Seasonal Music Round-Up — Summer / Autumn 2021

With the end of September, comes the beginning of 2021’s final quarter. However, before we get to the all-important end of the year, it would be criminal not to look back on all of the phenomenal music that the Summer of 2021 has blessed us with. This leads to the very purpose of this article; to cover all of the musical tidbits of July, August, and September of 2021.

This is the third seasonal round-up I have created. If you want to see my previous round-ups for other seasons, I have added some links below.

My Spring/Summer round-up (April, May, and June)

My Winter/Spring round-up (January, February, and March)

As always with these round-ups, I will be beginning by going over some of the strongest albums the warmer quarter of the year has had to offer.

Top 10 Favourite Records of the Season

Spellling — The Turning Wheel

I vividly remember my initial full listen of this album. Oddly enough, it was in the historic town of Arundel, yet I felt that it was a pretty ideal setting for an album as grand and as gorgeous as this one. The melodic intricacy and mystifying atmosphere that The Turning Wheel undeniably has in spade-loads, serves as the most shining quality for sure.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

IDK — USEE4YOURSELF

While some have criticised this album as being packed with a little too many pop-rap cliches, I would have to disagree. I feel that IDK does a marvellous job of adding a brilliant sense of vibrance and versatility that makes USEE4YOURSELF pop out as a highly enjoyable listen. On top of that, IDK offers a deep and thought-provoking narrative with a refreshing resolve.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Horsey — Debonair

Branching off of what some might call the “King Krule tree”, I feel that Horsey, a band comprising of Archie Marshall’s brother, stands on its own as a completely bonkers record (in every good way describable). There truly hasn’t been another album in 2021 that quite sounds like Debonair, so I would highly recommend this project to anyone looking for something a bit different.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Nas — King’s Disease II

While Nas’ 2020 album King’s Disease was still a more than solid project, my hopes for a swiftly released sequel weren’t initially too high. However, King’s Disease II arguably blows its predecessor completely out of the water. There were so many tracks that stuck with me, and the whole “tough love” presence this album has is something that Nas undeniably champions.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Lingua Ignota — SINNER GET READY

Ever since hearing bits and pieces of Lingua Ignota’s 2019 album, I’ve been trying to break through the strenuous feeling of fully getting into her music. I feel like I am finally there thanks to SINNER GET READY, and all of the godly ballads it strikes the listener with. To say that this is an awe inspiring project is a gross understatement. It is both beautiful and horrifying, but above all else, truly artistic.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Jungle — Loving In Stereo

When it came to just flat-out feel-good vibes, Jungle’s Loving In Stereo really had that covered. There was such an uplifting and motivational aura about the album, whilst also being a really chilled listen as well. There was a great range to choose from when it came to all of the awesome tracks this album carries. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this album end to end.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Kanye West — Donda

I know, I know; Donda is a very controversial album to place onto this round-up. On top of this, I initially feared that I was giving in to the hype of this album, much like how I did for Jesus Is King. However, the more I listen to this album, the less I believe that this is just a hype album. in fact, Donda has to be one of the most memorable projects that Kanye has put out in years.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Turnstile — GLOW ON

With the release of their newest album, I firmly believe that Turnstile have completely found their own unique niche. While this was foreshadowed in their previous album Time & Space, it feels truly cemented with GLOW ON. This niche I speak of, is a unique but perfect blend of hardcore punk and funky dance, with a little sprinkle of dreamy vibes added for good measure.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Little Simz — Sometimes I Might Be Introvert

As if I thought that the previous masterpiece from Little Simz, 2019’s GREY Area, would be almost impossible to top, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert arrives with a near perfect mixture of grit and grandeur, with a splendid narrative to boot. With all of that said, this album is even bigger, and even better, than its already phenomenal predecessor.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Baby Keem — The Melodic Blue

Of course, I wouldn’t say that Baby Keem’s The Melodic Blue is the most polished album here. However, there is no beating around the bush when it comes to just how fun the record is. As well as being the closest thing to a Kendrick Lamar project that we’ve had in a while, it also sheds a promising light on the exciting hip-hop upcomer that is Baby Keem.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Top 30 Tracks of the Season

Spellling — Little Deer

Sam Fender — Seventeen Going Under

IDK, Westside Gunn, Jay Electronica & MF DOOM — Red

Yves Tumor — Secrecy Is Incredibly Important To The Both Of Them

Genesis Owusu — What Do I Fear?

VUKOVI — Hurt

Obongjayar & Sarz — If You Say

Blue Lab Beats & Ghetto Boy — Sensual Loving

Horsey — Arms and Legs

Silk Sonic — Skate

Ghostemane & Scarlxrd — маг

Nas — Store Run

Lingua Ignota — I WHO BEND THE TALL GRASSES

KSI & Lil Wayne — Lose

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes & Lynks — Go Get A Tattoo

Aj Shabeel — MAD

Jungle — Can’t Stop the Stars

YUNGBLUD — fleabag

Turnstile — WILD WRLD

Westside Gunn & Mach-Hommy — Margiela Split Toes

Kanye West, Kid Cudi & Don Toliver — Moon

JPEGMAFIA — TRUST!

Little Simz — I Love You, I Hate You

Mastodon — Pushing the Tides

Amyl and The Sniffers — Choices

Baby Keem & Kendrick Lamar — Family Ties

Lady Gaga & Dorian Electra — Replay (Remix)

Lil Nas X & Jack Harlow — INDUSTRY BABY

alt-J — U&ME

Dua Saleh & Amaarae — fitt

CASISDEAD & La Roux — Park Assist

Listen to these tracks, along with many more great tunes of July, August, and September, on the playlist below.

My Favourite EP of the Season

Tkay Maidza — Last Year Was Weird, Vol.3

Following the year of 2020, when Tkay Maidza had already release a smashing EP, in the form of Last Year Was Weird, Vol.2, Tkay Maidza strikes gold again with her follow-up. Not only that, but I feel that she did an even more stellar job with this one. There’s a perfect balance of serenity and big booming grit on this EP, meaning that no corner of it gets boring.

Music Video of the Season

Lil Nas X — INDUSTRY BABY

It should just be said here and now; Lil Nas X has established himself as a G.O.A.T when it comes to music videos this year. I mean, how could it not be the video that has naked synchronised shower dancing, a Jason Momoa cameo, and a prison, break in the space of just under 4 minutes? Perfectly shot, edited, and directed, if this video triggers you, all I have to say is that you need to loosen up a little.

Album Cover of the Season

Lil Nas X — MONTERO

Apologies, but I couldn’t refrain from putting Lil Nas X twice on this round-up. Not only did he put out my favourite music video of the season; the same praise can be given towards the cover art for his debut studio album. While MONTERO wasn’t musically my favourite album of the season, it definitely sports one of the most vibrant and visually appealing covers for sure.

So that concludes my third round-up of the year. Given the nature of how hectic the end of the year is for a music reviewer like myself, the final seasonal round-up will arrive in mid December, shortly before my famous “last-minute reviews week”, and then the final lists of 2021. Stay tuned for all of the good things to come.

My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.