List: The 13 Best R&B Albums of 2013

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Three Kings

06. TGT – Three Kings

Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank have possibly become the most fawned over male R&B group since the ’90s. Grammy-nominated for their debut collaborative album, Three Kings, the trio – known as TGT – released the much-anticipated project in late August, after the idea was originally conceived back in 2007. Lead by the singles, “Sex Never Felt Better” and “I Need,” the album debuted at number 3 on the Billboard 200 chart, receiving praise and acclaim from both fans and critics alike. Featuring 17 tracks and an additional 2 if purchased from Target, Three Kings was one of the high points of R&B this year, and will not only continue to receive attention from bedroom stereos, but hopefully continue to stand as an important moment in all three of their careers. – N.P.

Standout Cuts: “Sex Never Felt Better,” “I Need,” “No Fun,” “Next Time Around,” “Weekend Love.”

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Janelle Monae The Electric Lady

05. Janelle Monáe – The Electric Lady

Janelle Monáe is one of those rare artists that come around once in a generation. The Atlanta native became a consummate performer off only one album, sans major commercial or chart success, and had built up strong anticipation for her sophomore effort The Electric Lady. The first thing you might notice about the project is its list of coveted featured artists, including the likes of Prince, Erykah Badu, Miguel, Solange and Esperanza Spalding, but none of these heralded guests shine brighter than Ms. Monáe herself, and her eclectic soundscapes. The album feels and plays out like a journey through multiple generations of soul music, and rightfully propels the 27-year-old to the position of one of today’s most important artists. Janelle can do no wrong, power to you sister! – J.W.

Standout Cuts: “Electric Lady,” “Primetime,” “We Were Rock n Roll,” “Dance Apocalyptic.”

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Fantasia Side Effects 14502594_130223103000

04. Fantasia – Side Effects of You

Fantasia never disappoints and always delivers! Ms. Barrino brought things back to the basics on this album with her “Rock Soul” energy and flawless production from Harmony Samuels. The Side Effects of You was lead by single “Lose to Win,” which showcases Fantasia’s vulnerability and strength to get back up after she’s fallen. The album is heartfelt and takes the listener through every emotion. On tracks like “Without Me” featuring Kelly Rowland and Missy Elliott the trio let their hair down and gave the female anthem of 2013, which has earned them a Grammy nomination. This album is by far Fantasia’s most cohesive to date, and it’s clear that she put her all into it, and that’s all anyone could ever ask an artist to do. – M.G.

Standout Cuts: “Ain’t All Bad,” “If I Were A Bird,” “End of Me,” “In Deep.”

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John Legend Love In The Future Cover

03. John Legend – Love In The Future

Nominated for Best R&B Album at the 2014 Grammy Awards, John Legend’s Love in the Future has secured a top spot on our list for many reasons. Boasting award-winning production from Kanye West and Dave Tozer, the soulful crooners fourth studio album was lead by singles “Who Do We Think We Are” and “Made To Love,” but while both were well received, it was his third single, “All of Me” that caught national attention and touched hearts everywhere. Possibly John’s most criminally underrated album from a commercial standpoint, the 20-track deluxe edition primarily finds the singer-songwriter returning to his roots and we don’t have to wait for the future, we are back in love with John now! – N.P.

Standout Cuts: “Save The Night,” “All of Me,” “Wanna Be Loved,” “We Loved It.”

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justin-20-20-experience-cover

02. Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience: Part 1

One of the most anticipated returns in recent music history basically became the story of the year (until see No. 1), but Justin Timberlake lived up to all the expectations, and once again paved his own path. Reuniting with Timbaland, and building on the groundbreaking soundscapes from his classic sophomore album, the legendary duo spun us all around with the nearly surprise project.

Opening the year with the radio friendly “Suit & Tie” featuring Jay Z (a collabo long in the making), Justin literally had the entire world in the palm of his hand leading up to the release of The 20/20 Experience. The sweet strings of the opening song “Pusher Love Girl” seem to fittingly sum up the spectacular release strategy of the project, and the team was rewarded with the top spot on the Billboard 200 chart with nearly 1 Million copies sold in the first week. It was not all hype though, as the album is another spectacular piece of work from Justin, Timbaland, James Fauntleroy, J-Roc and Rob Knox. While Justin has often tread the line between Pop and R&B in his solo career, the first disc in the project leans heavily on his R&B influences, and delivered some of the most musically creative tracks of the year. – J.W.

