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Overlooked & underplayed: 10 (relatively) forgotten albums of 2014

Sia swung from the "Chandelier," and Meghan Trainor was "All About That Bass." Yes, 2014 was a great year for music indeed. And yet, whether it be bad timing, not enough publicity or lack of the "it" factor, some releases got swept under the rug.

Before we wipe the slate clean for 2015, here are 10 albums we think deserve another listen:

John Newman, "Tribute" -- Island

This year British singer Sam Smith soared up the charts, scoring a hit with "Stay With Me" and picking up multiple Grammy Award nominations earlier this month. But sadly we missed out on John Newman, a terrific U.K. crooner whose album "Tribute" contains many gems, like "Love Me Again" and "Losing Sleep":

Bleachers, "Strange Desire" -- RCA

You may know Jack Antonoff as Taylor Swift's producer or Lena Dunham's boyfriend. These are both substantial accomplishments, but let us also take a moment to appreciate his very solid first solo album, which he released under the name Bleachers. "Strange Desire" debuted at No. 2 on Billboard, but failed to hit the Hot 100 with any of its singles. "I Wanna Get Better" got closest, reaching No. 1 on Billboard's "Bubbling Under 100" chart. In a just universe, it would have been huge:

Jessie Ware: "Tough Love" -- Interscope

Jessie Ware's terrific second album "Tough Love" has a lot of shining moments, like the Adele-esque "Say You Love Me" or the dance number, "Want Your Feeling." Yet, none of them had much radio presence. In fact, while the album received critical praise, it peaked at No. 50 on the Billboard charts. We say it's worth another go:

P.C. Music

P.C. Music is not an album, but rather a British label that came out of left field in 2014 and bombarded us with some of the strangest, catchiest and original pop songs of the year. Though these songs, like Hannah Diamond's "Every Night" and QT's "Hey QT," didn't chart on Billboard, they made their way across the Internet and prompted the question: Is this music terrible...or a glimpse into the future?

J. Cole, "2014 Forest Hills Drive" -- Roc Nation

J. Cole took a huge step forward with his third album, "2014 Forest Hills Drive," which just dropped last month. While it's tough to say if there are any clear singles on this set, it's a very enjoyable listen in full, with AP listing it as its second favorite album of 2014. Try, why don't you, the album's Kanye-esque outro "Note To Self," though you may disregard the last 10 minutes of the song because it's just J. Cole listing credits:

Lana Del Rey, "Ultraviolence" -- UMG Recordings

OK, "Lana Del Rey" and "Underplayed"? Crazy, we know. But this year, the sultry enigma of a singer lived up to her hype with her third album, "Ultraviolence." While it debuted at No. 1 on Billboard, it didn't bring the radio success of past hits like "Summertime Sadness" or "Video Games." And that's a shame, because this album contains her best songs yet. Try the foreboding "West Coast," or the 007-esque "Shades of Cool." Produced by The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, "Ultraviolence" is straight-forward, it's impressive, it's the album the world deserves from Lana Del Rey:

Lily Allen, "Sheezus" -- Parlophone

Lily Allen's third album, "Sheezus," has more than just a good title. It packs a handful of extremely catchy songs that didn't seem to make their way onto mainstream U.S. radio at all. At times, "Sheezus" attempts to confront bigger themes like feminism and the shallowness of pop culture, and if you try to approach it in that light, you're not going to be impressed. This is not a culturally important album, but it is very fun:

Mary J. Blige, "The London Sessions" -- Capitol

Mary J. had a light footprint on the music scene in 2014. Her soundtrack to Kevin Hart's "Think Like a Man Too" barely sold any copies, and her December follow-up, "The London Sessions," underperformed considering she is an R&B superstar. But "Sessions," her 13th studio album, did garner critical praise, and maybe in 2015 some of these singles will make their way to the radio:

TOPS, "Picture You Staring" -- Arbitus

In the indie sector, the first album by Canadian band TOPS went relatively unnoticed. But it's got a lot of great tracks, like the prom-style slow jam "Outside" or this song, "Blind Faze:"

Katy B., "Little Red" -- Rinse

British singer Katy B.'s second studio album, "Little Red," received critical praise and went to No. 1 in the U.K., but didn't chart at all in the U.S. It's strongest track is definitely "Crying For No Reason," a ballad that Rihanna would have committed unspeakable crimes to have recorded:

Tell us: What albums do you think deserved more attention in 2014? Share in the comments section below!

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