As we patiently wait for the Taylor Swift album to drop, we take a look at a pop star who has been long in the making. We also brush up on our electropop and Canadian indie rock vets.

1. Jessie J – “Sweet Talker”
Pop releases since last spring have been met with tremendous anticipation, from Iggy Azalea’s full-length to Nikki Minaj’s late-summer provocateur, to Ariana Grande’s sophomore album in August. The underdog of this equation is Jessie J, who, in the pop world, has emerged as less of a recognizable face, and more of the talented songwriter of the bunch. Having written jams in the past for Chris Brown and Miley Cyrus (“Party in the U.S.A.”), Jessie J has the sixth sense for an infectious hook, but for some reason, has yet to get a taste of the limelight. “Sweet Talker” has the diversity, the special guests, and the raw display of talent to get the British singer to the next level in the US, but it may not have that one key single. “Bang, Bang” enlists help from Ariana Grande and Nikki Minaj, which alone will get it some proper radio buzz, but doesn’t quite grab the way “Problem” or “Anaconda” did. That said, Jessie J has produced a pop album that even those uneducated mainstream-complainers could wrap their heads around. It features De La Soul on a track for Christ’s sake, but further, between the vocal power, the swagger that twerks on the border of hip-hop, and the mix of ballads and club bangers, “Sweet Talker” is a pop album that the greater masses can get behind.

Sounds like: An Ariana Grande that paid her dues, a pop star with a passable record collection, Karmin without that annoying “Cheerio!” thing

-Perry Eaton

2. Pharmakon – “Bestial Burden”
Pharmakon’s second full-length release, “Bestial Burden,” has arrived just in time for Halloween. Her new album is easily more terrifying and viscerally gripping than any horror movie released in recent memory. Inspired by a medical emergency and major surgery that left her bedridden for three weeks (and missing an organ), Pharmakon takes the idea of “body horror” and turns it into a musical genre all her own. The harrowing tracks (with titles like “Body Betrays Itself,” “Autoimmune,” and “Intent or Instinct”) focus on the divide between the physical and mental self, distorting her screams in industrial sludge and pounding drums. The album opens with her breathing, growing heavier and heavier, creating an unbelievable tension. Another track samples the sounds of a man coughing, choking, and, inevitably, vomiting. “Bestial Burden” has the overall quality of a human mind desperately fighting against a decaying vessel that could turn against you at any given moment. Overwhelmingly horrifying in the best possible sense.

Sounds like: an exorcism; Swans kicking David Cronenberg in the head; a medieval surgery gone wrong

-Tyler Cumella

3. Stars – “No One Is Lost”
One of the most enchanting things about Canadian something-pop group Stars has always been their ability to put so much space into their music. Their songs reverberate etherally through expansive spaces, a slide guitar maybe wafting in for a brief moment as singers Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan trade harmonies. This sound has pivoted, though never fully evolved, over the past 14 years, but “No One Is Lost” adds a danceability to their lush, spacious sound. Parts are peaceful and loving (“You Keep Coming Up,” “Are You OK?”), but most rouse the spirit with quick synths and arpeggiated beats (“Trap Door,” “No One Is Lost”). Still others (“From the Night”) are besotten and rich but include hooks of new wave that swing in gorgeously. “No One Is Lost” skips the forlorn tones of past releases like “Dead Child Stars” or “Heart,” but all for the better. The indie vets come off invigorated without it.

Sounds like: A DJ set hosted by Broken Social Scene, Rilo Kiley on a sugar high, Gloria Estefan, if I’m being honest.

-Jerard Fagerberg

4. Milky Chance – “Sadnecessary”
The mere thought of what an indie electric reggae pop duo from Kassel, Germany might sound like is enough to inspire indigestion. And if Milky Chances’ celebrated arrival to the United States is indication of anything, it’s that Americans are so gloriously bored with mainstream dance music that they’re willing to trying anything at this point. “Sadnecessary” is Milky Chances’ debut album, and in it is the framework for what could be a more thoughtful, dynamic EDM genre. The character of “Sadnecessary” comes from its scaled back, percussive dance anthems. This was the formula for “Stolen Dance,” Milky Chance’s breakthrough single, and it holds up well over the course of the duo’s 57-minute debut. And while Milky Chance isn’t afraid to move to a more electronic aesthetic for parts of the project, synthesizers provide texture rather than flavor. Milky Chance found a sound that can (and hopefully will) put the Calvin Harrises of the industry out of a job.

Sounds like: Angela Merkel’s shower playlist

-John Wiley