Holiday Gift Guide

Top of the Pops

See the rock, pop, rap, R&B, and country albums that EW's critics rated the best this year, and then run out and buy them

Buy these CDs: EW's top music picks

Producer-turned-performer Kanye West may have lost the Best New Artist prize to Gretchen Wilson at last month's American Music Awards, but the critics at Entertainment Weekly still have much love. Way back in February, our own Michael Endelman called West's debut album, The College Dropout, a collection of ''lush, intricate, and unabashedly pop productions that are alternately uplifting and jiggle-inducing.''

Dropout is just one of a select few discs to make our holiday gift guide. Every CD listed here received either an A or A- — representing the very best of the year in music according to EW's esteemed critics — from Björk's experimental vocal album Medulla to Van Lear Rose, Loretta Lynn's quirky collaboration with White Stripe Jack White.

We've divided the list by genre for easy scanning. Click below to skip Happy shopping!

Pop/Rock
Alternative
Blues
Country
Electronica
Gospel
Jazz
Latin
Metal
Musical
R&B
Rap
Reggae
Reissues
Soul
Vocal

Originally posted Dec 14, 2004
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