Standout Cuts: “Pusher Love Girl,” “Tunnel Vision,” “Don’t Hold The Wall,” “Spaceship Coupe.”

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Beyonce-Self-Titled-Album-Cover

01. Beyoncé – Beyoncé

The Queen surprised us with her fifth studio album, but it should be no surprise that is No. 1 on this list. The self-titled visual album, which had been a year in the making, landed on iTunes at midnight on Dec. 13, and completely shocked the world. Not only for its unexpected arrival, but for the complexity and progressive artistry that filled the 14 songs, and 17 music videos.

Beyoncé truly foreshadowed the lyrical content of the album with her song “Grown Woman,” which does not make the audio side, but as a bonus music video. The multi-Grammy Award winner shows us that she is easily the sexiest mom alive, and proud to be at her most provocative, honest, open, emotional and downright naughty across the entire project.

More time is needed to determine how this album will rank amongst her catalog, but right now it is easily tied with her solo debut, Dangerously In Love, as the best and most compelling of her career. – J.W.

Standout Cuts: “Drunk In Love,” “XO,” “No Angel,” “Partition,” “Heaven.”

 

Honorable Mentions:

Chrisette Michele – Better
Ciara – Ciara
R. Kelly – Black Panties
The Weeknd – Kiss Land
Lyfe Jennings – Lucid
Charles Bradley – Victim of Love
Mack Wilds – New York A Love Story

There were many great releases this year. Don’t see your favorite?? Tell us in the comments section below!

42 Comments
  1. SoPrissyChrissy 7 years ago

    callmedollar Happy New Year Dollar!! Be Good! Xoxo

  2. LisaJackson2 7 years ago

    I don’t agree with this list Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé shouldn’t be on a list of great R&B albums, let alone be at the top spot. They should be on the Honorable Mentions list. It’s because of hype like this that I don’t buy R&B music anymore.

  3. callmedollar 7 years ago

    SoPrissyChrissy Thanks! Same to you.

  4. Addicted 7 years ago

    More great releases? Sure –  Teena Marie, Avant, Bilal, Brian McKnight, Urban Mystic, The-Dream, Omar and my personal fav – Jose James.

  5. missphenom 7 years ago

    LisaJackson2 I agree. The fact that Beyoncé labeled her release as Pop not R & B on iTunes should have disqualified her. I think that Chrisette’s Better should’ve made the list.

  6. DonaldTai 7 years ago

    missphenom LisaJackson2  Well, what is Pop? Even thought MJ’s Thriller is considered the greatest Pop album known to man, but it’s sound would be identified as R&B/Soul (unless you believe otherwise). Can you honestly say that upon listening to every song on ‘The 20/20 Experience, Part 1’ or ‘Beyonce’ that none of the song are R&B/Soul?

    I remember Bryan-Micheal Cox saying in an interview that Pop music isn’t necessarily a genre of music, but a genre that is popular at the moment. Notice all the top top Pop albums over the years and see if you can’t seperate them accordingly/ They all don’t sound the same, or don’t have an identifying sound.

    sidenote: Frank Ocean tried to list “Channel Orange” under Bluegrass (but we all know that it’s not bluegrass)

  7. missphenom 7 years ago

    DonaldTai missphenom LisaJackson2 Thanks for the pop definition and philosophy but I stand by comment. Compare Beyoncé to Chrisette or Jasmine Sullivan and Beyoncé is pop not R & B. Yes, I can honestly say this which is why I post my response. Finally, I don’t understand why you mention Justin Timberlake or Frank Ocean. Thank you.

  8. boulfousislamgm 7 years ago
  9. Brit 7 years ago

    ? Where’s The Weeknd? Amel Larrieux?….I could name a lot more that deserve to be on this list. Robin and Justin don’t belong, albums really weren’t great to me at all. Raheem’s album was a snorefest….Love Kelly but her’s was as well…

  10. richyrich 7 years ago

    Where’s Jhene Aiko’s ep on this list?

  11. ThisIsRnB 7 years ago

    On the Mixtapes/EP’s list…

  12. Riki P 7 years ago

    Can’t believe PARTYNEXTDOOR is not on this list.

  13. SarahWeir1 7 years ago

    Jhene Aiko and August Alsina should definitely be somewhere on this list.

  14. ThisIsRnB 7 years ago
  15. LaBellePearl_ 7 years ago

    ThisIsRnB Yessss kmichelle & Beyonce My Favorite Albums Of 2013

  16. RobertoWinzer1 7 years ago

    ThisIsRnB kmichelle good tracks great musicianship!!!

