Top 50 Albums of 2021

My favourite full-length records of the entire year

Joe Boothby
25 min readDec 29, 2021


I’ve said it so many times before, but 2021 has been more of a phenomenal musical year than I think any of us could’ve hoped for. While this time of year, for somebody like me, is truly one of the busiest, it is a brilliant opportunity to look back on all of the tremendous music we’ve been blessed with this year.

That being said, the competition this year has been extremely tight, especially in regards to albums. And as per tradition, on list week, we finally arrive at the big one; my top 50 albums of the year.

A few ground rules for me to put in place first; this list will be compiling albums and mixtapes that were released in 2021, although I have made a few exceptions for projects that arrived after last year’s list. And of course, only one album per artist (although collaborations may be considered separately).

Given just how much good albums we’ve had this year, it was of course a difficult feat to narrow them down to a top 50; please don’t be disheartened if your favourite didn’t appear on this list.

That being said, I have also listed below some honourable mentions that didn’t quite make the cut.

Honourable Mentions

Ashnikko — DEMIDEVIL | Madlib — Sound Ancestors | serpentwithfeet — DEACON | girl in red — if i could make it go quiet | Sons Of Kemet — Black To The Future | Greentea Peng — MAN MADE | Backxwash — I LIE HERE BURIED WITH MY RINGS AND MY DRESSES | Lil Nas X — MONTERO | SAULT — Nine | Blu — The Color Blu(e) | IDLES — CRAWLER | Beach House — Once Twice Melody | Rick Ross — Richer Than I Ever Been

And before we get into the true top 50, let’s do what I did last year, and take a look back on my favourite album of 2020; Protomartyr’s Ultimate Success Today.

A Look Back on my Favourite Album of 2020

Protomartyr — Ultimate Success Today

Protomartyr’s Ultimate Success Today was my favourite album of 2020; and for good reason. I think that, by the way I had interpreted the album and it’s narrative, it somehow ended up being a defining musical moment for me and my 2020. The sentimentality I had with this album was truly unmatched. And if reviewing music has taught me anything, it is that sentimentality wins.

But how does it stack up one whole year later? I would now say that my favourite album of the year would be a straight tie between this one, and my list’s runner-up, Underneath by Code Orange. Nevertheless, Ultimate Success Today will always be an album I remember fondly, and so will this year’s number 1 pick.

Ok, so now that we have the rules, honourable mentions, and last years number 1 out of the way, we can now dive in to my official 50 favourite albums of 2021, starting with number 50.

50: Porter Robinson — Nurture

At the point in which Porter Robinson’s sophomore album caught me, it was admittedly at a point in the year where I wasn’t feeling too great. But thankfully, Nurture really did a lot to lift my spirits, with its wondrous and optimistic electronic sound. Now that I find myself in a better place at the end of the year, I can look back on this album fondly as an amazing piece.

49: Don Toliver — Life of a DON

I had only listened to Don Toliver on various features prior to listening to Life of a DON. However, it was safe to say that I was already a fan of his vocal style beforehand. This album was a great chance to fully indulge in Toliver’s vocal style, in the scape of a full album. Given its contemporary feel, it served as a great gateway album for me, and I imagine many others.

48: Olivia Rodrigo — SOUR

I was indeed a little late to the party when it came to listening to Olivia Rodrigo’s SOUR. However, I didn’t need much time at all to come to grips with how much iconic value many of the tracks had. Many of the lyrics are easy to memorise and sing along to. And with an artist like Olivia Rodrigo behind the wheel, they are all delivered beautifully.

47: Black Country, New Road — For the first time

Black Country, New Road certainly cemented themselves as an artist to watch out for in the lead-up to 2021. And in the earlier part of this year, when For the first time was released, the experimental outfit seem to only be skyrocketing further and further ahead. With yet another album on the way in 2022, it was great to see this album ignite such an exciting spark in the form of this band.

