2021 happened, or so we think? The music came every week, giving us a way to distill the dark and prepare to start anew. Below is a playlist of the best 25 albums of the year and some words on the musical artists who captured my attention.
Musical Highlights of 2021: Cassandra Jenkins majestic swirls, as they weaved across dynamic words. Weather Station’s thought provoking lyrics and the world that she brought to us. Genesis Owusu’s splash of rhythm and ability to make us sit down and dance. Squid’s sci-fi avalanche, that angst and post-punk movement. Tyler, the Creator’s inventive ways of expressing honesty and prowess. Snail Mail’s decidedly raw ability to rock.
These artists almost made the cut: Parannoul, Hand Habits, Wolf Alice, Xenia Rubinos, and Ada Lea. Don’t let these inspiring people go unheard!
Hello everybody! Happy 4th of July! We are finally halfway down with the year. Although this hasn’t been a crazy year for music so far, I have a feeling things are going to start picking up. Just this past month there have been a lot of great singles. I’m going to cap it at 6 tracks in this article because I can easily write a ten-page essay on just the singles alone. There were a lot of big-name artists dropping projects this past month. There were a lot of great projects in general released this month. Let’s just hope this summer goes even crazier. I have a few recommendations for you all today. Let’s jump into it.
Song Honorable Mentions:
Nxtime & Dev Lemons – keep in touch: Nxtime X Dev Lemons is a heavenly collaboration we all needed. This bedroom pop track has pretty, dreamy, and quirky production. Although this track is about how difficult dating is, the production gives off some great summery vibes. I like Ray Rubio’s singing, but it is tough to compete with Dev’s performance. She is quickly becoming one of my favorite up-and-coming artists.
Declaim, MED, and Madlib – All Over The World: This track has Madlib production…do I need to go on? Like most Madlib beats, this track has a chill and lofi feel to it. It has this wonky sound looping in the background. It is honestly a very pretty beat. Both Declaim and MED give great verses. The chorus is dope. If you’re a fan of straightforward boom bap hip hop, definitely don’t miss out on this track. Yall old heads would love this!
Pa Salieu – Glidin’ (feat. slowthai): Brooooooo! THIS SHIT GOES CRAAAZZY! The chorus on this track is so catchy. It is hard not to groove to this track. Pa Salieu has so much personality. He just seems like a cool person in general. Slowthai absolutely kills his feature. A slowthai feature never misses. This grime beat is absolutely perfect for these two artists. Man UK hip hop is so underrated. Don’t sleep on UK rappers!
Tkay Maidza – Cashmere: Just like the early 2000’s Lakers, Tkay Maidza just got herself a three-peat. SHE HAS NOT MISSED ALL YEAR. This is the third single for her upcoming EP Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2. Cashmere is probably the best track she released this year. I love the colorful and angelic production. Tkay’s voice is so smooth and pretty. This track is AMAZING! I can’t wait to watch her perform this song in September. I also can’t wait for her new EP. I can’t believe it’s dropping in less than a week!
Remi Wolf – Liz: This month has been a great month for singles. If the competition wasn’t so neck and neck this track could have easily been my favorite song of the month. The instrumental on this track is beautiful. It is another dreamy bedroom pop track with a cool bass and amazing electric guitar playing towards the end of the track. The instrumental is amazing, but it can’t top Remi’s performance. Her singing gives me goosebumps. You can tell Liz means a lot to Remi just by listening to the passion in her voice. Go listen to this track right now.
Album Honorable Mentions:
EXUM – Xardinal Coffee: Mates is back at it with another fire recommendation. Not going to lie, this album is pretty weird, but I love it. EXUM is such an amazing performer. Whether he is rapping, singing, or screaming he always sounds amazing. EXUM reminds me of both Ski Mask the Slump God and IDK, but even more chaotic. I love how well the production compliments EXUM. The beats always match his energy in this diverse tracklist. This album has no misses in my opinion. Go give it a listen.
