2014 was an undeniably great year for music. Everyone from mainstream stars like Taylor Swift to indie/alternative favorites like Beck brought their A-game, releasing some great new albums that certainly deserve their spots among the best albums of the year. But, when there are this many amazing albums from artists so completely different, ranking a year-end top albums list becomes especially tricky.
Looking at each album's Metacritic score helps, but it's hardly a foolproof method for measuring critical (let alone popular) opinion. After all, it's easy for under-the-radar albums to score big on the strength of a few good reviews, but high-profile releases have to stand up to the scrutiny of dozens of publications. Plus, a couple terrible scores can sink a new album that's otherwise well-received.
Additionally, fans and critics don't always see eye-to-eye. Consider artists like Coldplay and Sam Smith, who connected with the record-buying public, but not the music press. Don't they deserve some consideration? Just how much weight should metascores and chart performances carry, anyway? And most importantly, how exactly do you rank artists as diverse as Jack White, Lana Del Rey, and Schoolboy Q?We considered all these points and more, but there's no way to tell what will go down in history as the best album of, and who will come out on top after the votes are cast. So get to voting and help determine the year's best new albums!