46: Black Honey — Written & Directed

Following their debut album in 2018, which I really enjoyed, I was excited to see what their sophomore album would bring. With the more independent and empowering feel that was tied into the framework of Written & Directed, it was certainly one of 2021’s big musical boosts. And with a more realised rock sound, Black Honey are sounding bigger and better than ever.

45: Biffy Clyro — The Myth of The Happily Ever After

Now this album really did take me by surprise, especially when it comes to the sheer amount of amazingly anthemic and festival-ready tracks are on here. On top of that, The Myth of The Happily Ever After is easily a more vibrant, versatile, and engaging project than the 2020 album it closely followed. I may even go as far to say that this may be one of Biffy Clyro’s most underrated works.

44: Tash Sultana — Terra Firma

Given just how many amazing teaser tracks Tash Sultana released in 2020, in the lead-up to this album, it is safe to say that I had built up a tonne of hype towards Terra Firma. Once it was out, it was clear that this album delivered on said hype. Listeners were absolutely spoiled for choice when it came to all of the indulgent psychedelic goodness that poured out of this masterful record.

43: Eyedress — Mulholland Drive

After enjoying Eyedress’ 2020 album Let’s Skip The Wedding so greatly, it was awesome to see the continuation of their unique aesthetic through Mulholland Drive. Along with this, I also enjoyed the slightly more somber and autumnal tone that Eyedress injected into the album; and this definitely helps Mulholland Drive to stand out from its predecessor, while still being just as atmospheric.

42: MIKE — Disco!

MIKE reminds listeners just how cut from a different cloth he is with his 2021 piece Disco!. What MIKE absolutely champions, is a sound and an experience that listeners can effortlessly just get lost in. Disco! is one of the most glaring cases of exactly this; all while having enough musical elements to keep the listening experience substantial and exciting as well.

41: In the Pines — Slow Blink

Slow Blink was one of the very first projects to come out this year. And with 2021, at that stage, carrying with it so much uncertainty, but also a lot of hope as well, I feel that the gorgeously warm indie rock sounds that In the Pines delivered were an extremely welcome addition to kick-start the 2021 musical catalogue. This album really does carry a tonne of well-deserved sentimentality.

40: Poppy — Flux

At the very beginning of 2020, Poppy released an incredibly impactful album in the form of I Disagree; a project which finally had me on-board the Poppy train. With this, I was able to fully appreciate Poppy’s 2021 album Flux, by virtue of displaying more of a versatile range of sounds (albeit centred around a catchy and interesting punk core). This project essentially injects a whole load of additional enjoyment into the unique signature style of Poppy.

39: J. Cole — The Off-Season

While I wouldn’t be the first to say that J.Cole is the greatest rapper alive today, he has certainly earned his way to where he is now. It was a great experience to see J.Cole reflect on his past, and his coming of age with the release of The Off-Season. J.Cole veering away from a “forever-young” attitude and implement the narrative he did certainly made for an interesting and personal listening experience. And for that, The Off-Season is worthy of being here.

38: St. Vincent — Daddy’s Home

From the very get-go, this album exuded so much artistry, and it was clear that there was a strong narrative behind St. Vincent’s Daddy’s Home. The retro aesthetic that this album carried really helped it to stand out amongst its contemporaries, andplayed in to the 1970’s New York inspiration. A subtle and artistic telling of domestic relationships, Daddy’s Home had listener’s holding on to each word behind each of this album’s unique tracks.

37: Jordan Rakei — What We Call Life

While I was introduced to Jordan Rakei through his 2019 album Origin, it was fair to say that the vibrant summer atmosphere did play a huge part in making said album enjoyable. In the case of What We Call Life, however, the more autumnal and tone-down feel made way for me to fully appreciate Jordan Rakei himself, and just how astonishing his vocal performances are. I love how the beauty in this album truly does lie in its subtlety.

