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01.01.22 A List of Albums I Listened to and Love 01.05.21 Music I like from 2020
07.14.18 A List of Words from Songs I Love 03.24.17 3/6/9
12.18.16 A Blushful 2016

A List of Albums I Listened to and Loved in 2021

Genre tags are (mostly) from RYM. Albums are (mostly) from 2021. Earlier stuff is asterisked, if anyone cares. Alphabetised except for top ten, which are ranked.

Pop Soul

Incredible, really, that Adele can pull such big hype off of 6+-minute piano ballads.
90allie (USA)
maybe next time

Emo/Indie Rock

Hyper-personal, yet unassuming – for the worse, I reckon, can’t even find an RYM listing. The music itself is gorgeous and sad.
89Anna Leone
I've Felt All These Things

Indie Folk

Earthy contemporary folk music from Sweden. Very straightforward for the most part, but something very, very special lurks beneath.

Freeform Hardcore/???

Overwhelming in a way that you will find either a) cathartic or b) very annoying. Listen for yourself.
87Armand Hammer and The Alchemist

Hip Hop

Review for this is really good; like the album, worth checking.
86Arooj Aftab
Vulture Prince

Chamber Folk/Ghazal

There’s a reggae-inspired excursion at the centre of this album that reminds me a little too much of Tash Sultana. Elsewhere, Aftab’s minimalist neo-Sufi sound is beautiful, charming, and even kind of inspiring.
85Ashley Henry
Beautiful Vinyl Hunter

*Jazz Fusion/Hip Hop

There’s a video of Henry and his band performing Cranes in the Sky. They can’t stop smiling. It’s comically absurd until you realise you’re smiling too.
84Attic Abasement
Dancing is Depressing


One of those albums YouTube is convinced you’ll love. In this case, they were right.
83Avishai Cohen Trio
Gently Disturbed

*Post-Bop/Chamber Jazz

Bit of a jazz ignoramus’s wet dream. Just so listenable – and so, yeah, I’ve been listening. Quite a lot.
82Baby Keem
The Melodic Blue

Hip Hop

Even when this is bad, it’s good.
81Beach Bunny
Blame Game

Power Pop/Pop Punk

Band has always been good, yes, but ‘Good Girls’ is some pop-punk greatness.
80Beverly Glenn-Copeland
...Keyboard Fantasies...

*Ambient Pop/New Age

Trust a Bon Iver remix in 2021 to put me onto such a charmer of a record.
79Big Red Machine
How Long Do You Think It's Gonna Last?

Chamber Pop/Art Pop

The latest Big Red Machine is Dessner and Vernon at their least restrained . Despite this – and maybe even because of it – it’s undeniably some of their best.
78Bing and Ruth

*Minimalism/Progressive Electronic

Snug like a weighted blanket -- maybe unintentionally.
77Brittany Howard
Jaime Reimagined

Psychedelic Soul

In the age of Spotify, remix albums feel more than ever like an attempt to saturate – to attract playlist attention and the listeners of much bigger artists. Oftentimes, though, by chance usually, they are very good. As a whole, Jaime Reimagined is (of course) less cohesive than its original; the remixes themselves, though, add a lot w/o really taking anything away from what made the songs so special in the first place, Howard’s magnificent voice. Hearing it recontextualised after spending so much time with Jaime is, at the very least, refreshing.
76Bryce Dessner, Australian String Quartet and Sydney Dance Co

Chamber Music/Modern Classical

I’m sure, technically, a lot is lost by not experiencing Impermanence/Disintegration in the context of its accompanying dance performance. Even on their own, though, the string performances feel urgent and heavy.
75Claire Rousay
A Softer Focus

Sound Collage/Field Recordings

On opener ‘preston ave’, you hear a typewriter, a guitar maybe, and the very set up of the microphone. An okay let’s go moment before an album of disparate sounds and instruments whose relevance I’m still not sure of, but which Rousay stitches together in a way that feels somehow obviously narrative-like, even cinematic.
74Courtney Barnett
Things Take Time, Take Time

