When last we checked in on the world of soul music, it was June and the month of the men, thanks to new albums from Usher, Chris Brown and R. Kelly. Three months later, we're still trying to decide whether Usher's gone too EDM-pop or is just keeping up with the times; wondering whether we love or hate the mercurial C-Breezy; and wondering if Kellz has finally fallen off after his long reign as the king of R&B.
Meanwhile, there is more music to digest. Frank Ocean's critically lionized channel ORANGE remains a front-runner for album of the year in any genre, but he has a contender in Miguel's Kaleidoscope Dream. Elle Varner's Perfectly Imperfect may not be a crossover pop hit, but it's still an impressive debut. And the stock of former Danity Kane/Diddy Dirty Money singer Dawn Richard has risen considerably since she released Armor On independently in March (with behind-the-scenes help from Atlantic Records), thanks to underground buzz and a swell of positive reviews. Look for her new album, GoldenHeart, on October 16.