36: Westside Gunn — Hitler Wears Hermes 8: Sincerely Adolf

I think this might be the only project on here to technically be labelled a mixtape. Nevertheless, Hitler Wears Hermes 8 truly deserves to be on here. Even during a time in which so many other amazing projects were being released, this mixtape still stood out for being one of the most luxurious feeling musical projects we’ve gotten in 2021. Of course, the whole show-offy vibe can be overplayed, yet it feels fully justifiable with Westside Gunn.

35: Baby Keem — The Melodic Blue

Hats off to Baby Keem for giving listeners the closest thing to a Kendrick Lamar project in 2021. However, we should stop talking about Kendrick and give that attention to his cousin Keem, as he is truly deserving of his newfound clout. In terms of his own vocal style, Baby Keem succeeds in standing out greatly from the rest, thanks to his quirky and fun deliveries. It’s an album that doesn’t need to be taken seriously, which is what makes it so fun.

34: Arlo Parks — Collapsed In Sunbeams

If I was to give the word “wholesome” to any album on this list, I feel that no album is more deserving than Arlo Park’s Collapsed In Sunbeams. Closing off 2021’s first musical month, Arlo’s lyrics, and colourful instrumentals, made the whole experience of listening to Collapsed In Sunbeams superbly heartwarming. Aside from being just a typical “sloshy” album, however, Arlo Parks composes some truly memorable and catchy tunes along the way.

33: Amyl and The Sniffers — Comfort To Me

Following just how remarkable Amyl and The Sniffers’ debut album was, I feel that the Australian punk band definitely trod in the right direction with their 2021 sophomore. Comfort To Me displays a more introspective and personal side to the band, while not relenting a single shred of their explosive musical style. It really does feel like the best of both worlds, in the case of Comfort To Me. If you’re a fan of traditional punk with a modern twist, look no further.

32: Raf Rundell — O.M. Days

My interest in reviewing this album was ignited by my discovery of the teaser track “Monsterpiece”. But O.M. Days really was as colourful of an album as I hoped it would be. it definitely felt like an album released at the right time as well, as it carries that unmistakable spring-like feel with it. It was also a pleasant surprise to see Raf Rundell mix so many different musical styles under one project, and do so with such ease. This is an incredibly underrated record.

31: Royal Blood — Typhoons

I feel like Royal Blood were at a critical point in their musical career, in which this album had to stand out from their previous works. And while I gave Typhoons the praise I felt when it release, I still had that underlying feeling that it could’ve just been hype. I am pleased to say, however, Typhoons still stands as a remarkable album today, and a very big reason why I still believe that Royal Blood are deserving of being the hot topic that they are.

30: Gary Numan — Intruder

While I didn’t commence a review or the like for Gary Numan’s 2018 album Savage (Songs From A Broken World), I still appreciated the post-apocalyptic and dark sound in high regard. I definitely wanted to pay his most recent album Intruder a greater level of attention, and that I did. To my pleasant surprise, Intruder was even darker, and arguably even more apocalyptic in its sound. On top of this, Gary Numan’s lyrics and vocal delivery are outstandingly engaging. Intruder stands as a very iconic musical moment of 2021.

29: black midi — Cavalcade

I admittedly hadn’t listened to black midi prior to the release of Cavalcade. However, with just how insanely experimental this album was, this album was impossible to ignore. But aside from its experimental merits, Cavalcade sees black midi become true champions of tone. The way that many of the tracks see an ebb and flow of intensity made listening to this album a thrilling and exciting experience. There is just so much that this album gets right, in regards to balancing out its wild uniqueness with memorability.

28: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes — Sticky

I started getting into Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, just as the album cycle for their sophomore album Modern Ruin was about to commence. However, for the longest time, their debut Blossom was the favourite album for many. There was just one problem with this; it still carries many notions of Frank Carter’s previous band Gallows. As The Rattlesnakes moved forward, it was clear that they were trying to develop a completely different style, with mixed results. But with their fourth album Sticky, I feel like they are finally there.

