As the year comes to a close, the music industry gives their last push of major releases before the holiday season. November has been stacked with some great releases, with a couple more to come. Here’s a round-up of some of the great pop albums that dropped in November.
“Singular: Act I” by Sabrina Carpenter
The former Disney star begins a new chapter with the first part of her new album “Singular.” In Act I, Carpenter explores a more mature and experimental sound. Unlike her predecessors (Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens etc.,) she doesn’t attempt an explicit statement piece. She implies her growth in nuanced lyrics and sultry production.
From top to bottom, “Singular: Act I” is full of bops. The production pulls inspiration from house and hip-hop in exciting ways that mainstream artists should take a look at. At the same time, Carpenter’s voice is one of the strongest and most impressive among young pop stars. “Singular: Act I” is a great listen, and I wait with bated breath for Act II.
“Glory Sound Prep” by Jon Bellion
Jon Bellion recently dropped his sophomore major label album. Throughout the body of work, he battles with the success of his debut and the pressures to deliver more of himself to the public. He stays true to himself and to the sound that attracted so many devoted fans.
The 10-song record is more relaxed than “The Human Condition,” but the lyrics pack just as much punch. Bellion always puts honesty at the forefront of his lyrics. While many artists attempt to write a takedown of fame culture, Bellion’s is one of the best because of his vulnerability and honesty. “Glory Sound Prep” is probably not the follow-up that many expected, but it is a genius and endearing body of work.
“LM5” by Little Mix
Many Americans have heard little about Little Mix since their single “Wings” took over U.S. radios back in 2012. Since then, the British girl group has dominated in the U.K. and consistently released strong pop records. Their newest album, “LM5,” establishes their continued dominance among girl groups.
“LM5” is more coherent than 2016’s “Glory Days,” but still pulls influences from various genres. The record is really all about female empowerment and supporting others. These songs have some of the slickest production among pop albums released this year and wonderfully arranged harmonies.
“Caution” by Mariah Carey
The ’90s diva has found her place in 2018. After two rough New Year’s Eve performances, a reality show on E! and a residency in Vegas, I thought we had officially reached the decline of Mariah Carey. But with her 15th studio album, the elusive chanteuse proves me wrong.
In “Caution,” Carey has found a team of producers who can highlight her current strengths and don’t push her to reach for what she used to be. The album is a modern pop/R&B spitfire of sass and nostalgia. It is quite short, only 38 minutes, but is strong from beginning to end.
“Phoenix” by Rita Ora
Rita Ora’s new album has had many false starts, but after seven years it has finally arrived in one piece. The album is her debut here in the U.S., but her second full body of work. It clocks in at just under an hour, and is full of uplifting songs about making it through struggles.
For the avid pop fan, you can almost travel back in time over the past couple of years through production trends that pop up throughout. Ora’s voice keeps it from feeling dated though, projecting confidence through the vulnerability. It might not be the best album of the year, but it’s a solid pop record.