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  • Writer's pictureJO'B

Top 50 albums of 2021 - part 1: 50 - 26

Updated: Jan 1, 2022

2022 has a lot to live up to - pent up energy, delayed releases and 2020's enforced time at home generated an armada of great new music this year. Here's part one of my top 50 - there's a handy playlist of my favourite songs from each at the end.

50. Elbow - Flying Dream pt 1

Not their best outing, a little too inspired by late period Talk Talk, but a bad Elbow album is still good. Favourite track: The Seldom Seen Kid

49. She Drew The Gun - Behave Yourself

Pop funtastic, hypnotic, empowered, angry. Favourite track: Cut Me Down

48. Damon Albarn - The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows

Terrible title, but this has some really beautiful songs. Favourite track: Royal Morning Blue

47. Big Red Machine - How Long Do You Think It's Gonna Last?

The National's Aaron Dessner and Bon Ivor's Justin Vernon and several fabulous guests. It's got Taylor Swift on it so it MUST be good. Favourite Track: Renegade (featuring Taylor Swift)

46. Aaron Frazer - Introducing...

Drummer from Durand Jones & The Indications steps into the limelight with his first solo album or sumptuous seductive soul. Reviewed back in April. Favourite track: Bad News

45. Durand Jones & The Indications - Private Space

Speaking of Durand Jones, Aaron Jones was a busy boy this year, with his main band also putting out a more modern sounding, cool soul album, reviewed back in August. Favourite track: Witchoo

44. Lucy Dacus - Home Video

An album of deeply personal reflection, broken hearts, pain - story telling at its most honest. Favourite track: Hot & Heavy

43. The Anchoress - The Art Of Losing

Occasionally heartbreaking, this is a great, great album. Don't let it winning Prog album of the year put you off. Mrs JO'B loves this and she hates prog! Favourite track: The Art Of Losing

42. Julia Bardo - Bauhaus, L'Appartmento

If Natalie Merchant was Italian and cut her musical teeth in Manchester... Favourite track: No Feeling

41. La Luz - La Luz

The Seattle all-female surf rockers hit gold on their eponymous fourth outing. Favourite track: In The Country

40. Bad Bad Hats - Walkman

More relaxed, lighthearted fun from Minneapolis indie rockers. Favourite track: Detroit Basketball

39. Snail Mail - Valentine

Lindsey Jordan's second outing was broader in style, poppier, more electric, more eccentric, just more. Favourite track: Glory

38. Lost Horizons - In Quiet Moments

Simon Raymonde, ex-Cocteau twin and Bella Union impresario came back with another fabulous, eclectic album with numerous guest vocalists from his label. Amazing stuff. Favourite track: In Quiet Moments

37. Pokey Lafarge - In The Blossom Of Their Shade

Country, blues, swing, folk, bluegrass, rock'n'roll, you name it, he plays it. Favourite track: Fine To Me

36. Duran Duran - Future Past

Adding Blur's Graham Coxon on guitar was a masterstroke for the new romantic legends. Favourite track: Invisible

35. Celeste - Not Your Muse

Overshadowed by Arlo Parks this year, this is a cracking album (I know I bought them together and forgot Celeste, I was so blown away by Arlo's debut. But this is a cracker, with huge potential. Favourite track: Stop This Flame

34. Kiwi Jr - Cooler Returns

Indie slacker fun, power pop Modern Lovers for 2021, I reviewed this back in April. Favourite track: Main Marian's Toast

33. Nick Waterhouse - Promenade Blue

Another album I reviewed back in April, this is a cracking R'n'B stomper. Favourite track: B. Santa Ana 1986

32. Teenage Fanclub - Endless Arcade

I reviewed this, in part just so I could write Fannies legitimately. The Fannies are the gift that keeps open giving. Favourite track: The Sun Won't Shine On Me

31. The Orielles - La Vita Olistica

Despite being pinged by the NHS during their gig in July (reviewed here), they are just fabulous and this is a great remix / semi-live album. Favourite track: Memoirs Of Miso

30. Liz Phair - Soberish

Break ups, confusion, humour, brutal honesty - it's your typical iz Phair album, as reviewed back in June. Great fun. Favourite track: Hey Lou

29. Night Beats - Outlaw R'n'B

American psychedelic. garage rock greatness. Favourite track: Never Look Back

28. Japanese Breakfast - Jubilee

Fabulous pop indie from Michelle Zauner, her third outing and she keeps getting better. Favourite track: Paprika

27. Paul Weller - Fat Pop (Vol One)

Eclectic pop fun from the Modfather. But will there be a Vol Two? Reviewed back in May. Favourite track: Shades Of Blue

26. The Go! Team - Get Up Sequences Part One

Hip-hop, pop, general insanity and catchy-as-fuck tunes. What's not to love? Favourite track: A Bee Without Its Sting


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