Backwash – I Lie Here Buried with My Rings and My Dresses: I am in love with this album! The haunting and creepy horrorcore production is to die for. I love the inclusion of metal in this industrial hip-hop album. The rapping is S tier level good. Backxwash can fucking spit man. She gives an incredible performance on basically every track here. Confession time. I just listened to this album for the first time two days ago. I didn’t listen to this album when it first came out because I heard a snippet on twitter and got scared, so I kind of started avoiding this album. I’m glad I did finally give this album a chance because it is quickly becoming one of my favorite albums of the year. I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up liking this album more than this month’s album of the month. Although this album isn’t for everybody, give it a chance. Maybe you will be pleasantly surprised like me.
Your Old Droog – Time: This is by far one of the most underrated albums of the year. Droog made a great contempt album about time. Time is referenced in each track in one way or another. There are tracks where Droog is talking about his younger self, his career, and even mortality. There is even this very cool storytelling track about a time machine taking people back in time. The lyrics are great. The production is very lush and classy. There are a lot of great features like MF DOOM, Aesop Rock, and Blu. What’s not to love?
Bo Burnham – Inside (The Songs): Let me start off by saying this, the best way to experience these songs is through Bo Burnham’s Netflix comedy album Inside. This comedy album does not flow nicely since it is meant for a comedy special. The reason why I am adding this album is that the highs on this album are HIGH. Some of my favorite tracks of the year are in this album. “Comedy”, “White Woman’s Instagram”, and “Welcome to the Internet” are in constant rotation for me. This album can be very funny, but it can also be depressing. The special is mostly about Bo’s mental state during the pandemic, and you can tell the pandemic had an effect on him while watching the special. I totally recommend this special and album. I am sure you will be able to find something you like.
Mother Mother – Inside: After blowing up on Tik Tok, you would think indie rock band Mother Mother would capitalize the attention by dropping a safe and generic album. Luckily this is not the case. This album does go into a darker approach. The dark mood is the result of the band’s experience during the pandemic. I do really enjoy this darker approach. In fact, I wish they went further with this sound because the album does get more upbeat further into the album. With that said, I do like the serene moments. I think for the most part the band gives a pretty good performance. Even with some flaws, I do really enjoy this album. Give it a try.
Favorite Song of The Month:
Jasiah – Art of War (feat. Denzel Curry & Rico Nasty): When a track starts off with “Yo, this the type of shit to make you curb stomp a newborn baby”, you know it will be an aggressive banger. I love the experimental and industrial production. It is almost as hard-hitting as the rappers. Every rapper here did not miss. Denzel Curry goes in with a fiery flow. Jasiah’s chorus is the type of shit you headbang to. Rico woke up and chose violence. I love how cartoony and squeaky her delivery is. This track is insane. I fucking love it. It definitely deserves to be the song of the month.
Favorite Album of The Month:
Tyler, The Creator – Call Me If You Get Lost: I’m not going to lie, I am a huge fan of Tyler. I am definitely biased, but god damn this is amazing. Tyler really showcased his skill set on this album. The production is great. He somehow mixes this artsy sound with a rugged hip-hop mixtape vibe. DJ Drama’s adlibs definitely further pushes that mixtape sound. Tracks like “LUMBERJACK” and “JUGGERNAUT” are crazy bangers with amazing production. Tyler also shows off his lyrical chops in songs like “WILSHIRE” and “MASSA”. There are a lot of great highlights in the tracklist. Although this isn’t my favorite Tyler album, it is a great way to end off this amazing three-album run.
These are my monthly favorites! Let me know what you have been listening to!
As much as I love a good full length album, let’s recap on some dope tracks from recent days. Check your sanity at the door, make way for some grooves.
OBVIOUSLY we are going to start with blink-182’s “Quarantine”. Classic. Fuck quarantine. (But also, please keep quarantining and wearing masks).
I’m late to the game, but HELLLOOOOOO Cloudy June. You are what my ears and tippy toes have been waiting for. Favorite new find of the week. Oh, did I mention she used to be a death metal singer for years?!
Josh Dominguez gets real floaty with “Mijo Pt. 1” – def a rooftop chill kinda vibe. Get down. *read more on Josh on burt’sarticle.
pee pee poo poo pistachios – beabadoobee’s “Sorry” is not only a great tune, but the video kicks a$$.
FINALLY – mmmore mmmonika! Just a groovy little number to strut to during a social distancing stroll.