AllMusic's Best of 2021

AllMusic's Best of 2021

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November 19, 2021
Critic Score
80
28 reviews
Meeting titanic expectations, this linear journey of the heart is Adele's most cohesive statement to date, pairing her inimitable voice with a dozen engrossing vignettes, reminding us that all we can do is keep trying.

September 10, 2021
Critic Score
85
20 reviews

Their rapid growth is as head-spinning as the songs themselves, lending a triumphant air to Comfort to Me that keeps Amyl and the Sniffers primed and ready to conquer the world -- again.

October 8, 2021
Critic Score
76
20 reviews
Throughout the album, BadBadNotGood and their guest collaborators flesh out the sonic canvas without taking away from the raw energy of the performances.

November 19, 2021
Critic Score
81
5 reviews

July 30, 2021
Critic Score
83
33 reviews

A subtle triumph in the face of overwhelming pressure and expectations, Happier Than Ever is the sound of an artist coming into their own.

June 10, 2021
Critic Score
88
2 reviews
By the time he reaches repetitive closing track "Any Day Now," it's clear that Burnham has delivered a comedy classic as well as a snapshot of the time.

October 1, 2021
Critic Score
82
11 reviews

As the album alternates between candid whispers and raw catharsis, it is unmistakably the work of Brandi Carlile, who once again proves she's one of the best singer/songwriters of her generation.

February 26, 2021
Critic Score
80
2 reviews

Meticulously crafted and teeming with soul, El Madrileño represents the culmination of Tangana’s artistic development thus far, painting a world of rich cultures into his compellingly conflicted persona.

February 19, 2021
Critic Score
82
9 reviews

Her songwriting talent and willingness to experiment was already evident on 2017's Play 'til You Win, but the perfect balance of exploration and poignancy on Overview make it a significant step forward for her.

Chelsea Carmichael - The River Doesn’t Like Strangers
October 22, 2021
Critic Score
90
2 reviews

August 27, 2021
Critic Score
78
33 reviews

Not only is Screen Violence Chvrches’ finest work since The Bones of What You Believe, it’s also their most purposeful. It feels like they took stock of who they want to be and what they want to say, and these epic songs about letting go but holding onto the ability to feel make for a stunning creative rebirth.

March 26, 2021
Critic Score
78
7 reviews

Haunting and expertly crafted, Playground in a Lake takes its place alongside Bibio's Phantom Brickworks and Loscil's Monument Builders as a beautifully destroyed sonic environment that provokes a powerful emotional response.

August 20, 2021
Critic Score
83
4 reviews

Colleen - The Tunnel and the Clearing
May 21, 2021
Critic Score
72
5 reviews
Since the beginning of her career, Colleen has been searching, and this questioning, comforting, quietly stunning album reveals the good things that can come out of pain and grief.

November 19, 2021
Critic Score
86
14 reviews

Even at its most melodic ... Bloodmoon: I bristles with nervy unease. That particular brand of agitation is textbook Converge, but with Brodsky's inventive arrangements and Wolfe's ethereal soprano added to the arsenal, that innate disquiet is glorious to behold.

November 12, 2021
Critic Score
76
30 reviews

Unhurried and stark without being austere, The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows seems suspended from time but not place: as misty and evocative as it is, the music is grounded in a specific location, which gives this elegiac, enveloping album an emotional weight.

April 2, 2021
Critic Score
83
32 reviews

They know exactly what they're doing, and the risks they take result in a debut album that brings a fresh energy to post-punk that's equally challenging and rewarding.

March 26, 2021
Critic Score
78
4 reviews

Eric Bibb - Dear America
September 10, 2021
Critic Score
83
3 reviews

April 23, 2021
Critic Score
74
16 reviews

Full of smart nods to their pop inspirations, Field Music's Flat White Moon is a poetic and beautifully realized production.

February 5, 2021
Critic Score
70
33 reviews

Medicine at Midnight is a speedy, hooky, and efficient record, every bit the party album Grohl promised.

Geoffrey O'Connor - For As Long As I Can Remember
August 6, 2021
Critic Score
90
1 review

October 22, 2021
Critic Score
79
16 reviews

With its balance of eras, sounds, and short and extended songs, Shade has the depth of a career retrospective and the freshness of a new album, both of which make it especially appealing to new and longtime Grouper fans alike.

August 27, 2021
Critic Score
79
22 reviews

In a bold and unexpected move, Halsey seizes their artistic crown on the creative triumph If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power.

