Exclaim!'s Best of 2014: Top 10 Soul & R&B Albums

7. Majid Jordan
A Place Like This
(OVO Sound)

R&B has been openly electronic for a long time now, but many of its outings have lacked a strong electronic foundation to work from. This is where Majid Jordan break through and shine above the rest. After parachuting down from their Drake-fuelled launch into the stratosphere, the Toronto duo found their own footing with A Place Like This and gave R&B a sufficient jolt. They didn't shatter any barriers per se, but they reshaped a ubiquitous style enough so that it was firmly their own.

The EP is beautifully produced; so much so, in fact, that all of its tracks would work perfectly well as instrumentals, which is no easy feat for a genre that's so heavily reliant on vocals. Opener "Forever" could be thrown into a house mix without anyone batting an eyelid, and while the rest of the tracks are well-suited to daytime radio, they also have enough emphasis behind them that a decent set of speakers tells a whole different story. This is what makes A Place Like This one of this year's gems; it's packaged for the masses, but its inner layers are too innovative to be ignored by the music loving elite. (Daryl Keating)