Indie Rock

Can this be the face of latte indie? And can we admit that lattes are, in fact, very good?
73Denzel Curry and Kenny Beats
Unlocked 1.5

Hip Hop

Maybe I just like the novelty of remixes.
72DJ Seinfeld


Cute and cool and fun and cosy and
71Elori Saxl
The Blue of Distance


A lot of time spent waiting for a particular sound or movement to occur. A lot of other cool sounds in-between.
70Emily Scott Robinson
American Siren


Robinson is not only sagelike, but also super empathetic in the way she writes. She tells other peoples’ stories with a humanity that I find really touching (a word I never thought I’d use). A bit like Sufjan in that way.
69Ethel Cain

Slowcore/Dream Pop

Excited for an album, eventually.
68Field Medic
Songs from the Sunroom

*Indie Folk/Bedroom Pop

Borderline parodic at times, but unbelievably talented. Think The Tallest Man On Earth except he only uploads first drafts.
Draw Down the Moon

Indie Rock/Indie Pop

Drawn Down the Moon is Foxing’s danciest. It’s also their most despairing. A winning combination.
66German Error Message

*Indie Folk/Lo-Fi

65GoGo Penguin


Surprised by the (relatively) low rating on here. I agree, broadly, that this is their least interesting album. Still, I think it’s their warmest.
64Gracie Gray
Oregon in a Day

*Indie Folk

Simple and quiet, but… idk, just so nice. Something I return to often, esp. when I don’t know what else to listen to.
Joke's On You

Emo Rnb

I hated (and still hate) Post Death-era guccihighwaters. This isn’t his best, but it shows just how much he’s grown.
62Hand Habits
Fun House

Indie Folk

A bit disappointing given just how fantastic lead(?) single ‘Aquamarine’ was. Still, a great album; Meg Duffy has a LOT of potential.
61Home is Where
I Became Birds

Midwest Emo/Folk Punk

Like if Neutral Milk Hotel did emo music. Only much, much better than that.
True Love

Indie Folk/Indie Pop

Almost too pleasant. Almost.
59Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
This is a Mindfulness Drill...

Contemporary Folk/Chamber Folk

Subtitled: A Reimagining of Richard Youngs’ ‘Sapphie’. The original is better (mad props to this reimagining [and, by proxy, Dewi’s lovely write-up] for helping me discover the original) – BUT: HBE does a fantastic job translating it into something slick and 2021-sounding w/o stripping it of its rustic charm (been watching a lot of MasterChef). In the process, the ensemble’s assembled Moses Sumney, Perfume Genius, and Sharon Van Etten onto the same album – that in itself is a feat worth applauding.
58Indigo Girls
Swamp Ophelia

*Folk Pop

A friend/colleague admitted to loving this, sheepishly almost. Me too, now, probably.
57Injury Reserve
By The Time I Get To Phoenix

Hip Hop

Unexpected, but not surprising. Injury Reserve being Injury Reserve, only now free from expectation. RIP Groggs.
56James Blake
Friends That Break Your Heart

Alternative Rnb

Never thought I’d appreciate James Blake more for his singing than his production. Say What You Will has changed everything.
55Jefre Cantu-Ledesma
In Summer

*Ambient/Hypnagogic Pop

Love’s Refrain never ever leaves my head. It’ll probably by on next year’s list as well.
54Joanna Newsom
Walnut Whales

*Contemporary Folk

A lot of this reappears, in improved form, on the far superior Milk-Eyed Mender. Yet, there’s something so charming about the contrast between Newsom’s beautiful harp-playing and her cat-scratch of a voice. ‘Peach, Plum, Pear’ dares you to try to love it – and you do.
53Johann Johannsson

