Top 10 Albums of 2021

  1. “Below”- Beartooth

For this record, I really don’t have much to say- it was a solid Beartooth release. The music on this album resonated with the hardcore grit that we love to see from the band. This helped to feel rooted in the metal scene as many artists are moving to a more modern approach. It is nice to see Beartooth stick to their guns. I do believe a lot of the music on the make sounds similar to those around it, which makes it hard for this record to step out with originality. For me, this was a solid record to round out my top choices.

Standout Tracks: “Below” & “The Past is Dead”

  1. “An Evening with Silk Sonic”- Silk Sonic

I don’t think anyone could say that they haven’t randomly broke out into song with the lyrics to “Leave the Door Open,” so of course- this record had to make the list. Silk Sonic took the world of R&B, brought it back, gave it a little love, and said: let’s give it a little modern flair. The musicianship of this record speaks for itself. If you appreciate good music- you’ll appreciate this album.

Standout Tracks: “Leave the Door Open” & “777”

  1. “UMBRA”- Grayscale

If first tracks won the “Album of the Year” spot, “Without You” would’ve brought this home for Grayscale because that song is simply incredible. Upon listening to this record, it was evident that Grayscale was taking a shift from their rooted Pop Punk sound into the world of Alternative tunes, but after hearing their integration of the two- I wasn’t mad about it. For me, this record gave me bops that I could listen to constantly, but it also gave me some tunes that I could’ve done without, which why it found itself in this spot on the list.

Standout Tracks: “Dirty Bombs” & “Without You”

  1. “Change of Plans”- Can’t Swim

Is anyone surprised that Can’t Swim brought the heaT on their newest record. Because I can tell you that I surely wasn’t. To me, this record screamed the Can’t Swim brand and that is something I was ecstatic to see remain on this work. Lately, most work from the Pop Punk genre has began to shift the modern frame of music. This take on the genre leaves me with a lot of mixed emotions, but the refresher this album brought was everything I needed late into the year. Although this one doesn’t sit with me as their previous release- it is still a record I plan to bring with me into 2022.

Standout Tracks: “Set the Room Ablaze” &  “Sense of Humor”

  1. “Heights”- WALK THE MOON

It has been a minute since 2017, but I believe “What If Nothing” was my #6 album of 2017?? I will fact check that in a little bit, but I can definitely assure- it was on the list. When I found out WALK THE MOON was putting out another record I was bursting with anticipation because I love a good WALK THE MOON tune and “Heights” didn’t disappoint.  This album felt like a natural progression from the band- there is a perfect blend of Alternative, Pop, and Mod Music- oh yes, and some electronics and synth: what more would we want? Although this record may not be topping all of the charts, some of the music found on the make is a true gem, and I hope, over time, they will surface to get the recognition they deserve. Fact check: “What If Nothing” was my #5 record of 2017, so it’s fitting to have a close resemblance 4 years later.

Standout Tracks: “Heights” & “Giants”

  1. “Gami Gang”- Origami Angel

We wanted a banger of a sophomore album, and that is exactly what we got.  From their debut work, we knew that Origami Angel is an upcoming major talent for the Pop Punk scene. Their music transcends the approach from before, but also pays homage in a nostalgic manner that leaves people wanting more. Although this release doesn’t flow from track to track like “Somewhere City,” the artistry used to layer each track with thought to the instrumental and lyrical lines is something that each Pop Punk fan should experience. This record reminds me how much I miss live shows, and seeing Origami Angel is on the top of my list.

Standout Tracks: “Tom Holland Oats” & “Kno U”

  1. “Scaled and Icy”- Twenty-One Pilots

Spotify would say this is my top album of the year, and with good reason. Of all the records that were released this year, this one gave the top spot a run for its money. With this release Twenty-One Pilots began to break more into the mainstream by evolving their sound to a more modern-Alternative front. This could go several different directions, but with the depth created with previous musical nuances being used- this record felt like a true evolution for the artist. The music on this make is groovy, catchy, and will stick in your head for days on end. To me, this was truly my “summer” album, and I look forward to revisiting some of these tunes soon.

Standout Tracks: “Saturday” & “Never Take It”

  1. “30”- Adele

Just like most of the world, I too was waiting with major anticipation for this release, and I can tell you: was it what I thought it would be? No. Am I thrilled with the result? Absolutely. This record speaks more into the personal emotions of Adele, which is an interesting concept to put sat the forefront of an album- major risk. This is scene not only through the theming, but also through the voice memos placed throughout. Some may dislike this addition, but to me it added another level of vulnerability that adds to the overall soundscape of the album. Although not through my personal life events, knowing someone close to me that has gone through something similar made the album that much more important to me. It has been good to have Adele back with a balance of banger and heart-breaker.

Standout Tracks: “My Little Love” & “I Drink Wine”

  1. “Slow Bloom”- The Home Team

Honestly, when this record first came out- I liked it, I liked it a lot, but I couldn’t truly describe why. The more I listened to the album, the more the little musical nuances stood out to me, and the more I found myself lost in the music. The Home Team provides a solid balance of Pop Punk based-techniques, Alternative techniques, and then a sprinkling of different instrumental and genre influences that tie the album into an eclectic but sonically appealing bow. This record is for those that truly love a good blending different sounds. It make take some time to warm-up, but from the beginning, you’ll know that this is simply good music.

Standout Tracks:  “Watching All Your Friends Get Rich” & “Slow Bloom”

  1. “Life in Your Glass World”- Citizen

And the record with the most impact for me this year goes to the one and only: Citizen. “Life in Your Glass World” to me was an album that took me back into the groove of music. This record is a perfect evolution coming from “As You Please,” while edging the band further with innovation with the foundation of their known characteristic sound. Providing a mixture of Alternative, Pop-Punk, and Grunge is the perfect mixture  for a mind-blowing record. To me, the innovation of the tracks providing motifs that connect them together, while each track resonates in their own light simply amazes me. Each time I listen to this record, I fall in love with something else. In a year that I found myself moving away from music, I am more than thankful that this album found me at the right time.

Standout Tracks: “Call Your Bluff” & “Death Dance Approximately”

Honorable mentions: “GLOW ON”- Turnstile // “Ordinary Life”- We Are the Union // “PC”- Westway // “Sour”- Olivia Rodrigo // “Torn in Two”- Real Friends

Thank you all for another amazing year of music reviewing: see you in 2022!

-GM

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