NME's 50 Best Albums of 2021

NME's 50 Best Albums of 2021

Original Source →

50.

June 25, 2021
Critic Score
71
19 reviews

Throughout this intoxicating third album, the artist born Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini pivots effortlessly between deceptively sweet singing ... and fierce, filter-free rapping ... It’s a breezy affair, 14 tracks fly by in under 45 minutes and that gives Doja an ample opportunity to show off her range.

49.

July 9, 2021
Critic Score
68
11 reviews
‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’ is teeming with nervous energy over trying to find balance in a world turned inside out, while flashes of more mature reflections on saints, sinners, kings and dreams are also promising.

48.

September 10, 2021
Critic Score
75
28 reviews

It’s an intricate project – the record also comes with an accompanying 50-minute film – that could collapse under the weight of its concept. Bolstered by its author’s frank pen, though, and instilled with a sense of hope, it’s a powerful listen.

47.

June 25, 2021
Critic Score
86
13 reviews

Once again, SAULT demonstrate the power of words and just how impactful music can be. It’s impossible not to feel affected by the stories being told.

46.

September 24, 2021
Critic Score
79
12 reviews

‘And Then Life Was Beautiful’ truly is a true celebration of R&B, yet – despite its nostalgic nods – Nao has still created a record that doesn’t sound like anyone else.

45.

October 15, 2021
Critic Score
69
9 reviews
Featuring a masterpiece of a collaboration with the late, great Mac Miller, this hugely inventive second studio album proves Thugger's all-time greatness.

44.

July 30, 2021
Critic Score
71
19 reviews

Bleachers’ third album is their strongest effort so far – the most cohesive, with the most poignant lyricism and musical moments.

43.

April 2, 2021
Critic Score
83
32 reviews

Following their two hype-building EPs ‘Sweet Princess’ and ‘Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks’, the quartet’s debut album sees them wade further into lyrical surrealism and musical experimentation.

42.

July 9, 2021
Critic Score
79
21 reviews
With ‘Vince Staples’ Kenny Beats has helped Long Beach’s finest release another spectacular record – even if it’s a slow-burn.

41.

October 15, 2021
Critic Score
85
6 reviews
She allows herself to revel in her own possibility of healing, singing directly about her past and who she wants to become, letting her formidable voice guide the way: cool, curious, full of momentum.

40.

February 5, 2021
Critic Score
82
29 reviews

Their peak may be years away yet, but this is still some of the most exciting music you’ll hear until then; I’m not sure what more you could ask of a debut.

39.

May 28, 2021
Critic Score
77
6 reviews

The Leicester band ruminate on modern living and mental health with sincerity and breezy wit.

38.

TOMORROW X TOGETHER - The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE
May 31, 2021
Critic Score
85
4 reviews
With more creative involvement and a continued commitment to authentic, relatable storytelling, TXT offer a light in the darkness on their best release yet.

37.

October 1, 2021
Critic Score
83
7 reviews

The 27-year-old star has shaken off the expectations she has been held to and, on her debut album, she is finally unapologetically herself.

36.

April 30, 2021
Critic Score
74
19 reviews
In the stand-out moments Ulven proves that she’s more than capable of rabble-rousing indie-rock and slow-burning yearning alike.

35.

August 27, 2021
Critic Score
73
21 reviews

The epitome of the figurative “beating heart” that formed Big Red Machine, this is an autumnal album, one that lays the duo bare emotionally, and one that frequently calls for reflection.

34.

October 15, 2021
Critic Score
82
12 reviews

Deeply reflective and in-your-face all at once, the Californian artist's debut album is an unashamedly proud celebration of recovery.

33.

April 16, 2021
Critic Score
74
9 reviews
Although not every track is a total slam dunk, AJ has here crafted another successful project whose streaming numbers, singles and infectious melodies will live on in memory – just like Michael Jordan’s infamous match.

32.

July 2, 2021
Critic Score
85
18 reviews

‘Pink Noise’ is steeped in liberation, not bitterness – it isn’t just a heartening comeback, but an absolutely sparkling pop album.

31.

February 12, 2021
Critic Score
76
33 reviews

Largely written in the solitude of lockdown, the Northampton rapper's second album sees him reckon with childhood, adulthood, shame, defiance and regret.

30.

August 13, 2021
Critic Score
78
28 reviews

After two decades of bombast, the band's contemplative concept album finds frontman Brandon Flowers reconnecting with his roots.

29.

March 5, 2021
Critic Score
84
18 reviews

With ‘Smiling With No Teeth’, Genesis Owusu has delivered a riveting album that underscores the power of self-knowledge, perspective and art – one that should be cranked loud.

28.

November 12, 2021
Critic Score
78
25 reviews

The Bristol band's fourth album is a course correction, one that dials down the aggression in favour of reflection.

27.

November 5, 2021
Critic Score
81
10 reviews
While this album might not immediately click with those who loved ‘Over It’s R&B pop hits, it’s worth remembering that ‘Still Over It’ is primarily for Summer Walker. In her time of need, she turned to her only safe haven, music, to find the closure she so desired.

26.

August 27, 2021
Critic Score
78
33 reviews
The Glasgow-formed trio might have used the dark side of technology to build the foundations of this record but, rather than crafting handwringing lectures on the dangers of online life, they shape songs that are like mini horror vignettes – rich with storytelling and a side of social commentary.

25.

