Exclaim!'s 50 Best Albums of 2021

Exclaim!'s 50 Best Albums of 2021

Original Source →

50.

April 30, 2021
Critic Score
83
4 reviews

Play with the Changes is a testament to both the friendship and musical flexibility Jordan has found, and continues to build with all involved; bonds that carry the album's range of emotions and electronics beyond dance floors to heads and hearts effortlessly.

49.

April 2, 2021
Critic Score
83
32 reviews

New Long Leg may not always be positive, but it's more interesting than that, more needling and necessary. It's everything at once, a record that absorbs and spits back the unending noise of the world and asks that you take a second look, every common thing somehow made brand new.

47.

October 1, 2021
Critic Score
80
7 reviews

Ducks Ltd. wisely keep Modern Fiction at a concise 10 songs, improving on their prior Get Bleak EP without varying much from its sound.

46.

October 1, 2021
Critic Score
81
14 reviews

A pristine stunner, as songwriter-producer Sarah Tudzin goes for broke on 12 songs of impeccably crafted pop hooks, hyperactive crescendos and graceful comedowns.

45.

January 22, 2021
Critic Score
79
3 reviews
Tying ambient soundscapes, borderline IDM and subtle snapshots of traditional music into a coherent, yet distinctive, body of work, this auspicious debut forecasts a promising future for Yu Su.

44.

Shad - TAO
October 1, 2021
Critic Score
80
1 review

42.

April 16, 2021
Critic Score
82
10 reviews

ULTRAPOP is a beautiful storm, dense, monstrous, vital, and aching to break free.

41.

The Zolas - Come Back to Life
July 16, 2021
Critic Score
76
2 reviews

40.

April 23, 2021
Critic Score
68
5 reviews

Through loud and quiet dynamics, and incorporating minimalism, Big Brave's Vital is one of the most impactful records in the band's catalogue.

39.

August 6, 2021
Critic Score
81
11 reviews

Whether it's inspired singles, fresh collaborations, new ideas or bejeweled one-liners, King Nas serves up another reminder that he's no pretender to the throne.

33.

October 15, 2021
Critic Score
77
5 reviews

It's a gorgeous collection of songs, showcasing Spear's preternatural songwriting ability.

32.

August 6, 2021
Critic Score
87
14 reviews

Lingua Ignota comes off much more sombre and reflective, and Sinner Get Ready is nothing short of a strikingly effective album, sounding more like an incantation than a mere collection of songs.

31.

October 22, 2021
Critic Score
74
25 reviews

Though still world-weary as ever, Del Rey is, on Blue Banisters, for the first time diaristic and ad hoc. This album is a stunner.

30.

Brand Of Sacrifice - Lifeblood
March 5, 2021
Critic Score
90
1 review

29.

August 20, 2021
Critic Score
65
32 reviews

28.

July 9, 2021
Critic Score
79
21 reviews

Staples and Kenny Beats' pared-down approach to this album is what makes it so incredibly endearing. The relatively sparse production serves as the perfect foundation for Staples' lyrics, highlighting his abilities as a rapper while also perfectly scoring his incredibly gripping storytelling.

27.

June 25, 2021
Critic Score
80
27 reviews

The album is a starkly honest and unabashed look at what it means to find your footing, fall in love and forge your own path.

26.

May 26, 2021
Critic Score
80
31 reviews

Cavalcade is an album of extremes, fluctuating between lounging wizardry and an angular, prog-rock nightmare. It's smart and well-calculated, expressing their range as musicians. Most importantly, it's the best path forward to keep speculators on their toes.

24.

May 7, 2021
Critic Score
81
6 reviews

Try to image Joni Mitchell fronting Shellac at a coffee shop and you might get some idea of Anything Can't Happen's beautiful tension.

22.

May 7, 2021
Critic Score
85
27 reviews
Here, they embrace vulnerability, taking time to address modern issues (read: symptoms of capitalism), while also imbuing a real sense of fun, artistic merit and instrumental democracy in the record's 11 tracks.

