Top 10 albums of 2021

2021 saw us reunited with the vibrant and spirited music scene. Our entanglement of happy bodies under the bright lights and the rhythm in our ears reminded us of exactly what we’d been missing. Top artists of 2021 didn’t let us down with their contributions, as festivals, concerts and Spotify stats were bigger than ever.

Sour – Olivia Rodrigo

There’s no denying, no matter what music genre you’re into, that Olivia Rodrigo is officially the current queen of the music industry. Going from a small fan base from her High School Musical days, ‘Drivers License’ skyrocketed Rodrigo’s career and she’s now a household name within the friendship groups of teenage girls. Sour, released in May is comprised of punchy, feel good pop such as Good 4 U, which charted no.1 for seven weeks, and Brutal, which hit a lower but still impressive no.12 spot. Rumoured to be about her relationship with Joshua Bassett, Rodrigo created an intense and loyal fan base that managed to secure the album 385 million streams in the first week of release. We don’t know about you, but we’d say that’s pretty successful for a debut album, and can’t wait to see what she comes out with next year!

30- Adele

The queen of a comeback, there’s not an album of Adele’s that we wouldn’t immediately get excited for. In 2016, she told the Xcel centre she was taking a break from music after her 105 date tour, and honestly who blames her? “I definitely did lose my connection with my own music and how it made me feel,” she said in her Apple interview. But being the principal of hard work, Adele smashed it out the park and released her album 30 earlier this year. Focusing on her divorce from ex husband Simon Konecki and the toll it took on their child, the album is a perfect blend of heartbreak and self love and sends out the perfect message to fans: To not give a f*ck. The mantra obviously struck a chord with the millions of Daydreamers, with the albums single ‘Easy on Me’ gaining 500 million streams on Spotify alone and the rest of the piano-based melodic album followed suit

Equals- Ed Sheeran

The ginger guitarist must be getting bored of his albums on the charts but we’re not bored of hearing it. His new album equals follows the well received pattern of names, and energy of his hits as he sticks to his guns to create another musical masterpiece. The creation has a song for every feeling, his single ‘Shivers’ will have you ready to be downing shots in the sun at a festival, whilst Visiting Hours is a song that prompts you to reach for the tissues. The big green app obviously agrees with us, with Ed being the second top artist for monthly listeners, as twitter was filled with screenshots of the artist being their top choice last month for Spotify Wrapped

Seventeen Going Under- Sam Fender

A slightly different musical vibe from those prior, Fender is changing the face of indie music with his guitar and currently playing some of the biggest venues in the world. His single with the same name, is being played over and over as we swipe through our For You page on Tiktok as a trend to make those suffering with abuse feel less alone, and we couldn’t have more respect. His music is comprised of guitar, bass, drums, synth etc, all of which Fender is individually skilled at to create music with powerful and head-banging connotations. With over half a million Instagram followers, its proven that his personality is just as strong as his music, and fans love him as much as the new album. Proven by his ongoing fame after his debut single ‘Play God’, we know Sam Fender just isn’t the one hit wonder kinda guy.

You signed up for this – Maisie Peters

We don’t know about you, but we’re seeing the name Maisie Peters absolutely everywhere at the moment, and we are definitely not complaining. With her debut album ‘You signed up for this’ released in August 2021, we can’t get enough of the feel good feminist vibes she omits throughout her lyrics. ‘so you go and ghost her like its perpetual Halloween’ is one of our favourites over here and is enough to make us block our ex boyfriends we met on MSN ten years ago. Having recently being signed by Ed Sheeran, we’re aware Peters is a musical and lyrical genius and her debut album managed to chart second in the UK charts, only just being topped by Kanye West (eye roll). Constantly adding success to success, our favourite girl boss has managed to completely sell out her North American tour for 2022 after smashing her UK record store tour just this last year. We’ll keep living our rockstar fantasy through you Maisie!

Red (Taylor’s version) – Taylor Swift

Speaking of girl bosses, Taylor swift is the gift that just kept on giving this christmas, and all of 2021 really. We didn’t think she had anything left to give after dropping two hugely successful albums in 2020, however Swift’s gift to herself and massive hit back to Scooter Braun, is definitely a gift to us too. A rerecord of all the old classics makes us feel like we’re sixteen and drinking cider for pre drinks again, and the moral obligation to listen is an absolutely great excuse to dance to Tay Tay. Red (Taylor’s version) prompted Swift to become the most streamed woman in a single day- with more than 122.9 million global streams across her entire discography, if that’s not a reason to stream Taylor’s version then we don’t know what is!

Call me if you get lost – Tyler the Creator

Wrestling through uncertainties throughout his whole career, Tyler the Creator has weaved through styles, genres and many influences to get him to the stage of accepting the Grammy for Best Rap album last year, though he still admitted he ‘never fully felt accepted in rap’. We’re not so sure these thoughts will be affirmed with CMIYGL as he uses his talents and strengths of his sound, while integrating his love and inspiration of HipHop. It’s like nothing we’ve ever heard before, which Tyler must be aware of as admits ‘i think a lot of people forget I’m a rapper because I’m so multi-faceted’. However change is definitely not a bad thing, as the artist has just short of 18 million listeners per month on Spotify alone.

Happier than ever- Billie Eilish

proving you can break into the music industry at any age, Eilish is no stranger to releasing an absolutely killer album, with 2021 being no different. Happier than Ever adopts the same synth like techniques the artist adores, while also merging a more powerful approach which Billie showed us she was hiding when the James Bond theme ‘No Time to Die’ was dropped in February of 2020. The queen of hair transformations is also no stranger to being tiktok viral, as the albums single, also named ‘Happier than ever’ has nearly a million videos made to the sound on the platform. The masterpiece is a perfect blend of heartbreak and determinism, which we think is the recipe to a perfect No.1 album.

Collapsed in sunbeams- Arlo Parks

Though nominated for a Mastercard British album of the year and winning a Mercury Prize, it’s Arlo Parks’ versatility and vulnerability shown in the R&B Soul album that really awards it the place on this list. Arlo says ‘My album is a series of vignettes and intimate portraits surrounding my adolescence and the people that shaped it. It is rooted in storytelling and nostalgia – I want it to feel both universal and hyper specific’, and that’s exactly what it felt like. Featuring piano, guitar and vocals, the intimate vibe from Parks’ music has the ability to make you feel like you’re star gazing whilst alone your bedroom. And apparently there are millions of other stargazers too, with the albums single ‘Eugene’ having over 39 million streams. It being Arlo Parks’ debut studio album means we’re in for a lot more talent of this repertoire and we cannot wait.

 Montero- Lil Nas X

Naming his album after his real persona, Lis Nas X isn’t a stranger to releasing a hit after his single ‘Old Town Road’ took him from being a college dropout to the Grammys. After being off the radar for a couple of years as his EP was released, his multi genre debut album is primarily auto biographical and reflects on his lonely teenage years, suffering at the hands of bullies while wondering if his skin was too dark, and being “haunted” by “gay thoughts”. The star possibly caused the most music controversy of the year with the album’s single and music video shedding those demons and exploring his sexual desires, it even features him lap dancing Satan, which we think is the perfect reason for you to check it out! This was obviously a genius move, personally and for his career as the Spotify version alone has over 1 billion views.

After thousands of revolutionary albums and singles this year, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2022!

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