27: Architects — For Those That Wish To Exist

While many of Architects more recent records have been extremely powerful in their own right (especially the likes of 2018’s Holy Hell), I feel like their 2021 record For Those That Wish To Exist, is arguably the biggest stylistic change the band have gone through in a while. While carrying all of the epic qualities fans would expect from an Architects album, the more Nu-Metal direction that this album veers towards, allows it to musically become a much more memorable piece, all while being just as emotive and exhilarating.


With the sheer amount of tunes that JPEGMAFIA has kept on pushing out, both in 2020 and in 2021, LP! feels like the final product of all of the artists creative efforts, over the last two years. Just as quirky and unique as JPEGMAFIA’s previous studio-length masterpieces, LP! also feels somewhat more accessible, which makes sense when compared with his ever-growing cult following. It was incredibly satisfying to see the last two musical years for JPEGMAFIA come full circle, with this polished yet still one-of-a-kind album.

25: R.A.P Ferreira & Scallops Hotel — Bob’s Son

Being an album that was literally released on the very first day of the year, Bob’s Son was the first actual 2021 album that I reviewed. Thus, it’s had the most time for me to build up sentimentality towards. But while that is a merit all in itself, Bob’s Son still stands as a truly artful and atmospheric record. By bringing together two of his most well-known aliases, Rory Ferreira also combines the styles and aesthetics of both too. This results in probably one of the most memorable moments of Rory’s career in my mind.

24: Jungle — Loving In Stereo

There’s no other way of really slicing it; Jungle’s Loving In Stereo is easily one of the most feel-good albums that 2021 had to offer. At a time in the year that definitely felt like cause for celebration anyway, this albu stood as the perfect soundtrack for that. And with such a generous amount of tunes (all of which carried their own character and uniqueness), these feel-good vibes came in barrel-loads, with thanks to this album. Jungle’s third studio album served as my first time really listening to the duo, and it certainly won’t be the last.

23: Turnstile — GLOW ON

I’ve been a fan of Turnstile for a very long time (before the release of 2016’s Nonstop Feeling, if you want to be exact). That being said, I have also experienced many of their steps towards a stylistic change. While their 2018 album Time & Space set the gears in motion for what would ultimately be Turnstile’s signature aesthetic, I feel that this year’s GLOW ON was the full realisation of what the band have become. And what they have become, is one of the most fun bands to listen to in a very, very long time.

22: Playboi Carti — Whole Lotta Red

My goodness; to think how far this album has come. I should add that Whole Lotta Red was technically released on Christmas in 2020. However, my developed realisation of how memorable this album actually is spanned across 2021, giving me enough incentive to put it on here. It feels so weird to think that I initially scored this album a 2/10. But one thing I forgot about Carti’s music, is that it constantly grows on you. That can certainly be said for this album, which now stands as my 22nd favourite of the entire year.

21: Silk Sonic — An Evening With Silk Sonic

An album that I think, given its reception, needs little to no introduction, An Evening With Silk Sonic is an absolute essential for those who are looking for a project that’s just oozing with that tender loving feeling. I would expect most readers to know of both Bruno Mars and Anderson. Paak at this point; they make for an absolute dream-team under the shared name of Silk Sonic. Both of these artists absolutely excel in giving this album as much character as humanly possible, and they undoubtedly did it with insurmountable style.

20: slowthai — TYRON

slowthai definitely went big with his sophomore album. And by that, I mean that he generously released a double album, in the form of TYRON. As the name of this album (which is slowthai’s real birth name) suggests, this record lets listeners in to a more introspective and personal side to the British rapper. I really love how the first half of this record, listing tracks that are titled with all-caps characterisation, displays the more unpredictable and intense side to slowthai and his music, while the second half shows the opposite. It was clear that there was a tonne of creative effort poured into this highly memorable piece.