21.

April 9, 2021
Critic Score
78
8 reviews

Spirit of the Beehive's unsettling compositions are not for casual listening. On ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH, every fragmented idea is thoughtfully ripped apart and stitched back together with the gusto of a delirious genius.

20.

June 4, 2021
Critic Score
86
26 reviews

Jubilee isn't about pushing the pain away; rather, it's a validation of whatever it is you feel. Zauner wants you to know with this record that you have the capacity to find joy in whatever mess life throws your way.

19.

October 8, 2021
Critic Score
76
20 reviews

On their fifth LP, Talk Memory, BADBADNOTGOOD reconnect with their early jazz-fused influences for an album that shows the trio impressively finding the groove in the most intricate and intensive manner.

18.

September 10, 2021
Critic Score
82
27 reviews
It's safe to say that no one is making music that sounds remotely similar to what Low is giving us.

17.

August 27, 2021
Critic Score
88
18 reviews

GLOW ON is an album that is intriguing, unpredictable, heavy, groovy, ambient and loud all at the same time, and serves as Turnstile's crucial next step forward.

16.

DijahSB - Head Above The Waters
April 23, 2021
Critic Score
75
2 reviews

Head Above the Waters is soothing and satisfying — where their previous projects succeeded by speaking the truth about Dijah's problems, Head Above the Waters succeeds by being a cure in and of itself.

15.

May 21, 2021
Critic Score
84
19 reviews

Afrique Victime is a decidedly Tuareg expression, furthering the distinction that Mdou Moctar holds as one of the most exciting, innovative and provocative artists to emerge from the area.

14.

October 29, 2021
Critic Score
81
31 reviews

Even if the tracklist isn't quite 10-for-10 in terms of quality, much of the appeal of I Don't Live Here Anymore lies in the little sonic details rather than the songs themselves.

13.

February 26, 2021
Critic Score
81
35 reviews

Little Oblivions is generous and giving; it's not only a public display of personal catharsis, but also an act of collective commiseration and an invitation to heal.

12.

February 19, 2021
Critic Score
82
9 reviews
It's a near-complete reimagining of the New York songwriter's sound; an iridescent folk-jazz odyssey dizzyingly rich with detail and craft. At only seven tracks, it feels as vast and accomplished as a record twice its length.

10.

September 17, 2021
Critic Score
84
8 reviews

9.

May 21, 2021
Critic Score
78
20 reviews

Rodrigo has established her voice and showed listeners that she's not afraid to be vulnerable. SOUR is a strong debut that vividly illustrates the beautiful chaos of being inside a teenage girl's brain.

8.

November 5, 2021
Critic Score
82
26 reviews

7.

March 26, 2021
Critic Score
88
25 reviews

A recording that is more of a transcending mind meld than it is a collaboration.

6.

May 28, 2021
Critic Score
79
6 reviews

When Smoke Rises is a succinct and well-crafted album that serves to tell the story of Mustafa's pain, grief and loss in way that honours his unique voice.

5.

April 30, 2021
Critic Score
76
2 reviews

Though the music of Parallel World is powerful, the message is infinitely more so.

4.

June 25, 2021
Critic Score
87
23 reviews

Tyler has delivered a project that yet again pushes the boundaries of his music while simultaneously being a culmination of everything that he's done so far.

3.

June 20, 2021
Critic Score
78
6 reviews

A processing of powerlessness and reclaiming of that power through self-expression, I Lie Here presents audiences with a less restrained version of Mutinta's songwriting and vocal delivery. It's an absolute gift to industrial hardcore, hip-hop and metal.

2.

February 5, 2021
Critic Score
85
23 reviews

Ignorance is a record in search of that silence. Across ten tracks of jazz-influenced, liquid-silver art rock, Lindeman grasps at the world thrumming just beyond our punishing screens and endless news cycles, beyond our emotional and physical walls.

Original Source: https://exclaim.ca/music/article/best_albums_of_2021
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1mo
Good list!
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