KissIt was a banner year for pop music, with strong returns from veteran divas like Kylie, P!nk, and Christina Aguilera, and a memorable debut from Carly Rae Jepsen. Pop was also remarkably quirky and diverse this year: the charts made room for Passion Pit and Fun.’s mini-anthems alongside songs by the aforementioned artists, while Adam Lambert and Scissor Sisters went in wilder-than-ever directions, to their fans’ delight. The EDM flirtation that has dominated pop for several years now resulted in crossovers like Zedd’s Clarity, which featured cameos by Ryan Tedder and another of our list’s featured artists, Ellie Goulding. Zedd also worked on another album here, Justin Bieber’s coming-of-age set Believe; speaking of the Biebs, it’s notable how many artists on this list hail from Canada, with Metric, Dragonette, and Diamond Rings joining Bieber and Jepsen in calling the Great White North their home. And with One Direction ushering in the boy band revival and Ke$ha coming back with even more bad-girl power, this year offered something for everyone partial to the shiniest and catchiest music around.

Christina Aguilera - LotusJustin Bieber - Believe
Diamond Rings - Free Dimensional
Dragonette - Bodyparts
Fun. - Some Nights
Ellie Goulding - Halcyon
Carly Rae Jepsen - Kiss
Ke$ha - Warrior
Ladyhawke - Anxiety
Adam Lambert - Trespassing
Metric - Synthetica
Kylie Minogue - The Abbey Road Sessions
One Direction - Take Me Home
Passion Pit - Gossamer
P!nk - The Truth About Love
Saint Etienne - Words and Music by Saint Etienne
Scissor Sisters - Magic Hour
Kristina Train - Dark Black
Alex Winston - King Con
Zedd - Clarity

Listen to the best tracks from our favorite Pop albums of 2012 in this playlist: