Happy October, pop fans! Don't you just love this time of year? The leaves are turning, the pumpkin beer is flowing and the Halloween party invites are encouraging you to come up with your best take on a "binder full of women" costume. (Group costume!) And oh yeah: Pop stars are churning out thoughtful, creative, infectious new albums.
Yes, forget about the fluff and light stuff of summer. In the fall, pop stars get serious, putting out material that challenges themselves, and challenges the listener to find new contexts in which to love it: Miguel's gorgeous, smart, sexy second effort, for instance, is perfect for impressing (and maybe seducing) a first date. And Ellie Goulding, she of the glittering sleeper smash "Lights," takes off in weird, wonderful new directions perfect for those wild and windy October nights when all you want to do is invite a couple good friends over, drink red wine, carve pumpkins and have deep, meaningful conversations.
But hey, maybe you just want to dance! There are plenty of perfect soundtracks for that here, too, albeit from some fairly unlikely sources, like No Doubt, hip-hopper K'naan, Brit brat Cher Lloyd and R&B star Brandy, who just dropped a career high. We've got so much great stuff to share with you this month, in fact, that we couldn't quite fit it all into a Top 10. So you get a Top 11! Yay!
One big new album you won't find here is Taylor Swift's Red. Unfortunately, her label decided not to make it available to any subscription streaming services until at least January. We would love to share it with you guys, but it's the label's call, not ours. For more on that situation, check out this handy-dandy breakdown from Napster editorial boss Garrett Kamps.