16. Rihanna, Unapologetic
Label: SRP, Def Jam
Released: November 19
Unapologetic may go down as Rihanna's classic. It's her first album to land at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, and the atmosphere surrounding its release is even more important than its commercial performance.
The first half of the album pleases with tracks like "Fresh Off The Runway" and debut single, "Diamonds," but we know Rihanna can make a hit—that's the easy part. It's her choice of lyrics that finally allow listeners to relate to the superstar on an intensely personal level. After a feature from Future on "Loveeeeeee Song" and a winning take on Ginwune's "Pony" with "Jump," she nails two ballads, the first being "What Now" and the second being the best record on the album, "Stay.
For someone like Rihanna, whose personal life is consistently put on full blast, "Stay" is the perfect answer to any questions fans may have about her emotional rollercoaster of a year. Speaking of which, Unapologetic squashes any doubt that Rihanna is back with Chris Brown, and the pair find themselves celebrating in the most appropriate way on the perfect duet, "Nobodies Business." -LN