Best Albums of 2021 : The 21 Best Records Released This Year
Bonded has picked the best 21 albums we loved from 2021. Find out who made the list.
Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is the fourth studio album by female rapper Little Simz. The album title itself is a backronym of Simbi, which is part of Simz's full first name, Simbiatu. With features from the likes of Cleo Soul and Obongjayar, Simz highlights the conflict of her public persona and private self, provoking thoughts and conversations about the desire to seek approval and acceptance.
Favourite Track: Standing Ovation
GIRL IN RED
if i could make it go quiet
Releasing her debut album if i could make it go quiet, girl in red highlights the highs and lows of emotions as a young adult coming of age through a lo-fi indie pop masterpiece. Primarily produced by the musician herself alongside Matias Tellez the album also features additional production from Finneas O'Connell on the track Seretonin, which explores her personal struggles regarding mental health allowing listeners to emerse themselves into Marie's world in red.
Favourite Track: I'll Call You Mine
Collapsed in Sunbeams
Collapsed in Sunbeams is the debut studio album by Arlo Parks, showcasing Parks' phenomenal ability as a songwriter, performer and artist as whole entity. Parks provides listeners with a sense of comfort within each track creating a multilayered body of work. Speaking to NME Arlo Parks described her album as a series of intimate portraits surrounding her adolescence and the people that shaped it.
Favourite Track: Black Dog
On IDLES' fourth album, frontman Joe Talbot unearths the theme of substance abuse, over 14 tracks, circling around Talbot's traumatic near death experience during a car accident. Previously entering songwriting from an outward-looking standpoint, reflecting social issues and more, the album Crawler demonstrates more personal themes throughout. The vulnerability that is the core of the message behind the album is often contradicted with a heavy feel which encapsulates and compliments the whole message, meaning and story behind the album.
Favourite Track: The Beachland Ballroom
TYLER THE CREATOR
CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST
Releasing his sixth studio album, CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST showcases the bright and euphoric artist that is Tyler the Creator. Featuring legendary artists including Lil Wayne, Lil Uzi Vert, DAISY WORLD and more, the highly anticipated album of 2021 is hosted by DJ Drama whom throughout compliments Tyler the Creator's flow within the record, exploring every aspect of his talent as a producer, writer, and performer.
Favourite Track: LUMBERJACK
Cavalcade, the second studio album by Black Midi, is without a doubt more ambitious and advanced than the English rock band's previous work. Searching even further in almost every direction that Schlagenheim explored the chord changes are more complicated, the rhythms more elaborate, the melodic parts more beautiful and the heavy parts darker. The album’s first song 'John L', successfully showcases the maturing band and represents the album confidently, highlighting the forever changing emotions within their songs.
Favourite Track: Marlene Dietrich
BLACK COUNTRY, NEW ROAD
For the first time
For the First Time is the debut studio album by experimental rock, post - punk band Black Country, New Road. With a complete disregard for standard musical structures the seven-piece band creates a post-punk haven for unfiltered assertiveness and paranoia. Although just six tracks long – is bursting with creativity and adventurous arrangements through the use of antic guitar riff and incandescent saxophone accompnaied by keys, violins and drum solos as remarkable lyrics float to the top of the mix. The innovative post - punk, genre infused seven piece band presented one of the most adventurously self-assured debut albums of 2021.
Favourite Track: Track X
Vince Staples is the self-titled fourth studio album by American rapper Vince Staples. Produced entirely by Kenny Beats, the album’s magnifies the distorted samples and energetic 808s within almost every track. Self aclaimed as his 'most personal record yet' Vince Staples showcases his vivid storytelling through his soft, minimalistic sound and somber words.
Favourite Track: TAKE ME HOME Feat. Fousheé
Happier Than Ever
The monumentous debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? made Billie Eilish an overnight phenomenon and household name. On her sophomore album, Happier Than Ever, Eilish sings with uncomprimising honesty and vunerability about her accelerated rise to stardom and it's accompanying tribulations. It’s effortlessly melodic production, created by her older brother Finneas, compliments Eilish's outstanding songwriting capability when discussing themes including the growing sense of responsibility, past relationships and the objectification of Eilish's appereance within the media.
Favourite Track: Male Fantasy
Blue Weekend, the third studio album by Wolf Alice, showcases a wide-eyed insight into the study on relationships, with romantic partners, with friends, as an individual and with the world we live in. Showcasing their best lyrics yet, the alternative rock band provide fans with numerous tracks that are more confident and less guarded than usual. Within the 11 track album the record has the power to transport you to very specific places which seems undeniably intentional and sets it apart from its predecessors.
Favourite Track: Delicious Things
Not Your Muse
Not Your Muse is the debut studio album by singer and songwriter Celeste. Within an effortless delivery of modern soul, the record showcases a variety of somber songs with moments of dynamic funk and neo soul. The soul-sumberged tracks highlight Celeste's raw, expressive vocal tone creating versatile influences ranging from soulful greats to jazz experimentalists.
