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AMA Albums of the Year: The songs you haven't heard

A native of the storied coastal city of Charleston, South Carolina, Julie Sprankles has been a lover of words her entire life. As a Southerner, she certainly has what her mama calls “the gift of gab.” When she’s not writing, Julie can be...

Shoulda-been singles

This year's American Music Awards' Favorite Album nominations span four genres and include some of the biggest hit-makers in music. We cherry-picked a few tracks from this year's nominated albums you probably haven't heard... but definitely should.

"The Last Time" by Taylor Swift ft. Gary Lightbody

Taylor Swift's album Red proved so epic it is nominated in two AMA Favorite Album categories: Pop or Rock, and Country. While every track on the album is pretty catchy, we can't stop listening to "The Last Time." A duet with Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody, the song is poignant, haunting and, in a word, beautiful. Perhaps it hasn't been burning up the airwaves because radio stations aren't sure which genre it should live in... it is decidedly more rock than typical Swift. She and Lightbody did recently perform it on The X-Factor UK, though, so maybe that will give it some momentum.

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"Drink You Away" by Justin Timberlake

Seriously, if you aren't already hooked on "Drink You Away" from Justin Timberlake's album The 20/20 Experience, you will be now. This track is a bluesy, swampy and — as contradictory as it sounds — sexy little tribute to trying to get over a lost love. It feels undeniably Memphis, much like Timberlake. Plus, it's got hand-clapping. Who can resist a song with some hand-clapping? C'mon now, y'all.

"Dayum, Baby" by Florida Georgia Line

If you've ever lived in the South, visited the South or even just watched a Lifetime movie set in the South, you've heard the expression "Dayum, baby" tossed out and reeled in slowly like bait on a hook. Leave it to country duo of the moment, Florida Georgia Line — whose album Here's to the Good Times is up for Favorite Album in the Country category — to capture the sentiment behind those simple words and turn them into the kind of song you can't help but sing along to.

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"No Love Allowed" by Rihanna

If you love reggae music and the laid-back lifestyle it conjures in the mind, you'll love Rihanna's mellow, reggae-tinged "No Love Allowed." From Unapologetic, the same album that yielded the aching ballad "Stay," the track will pull you out of your after-work pasta-farian rut and put you in a true rasta state of mind. Go ahead, pour yourself a glass of something herbal and vibe out.

"Gold" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Eighty4Fly

We love Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Guilty! So we adore nearly every track off of the boys' killer album The Heist — it's definitely deserving of its nomination for Favorite Album in the Rap/Hip-Hop category. "Gold" is one of the tracks from the album we listen to on repeat. The chorus by Eighty4Fly is impossibly catchy, Macklemore's riff at the end is perfectly timed and the entire effort just makes us smile.

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