2021’s Best Albums

Mikko Hansen, Pawprint Staff Reporter

2021 has been one of the best years for music ever. So many artists release such good albums that it made it difficult to talk about just ten albums.

#10 Whole Lotta Red– Playboi Carti

Genre: Trap, Experimental Rap

There are very few albums that I have ever listened to that give me just as much energy as “Whole Lotta Red.” This album will get me up and moving no matter what. I almost feel like this album is less about the lyrics and the beats but just about the immense amount of energy you get when listening to it. Although towards the end of the album, it gets into more melancholy songs that still sound great.

#9 Call Me If You Get Lost– Tyler the Creator

Genre: Alternative Hip Hop

In “Call me if you get lost,” Tyler talks about getting slowly rejected in a relationship, and the narration almost feels like the victory lap of his previous album IGOR and all the success that it got. It’s a pretty album with lovely instrumentation, masterfully produced, and makes me feel like I am outside on a boat, in the middle of a lake, soaking up the sun.

# 8 Promises– Floating Points

Genre: Jazz, Ambient, Electronic

Promises may quite possibly be my favorite Jazz album ever. It’s so captivating yet so simple. It feels like a 45-minute saxophone solo, especially how it keeps the same rhythm throughout the whole album, similar to “Long Season” from the Fishmans. For the whole duration of the album, the only instrument that takes center stage is the saxophone, played extremely well by Pharoah Sanders with backup instruments played by the London Symphony. It is a calming, atmospheric, and simple album.

#7 Crimson Poem-Yikii

Genre: Neoclassical Darkwave, Electric Acoustic

The most underground album on this list, Crimson Poem, is a horror movie made into an album in the purest form. It is astonishing how this album gives me the same unnerving feeling as horror movies. Yet, at the same time, it is a very beautiful album.

#6 Volcanic bird enemy and the voiced concern– Lil Ugly Mane

Genre: Neoclassical Psychedelia

Lil Ugly Mane has been known for his more violent, hard-hitting Memphis rap songs in his earlier work, but “Volcanic Bird Enemy…” dives directly into Ugly Mane’s depression and does so in such a unique and wonderful way. Ugly Mane uses interesting ways to describe his depression in songs combined with the Psychic songwriting. It is a depressing treat to listen to.

#5 Cavalcade– Black Midi

Genre: Art Rock, Jazz Rock

Black Midi has moved from a more noisy rock sound to a jazzier sound, and it is simply great. Cavalcade is chaos in music that still somehow works so incredibly well. But at the same time, it is elegant and dramatic with incredible vocals from Geordie Greep. It makes me even more excited for the future and evolution of Black Midi.

#4 LP! (Offline)– JPEGMAFIA

Genre: Experimental Hip Hop

LP (Offline) is an album that further proves JPEGMAFIA to be the most versatile rapper out right now. He seems like he’s going back more towards his roots of vaporwave and more emotional songs. It’s another perfect album from Peggy and even better live.

#3 Sometimes I might be introvert– Little Simz
Genre: Conscious rap, UK Hip hop

“Sometimes I might be Introvert” is a wonderfully inspiring album. It tells the story of the evolution of Little Simz and has the best flow and lyricism on any rap album this year. She comes up with bars that work so well into the album’s narrative.

#2 SINNER GET READY– Lingua Ignota

Genre: Neoclassical Darkwave

In “SINNER GET READY,” Lingua Ignota goes more into detail about the hyper religion she has faced and her conflicts with it now. It is by far her most accessible album, but it is by no means easy to listen to, moving away from more from noise and more to a more folk-like sound. This album also features the best vocals I have ever heard. It is almost opera-like. The way she sings is just so beautiful.

#1 By the time I get back to Phoenix- Injury Reserve

Genre: Experimental Hip Hop

Death is a confusing thing, and “By the time I get back to Phoenix,” it helps show death differently. With the fairly recent death of member Steppa Groggs, Injury Reserve went all out and didn’t hold back on their experimentation, and it sounds like no other album. The instrumentation is distorted, hard-hitting, and fits in with the theme. It is incredibly depressing, frantic, and my choice for 2021’s album of the year.