April 30, 2021
Critic Score
76
22 reviews
‘Typhoons’ is not only their best work to date, but all the better for Royal Blood being free to explore what they’re capable of.

24.

November 5, 2021
Critic Score
82
26 reviews

Expertly curated, every single song in ‘Valentine’s relatively restrained 10-song tracklist feels like a fully-realised gem. As a songwriter, Jordan continues to cut straight through to the messy, conflicted, hopelessly infatuated guts of life.

23.

January 22, 2021
Critic Score
77
22 reviews

The DJ-producer duo’s introspective yet hard-hitting second album shows just how affecting dance music can be, even (or perhaps especially) right now.

22.

November 12, 2021
Critic Score
80
15 reviews

On ‘An Evening With Silk Sonic’, the magic is in the way that the music moves: the songs are radiant and full of joy, formed from the synergy of two relentlessly creative minds.

21.

April 16, 2021
Critic Score
74
21 reviews
Fizzing with club sounds and filled with bright lyricism, London Grammar are more confident, and more fun, than they’ve ever been.

20.

September 17, 2021
Critic Score
81
23 reviews
It’s refreshing to see the rapper in a reflective light, but when he's upstaged by the likes of Megan Thee Stallion, the gulf between them become apparent.

19.

August 20, 2021
Critic Score
65
32 reviews

The New Zealand star's third album continues her winning streak, as she blazes a trail through the pop landscape with a beautiful paean to nature.

18.

July 23, 2021
Critic Score
88
18 reviews
Always ready to tell the hard truths for those who can’t, Dave has proved again that he’s a voice of a generation, sitting pretty atop his peers when it comes to making unforgettable London rap classics.

17.

October 22, 2021
Critic Score
74
25 reviews

For the most part ... ‘Blue Banisters’ reminds us that, beyond the social media fires and press backlashes, Del Rey is still as great as she’s always been. With her attention firmly on her “endeavours” rather than the noise around her, perhaps her next album will be even better.

16.

January 15, 2021
Critic Score
80
22 reviews

The Nottingham duo put COVID Britain bang to rights with stunning production, great guests, scabrous lyrics – and a steadfast refusal to offer easy answers.

15.

July 30, 2021
Critic Score
83
33 reviews
‘Happier Than Ever’ fully establishes Billie Eilish as one of her generation’s most significant pop artists – and, better still, does so without repeating a single trick from the debut that turned her life upside down.

14.

July 16, 2021
Critic Score
80
26 reviews

Both musically and lyrically, this is Clairo doing what she does best – crafting gorgeous jewels that help you make sense of your own world, one step at a time.

13.

February 19, 2021
Critic Score
85
9 reviews

It’s a rare achievement to make an album as thoughtful and transparent as this; you need real lyrical talent to do so.

12.

October 29, 2021
Critic Score
81
31 reviews

Frontman Adam Granduciel has never bought into the mythology that comes with rock stardom, but this is a triumphant ode to his genre.

11.

March 26, 2021
Critic Score
91
15 reviews

‘For Those I Love’ is not only an immaculate debut, but a beautiful record that speaks to anyone who’s ever loved and lost, anyone who might be mourning or just processing the days of youthful abandon, or perhaps those who need reminding that you can’t have shadows without the light.

10.

May 21, 2021
Critic Score
78
20 reviews

After 'Drivers License', pop's brightest new thing proves she's not just a flash-in-the-pan, but a multidimensional artist who's in it for the long haul.

9.

August 27, 2021
Critic Score
88
18 reviews
“I can sail with no direction,” Yates repeats over and over on ‘Holiday’, a highlight of an album that goes wherever it damn pleases, scorching a new path for others in their wake.

8.

August 27, 2021
Critic Score
79
22 reviews
With production from Nine Inch Nails and featuring Dave Grohl, the artist's fourth album feels like a defiant artistic statement of their singular talent.

7.

January 29, 2021
Critic Score
82
35 reviews

The breakout star has crafted a quietly subversive pop record that, for all its deceptive softness, challenges old perceptions of sexuality and mental health.

6.

February 25, 2021
Critic Score
88
30 reviews

‘Carnage’ is arguably Cave and Ellis’ best record since The Bad Seeds’ latter day reinvention on 2013’s ‘Push The Sky Away’, or maybe even ‘Abattoir Blues’. It’s certainly two master craftsmen at the peak of their melodramatic powers.

5.

June 25, 2021
Critic Score
87
23 reviews
The iconoclast confronts cancel culture, his own controversial past and the notion of personal growth on a kaleidoscopic record that reaffirms his greatness.

4.

October 22, 2021
Critic Score
93
18 reviews
Rebecca Lucy Taylor's second album is assured, unapologetic and charged with a dark, smirking wit that’s impossible to turn away from.

3.

June 4, 2021
Critic Score
86
32 reviews
The Londoners cement their place at the peak of British music with a stunningly good third album.

2.

September 3, 2021
Critic Score
90
35 reviews
The much-lauded London rapper melds razor-sharp lyricism, moving vulnerability and compassionate storytelling as she ascends to the level of legends.

1.

October 8, 2021
Critic Score
84
16 reviews
If ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ was the sound of a young boy kicking out at the world, ‘Seventeen Going Under’ sees Fender realise that it can kick back a lot harder, and he counts every blow and bruise.
Original Source: https://www.nme.com/big-reads/nme-best-albums-of-the-year-2021-3114833
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1mo
Good list!
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