*Modern Classical

This album sounds like disappointment and failure. RIP.
52Joy Crookes


Largely, Skin is made up of simple but powerful pop ballads. Occasionally, though, as on ‘19th Floor’, Crookes wrangles out a cinematic banger that suggests she's capable of so much more.
LP! (offline)

Hip Hop

This album has made me reconsider everything I’ve thought about Peggy’s music to this point.
50Julien Baker
Little Oblivions

Indie Rock

Julien Baker’s music will never mean as much to me as it did when I first heard Sprained Ankle, and that’s fine. Little Oblivions is fantastic in its own right.
A Martyr's Reward

Hip Hop

Angry and heart-rending.
48Kanye West

Hip Hop

Kanye is probably the worst part of this whole project. And it’s still great.
47Katy Kirby
Cool Dry Place

Indie Folk/Indie Pop

The title track on this album is one of the best songs this year.
46Kid Cudi
Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon

*Art Pop/Hip Hop

Listening to Balmain Jeans is embarrassing. Listening to Internal Bleeding should be. So, yeah, Cudi’s best IMO.
Hey What

Ambient Pop/Experimental Rock

I need to return to pre-Double Negative Low.
44Lil Ugly Mane
Volcanic Bird Enemy and the Voiced Concern


Sesame Street-core.
43Maggie Rogers
Notes From The Archive: Recordings 2011-2016

*Indie Folk

Convinced that Maggie Rogers is some kind of genius, she’s just yet to prove it.
42Mammal Hands


Of the ample contemporary jazz bands I’ve listened to this year, Mammal Hands might be my favourite. Slowly unfolding, but exciting the whole time.
41Material Girl

*Sound Collage/Hip Hop

Feels like being in an art gallery and not understanding what’s happening, but not really needing to.
40meat computer
parkour mental illness

Trap/Cloud Rap

Overly ironic, but hits you all the same.
39Mick Jenkins
Elephant in the Room

Hip Hop

I wish this was better, but why? It’s good.
38Middle Kids
Today We're the Greatest

Indie Rock

Triple J-core, but good, actually. Very good, sometimes.
Kulayan Natin

*Indie Folk/Emo

I worry whether, if this were sung in English, I’d like it a lot less. The band, at this point in their career, sounded a lot like a toothless Foxing. Still, there’s something really beautiful about their sound. Simple, but really gorgeous in that simplicity.
36Nils Frahm

Impressionism/Modern Classical

A pre-Spaces recording released only this year. It’s a lot simpler and quieter than what-all else I’ve heard from him, but it’s really nice and pleasant-sounding and I like it.
35Olivia Rodrigo


Finding all the little borderline plagiaristic moments on this album is, much like the album itself, real fun.
To All Sides They Will Stretch Out Their Hands

Dark Ambient

I don’t have whatever vocabulary is needed to describe this album.
33Pino Palladino and Blake Mills
Notes With Attachments

Jazz Fusion

Maybe my easiest to listen to this year.
32Poppy Ackroyd

Modern Classical

Sometimes, boring. Usually, just so bright and alive.
All Day Gentle Hold

Synthpop/Indie Pop

Very different to Pool, which I’ve also been loving this year. Repetitive in a way that’s less annoying than it is somehow seductive – despite how annoying it is.
30Porter Robinson


Makes me feel a little like when I first listened to M83, except I actually want to come back. Very anime-sounding.
29Portico Quartet

ECM Style Jazz

Of the ample contemporary jazz bands I’ve listened to this year, Portico Quartet might be my least favourite. In one ear and out the other; and yet, it’s something I return to really often.
28Priya Darshini


Funny, in a way, how little attention a Grammy nomination actually affords an album. Sad, still, that such an incredible album got so little attention.
27Silk Sonic
An Evening with Silk Sonic

