K-Town

The 10 Best K-Pop Albums of 2014

Even diehard fans will admit that it's tough to find an entire K-pop album worthy of being labelled brilliant from start to finish. But there were a select group of artists who proved the notion wrong with cohesive bodies of work in 2014. (And see our list of the 20 best K-pop songs here.)

Billboard 2014 Year in Music: See All of Our Coverage Here!

10. Rain - Rain Effect 
The K-pop veteran's first release since being discharged from South Korea's mandatory military service, Rain showed how to make a comeback people would pay attention to with a collection of the year's best beats. There were hot singles ("La Song," "30Sexy") and on-point collaborations (HyunA on the zippy "Oppa"), making for a template any star away from the spotlight would be wise to use.

8. Epik High - Shoebox  
Shoebox is not only the best hip-hop album to come out of the K-pop scene this year, but also the most brilliantly dark. There's arresting lyrical content from the band detailing private struggles ("Amor Fati"), laments ("Happen Ending") and angst ("Spoiler"), which all get a backdrop of top-notch, lavish productions.

1. 2NE1 - Crush
The phenom's second full-length proved more than worth the nearly-four-year wait with Crush bringing everything 2NE1 fans were waiting for. The album sees the girls exploring new sonic territory via the reggae/trap hybrid single "Come Back Home," straight-up R&B cuts "Baby I Miss You" and "Good to You" as well as leader CL rocking out solo on "MTBD."