October 22, 2021
Critic Score
83
12 reviews

Tour de force might be too weighty a term for an album so seemingly effortless, but from its unhurried flow to its wealth of songs, Far In is a glorious showcase for all the aspects of Helado Negro's music.

June 25, 2021
Critic Score
81
14 reviews

Mood Valiant is intimate and romantic more than anything else.

May 7, 2021
Critic Score
81
6 reviews
As a songbook, it's excellent, but it's equally effective as an album, as the trio harmonize and pick guitar with an emotional immediacy that gives The Marfa Tapes a warm, resonant immediacy.

August 20, 2021
Critic Score
77
7 reviews

His work is full of the messy energy and surprising turns of a life lived hard, and on The Horses and the Hounds, the music speaks as vividly as his excellent songs. Not many artists pushing 60 get to deliver as satisfying a breakthrough as this one.

June 4, 2021
Critic Score
86
26 reviews

Thankfully, just as with Crying in H Mart, Jubilee is an album that showcases Zauner's talents to their fullest and makes crushing on Japanese Breakfast hard to resist.

Jazzmeia Horn And Her Noble Force - Dear Love
September 10, 2021
Critic Score
90
1 review

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet - Haydn: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 9
March 5, 2021
Critic Score
100
1 review

John Carroll Kirby - Septet
June 25, 2021
Critic Score
76
5 reviews

March 19, 2021
Critic Score
83
4 reviews

Batiste's genre-mashing reinforces the album's theme of intergenerational wisdom, and it's also wonderfully fun.

Jorge Elbrecht - Presentable Corpse 002
May 28, 2021
Critic Score
90
1 review

March 25, 2021
Critic Score
90
1 review

KG0516 establishes Karol G as a visionary; she pushes hard at urbano's boundaries, blending them into the pop multiverse, only to bring the album's many dimensions to heel under reggaeton's dominance.

June 11, 2021
Critic Score
73
13 reviews

Butterfly 3000 is the work of a band with a million ideas and the skills to make them all work like a dream. In this case, a shiny, happy dream that leaves the sleeper feeling refreshed and at peace upon awakening.

June 25, 2021
Critic Score
80
7 reviews
At just under half an hour, the album's running time is relatively brief, but it feels like it encompasses Cheek's entire life so far, and it's a uniquely powerful expression of her uncompromising vision.

September 17, 2021
Critic Score
81
23 reviews

Montero delivers in droves, a powerful realization of self that boldly places sexuality, honesty, and vulnerability at the fore.

September 3, 2021
Critic Score
90
35 reviews

As on Grey Area, there are no dry spells or dips in quality, just a master class in modern songwriting with heaps of poise and a beating, soulful heart.

June 4, 2021
Critic Score
74
23 reviews

The appealing thing about Soberish is how it holds two thoughts (and sounds) simultaneously, a record that revives the spirit of Phair's earliest albums while casually leaning into her middle age.

November 12, 2021
Critic Score
79
3 reviews

July 1, 2021
Critic Score
85
2 reviews

October 29, 2021
Critic Score
80
13 reviews

With her ninth album, The Path of the Clouds, she finally tips the balance from indie folk to rock on a cinematic set largely inspired by watching reruns of Unsolved Mysteries during pandemic lockdown in 2020. What Nadler does with those inspirations is uniquely hers.

October 29, 2021
Critic Score
82
17 reviews

Musically, Mastodon illuminate the emotional heft of their subject matter in gorgeously architected compositions rendered with abundant creativity, massive power, and searing honesty.

May 21, 2021
Critic Score
84
19 reviews

Dynamic, but well-balanced, this collection is perhaps the most conclusive example of Moctar's multidimensional talents to date.

February 19, 2021
Critic Score
79
28 reviews

It may have taken Mogwai 25 years to open up like this, but it was well worth the wait: As the Love Continues is another peak in their long and influential career.

Mouse on Mars - AAI
February 26, 2021
Critic Score
80
5 reviews

May 21, 2021
Critic Score
78
20 reviews

Rodrigo wants to be taken seriously as a songwriter, and she should be -- her combination of sweet melodies and bitter moods, her conversational flow, and her self-awareness are all skills many songwriters twice her age would love to call their own, and they make Sour a well-rounded emotional journey and strong debut album.

