Pop Music

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September

Beyonce, B'day (Columbia) Why settle for balloons and cake when you can celebrate turning 25 by dropping a new album instead? The Dreamgirls star wrote, arranged, and coproduced the whole shebang, assisted by the Neptunes, Swizz Beatz, and others. (Sept. 5)

Justin Timberlake, FutureSex/LoveSounds (Jive) The hotly touted follow-up to Justified spans the gamut of hip-hop and polished pop-soul flavas; Timbaland and Three 6 Mafia guest, but Justin still slips into that to-die-for falsetto too. (Sept. 12)

Brazilian Girls, Talk to La Bomb (Verve Forecast) Second set from New York's kookiest multiculti export since Deee-Lite features lyrics in five languages. Ric Ocasek, formerly of the Cars, oversaw recording of the sensuous "Last Call." (Sept. 12)

John Mayer, Continuum (Columbia) He can hang with Common and Kanye as comfortably as B.B. King and Clapton, so no surprise that the latest from this cutie-pie guitar wunderkind fuses his Grammy Award-winning pop chops with legit blues influences. (Sept. 12)

Citizen Cope, Every Waking Moment (RCA) After blindsiding the biz with the 2004 sleeper hit The Clarence Greenwood Recordings, Citizen Cope returns with 11 tracks of distinctive folk-rock-hip-hop fusion. Want more? Official Web site preorders come autographed, with a bonus EP. (Sept. 12)

Indigo Girls, Despite Our Differences (Hollywood) Different record label, same invigorating mix of personal and political sentiments. New pal Pink pops up on "Rock and Roll Heaven's Gate"; rising star Brandi Carlile guests too. (Sept. 19)

Fergie, The Duchess (will.i.am/Interscope) Former Kids Incorporated star Stacy Ferguson and her lovely lady lumps grace the first release for Black Eyed Peas cohort will.i.am's new vanity imprint. (Sept. 19)

Scissor Sisters, Ta-Dah (Universal Motown) A song about cross-dressing pirates? Another featuring Elton John? No, it's not Johnny Depp's next film ... it's the sophomore full-length from glitzy, queer-as-fuck disco-glam quintet Scissor Sisters. Voila! (Sept. 26)

Janet Jackson, 20 Y.O. (Virgin) Two decades after Control, the slimmed-down Miss Jackson delivers dance tracks ("So Excited," featuring Khia) and trademark slow jams, with production by boyfriend Jermaine Dupri and longtime stalwarts Jam and Lewis. (Sept. 26)

October

Lady Sovereign, Public Warning (Def Jam) The queen of the U.K. "grime" scene, this 5-foot-1 white London rapper finally drops her full-length debut. …