Best Albums of the Year

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5. Cuz I Love You
> Artist: Lizzo
> Metascore: 84/100
> Billboard 200 Year End ranking: 20/200

While Lizzo’s debut album came out in 2013, it wasn’t until this past year that the Texas musician began burning up the charts. Her album “Cuz I Love You” peaked at No. 4 in September, thanks in part to the deluxe version’s inclusion of the No. 1 hit “Truth Hurts.” As the Chicago Tribune notes, “Lizzo and her producers […] aim for radio singles rather than cohesive statements.” Based on the album’s popularity — it works.

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4. Over It
> Artist: Summer Walker
> Metascore: 86/100
> Billboard 200 Year End ranking: 109/200

R&B artist Summer Walker’s debut studio album “Over It” shows the singer working at a slower tempo than her previous work. The ballad-laden record peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and included the Hot 100-charting singles “Playing Games” and “Stretch You Out.”

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3. Thank U, Next
> Artist: Ariana Grande
> Metascore: 86/100
> Billboard 200 Year End ranking: 2/200

Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in February. It also launched with the biggest streaming week ever for a pop album, with the equivalent of 307 million audio streams in a week. The album features Grande’s only two No. 1 singles: “7 Rings” and the title track.

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2. Norman F*cking Rockwell!
> Artist: Lana Del Rey
> Metascore: 87/100
> Billboard 200 Year End ranking: 182/200

Lana Del Rey’s impolitely titled sixth album peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 in September. The album received near universal positive reviews from critics on Metacritic, with Pitchfork editor Jenn Pelly writing that the album establishes Del Rey “as one of America’s greatest living songwriters.”

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1. Homecoming: The Live Album
> Artist: Beyoncé
> Metascore: 98/100
> Billboard 200 Year End ranking: 155/200

BeyoncĂ© released this album alongside her Grammy-nominated Netflix documentary/concert film to great critical and fan acclaim. The 40-track album captures the singer’s 2018 Coachella festival performance and has a near-perfect score on Metacritic (98/100). Various critics have referred to “Homecoming” as “awe-inspiring,” “a cultural touchstone,” and “genius.”