Olivier Latry - Liszt: Inspirations
June 25, 2021
Critic Score
100
1 review

October 15, 2021
Critic Score
86
12 reviews
The entire release clocks in at under 20 minutes, with the ten tracks initially feeling more like preview clips rather than full songs. The brisk tempos and urgent lyrics beg for repeated listens, however, and the mixtape quickly becomes addictive.

December 25, 2020
Critic Score
69
9 reviews

While losing some of the pop appeal of his previous work, Whole Lotta Red represents Playboi Carti coming into a new phase of his artistry, however jagged and disorienting the process may be.

May 21, 2021
Critic Score
80
5 reviews

On Sharecropper's Son, Finley, producer Dan Auerbach, and their all-star studio cast pull out all the stops; they present this remarkable singer with an expansive yet rootsy musical palette.

April 30, 2021
Critic Score
83
4 reviews

She bounces back on TOKiMONSTA's Young Art label with Play with the Changes, an album with greater vocal, lyrical, and sonic range than her previous releases.

September 10, 2021
Critic Score
81
13 reviews

It's rare for a band to have a new idea after being together for five years, let alone thirty. That Saint Etienne not only had a brilliant idea, but also made it come to life so fully and so beautifully, is nothing short of miraculous.

Smile Machine - Bye For Now
July 16, 2021
Critic Score
90
1 review

May 14, 2021
Critic Score
86
24 reviews
Musically and culturally, Sons of Kemet not only holistically conceive of a future, they begin to create one right now.

May 7, 2021
Critic Score
85
27 reviews

The music is busy, but rarely familiar, and certainly stimulating. Truly a band for the times, Squid feels like a wild jumble of thoughts come to life, effusing anger, confusion, humor, detachment, and even joyfulness in their pursuit of true creative freedom.

August 27, 2021
Critic Score
79
11 reviews

TEKE::TEKE - Shirushi
May 7, 2021
Critic Score
70
5 reviews

April 16, 2021
Critic Score
82
10 reviews

Aptly named, Ultrapop administers a constant barrage of sonic information that shows no delineation between discomfort, reassurance, pain, or pleasure.

April 30, 2021
Critic Score
81
14 reviews

Coral Island is the band at their best, effortlessly conjuring up the glorious ghosts of rock & roll's past and turning those sounds into something timeless and instantly rewarding at once.

February 19, 2021
Critic Score
76
24 reviews

By focusing on bringing light and shade into the margins, the Hold Steady wound up with an album that feels vivid and alive; it's as if the songs themselves have a life outside of the recording.

April 9, 2021
Critic Score
80
4 reviews

Uncommon Weather is focused and melodic, sounding like a greatest-hits collection as song after song digs deep below the surface of heartache to uncover yet another painful memory or feeling.

February 5, 2021
Critic Score
85
23 reviews

Ignorance is a major statement that never feels oversimplified. While she's growing so much with each album that it seems risky to call this Lindeman's best, it's safe to say this is another outstanding achievement from the Weather Station.

Theo Croker - BLK2LIFE || A FUTURE PAST
September 24, 2021
Critic Score
85
2 reviews

July 30, 2021
Critic Score
79
18 reviews

She's grown more comfortable within herself on each album, and Thirstier's confidence and optimism arrived when listeners in the early 2020s were hungry for both. If making her music as big and loud as it is here is what it takes to get people to realize what they've been missing with her music, then Thirstier is a wild success.

August 27, 2021
Critic Score
88
18 reviews

Both vital and respective of the listener's time at just under 35 minutes, Glow On rolls in like a violent, late-summer storm and pummels the power grid but mercifully leaves the lights on.

June 25, 2021
Critic Score
87
23 reviews

Tyler has every ounce of talent to square up with rap's greats, and he now has enough confidence to do so.

March 12, 2021
Critic Score
80
12 reviews

A standout among her already impressive catalog, The Moon and Stars is utterly beguiling with a luster that only deepens with repeated spins.

June 4, 2021
Critic Score
86
32 reviews

Blue Weekend never feels overwrought despite its ambition and lengthy creative process -- instead, it's the kind of big, unabashedly emotional album that people make memories to, and some of Wolf Alice's most confident and fully realized music.

July 30, 2021
Critic Score
78
11 reviews

Stand for Myself is a stunner with plenty of emotional firepower, but it can also feel soft as a wool blanket.

Original Source: https://www.allmusic.com/year-in-review/2021/allmusic-best-of-2021
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