Best Albums of 2021 (First Half)

It’s been six-plus months since I posted my Best Albums of 2020 list here, so the time seems right to offer a first-half albums report for 2021. I’ve found and heard some amazing things this year, though I will note that the Anno Virum has certainly impacted the music world, as I’ve found fewer brilliant albums thus far in 2021 than is typical for this time of the year. That said, it seems that things have been picking up over the past couple of months, so here’s hoping that there’s a tremendous backlog of brilliant new music out there awaiting release, as artists are able to collaborate in person and/or tour their latest creations after long periods of creative isolation.

As is my typical practice for these sorts of lists, I restrict my recommendations to full-length albums, though I do want to call out and celebrate Jed Davis’ series of EPs as 2021 highlights, as discussed in depth here. I suspect he’ll issue them in album form at some point, and the songs contained therein are all winning regular and enthusiastic spins hereabouts, so they merit your consideration, even if they don’t technically qualify as long-players on their own. For each of the albums below, I provide a link for further exploration, and the albums are listed in the order that I acquired them this year. Happy listening! And let me know what I’ve missed and need to hear in the comment section, please and thanks!

The Body: I’ve Seen All I Need to See

Black Country, New Road: For the first time

Alice Cooper: Detroit Stories

Arab Strap: As Days Get Dark

Paul Leary: Born Stupid

Mexican Institute of Sound: Distrito Federal

The Heartwood Institute: Witchcraft Murders

Xiu Xiu: OH NO

Intercourse: Rule 36

Les Conches Velasques: Celebración Del Trance Profano

Genghis Tron: Dream Weapon

Kasai Allstars: Black Ants Always Fly Together, One Bangle Makes No Sound

Buggy Jive: You Won’t Like the Answer

Micky Dolenz: Dolenz Sings Nesmith

Dry Cleaning: New Long Leg

Wolf Alice: Blue Weekend

Billy F. Gibbons: Hardware

If 2021 ended today, this one would be my Album of the Year. We’ll see if it holds its spot for another six months.

3 thoughts on “Best Albums of 2021 (First Half)

  1. Here’s a question, based on a couple of conversations I’ve had.
    When (if ever) do you sop getting new music? After all, how much can one listen to in 8760 hours, especially if you spend a third of it sleeping?
    A colleague of mine a decade ago said he couldn’t understand people just listening to the “old” stuff, but he is 13 years younger than I.
    Conversely, my wife is wondering what I’m going to do with 2000 LPs, a like number of CDs, and various books about music (and other topics).

    What to do with your stuff when you’re dead


    • It’s a good question!! For my part, I expect I will be acquiring new music up to the point when my sentience ends, since it’s something of a compunction for me to do “Best of the Year” lists, and I need to hear a lot of new stuff to keep doing that. But I do acquire everything digitally at this point, so no albums or CDs or tapes, just a 1TB hard-drive hanging off of my computer. Having moved four times in the past decade, we’ve done a pretty good job of purging a lot of “stuff,” though I presume that now that we’re hopefully settled for the long-term, it will begin to accumulate again, as it does!


  2. Pingback: What’s Up in the Neighborhood, June 12, 2021 – Chuck The Writer

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