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My Top Albums of 2021 So Far

Updated: Nov 15, 2023

By Anna "Monty" Montoya-Gaxiola

There is no doubt that this year has been full of back-to-back amazing music releases. Since the start of the year, hundreds of albums have been released, ranging from all types of genres. As a music fanatic myself, it was almost impossible to pick out my favorites. These are just a few that I felt came close to perfection.

Starting from the oldest releases to newest, we are taking it back to May 14 when J. Cole released “The Off-Season. Despite criticism of his new music, it is hard to deny Cole’s true talent as a lyrical artist. His album is a collection of stories with a rhythmic finish. He runs through topics like race and class almost like a joke in order to get his point across. It’s hard to compare this album to his biggest hits on “2014 Forest Hills Drive,” as it seems like his style as an artist has shifted. In his song

“i n t e r l u d e” he states “it can go up it can go down . . . I’ve seen the highest heights . . . and I’ve seen the lowest of the lows and I still rose.” I feel that this is a great way to showcase what this album was meant to show, it’s his journey as an artist.

Shortly after, Olivia Rodrigo released her debut album, “SOUR,” as a solo artist on May 21. If you say that you have never heard any of her songs, then you would have to be living under a rock. Just within the first week of the release, her album opened at No.1 on the Billboard top 200 chart and reached 300.73 million streams, according to Billboard. Her songs go through every emotion you could imagine ranging from anger, happiness and acceptance. It describes the feelings of teenage romanticism for a generation of hopeless romantics. Grab some tissues and get ready to feel all five stages of grief with this one.

On a more upbeat note, Tyler, the Creator never fails to release a hit record. On June 25, he released “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST.” This album goes far beyond his abilities as an artist, as it is a given fact at this point that he is truly unpredictable. When running through the album, all the songs are perfectly transitioned, so it almost feels like one huge track instead of separate songs. But don’t let this fool you, as every track is completely different from one another. My personal favorites are “RUNITUP,” “JUGGERNAUT,” “SAFARI” and “WILSHIRE,” which have completely different tempos and stories. That’s the beauty of Tyler’s music, each track is unique so it is almost certain that you will vibe with at least one song.

Next up, Summer Walker’s biggest music production since 2019 did not disappoint. Before the release of her album, Walker already had extremely positive media attention across multiple platforms. Specifically TikTok as she had fans start a trend of sliding off a wall to her songs. If you are anything like me, there is nothing better than a great breakup album. “Still Over It” was released on Nov. 5 as a second part of her album “Over It” from 2019. The album included features from City Girls, SZA, Ari Lennox and so many more to give listeners their full bad bitch moment. This album is the perfect post-breakup album and will ensure you will have your full confidence restored after listening to it.

Lastly, we were blessed with one of the most iconic duos, giving us the 21st century version of ’70s soul and funk music. Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak came together to create Silk Sonic, a duo band composed of R&B music. Their album, “An Evening With Silk Sonic,” is the definition of groovy music – making you want to jump out of your seat and have a quick dance break. The album is set in a scenario of disco dances and my thought process throughout the full thing I just kept thinking I needed to hear this live. This album is truly beyond perfection, and if you haven’t listened to it yet, definitely give it a chance.

No matter what your taste in music is, these albums range from all tempos and styles, so be sure to take a listen if you are looking to expand your music library.


What was your favorite album this year? Let us know on Instagram and Twitter or leave a comment!

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