The best albums of 2021 — the full list

My previous post mentioned how music was more of a balm this year than in 2020. Years of reading this blog have conditioned my readers to expect randomness, eccentricity, and maybe a little disingenuousness too. Listening to Dawn Richard’s album has made me question why it didn’t make the final cut; today Second Line: AnContinue reading “The best albums of 2021 — the full list”

The best albums of 2021 — part five

Some years I know it when I hear it. In others I equivocate delightedly. Beholden to events political and personal such that music brought succor to an unprecedented degree, 2021 was the latter. I grudgingly enjoyed Tinashe’s overlarded 2018 and 2019 releases: the work of a talent not a great, I thought like a fool.

The best albums of 2021 — part 3

A couple of these selections hit Pitchforkian notes which the other two foiled, I trust. 12. Wolf Alice – Blue Weekend From its Day-Glo sleeve colors to its genre flitting, this English foursome’s third album commits itself to, in the words of its punkiest tune, playing the greatest hits. Ellie Rowsell’s accounts of erotic miseryContinue reading “The best albums of 2021 — part 3”

The best albums of 2021 — part 1

Scribbling a proposed order in my notebook, I noted rather sourly that two of the first four finalists embody a singer-songwriter gentility which I often salute instead of embrace; but the warmth of Cleo Sol is akin to a hearth’s, its smoke lightly fragrant, and Natalie Hemby projects an urgency borne of observing too manyContinue reading “The best albums of 2021 — part 1”

The best albums of 2021, second edition

In the last twenty-four hours I’ve listened to Cleo Sol and Lorde’s albums about a half dozen times each. Both artists specialize in quietness. Lorde’s has an attitude: the swagger of an insider who doesn’t need to raise her voice when a curt nod or dismissive wave will do, a posture which undercuts the credibilityContinue reading “The best albums of 2021, second edition”

The best singles of 2021, first edition

I don’t know if “Good For You” is 2021’s best song to date, but it’s the 2021 song that sounds best on the radio: the song benefiting most from radio play, from drumming your hands on the steering wheel (if you’re one of those public transportation snobs, drum on the train or bus handrail). NotContinue reading “The best singles of 2021, first edition”

A dozen of 2021’s best albums: a first draft

Editors hope that the writers to whom they assign albums persuade them to love the album too. Andy Beta did this when Sons of Kemet released Your Queen is a Mother three years ago. A jazz album whose distinctive churn gives it dance floor possibilities, Black to the Future has soundtracked first my tentative crawlContinue reading “A dozen of 2021’s best albums: a first draft”