The 50 Best ALBUMS Of 2021
Cannot believe the end of the year is here yet again, prompting me to discuss my favorite records of 2021. With it being a year since I made my best albums list last year, not much has changed with the pandemic (yay for the incoming doomsday!) Regardless, at least there were a number of fantastic records for me to enjoy and continue to enjoy while the world continues to fall apart.
As said in 2020, every record listed is fantastic and deserves to be listened to. After my list will feature several other notable records that I enjoyed as well. Also, even though I listened to a lot of records this year, I more than likely missed out on a number of other great records that aren’t listed, so don’t hold it against me.
Nevertheless, here are The Best Albums of 2021 in my opinion:
50. The Armed - ULTRAPOP
A chaotic display of glitchy and harsh soundscapes with wrenching vocals and melodies that bear the spectrum of apocalyptic to exquisite.
49. Deerhoof - Actually, You Can
Yet another solid release from one of the best indie rock and experimental pop groups of the modern era.
48. Cities Aviv - The Crashing Sound of How It Goes
An abstract display of hip-hop that’ll be a part of my constant rotation for years to come. Incredibly composed, executed, and mixed.
47. desert sand feels warm at night - ピアノの独り言
As said best from the artist, if music didn’t exist, the sand wouldn’t be warm. A truly surreal and serene experience throughout.
46. Hiatus Kaiyote - Mood Valiant
One of the best neo-soul and alternative R&B records in recent memory. It grooves and stays true to the genre but differs enough where it doesn’t feel like a recycled clone of the classics.
45. Lucy Dacus - Home Video
A brilliant melancholy yet catchy pop record that fans of sad indie rock will get more than enough of what they want.
44. Kojaque - Town’s Dead
An excellent debut full-length from Kojaque that won’t disappoint fans searching for a jazz rap and hip hop record from Dublin.
43. quickly, quickly - The Long and Short Of It
A trippy display of beat music and bedroom pop thrown into a blender of a psychedelic world with extensive dynamic horizons.
42. The Spirit of the Beehive - Entertainment, Death
One of the best introductions I’ve had to a group with one of the greatest band and album names I’ve come across.
41. St. Vincent - Daddy’s Home
A modern twist of lounge pop and psychedelic elements showcasing the genius of St. Vincent is here to stay.
40. Ka - A Martyr’s Reward
A low-key conscious compelling hip hop record that’s intriguing enough to keep listeners enticed through its storytelling and magnificent combination of tracks.
39. Richard Dawson, Circle - Henki
A trip from start to finish that may be difficult for some, but those willing to take the risk are rewarded with one of the best prog albums in years.
38. Dry Cleaning - New Long Leg
One of the most well-thought post-punk and surreal records of the year, with a fantastic interaction of spoken vocal and typical yet entertaining post-punk music along with it.
37. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - G_d's Pee at State's End!
A return to form for Godspeed You! Black Emperor showing why they’re one of the best post-rock bands of all time. As said from the band: empty the prisons, take power from the police and give it to the neighborhoods that they terrorize, end the forever wars and all other forms of imperialism, and tax the rich until they’re impoverished.
36. BROCKHAMPTON - ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT
Yet another solid release from BROCKHAMPTON, solidifying the group as one of the most reliable groups in alternative hip hop to release good music.
35. Squid - Bright Green Field
An incredible debut featuring elements of post-punk, krautrock, and new wave. The record is a rarity with it fulfilling every ounce of the band’s potential early on in their career.
34. Low - Hey What
An experimental and fever-dream display of tones combines into a great 13th studio album from Low. The slow tempos and minimalist arrangements continue to thrive for the group.
33. Slowthai - TYRON
Slowthai continues to impress with a combo-like record split into trap bangers and emotional alternative rap pieces.
32. Rachika Nayar - Our Hands Against The Dusk
A hauntingly beautiful debut from Rachika Nayar that focuses on the embodiment of encounters, collisions, and the point of contact between worlds.
