Best R&B/Pop Album of 2012

Reader's Pick

Frank Ocean - Channel Orange Artwork

Frank Ocean - Channel Orange

For many, the term “R&B” brings to mind three-minute, verse-chorus-verse pop songs about love, sex, relationships and little else. And don't get it twisted; Frank Ocean's Def Jam debut, Channel Orange, features a few stellar jams that fit that definition. But it also sees the artist exploring a multitude of fresh possibilities, shaking off formal and thematic fetters to create expansive, aurally-challenging records dealing with history, organized religion, homophobia, race, class, the War on Drugs and more—all without losing the intimate vibe that drew listeners to 2011's Nostalgia, Ultra.

Staff Pick

Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dreams Artwork

Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dreams

After the success of Miguel's debut album, All I Want Is You, we all thought Miguel's sophomore effort would be pretty damn good, but I don't know if many thought it'd be this good. Kaleidoscope Dream succeeded on every level, earning some serious commercial success, especially with hit single Adorn, while also pushing R&B into some brand new territory. Where he goes from here no one knows, maybe not even him, and with Miguel you get the feeling that’s exactly the point.

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