Top 12 R&B Albums, Winter 2013

It's a new year, but I'm finishing up some business from 2012 as we await a promising slate of January joints that includes Dawn Richard's new Goldenheart and Teena Marie's posthumous release, Beautiful. I found that Alicia Keys' Girl on Fire doesn't recapture the excellence of her early classics, but it's still a thoughtful and well-made collection. The Weeknd compiled his three 2011 digital EPs, along with three new songs, into Trilogy; with luck we'll get a proper debut album this year. In contrast, Solange dropped her EP, True, at the end of the year, and it has us excited for her new album due in the spring. Yes, Ne-Yo jumped on the EDM bandwagon, but don't dismiss his R.E.D. album without hearing it. And Keyshia Cole ain't done yet; the radio success of her ballad "Trust & Believe" (and the wildly over-the-top video she made for it) is proof enough. Last year was a remarkable one for R&B, so apologies if I linger a bit.

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