The 21 Best Albums of 2021


Olivia England, Featured Writer

Heaux Tales – Jazmine Sullivan

Genre: Neo-Soul/R&B

Highlight: “Lost One”

Best Lyric: “Their egos are often way too fragile to ever handle a woman who owns and has any real agency over her body/ And we’re to blame as well, because/ We’re out here telling them/ That the p*ssy is theirs/ When in actuality/ It’s ours.” (“Antoinette’s Tale”)


Collapsed in Sunbeams – Arlo Parks

Genre: Alternative Pop

Highlight: “Eugene”

Best Lyric: “It’s so cruel/ What your mind can do for no reason/ I take a jump off the fire escape/ To make the black dog go away/ At least I know that you are trying/ But that’s what makes it terrifying.” (“Black Dog”)

Little Oblivions – Julien Baker

Genre: Indie Rock

Highlight: “Relative Fiction”

Best Lyric: “Ooh, I miss it high/ How it dulled its error and beauty/ Now I see everything in startling intensity/ What I wouldn’t give if it would/ Take away the sting I’m in/ And everything I love, I trade it in/ To feel it rush into my chest.” (“Faith Healer”)


SOUR – Olivia Rodrigo

Genre: Pop

Highlight: “Favorite Crime”

Best Lyric: “Does she know how proud I am she was created?/ With the courage to unlearn all of their hatred?” (“hope ur ok”)


Blue Weekend  – Wolf Alice

Genre: Alternative Rock

Highlight: “The Last Man on Earth”

Best Lyric: “How do we sell you the world?/ Let it in, embrace and uncurl/ So fierce, so bold/ Someone like you should not be left unsold.” (“How Can I Make It OK?”)


Jubilee – Japanese Breakfast

Genre: Indie Pop

Highlight: “Savage Good Boy”

Best Lyric: “These days I can’t shake the awful feeling/ I’m missing something I can’t place/ Is that you?/ Manifesting like the fear of an oven left on/ God, I felt so much back then/ I was soft as a dune” (“Kokomo, IN”)


CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST – Tyler, The Creator

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Highlight: “HOT WIND BLOWS (feat. Lil Wayne)”

Best Lyric: “Massa couldn’t catch me, my legs longer than a b*tch/ Got too much self-respect, I wash my hands before I piss/ Then try to talk me up but I keep short like Caesar/ Eyes open if I pray ‘cause I can’t trust God either, uh.” (“MASSA”)


Fatigue – L`Rain

Genre: Alternative/R&B

Highlight: “Suck Teeth”

Best Lyric: “I can’t build no new nothing, no new life/ No new nothing for me/ I’ve gotten all of my bricks aligned/ But mortar’s escaping me.” (“Two Face”)


Planet Her – Doja Cat

Genre: Pop/Hip-Hop

Highlight: “Been Like This”

Best Lyric: “If they ever tryna knock her, put my foot up in your caca/ Call your mama and your papa like I’m finna take your daughter/ Turn the b*tch into a soccer ball and rocka, rocka, rocka/ Get into it like a suit and f*ck a stock up like a broker.” (“Get Into It (Yuh)”)


The Turning Wheel – Spellling

Genre: Alternative

Highlight: “The Future”

Best Lyric: “Lonely, the word rings like a bell/ Tolling, from Heaven fell/ I always wanted to be a lover/ But I can’t take the pain/ I won’t surrender to any other/ Ain’t it always the same?” (“Always”)


Home Video – Lucy Dacus

Genre: Alternative/Indie

Highlight: “Triple Dog Dare”

Best Lyric: “A hidden gem, my own goldmine/ You had the wide and wild eyes/ You were a secret to yourself/ You couldn’t keep from anyone else/ Now you’re the biggest, brightest flame/ You are the fire that can’t be tamed.” (“Hot & Heavy”)


Happier Than Ever – Billie Eilish

Genre: Alternative/Pop

Highlight: “Getting Older”

Best Lyric: “I don’t relate to you/ I don’t relate to you, no/ ‘cause I’d never treat me this sh*tty/ You made me hate this city.” (“Happier Than Ever”)


Any Shape You Take – Indigo De Souza

Genre: Indie Rock

Highlight: “17”

Best Lyric: “Because there’s nothing in the dark/ You only see it in your head/ There’s nothing in the dark/ There are no monsters underneath your bed/ And I’ll never be the only thing you love/ I’ll never be the only thing you love.” (“Way Out”)


Sometimes I Might Be Introvert – Little Simz

Genre: British Hip-Hop/Rap

Highlight: “Introvert”

Best Lyric: “The overachievers in the shadow of the gatekeepers/ Came down to teach us/ All these trophies in the crib, got ‘em sitting nice/ After all the hard work that we put inside/ Everybody claim to be bo Hate it or love, we rise above it.” (“Standing Ovation”)


By The Time I Get To Phoenix – Injury Reserve

Genre: Abstract Hip-Hop

Highlight: “Knees”

Best Lyric: “My knees hurt, my knees hurt ’cause I’m growin’/ And that’s the tough pill to swallow/ I need to put down the bottle.” (“Knees”)


Friends That Break Your Heart – James Blake

Genre: Alternative R&B

Highlight: “Life Is Not the Same”

Best Lyric: “You say you love me, is it real?/ Or do you fantasize about the things you really wanna feel?/ I know you fantasize about that life you really wanna build/ Now your eyes are watching God/ But baby, my eyes are hidden in the hills.” (“Coming Back (feat. SZA)”)


Seventeen Going Under – Sam Fender

Genre: Indie Rock

Highlight: “Spit Of You”

Best Lyric: “She said the debt, the debt, the debt/ So I thought about shifting gear/ And how she wept and wept and wept/ Luck came and died ’round here/ I see my mother/ The DWP see a number/ She cries on the floor encumbered/ I’m seventeen going under.” (“Seventeen Going Under”)



Genre: Experimental Hip-Hop


Best Lyric: “Flow ain’t a prop, snake rockin’ next to me, I drew the line on the side like I’m Brock/ Speakin’ of Brock, line to your face/ Copied and paste, left not a trace, you gotta taste/ Sh*t would’ve been a Zoom meeting ‘cause I would’ve boxed up his face.” (“REBOUND!”)


An Evening With Silk Sonic – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak & Silk Sonic

Genre: Funk/R&B/Soul

Highlight: “Put On A Smile”

Best Lyric: “My house clean/ My pool warm/ Just shaved/ Smooth like a newborn.” (“Leave The Door Open”)


Red (Taylor’s Version) – Taylor Swift

Genre: Country/Pop

Highlight: “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)”

Best Lyric: “And my cheeks are growing tired/ From turning red and faking smiles/ Are we only biding time till I lose your attention?/ And someone else lights up the room/ People love an ingénue.” (“Nothing New”)

30 – Adele

Genre: Pop/Soul

Highlight: “To Be Loved”

Best Lyric: “It’s so sad how incapable of learning to grow I am/ My heart speaks in puzzle and codes/ I’ve been trying my whole life to solve/ God only knows how I’ve cried/ I can’t take another defeat/ A next time would be the ending of me.” (“Love is a Game”)