19: Gojira — Fortitude

Following the release of 2016’s Magma, which shook the metal scene to its core, Gojira definitely set the bar high for their long-awaited follow-up. However, Fortitude definitely shattered all expectations, by displaying an additional furtherment in their unique and awesome style. While tackling a lot of topics, but primarily focusing on equipping the listener with a hard-grinding and courageous mindset, Gojira distribute this energy through their words, and their astronomically epic sound. If you haven’t fully listened to Gojira yet, Fortitude presents a better time than ever to do so.

18: Sam Fender — Seventeen Going Under

There truly is a triumphant feeling that encompasses Sam Fender’s sophomore album. After skyrocketing to success with his debut record Hypersonic Missiles in 2019, the events of lockdown to follow would present many issues for Sam Fender, and at the most unlucky time. But given how this album has held onto the elements that make Sam Fender and his music so enjoyable and memorable, Seventeen Going Under spells victory for the young singer-songwriter. And in the time it has taken for this long-awaited sequel to arrive, Fender has jam-packed it with a countless amount of amazing tunes.

17: Injury Reserve — By the Time I Get to Phoenix

If there was any album from Last Minute Reviews Week that I was going to place this high up on the list, It would’ve had to have been this incredibly unique album. Every single track on By the Time I Get to Phoenix has something to add to the overall record, especially in regards to memorability and uniqueness. This album would prove to be my first listening experience of Injury Reserve, but I am already obsessed with how they manage to make such chaotic tracks sound so damn good. And as I’m beginning to learn more and more about Injury Reserve and this album by the day, my enjoyment in ever-growing.

16: Spellling — The Turning Wheel

The Turning Wheel is by far one of the primary album of 2021 that comes to mind, in regards to atmosphere alone. Honestly, this project is near-perfect when it comes to conveying a particular feeling through its composition, and the vocal performances from Spellling herself. these aforementioned elements are utterly gorgeous to listen to, and it really pulled me into the wich-like aesthetic that the artist was lacing this album with. Given its utterly incredible sense of atmosphere, The Turning Wheel stands as one of those albums that proves to be a gleaming icon in the soundtrack of 2021.

15: Richard Dawson & Circle — Henki

The second dream-team on this list would be none other than Newcastle folk singer-songwriter Richard Dawson and Finnish experimental rock band Circle. while my interest in this album primarily stemmed from the fact that I had listened to Dawson’s 2019 album, titled 2020, it can safely be said that these two artists bring out the best in each other. By combining Richard Dawson’s rugged vocal charm and intriguing songwriting with the colourful and dynamic rock sound of Circle, we end up with a piece that truly stands as one of the most memorable, artistic, and poetic albums of 2021.


If we’re talking about albums that define the summer of 2021, IDK’s USEE4YOURSELF is a very good example to pick. The pop-rap aesthetic can be very hit-or-miss a lot of the time. However, USEE4YOURSELF was undoubtedly a hit. Combining the colourful, summery vibe of the album’s production with an introspective telling of the rapper’s journey to find faith, and let go of the past, along with all of the features this album has too, and you have an incredibly well-crafted hip-hop album. With many other hip-hop albums from more well-known artists this year, this album went unjustly amiss by many.

13: BROCKHAMPTON — ROADRUNNER: New Light, New Machine

Considering that this album will likely be the last from what was the world’s greatest boyband, It was amazing to see that BROCKHAMPTON went out with a bang. Not only does ROADRUNNER: New Light, New Machine stylistically feel the most like their SATURATION series, but the band tackle a range of tricky and personal topics with great success. Along with this, we see a range of exciting features such as A$AP Rocky, Danny Brown, JPEGMAFIA, and more. It’s definitely safe to say that ROADRUNNER is easily my favourite album from the band, perhaps in their entire discography, and it is a shame that it might be their last.

