These are 12 of our favorite records of the year

Finally, when I look back to the year 2021, these memories will need a soundtrack. In the end, that’s what these albums are.

When I reflect on the past 365 days, of course, I will also think of all the sounds that have accompanied many of the experiences I have had, both with the company of others and also on my own.

Of course, there were more popular albums than the ones I picked out for you.

In all fairness, there are some that I even spent more time with. Even just a few times while listening to Kanye West Donda ends with a pretty massive undertaking. I probably ended up hearing Boy in love certified Where An evening with Sonic Silk playing in the background more times than I could count.

But in the end, the best albums defined my year.

It was pretty clear from her 2019 single Orange soda that Baby Keem was about to become something big in the world of West Coast Hip Hop.

Baby Keem made his presence loud and clear on his debut album Melodic blue, which included two fantastic features (family ties and range brothers) with his cousin Kendric Lamar. He’s already more than capable of making a dance floor dance at a party, which is a milestone in any rapper’s career.

The moments of greatness he has on this album make it pretty clear that he can be one of the masters of the trap genre. I’m not sure it’s quite there yet, but listening to it feels like watching a volcano on the verge of an explosion.

We hadn’t heard from Hiatus Kaiyote in several years, which made this project one of the most anticipated albums of the year for those who like more avant-garde music.

While they’re jazzy at heart, part of what makes them great is their versatility. You can have them in the background while you’re at work, but with more active listening, they can help give you that extra head start to make you feel like the coolest person around. walks in the park. .

I would say that even though red room is clearly the most outstanding track as the vocals are about as catchy as you’ll hear the sound of this band, the whole album is worth diving and swimming.

Buy the artist’s Bandcamp.

It’s pretty hard for me to fathom the fact that Snail Mail’s Lindsey Jordan is only 22 because I feel like she’s been around forever.

Songs like the title song, Valentine, offer a fun nostalgia for the 90s that may remind you of Avril Lavigne or Liz Phair. Listening, you’ll quickly realize that this is clearly a breakup album where her songwriting shines throughout. With catchy choruses and the suave confidence you want to hear from a rock star, Snail Mail has proven that it’s here to stay.

I also loved listening to her interviews, and can’t wait to see the sequel for her as she continues to grow and develop her sound.

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It deserves nothing less than a standing ovation when someone accepts a mission as ambitious as Sometimes I could be introverted and exceeds all expectations.

There was nothing easy about what Little Simz set out to accomplish when she released SIMBI earlier this year. However, the north London rapper ended up dropping what was arguably the most critically acclaimed release of 2021. The album was so widely celebrated because it established why she is easily one of the best storytellers in the world.

Simz took this 19-track LP and filled it with his best poetry, delivering it in a beautiful and immersive package.

Buy on the artist’s website.

We’ve known for a long time that he’s one of the coolest and most established builders in the world. But we learned about flower boy (2017) that Tyler the Creator is a really good singer and he’s posted it again here.

Listening to this album is like walking through a mansion, and every time you open the door to a new room you find something new and different. It’s worth noting that I probably liked the vibe around the album – the visuals, the fashion, the trailers – even more than I liked the music itself.

WUSYANAME and SWEET / I THOUGHT YOU WANTED TO DANCE, however, were two of my favorites. Tyler is one of the most talented artists we have and his music and presentation is wonderfully cinematic.

Buy on the artist’s website.

Listening to BADBADNOTGOOD is like getting on a spaceship and setting off on a journey to another planet.

It’s a group that knows its instruments and takes jazz to new, wild places. Beyond the startling heavenly energy of this project, it’s also just a fascinating case study of how musicians can test the limits of the studio with a contemporary production.

It was an absolute pleasure to hear the band make music with legendary drummer Karriem Riggins (who has also worked with people like everyone from Paul McCartney to Kanye West) on Next to april and Terrace Martin (who helped develop Kendrick Lamar’s film To pimp a butterfly) to Speak Meaning to close the album.

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I used to say that Vince Staples was my favorite rapper, but at this point it just seems misleading because he honestly doesn’t really “rap” anymore.

But that doesn’t take away from how much I still love him as a musician. His eponymous release comes in at a notch over 22 minutes, which is certainly short for a full LP. However, he packs a punch in the songs he gives us and doesn’t waste our time with duds.

This is more introspective work for Staples, and it has a lot more subtlety than previous projects. With the help of the excellent Kenny Beats in production, it was a great effort on LP-3.

Buy on the artist’s website.

Anyone who’s paid attention to pop music this year knew Olivia Rodrigo was the breakout star – good 4 you already has over a billion streams on Spotify.

But I’m pretty confident this isn’t an 18-year-old former Disney star’s luck record. I will always remember the feeling I had when I first heard SOUR. It was late spring, the weather getting closer and looking like summer. Of course, Rodrigo had fun and obvious parallels with pop stars like Paramore and Evanescence.

Corn Driving license and already seen were so good I almost had to laugh at what an awesome addition to our world Rodrigo immediately became. If I had driven a car I probably would have stopped this thing.

Buy on the artist’s website.

At the start of the year, it is true that Lucy Dacus was not on my radar for her solo work as much as she was for her collaborations with Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker for boygenius.

Now I can’t stress enough how much Home video impressed me. Hot and heavy is a brilliant single and a great song to listen to in your bedroom, dance while you fold your laundry. But she really caught my eye with her writing, reflecting on religion (VBS) or share powerful words about a estranged father (inch).

Call me a sucker for vocal distortion but Partner in crime is perhaps my favorite song of the year; its controversial use of the autotune really transported this track to a new stratosphere.

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Even though JPEGMAFIA has managed to go unnoticed, he has easily become one of my favorite rappers over the past few years.

He sings and raps and sometimes even whispers conflicting and determined lyrics to glitchy, grungy beats unlike anything you’ve heard before. He has his own little catchphrases (eg, “you think you know me”) that make you feel like you’re part of a secret club whenever it sounds familiar to you after he says them.

It does require you to be into a bit sharper stuff, but if you’ve heard his music before and liked it, it’s mostly the same sounds.

Unfortunately, due to copyright issues, he couldn’t use all of the samples he wanted. But he got around this problem by also uploading an “offline version” of the album to Bandcamp.

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Alright, I admit it. This album legitimately caught me off guard as it wasn’t released until October, which means it’s still a relatively recent addition to my rotation.

It’s a 25 minute synth-rock album that I think I have fully memorized in the months since its release. It’s a hard-hitting piece of music that I’ve listened to obsessively, and I laugh every time I hear my favorite lyrics of the year (“Tony Soprano, I’m hurting myself”) on the opening track. the album.

If you like that sort of thing, I think you’ll be a fan of the distorted guitars and melodies that also live rent-free in my head.

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While I have always admired Japanese Breakfast because she had that magical, ethereal vibe in her music, her latest album made it clear that she was much more than chamber pop.

It was an ambitious and extraordinarily well produced project that translates very well for a live show – which is complete with a mallet and a gong! It’s vibrant and sprawling and dreamy and just a good time all around. be nice is one of the best songs of the year but good wild boy is my favorite of this version.

If you like the way JBrekkie singer Michelle Zauner writes a song, she also wrote a book (Crying in H Mart: A Memory) This year!

Buy the artist’s Bandcamp.

About Dawn Valle

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