The 50 Best Albums of 2021

Updated: Jan 20

https://www.newwavemagazine.com/single-post/the-50-best-albums-of-2021


Last year I was lockdown-brained enough to put together a ranked list of my top 100 albums of 2020. Since I'm slightly less sedentary this time around, I've decided to double down and go for a 50 album list. Disclaimer: the rankings are based on pure gut-feeling, not to be taken too seriously. I'll definitely change my mind about this list as I have about last year's (Jessie Ware at #88??) but the point is, these are 50 albums that came out this year which are worth your time. Here's a messy playlist with all the albums that were in consideration. And here's a more curated playlist with my top 3 tracks from each of the 50 picks:


50. Shelley FKA DRAM - Shelley FKA DRAM


Top Tracks: Something About Us, Cooking With Grease, Remedies

Genre(s): Funk, R&B



49. Yasuke - Flying Lotus


Top Tracks: Black Gold, Crust, Pain and Blood

Genre(s): Psychedelic Jazz, Experimental, Soundtrack



48. Half God - Wiki


Top Tracks: Never Fall Off, Wik Da God, All I Need

Genre(s): Underground Hip Hop



47. DRONES - Terrace Martin


Top Tracks: Leave Us Be, Tapped, Griots of the Crenshaw District

Genre(s): Jazz, Hip Hop



46. Solar Power - Lorde


Top Tracks: Secrets from a Girl (Who's Seen it All), Dominoes, Mood Ring

Genre(s): Pop, Indie Folk



45. 333 - Tinashe


Top Tracks: Bouncin, Unconditional, Small Reminders

Genre(s): R&B, Hip Hop



44. Tales from the Old Dominion - DJ Harrison


Top Tracks: Be Better, 2021 Disco, City Lights

Genre(s): Jazz, Funk, Hip Hop



43. Sometimes I Might Be Introvert - Little Simz


Top Tracks: Rollin Stone, Protect My Energy, How Did You Get Here

Genre(s): UK Rap, Alternative Hip Hop



42. Desire - Desire Marea


Top Tracks: Zibuyile Izimakade, The Void, Uncle Kenny

Genre(s): Experimental, Electronic, Dance, Operatic



41. LP! - JPEGMAFIA


Top Tracks: ARE U HAPPY?, DAM! DAM! DAM!, NEMO!