12: Kid Kapichi — This Time Next Year

The debut album from Hasting post-punk band Kid Kapichi was amongst one of my most anticipated albums of 2021. That being said, This Time Next Year delivered and then some. This album truly shows that Kid Kapichi are the new modern punk kids on the block, sprinting through while carrying the baton passed to them by the likes of Slaves and Fidlar. Pretty much every track on this thing is incredibly anthemic. And by bring all of their amazing teaser tracks under one project, amongst loads of newer tunes, This Time Next Year was an absolute joyride of an album, and it let us know that Kid Kapichi meant business.

11: Tyler, The Creator — CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST

Pretty much all of us knew that Tyler, The Creator’s 2019 album IGOR was going to be incredibly difficult (perhaps even possible) to top. That being said, Tyler did the most genius thing he could’ve done with his 2021 record. CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST is essentially a victory lap of Tyler’s musical journey and his success. it kind of gives off the same energy as a greatest hits album, while all of the track on here are entirely original. He brings together all of the different styles that span across his solo discography; and the resulting piece is one that invokes the greatest sense of pride shared amongst fans and new listeners alike.

10: Horsey — Debonair

This album is genuinely one of the most bonkers projects I have heard this entire year. And the fact that this comes from a band that is closely related to King Krule makes it all the better. While my interest in Horsey to begin with did lie with King Krule, Horsey really do stand as their own unique band with their debut album Debonair, with an incredibly colourful array of unpredictable and exciting tunes. When I really look back on it, very few albums this year caught me off guard as much as this one. With this album introducing the band and their entirely unique sound so perfectly for a debut effort, Horsey are thoroughly deserving of making it onto the top 10.

9: Lingua Ignota — SINNER GET READY

The only album that struck me harder than Horsey’s Debonair, in regards to impact, would have to be the third album from the alias of classically trained multi-instrumentalist Kristin Hayter, known as Lingua Ignota. SINNER GET READY is an absolutely harrowing project to listen to, and not for the faint of heart. Nevertheless, it is still a project that I could not recommend enough. The themes of Christianity, and Kristin’s battered and bruised relationship with Christianity, allows this project to be simultaneously horrifying and oddly beautiful in parts as well. Although, the beauty primarily comes down to Kristin’s awe-inspiring vocals, and phenomenal compositions.

8: Kanye West — Donda

Of course, it may be controversial to some that I place Kanye West’s Donda as high up as number 8. And while many of the things surrounding the album, including some of Kanye’s choices, I would have to go against, I am entirely placing Donda this far up by merit of the music alone. To me, there is no denying that Donda is easily the most well put-together album since 2016’s The Life Of Pablo. You cannot deny the impact it made on 2021 as a musical year either. I absolutely love how the newfound religious side of Kanye West seems to be put to much better use here, and blows the likes of JESUS IS KING out of the water into near-irrelevancy. It stands on its own as a remarkable project.

7: Scarlxrd — DXXM II

In my mind, Scarlxrd is one of the most exciting artists that I have discovered in recent years, and most of my love for the artist comes down to his first 2021 album, which was released back in February. DXXM II presents what feels like the future of quintessential “angsty” music; I could imagine an album like this adding fuel to the fire of a whole new generation. For me personally, however, the kind of stylistic fusion that Scarlxrd champions so effortlessly is right up my alley. And as a result, I was enjoying every single moment of this generous and unrelentingly explosive project. Like, seriously, Scarlxrd just doesn’t let up at all on this project; it is mind-blowingly energetic, and totally awesome.

6: Blue Lab Beats, Kaidi & NK-OK — The Sounds Of Afrotronica

It seems to be kind of a trend for me now, to find at least one jazz project in the musical year that reflects the enjoyment I felt towards The Comet Is Coming’s Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery; my favourite album of 2019. This project Kaidi & NK-OK’s Blue Lab Beats is by far the closest to that aforementioned album since…well…that album. The Sounds Of Afrotronica is insanely vibrant, and set listeners up for the summer ahead of its late April release, thanks to its consistently feel-good energy. There’s something good to be said about pretty much every track on here,and each of them creates a unique soundscape, all of which carry through the awesome vibe of Blue Lab Beats.

