As the nights grow longer and the days shorter (can something grow shorter?), we're given respite from the shivering darkness via cockle-warming antics like Batkid, Arcade Fire's general larking about and Lily Allen's painfully misguided fauxmenist sexploitation ditty. Regardless of opinion on the latter, furious keyboard-warrioring and heated debate has surely stopped your blood from frosting over inside your veins.

As Christmas shopping and the X Factor enter their final chapters, be prepared for the pop onslaught, on sale just in time for jolly ol' Saint Nick to stuff it up your stocking. And that's all we really want on the 25th really, isn't it? Lady Gaga or Gary Barlow's new LP in a giant sock.

November 2012 was completely stuffed with plastic pop efforts and so-called 'deluxe editions', with the cream of a lame crop coming from Nicki Minaj, Lana Del Rey and... well that's about it. On the other end of the spectrum we've got One Direction, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Example and Little Mix and a list as long as Stretch Armstrong's arm. Oh, what a stand-out month. Crystal Castles did offer some form of wonder in the form of their third record, ingeniously titled III.

Shapeshifting once again, and incinerating all preconceived notions of what we'd expect from a Crystal Castles record, they ventured into goth-raves and dance-pop, forgoing the dark glitchtronica and chipdoom sounds of yore. Alice Glass actually seemed to enjoy singing a lot more on this third full-length, as opposed to yowling like a tantrumming toddler. There's much more pop, and tracks like 'Affection' and 'Sad Eyes' continue the route that 'Baptism' began treading; it's a different side to Crystal Castles, but it's still them. You'll still feel thoroughly empty after listening to it.

Way back in 2008, when the likes of Hilary-fucking-Duff, Chinese Democracy, Nickelback and Vanilla Ice were dumping on the Top 40, we had efforts like Beyoncé's I Am... Sasha Fierce, M.I.A.'s Kala and Kanye West's divisive album, 808s & Heartbreak. In some ways, it's a precursor to the kind of aural torture Yeezus unleashed – all the aggressive, malevolent bass and primal percussion, all Kanye's emotional outbursts. While 808s veers towards a more introspective, self-loathing kingdom, and Yeezus is more confrontational, there's still links. It's an underrated LP from Mr. West, and in the wake of the OTT glare of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, it can be forgotten. But tracks like 'Love Lockdown' and 'Heartless' are honest-to-god tunes that shouldn't be forgotten; let's also remember that without this, Drake wouldn't be anything like he is now.

Kanye's frequent partner-in-crime and Throne-sittin' comrade Jay-Z released his iconic record The Black Album a decade ago. Arguably his finest hour, the record spawned hip-hop classics like 'Dirt Off Your Shoulder', 'Encore' and '99 Problems', we saw Jay become the legends he is today. Production came from an assortment of monumental figures, including Kanye, Pharrell, Rick Rubin, Eminem and Timbaland – no real wonder that the record took off in the way it did. The rest of the month's output is scarcely worth mentioning – highlights came from: Busted! Holly Valance! Blue! Atomic Kitten! Liberty X! Westlife! Puddle Of Mudd! Oh, and Explosions In The Sky's seminal The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place.

Sure, we could talk about how Snoop Dogg and Wu-Tang Clan both released pretty vital rap albums in 1993, or we could talk about the marvellousness that is Haddaway's debut. A paradigm of '90s euro-pop, Haddaway's reputation is built on basically one song, but one song so glorious that we all need to be reminded of its existence once in a while. It's important here to note how divine the music video for 'What Is Love' is – it makes literally zero sense, combining baroque backdrops, euro-raves and some weird magical frackas á la Labrinth. Oh, and sexy vampires. And suave-ass popping'n'locking. And some parts are backwards. Also, and perhaps most importantly, his blue suit gets electrocuted into a velvet waistcoat.

In a bizarre turn of events, back in 1968, November was an undoubtedly crucial month in music, and not vaguely related to the reality TV domination of the past few years. The year overall had many world-changing historical moments, including Martin Luther King's assassination, Richard Nixon winning the US presidential election, a raging Vietnam War, nuclear tests, global protests and violent riots. The musical world also had its fare share of landmark events, though these were/are considerably more celebrated – The Beatles' White Album, Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, Diana Ross & The Supremes' Love Child, Neil Young's debut, and The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society. November hasn't even come close to this pinnacle since, and if the pop offerings we have to look forward to this year are by James Arthur, Jake Bugg and Celine Dion, it's unlikely we will soon.