Genre(s): Experimental Hip Hop



40. Vulture Prince - Arooj Aftab


Top Tracks: Mohabbat, Saanas Lo, Suroor

Genre(s): Sufi, Vocalist, Minimalist



39. The Plugs I Met 2 - Benny The Butcher


Top Tracks: When Tony Met Sosa, Plug Talk, Thanksgiving

Genre(s): Gangsta Rap



38. Conflict Of Interest - Ghetts


Top Tracks: Mozambique, IC3, Little Bo Peep

Genre(s): UK Rap



37. Absolutely - Dijon


Top Tracks: Big Mike's, Talk Down, Many Times

Genre(s): Indie Folk



36. The Melodic Blue - Baby Keem


Top Tracks: pink panties, range brothers, south africa

Genre(s): Trap



35. CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST - Tyler, the Creator


Top Tracks: CORSO, WILSHIRE, SAFARI

Genre(s): Alternative Hip Hop



34. When Smoke Rises - Mustafa


Top Tracks: Stay Alive, Air Forces, Ali

Genre(s): Indie Folk, Vocalist



33. Daddy's Home - St. Vincent


Top Tracks: The Melting Of The Sun, Somebody Like Me, ...At The Holiday Party

Genre(s): Indie Rock, Art Pop



32. La Maquina - Conway the Machine


Top Tracks: Sister Abigail, Grace, Scatter Brain

Genre(s): Gansta Rap



31. CRAWLER - Idles


Top Tracks: MTT 420 RR, The Beachland Ballroom, King Snake

Genre(s): Punk



30. Nine - SAULT


Top Tracks: London Gangs, 9, Lights In Your Hand

Genre(s): Neo-Soul, Jazz



29. WEIGHT OF THE WORLD - Maxo Kream


Top Tracks: CRIPSTIAN, THEY SAY, MAMA'S PURSE

Genre(s): Trap, Gangsta Rap



28. Shout Out! To Freedom... - Nightmares On Wax


Top Tracks: Creator SOS, Wikid Satellites, Wonder

Genre(s): Jazz, Trip Hop



27. Tempus - Issa Gold


Top Tracks: Options, Withdrawn, Jealousy

Genre(s): Hip Hop



26. Bo Jackson - Boldy James & The Alchemist


Top Tracks: Brickmile To Montana, Diamond Dallas, Illegal Search & Seizure

Genre(s): Gangsta Rap



25. Sling - Clairo


Top Tracks: Amoeba, Zinnias, Just For Today

Genre(s): Indie Folk



24. The YOD Fahim - Your Old Droog & Tha God Fahim


Top Tracks: Stretch, Disney World, WNBA

Genre(s): Underground Hip Hop



23. Blue Weekend - Wolf Alice


Top Tracks: Lipstick On The Glass, How Can I Make It OK?, The Last Man on Earth

Genre(s): Indie Rock



22. Magic - Nas


Top Tracks: Ugly, Wu for the Children, Wave Gods

Genre(s): Hip Hop



21. SOUR - Olivia Rodrigo


Top Tracks: brutal, deja vu, good 4 u

Genre(s): Pop, Emo Rock



20. Under the Lilac Sky - Arushi Jain


Top Tracks: The Sun Swirls Within You, Cultivating Self Love, Under The Lilac Sky

Genre(s): Electronic, Trance, Indian Classical



19. By the Time I Get to Phoenix - Injury Reserve


Top Tracks: Superman That, Top Picks for You, Postpostpartum

Genre(s): Experimental Hip Hop



18. Don't Go Tellin' Your Momma - Topaz Jones


Top Tracks: Amphetamines, Sourbelts, Gold

Genre(s): Hip Hop



17. Jubilee - Japanese Breakfast


Top Tracks: Paprika, Slide Tackle, Savage Good Boy

Genre(s): Indie Rock, Art Pop



16. damnshestamil - Priya Ragu


Top Tracks: Chicken Lemon Rice, Kamali, Santhosam

Genre(s): R&B, Hip Hop, Tamil Classical



15. We're All Alone In This Together - Dave


Top Tracks: Three Rivers, Both Sides Of A Smile, Heart Attack

Genre(s): UK Rap



14. Things Take Time, Take Time - Courtney Barnett


Top Tracks: Sunfair Sundown, Take It Day by Day, If I Don't Heat from You Tonight

Genre(s): Indie Rock



13. Planet Her - Doja Cat


Top Tracks: Naked, Get Into It (Yuh), Kiss Me More

Genre(s): Pop Rap



12. Haram - Armand Hammer & The Alchemist


Top Tracks: Black Sunlight, Falling out the Sky, Stonefruit

Genre(s): Underground Hip Hop, Abstract Hip Hop



11. Vince Staples - Vince Staples


Top Tracks: ARE YOU WITH THAT?, SUNDOWN TOWN, TAKE ME HOME

Genre(s): Alternative Hip Hop, Trap



10. Epic Ten - Sharon Van Etten & Guests


Top Tracks: One Day, Peace Signs (By IDLES), Love More (By Fiona Apple)

Genre(s): Indie Folk, Indie Rock



9. Pray For Haiti - Mach-Hommy & Westside Gunn


Top Tracks: The 26th Letter, The Stellar Ray Theory, Marie

Genre(s): Gangsta Rap



8. Bring Backs - Alfa Mist


Top Tracks: Teki, Attune, Organic Rust

Genre(s): Jazz, Hip Hop



7. to hell with it - PinkPantheress


Top Tracks: Pain, Just for me, Nineteen

Genre(s): UK Garage, Dance, Liquid D&B, Pop



6. The House Is Burning - Isaiah Rashad


Top Tracks: Darkseid, RIP Young, HB2U

Genre(s): Alternative Hip Hop, Trap



5. ALPHA - Charlotte Day Wilson


Top Tracks: I Can Only Whisper, Mountains, Take Care of You

Genre(s): Alternative R&B, Soul



4. Black To The Future - Sons of Kemet


Top Tracks: Pick Up Your Burning Cross, Hustle, Envision Yourself Levitating

Genre(s): Experimental Jazz



3. TYRON - Slowthai


Top Tracks: PLAY WITH FIRE, focus, nhs

Genre(s): UK Rap, Alternative Hip Hop



2. Promises - Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra


Top Tracks: Movement 4, Movement 6, Movement 7

Genre(s): Experimental Jazz, Orchestral



1. Smiling With No Teeth - Genesis Owusu


Top Tracks: Don't Need You, Gold Chain, Smiling with No Teeth

Genre(s): Experimental Rock, Experimental Hip Hop, Experimental Folk, ...Experimental



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