31. Porter Robinson - Nurture
A shift in style that paid off for the best, with Nurture being one of the best electronica and lo-fi records of the year.
30. Mach-Hommy - Pray For Haiti
A genius, ambitious, and definitive project for Mach-Hommy whose reunion with Westside Gunn is one of the best things for hip-hop this year.
29. L’Rain - Fatigue
A genre-subverting listen that focuses on the experimental while staying true to pop and neo-psychedelia.
28. Sufjan Stevens Angelo De Augustine - A Beginner’s Mind
A beautiful display of emotion, singing, and songwriting that’ll surely get anyone’s feelings a good check to make sure they’re doing okay.
27. Aya - im hole
An eerie electronic bricolage with a startling and transformative piece of music from start to finish.
26. Viagra Boys - Welfare Jazz
Arguably my favorite post-punk albums of the year from one of my favorite newer groups in Viagra Boys. It’s chaotic, fun, and does everything it’s supposed to do well.
25. Jazmine Sullivan - Heaux Tales
A fantastic hip-hop concept album some classify as an EP but fulfills its length to fall right in the middle of my list.
24. Japanese Breakfast - Jubilee
Jubilee is one of the best alternative pop records that virtually anyone can get some enjoyment out of. It’s joyful and intriguing in the best way.
23. Indigo De Souza - Any Shape You Take
A jagged and hook-based alternative rock album that takes the best elements of indie rock, synth-pop, and has moments of grunge.
22. Lump - Animal
A robust synthesis of acoustic and digital musical genres while presenting itself as an art-pop and folktronica state of exploration.
21. Lingua Ignota - SINNER GET READY
Who could deny the genius of SINNER GET READY? Its avant-garde ethos is a statement that Lingua Ignota is one of the best artists we have the pleasure of experiencing during her prime.
20. Framework - Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance is a creative display of jazz that should be a blueprint for more jazz records in the future.
19. Vijay Iyer, Linda May Han Oh, Tyshawn Sorey - Uneasy
A quite literal uneasy jazz exploration of negotiating complex parameters of tempo and balance. Masterful in every bit of the way.
18. Grouper - Shade
Shade has the appeal of being an album that took 15 years to make but has enough immersion and impressiveness that it doesn’t fall short of any expectations.
17. Genesis Owusu - Smiling with No Teeth
A brilliant display from Australian rapper Genesis Owusu, a record that features a sonic attack on the senses and should cement Genesis Owusu as an international superstar.
16. Dltzk - Frailty
A hyperpop experience that shows the risks you’re willing to take through an artistic effort can pay off, even if you do it early on.
15. Crumb - Ice Melt
A deep dread-filled chill-out experience that keeps the listener enticed enough to wonder what the point of anything is.
14. Armand Hammer, The Alchemist - Haram
Billy Woods and ELUCID take every advantage they got from The Alchemist, leading to one of my favorite rap records of the year in Haram.
13. Lost Girls - Menneskekollektivet
A complete experience leaving many to believe they’re wrapped in some sort of simulation. I don’t know what else to say.
12. Spellling - The Turning Wheel
A brilliant pop exploration of sounds that departs from Spelling’s previous darkwave and gothic sounds but instead focuses on chamber pop with progressive elements.
11. Black Country, New Road - For the first time
There aren’t enough labels to try and classify For the first time by Black Country, New Road. It’s experimental rock, post-punk, post-rock, and jazz all wrapped in a chaotic orderly experience.
10. WATERMEDOWN - i got me thinking
i got me thinking is an extremely refreshing record that takes elements of emo and loner pop into a quick seven-track experience. Can’t stress this enough, everyone needs to hear i got me thinking.
9. Little Simz - Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is an addictive listen that catapults Little Simz as a force not to mess with in the hip hop and rap world.
8. JPEGMAFIA - LP!
Yet another experimental hip-hop and avant-garde rap combination of tracks from one of alternative hip-hops best, JPEGMAFIA.