Pop Soul

Oh this is fun fun fun fun fun
Storm in Summer

Indie Folk

[queue that one alanis morissette song]
25Slow Pulp

*Indie Rock/Dream Pop

Classic incoming.
As Lost Through Collision


[loud down strum]
23Steve Reich
Music for 18 Musicians


Calming until it gets annoying. But, like, kinda perfect in its own right. Fidget spinner-core.
22Strange Ranger
No Light in Heaven

Indie Rock/Chillwave

The type of release that alienates fanbases.
21thanks for coming
#1 Flake in North America

Bedroom Pop

Not until I started listening to thanks for coming did I realise one could find enjoyment in music that is legitimately annoying.
20Thao And The Get Down Stay Down

*Art Pop

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down disbanded late last year. With 2016’s A Man Alive and 2020’s Temple, I think they accomplished more than most could hope for. The title track on this one in particular is as close to perfect a song can be.
19The Exit Bags
Tower of Quiet

Avant Folk/Lo-Fi

The kind of album you wish there was a visualiser for, but which really, really doesn’t need one.
18The Killers
Pressure Machine

Heartland Rock (???)

Whatever Rowan thinks of this album, that’s what I think also.
17The Marias


This achieves a kind of pop perfection that hits you in a way you don’t really notice till you think about it. But there’s no real use in thinking about it.
16The World Is a Beautiful Place...
Illusory Walls

Post-Rock/Midwest Emo

The type of band that everyone dismisses and/or forgets about until they release your new favourite album.
Twin Plagues

Shoegaze/Indie Rock

This would probably be in my top 10 if I listened to it more.
14The Westerlies and Conrad Tao

Minimalism/Modern Classical

At times, pretty and cool. At others, discomfiting, even haunting.
13Wiki and Nah

Hip Hop

Neither artist’s best, but a duo that just works.
12Xenia Rubinos
Una Rosa

Art Pop

What feels like her most urgent, her most important. For me, nothing will beat her eclectic debut, but Rubinos manages to pay homage to her Latin roots in a way that feels totally unburdened by the past, that is loving and appreciative, but at the same time modern and creative and not afraid to build and innovate.
11Yann Tiersen

Minimalism/Progressive Electronic

I’ll watch Amelie someday.
10Sarah Neufeld

Modern Classical/Post-Minimalism

Consistently, Sarah Neufeld makes me feel like I should maybe listen to Arcade Fire. One day. Till then, I have Detritus, which is always solemn and sometimes haunting. Jane Eyre-core.
9Hayley Williams
FLOWERS for VASES / descansos

Indie Folk

I might prefer this to any other Williams/Paramore. Maybe. Actually, probably not, definitely not, but I think it’s super underrated and I’m more and more convinced that Williams is a genius.
Always Repeating


There’s a Thundercat cover on here. Maybe it’s bad. I think it’s good.
7Indigo De Souza
Any Shape You Take

Indie Rock/Bedroom Pop

I’d like an album of songs in the style of 17, please.


ft. a bunch of artists that don’t appear on the album, and some that do.
Talk Memory

Jazz Fusion

I’ve no clue where this came from, but it’s the band’s best. Simultaneously their tightest, most cohesive, and their most open, their most willing to just do what sounds good. Opener and lead single ‘Signal from the Noise’ implies something a lot more cinematic; and while that’s what drew me into the album, I’m glad the album doesn’t follow through. There’s no need. It’s just good collaboration.
4Tiny Little Houses

Indie Rock

Young disaffected Western male type beat. Far better this than Peterson.
3Mini Trees
Always In Motion

Indie Pop/Dream Pop

So exceedingly simple, and yet, like, really well-realised. A lot is owed to the very good production (Lexi is a drummer, and producer Jon Joseph is part of a dream pop band), but equally, Lexi Vega’s unassuming songwriting belies a depth that’s well worth exploring.
2Ben Howard
Collections from the Whiteout

Indie Folk

Unfurling is a perfect song. Equally gorgeous and off-putting.
Ghost with Skin

Emo Rnb

(slowed ~ reverb) versions only
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