5: Armand Hammer & The Alchemist — Haram

If you ever need to know just how talented of a producer The Alchemist truly is, look no further than his collaboration with Armand Hammer. Now, the hip-hop duo of Billy Woods and Elucid, that is Armand Hammer are a bunch that are able to spit some incredible and complex bars between them; and of course, this really helps an album like Haram to shine. But the way that The Alchemist’s production ties itself so flawlessly, and often cleverly, around the lyrics is a true stroke of genius. A surreal yet grizzly critique of colonialism and slavery, Armand Hammer and The Alchemist tell these tales in truly chaotic fashion. And for something this chaotic to sound so good is beyond impressive.

4: Alfie Templeman — Forever Isn’t Long Enough

Here it is folks; my quintessential album of the summer. Alfie Templeman was certainly no stranger to bringing forth a summer vibe before, as shown by projects like Don’t Go Wasting Time and Happiness in Liquid Form. However, I feel like Alfie Templeman really broke through the limit with his 2021 album. Forever Isn’t Long Enough is an album that undisputedly carries more of a summer energy than any other album in 2021; pretty much every tune on here stands as solid proof of that. The vast majority of them are astoundingly catchy, and not in the cheap way either. The fact that Alfie Templeman was able to release such a piece at just the age of 18 is utterly remarkable.

3: Nas — King’s Disease II

Following the release of King’s Disease last year, which still was a good enough project to make it on last year’s list (I think), I took one look at King’s Disease II, and assumed it would serve as some kind of B-sides album, or maybe just an album full of songs that didn’t make the cut for the first King’s Disease. What we ended up getting instead, was easily the biggest surprise of 2021 by a landslide. I definitely wasn’t expecting this album to be terrible or anything, but I wasn’t expecting it to the be the best american hip-hop album of the year either. King’s Disease II blows its predecessor out of the water with its soulful gems from producer Hit-Boy, and tough-loving advice on staying ambitious.

2: Little Simz — Sometimes I Might Be Introvert

Little Simz’s previous album, 2019’s GREY Area, was an extremely difficult project to top, especially when you consider that it was number 3 on my Albums of 2019 list. But somehow, Little Simz managed to absolutely wow everybody once again, with Sometimes I Might Be Introvert. Released at a point where there was a lot of other competition supposedly, Simz chewed said competition up, and spat them out. Not only does this album musically stand as a masterpiece with its epic and heart-grabbing orchestral elements that lace the production, but the narrative of this album is even stronger than the likes of GREY Area. This would be an easy number 1 pick, if not for the project below.

1: Genesis Owusu — Smiling with No Teeth

Not only is Genesis Owusu’s Smiling with No Teeth my favourite album of 2021, but it may just be one of the most astounding debut albums I have ever heard.

Some readers might be asking “but who is this guy?”. And honestly, I imagine that most people would’ve said the same thing before the release of this album. But my goodness; Genesis Owusu absolutely makes an entrance and a half with this incredible project.

Stylistically, there is so much that Genesis Owusu explores on this album, with songs displaying influences of everything from punk rock, to electronic disco, to contemporary soul. And somehow, someway, he absolutely smashes each and one of these styles out of the park.

Not only does Genesis Owusu champion style; he also champions substance. Tackling subjects from racism, to consumerism, to the struggle of finding a step forward in life, Genesis Owusu tackles them with several strokes of poetic artistry, but enough so for listeners to understand all of these narratives so easily.

Considering as well that this is Genesis Owusu’s DEBUT ALBUM, my hopes for what he can achieve in the future are absolutely astronomical.

While this article was, as I like to call it, “one of the big ones”, there is still more to look forward to, including my top 100 tracks, and all of the other tidbits of this musical 2021.

So stay tuned, and thank you very much for reading.



Joe Boothby

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