Normally at this time, we're looking wistfully out onto a bleak, sunless, soul-crushing pop-music landscape of never-ending nothing. (Or, if you want to have a positive attitude about it or whatever, it's the fallow season that allows pop music to rest and regroup while prepping for the big parties of spring and summer, blah blah blah.) But thanks to some of our most intrepid pop stars, we've got more than enough awesome, exciting albums (many of them released in the final days of 2012) to throw a little midwinter party right here in the middle of January.
So many, in fact, that we couldn't just narrow it down to our Top 12, so this roundup of pop's latest and greatest actually features 13 picks, from Ke$ha's sleazeabulous (we're making that happen) new effort to Bruno Mars' sparklingly charismatic sophomore effort, from great debuts by Phillip Phillips and Outasight to game-changing soundtracks. (Is anyone else watching the country soap Nashville obsessively? You're gonna wanna start.) Dive in and get the party started.