenable. I like the mix of r'n'b, electronic beats and funk.
Highlights: Lessons Learned, No Sleeep
12. Chvrches - Every Open Eye
Another good collection of catchy synthpop gems. I expected the band to experiment a little bit and deliver something new.
Highlights: Leave A Trace
11. Grimes - Art Angels
The whole album is like a soundtrack of some Japanese video game. Full of weird beats and catchy melodies. An example of pop as an art form. Her most accessible album.
Highlights: Belly Of The Beat, REALiTi
10. Lana Del Rey - Honeymoon
An album definitely better than Ultraviolence and very accessible. It is a great collection of dreamy and cinematic ballads.
Highlights: The Blackest Day, Art Deco
9. MS MR - How Does It Feel
While their debut album was an indie pop album with rock and dream pop elements, this album delivers catchy dance electropop songs and ballads. The production isn't anything new, but the best part of this album are melodies. It got mixed and negative reviews mostly from the critics, but it is one of the better pop efforts this year. Anyone who is looking for another catchy pop album should check this out.
Highlights: Cruel, Leave Me Alone
8. Duran Duran - Paper Gods
With this album and the previous one (All You Need Is Now) Duran Duran have truly returned to form after a series of 90s and 2000s albums that were lacking Duran Duran vibe. These two albums perfectly executed their signature 80s sound in modern style, especially Paper Gods. Paper Gods is full of catchy pop rock songs produced by Mark Ronson, Nile Rodgers and Duran Duran.
Highlights: Butterfly Girl, Danceophobia
7. Hurts - Surrender
After Exile, a dark album with industrial beats and their best work, Hurts delivers a lighter and more cheerful album. Surrender isn't perfection. It has some fillers, cringe-worthy moments and uninspiring songs, but it is one of the better synthpop releases this year. The album has signature melancholic vibe, no matter if it is a ballad or a dance song. The weak side of the album is trend following (EDM), but there are a few good EDM songs. One of the best songs is Lights produced by Ariel Rechtshaid and it is weird because he produced only that one song on the album. Another great song is Perfect Timing (only produced by Hurts), a ballad which evokes the 80s and whose chorus melody reminds of Alanis' Ironic. This album could have been flawless piece of pop music if Hurts was more experimental and if Ariel worked on more songs.
Highlights: Perfect Timing, Lights
6. Kate Boy - One
A cohesive electropop album which includes all songs released during previous years as singles and an EP. It delivers a few new songs and that is album's biggest weak point. Also, the album uses the same beats in every song. Some might like it, some might be annoyed. A little bit of experimentation would have been welcomed. Anyway, it is a great collection of well executed electropop gems.
Highlights: Northern Lights, The Way We Are
5. Telekinesis - Ad Infinitum
After indie rock/shoegaze albums with raw sound, Telekinesis released a similar one, this time with the 80s synthpop beats. This isn't the first time they used electronic sound, but this is the first album where it is dominating. Their best album.
Highlights: In A Future World, Courtesy Phone
4. Madonna - Rebel Heart
It is undeniable that Madonna is in her zone again. After generic, soulless, trend following Hard Candy and a mixed bag called MDNA, any true fan will adimt that. The passion is there. Madonna was willing to experiment and she did. Thematically, it doesn't deliver anything new. Typical Madonna themes: sex, love, relationships, biographical songs, provocation through religion... Many of the songs evokes some of Madonna's classic works,. which is a good thing. Even some songs that production wise remind of Hard Candy are better and more passionate than anything on Hard Candy.
It is a great album of so many different songs. Its diversity doesn't make it to be just a collection of random sounds. Actually, it is surprisingly cohesive. However, the order of songs at certain parts is weird. The main reason is the leaking of the album, which forced Madonna to release a few random songs and so the order of those songs was used for the album too. Speaking of leaks, many songs have been improved, but also some songs didn't need a make over. S.E.X. for example. The demo was a catchy pop song with silly lyrics, but the final version is a soulless song with hip hop vibe and without Madonna vibe. Madonna is a pop artist and people want that. On the other hand, Veni Vidi Vici is a perfect example how an artist should incorporate hip hop beats into a pop song. Madonna was using hip hop elements in the 90s too and she has always pulled it off. At this point, it shouldn't be a problem.
The most experimental songs are Holy Water and Iconic, which have dark vibe. The best part of the album are ballads which evokes the quality of classic Madonna ballads. The worst songs are Bitch I'm Madonna, S.E.X. and Autotune Baby which sound like outtakes or jokes.
Highlights: Holy Water, Inside Out, Iconic, Veni Vidi Vici, Joan Of Arc
3. Brandon Flowers - The Desired Effect
This album is so simple, yet so good. It was praised by many sites and magazines and appeared on a few best albums list, but it should have been more celebrated. I don't understand why it wasn't more successful, because many songs have hit statuses, especially singles. Brandon didn't just deliver a great album, but also good videos. The Desired Effect is a fantastic synthpop/rock work that sounds like it was made in the 80s and updated with a modern production in 21th century. The album is timeless and a recommendation for all fans of 80s music.
Highlights: Lonely Town, Can't Deny My Love, Untangled Love
2. Florence and the Machine - How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
It is big and it is beautiful. A flawless album full of energy, passion and creativity. Kate Bush influence is still there, mixed with rock sound, while Florence's voice is hypnotizing. Their best album so far.
Highlights: What Kind Of Man, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, Delilah, St. Jude
1. Ryan Adams - 1989
This album is is a track-by-track cover of Taylor Swift's 1989. Cool and interesting idea and a fantastic result. While Taylor's album is a modern pop inspired by the 80s, Ryan's version is a rock album that sounds like it was made in the 80s. A lot of brilliant reinventions, especially Shake It Off. A warm, simple, catchy and timeless album.
Highlights: Bad Blood, Wildest Dreams, Style, Shake It Off