  17. gemyny1985 7 years ago

    Umm BRANDY’S #TWOELEVEN is better than most of the 13 album’s and better than the Honorable Mentions! This is B.S.

  18. un_spokengenius 7 years ago

    ThisIsRnB johnlegend It is the BEST album of the year.

  19. sb2nd 7 years ago

    ThisIsRnB johnlegend looks like I have to buy a few more albums.

  20. QueenSharice 7 years ago

    ThisIsRnB KELLYROWLAND definitely agree!

  21. renegade37918 7 years ago

    ThisIsRnB johnlegend love that cd

  22. larelancede 7 years ago

    ThisIsRnB johnlegend I agree, wholeheartedly ~ that album right there! #classic

  23. NinasCherry 7 years ago

    ThisIsRnB johnlegend out of all of them Love in the Future and Beyoncé are the best. Everyone loves John Legend.

  24. jjr517 7 years ago

    ThisIsRnB johnlegend Love this CD

  25. grillmaster33 7 years ago

    ThisIsRnB johnlegend Love in the Future is #1 by far. #Dreams and #Holdonlonger

  26. Rantz_Davis 7 years ago

    I_amDkool
    #NewMusic #NewVideo #WhatIf
    Rantz Davis “What If”
    http://t.co/3ANKZCi1Ay

  27. Tweetacholic 7 years ago

    ThisIsRnB kmichelle YASSSSS TURN UP

  28. UniqueBlackman1 7 years ago

    callmedollar ThisIsRnB can we get a breakdown of staff voting. As you say “I have questions.” No. 1 on that list is a travesty. IMO

  29. ThisIsRnB 7 years ago

    UniqueBlackman1 we encourage you to leave your thoughts / opinions in the comments section, to open discussion amongst other fans

  30. Jun 7 years ago

    Can’t believe Drake – Nothing Was The Same isn’t in the list while there is some strange choice in the ranking. The authors were definitely not objective in their choices.

  31. KyleLondonWorrell 7 years ago

    @Jun Never in your life say Drake is R&B. Looool

  32. Mama V 7 years ago

    Pls let’s be FOR REAL this list of 2013 albums is not CORRECT due to Bey came out dec 13 on Taylor Swift B-day and everyone else have 11months on Bey that why Real People buy Real Music and votes like this only by Name and not Music. Be Real keep it Real you left off Better Artist than Bey, Justin T and few others I agree with others No1 No2 should have been honor mention if that’s the reason then Lorde came out b4 Bey so what’s Real! My Comment!!

  33. Mama V 7 years ago

    Do you mean best alum of 2013 and not R&B because I’m R&B and Bey list as PoP NOT R&B when did it her album became R&B and the songs tracks Hip Pop and your voting staff got it all wrong but I guess you go by Name and Queen of R&B is Mary J in this era so again let’s be Real and Name Real R&B Albums. Need to have a Recount!!! Gotta go and listen to Real R&B………

  34. jaeske 7 years ago

    Chrisette Michele had the best album in all categories’ last year!!!!!!

  35. OsaGz 7 years ago

    Bey number one? No. You have the responsibility of being objective. Please use it.

  36. Ang Violet 7 years ago

    I don’t know how beyonce made this list at all. It seems like no matter what she does people are going to call it great. I like beyonce but she has dwindled down to me over the years. Bday was her best album to me, so this current “thing” should not be number 1 at least. And The Weeknd’s Kiss Land not making the list is puzzling to me. Oh and I absolutely love Drake but its a lil confusing to put him in r&b even though he sings.

  37. Ang Violet 7 years ago

    SarahWeir1  Jhene’s is an EP and I believe August’s is a mixtape so they are not albums. different list. but I agree Jhene’s EP is wayyy better than most of these albums up here

  38. Ang Violet 7 years ago

    DonaldTai missphenom i think both of you are right. even certain rap songs can be categorized as pop because it gets a lot of radio play, high on the billboard charts, etc. but some artists are truly, no mistaking r&b artists while others fit into multiple categories.

  39. MichaelScott 7 years ago

    Where is Ciara????? Her new album is amazing!

  40. Sayruh 7 years ago

    How is Beyonce number one? That trash is definitely not better than Janelle Monae, Fantasia, Chrisette Michele, OR John Legend. Writer, do better.

  41. Skye T 7 years ago

    Why y’all mad?? Queen B will always be #1 & no one can top her so, get over it!

  42. Shoaib Aziz 7 years ago

    where the weeknd at

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