7. Steve Gunn - Other You
Other You is a beautiful and effortless music listening experience that keeps you wanting more. The record is a warm blanket of stars to put it lightly.
6. Turnstile - Glow On
Glow On is the best hardcore record in years and will push the genre further than anyone could imagine. It combines enough separate textures to appeal many non-hardcore listeners but keeps the breakdowns and two-step in check for OGs.
5. Nala Sinephro - Space 1.8
Space 1.8 is an immaculate ambient record filled with a mixture of in-depth sentiments and innovative, messy, abstract colorful soundscapes.
4. Black midi - Cavalcade
Cavalcade is a detailed combination of chaos and the willingness to push yourself to the limit. It solidifies Black Midi as one of the most interesting prog-rock and experimental rock bands of today.
3. Feu! Chatterton - Palais d'argile
A poetic and progressive pop-rock record that’s filled with hooks and taste from French pop/rock group Feu! Chatterton. The album is everything I love about music.
2. Injury Reserve - By The Time I Get To Phoenix
By The Time I Get To Phoenix is a conceptual, despairing, and mood-affecting record that puts the brilliance of Injury Reserve on full display. RIP Stepa J. Groggs.
1. Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and the London Symphony Orchestra - Promises
Nothing gave me a deeper layer of emotion and enjoyment than Promises from Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders, and the London Symphony Orchestra. It’s a record that understands less is more but has a way of taking a simple piano passage on a whirlwind of ambient internal cosmic travel.
OTHER GREAT ALBUMS OF 2021
Altin Gun – Yol
Backxwash – I Lie Here Buried with My Rings and My Dresses
BADBADNOTGOOD – Talk Memory
Big Ghost Ltd / Conway – If It Bleeds It Can Be Killed
Blu – The Color Blu(e)
Cannibal Corpse – Violence Unimagined
Cassandra Jenkins – An Overview on Phenomenal Nature
Clairo – Sling
Converge / Chelsea Wolfe – Bloodmoon: I
Conway The Machine – La Maquina
Death From Above 1979 – Is 4 Lovers
Every Time I Die – Radical
Hiatus Kaiyote – Mood Valiant
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – L.W.
Iceage – Seek Shelter
Leo Nocentelli – Another Side
Madlib – Sound Ancestors
Marissa Nadler – The Path of the Clouds
Mogwai – As the Love Continues
Nick Cave, Warren Ellis – CARNAGE
One Step Closer This Place You Know
Pink Siifu – GUMBO’!
Post Prom – Who You Pretend To Be
Rural Interest – Breaking Up
Sematary – Rainbow Bridge 3
Shame – Drunk Tank Pink
Sloppy Jane – Madison
Sons of Kemet – Black to the Future
Super American – SUP
Sweet Trip – A Tiny House, In Secret Speeches, Polar Equals
The War On Drugs – I Don’t Live Here Anymore
Tirzah – Colourgrade
Tyler, the Creator – Call Me If You Get Lost
Weezer – Ok Human
Wiki – Half God
Xiu Xiu – OH NO
Yasmin Williams – Urban Driftwood
Yola – Stand For Myself
READ MY 50 BEST ALBUMS OF 2020 HERE
I write for
I’m 24 from Buffalo, NY, and graduated from SUNY Buffalo State in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. I play guitar in SPACED and Funeral Coat. I write for OutOfShapeMusic (Owner) SadCarrotNews (Owner) Fiverr Freelance OnlinePhotographyTraining BestInPhotography The Golden Script Competition The Monthly Film Festival
Most Viewed Posts
- Sunset Drive | Jazzy Beats | 1 Hour Playlist August 3, 2022
- An Analysis of OK Computer July 26, 2022
- Track Highlight | Lesley Duncan – Love Song July 26, 2022
- Order My Bands Debut 12″ | SPACED – Spaced Jams July 24, 2022
- Live Music Recommendations #71 – Neutral Milk Hotel – 10/31/1997 Halloween Party Athens, GA July 21, 2022