Favourite Track: Not Your Muse
Life's A Beach
Easy Life's debut album, life's a beach showcases their fun, clever, and playful lyrics over their unmistakable signature production style, through the hazy sonics and lyrical daydreams. Despite being the answer to a feelgood summer, the second half of the album takes on a more sincere approach tackling melancholic and dark themes of self doubt, whilst still maintaining uplifting melodics. This record is garunteed make you feel a profund rollercoaster of emotions with the final outcome providing a soundtrack of positivity and hope.
Favourite Track: skeletons
Skin is the debut studio album by British-Irish-Bangladeshi singer-songwriter Joy Crookes. Sewing together sews together effortless progressions of R&B, modern soul, and pop styles into an astonishing body of work.Creating a storybook of experiences, delving into closely personal, yet immediately recognizable themes, Crookes' pens lyrics discussing young adulthood, heartbreak and everything in between on this stunning debut album.
Favourite Track: 19th Floor
Bright Green Field
Compared to Squid’s former tracks, which found inspiration within people, their debut album Bright Green Field has a core concentration and theme of places. The record exists within an imaginary cityscape with each track illustrating the places, events and architecture that exist within it. Within the Brighton post punk band's previous projects, the body of work can be interpretted as playful, however the emotional depth of the music has deepened and developed within their latest release, fulfilling their full potential and fan's expectations when given the task of creating their debut album.
Favourite Track: G.S.K.
Releasing her debut album SOUR during 2021, pop’s newest star Olivia Rodrigo smashed streaming records and blanketed TikTok, whilst gaining viral fame and rising to stardom.
The 11 track album offers a lively and light arnarchic collection of breakup tunes filled with desolation and disobedience. The piano-driven power ballads mixed with pop-punk screamers deploys dual moods of sweet pop mixed whilst channeling 90s alt-rock creating an equally balanced debut record with no filler tracks.
Favourite Track: favourite crime
DEACON is the second album from Josiah Wise, known professionally as serpentwithfeet. The record is considered a celebration of love and friendship with strong influences from the '90s and early '00s. Whilst collaborating with artists including Sampha, Lil Silva, Nao, the record's focus is joy rather than pain, with less melancholy and a more euphoric ambiance compared to Wise's previous work.
Favourite Track: Fellowship
The London-based Belfast duo consisting of Andrew Ferguson and Matthew McBriar, known as Bicep, created a sweeping euphoria with their second studio album ISLES. As the shutdown of live music continued, Bicep adapted and took their traditional powerhouse tracks and create a more homely charm compared to their mainstage belters, creating what is described as the ultimate living-room rave. Creating soft-tones, melancholic melodies and hard hitting beats Bicep created a memorable record of colourful trance.
Favourite Track: Apricots
Sling is the second studio album by American singer and songwriter Clairo. On On the follow-up to 2019's 'Immunity' Clairo finds her in the process of figuring things out whereby songwriting themes highlights the discovery of healing and hope in domesticity, as she muses on mental health and burgeoning responsibility. Embracing classicwarm, rich tones of the 70s, Clairo enlisting the aid and abet of Jack Antonoff, known for his work with Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey and more, as co-producer on the album.
Favourite Track: Amoeba
Kojaque presents a truly potent record in his debut album Town's Dead. Whilst showcasing his personality and humour, Kojaque the ability to create a cinematic storytelling experience whilst charging through rap, punk rock and jazz-flecked melodious sounds. Giving a true insight of life living in Dublin, the debut album confronts a broken system, the loss of his father and toxic masculinity, Kojaque narrates experiences of devotion, celebrations, mental health, working class life in Dublin and grief. Town's Dead is a phenomenal debut highlighting the sound of a neglected generation.
Favourite Track: Town's Dead
Following from his moving debut mixtape Demotape / Vega, Trinidad-born, Romford-raised rapper BERWYN returns with the second studio album Tape 2 / Fomalhaut. Over the sound of a distinct piano amalgamated with trap percussion, rapper, singer-songwriter and producer Berwyn du Bois highlights his elite songwriting display discussing the journey into music; inner-city life, homelessness and longing for his relatives in Trinidad. The 11 track album is an introspective look at BERWYN state of mind showcasing raw vunerablility and emotion.
Favourite Track: VINYL
As Hiatus Kaiyote creeps closer to a unity of great skill and feeling, Mood Valiant successfully demonstrates the sound of four wildly talented musicians in a room together. The Australian jazz / funk band transform their body of work into something extremely meaningful, powerful and psychedelic. Hiatus Kaiyote have journeyed far to create a restorative album that provides sanctuary, hope and possibility in uncertain times. Indeed, by solidifying their blend of poetry, soul and funk, their latest album Mood Valiant stands as Hiatus Kaiyote’s most resonant album yet.
Favourite Track: Red Room