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  • Writer's pictureJO'B

Top 50 albums of 2021 - part 2: 25 - 1

Updated: Jan 1, 2022

Here's part two of my top 50 - a fabulous year full of brilliant albums. There's a handy playlist of my favourite songs from each at the end.

25. Maximo Park - Nature Always Wins

The North East's pride and joy return, reduced to a three piece, but more powerful than ever. Favourite track: Placeholder

24. Django Django - Glowing In The Dark

Frentic, slinky, joyous dance-pop. Reviewed back in April. Favourite track: Spirals

23. Villagers - Fever Dreams

Woozy, wonky pop from CO'B. Favourite track: The First Day

22. Laura Mvula - Pink Noise

The 80s reimagined, it's just loud, great fun. Favourite track: Got Me

21. The Limiñanas and Laurent Garnier - De Pelicula

French Garage Rock meets French House - it's stupendous. Favourite Track: Saul

20. Paul McCartney - McCartney 3 Imagined

Bangs out an album on his own in 2020; let's the great and the good then fuck with it in 2021. Still experimental, still brilliant. Favourite track: Find My Way (feat Beck)

19. Balthazar - Sand

Belgian indie lounge music is a thing, don't you know? Reviewed the album back in April and reviewed them live back in November. Favourite track: Losers

18. Sleeper - This Time Tomorrow

Another cracking album from the Britpoppers. Reviewed them live back in August. Favourite track: We Should Be Together

17. Black Honey - Written & Directed

Righteous anger and catchy tunes, with a cinematic feel - what's not to love? Favourite track: I Like The Way You Die

16. Jungle - Loving In Stereo

80s-influenced avant-funk meets disco. Favourite track: Keep Moving

15. Manic Street Preachers - The Ultra Vivid Lament

The Manics have gone from a band promising to implode after their debut album to a national institution. It's not really different form the last album, but let's be honest, we didn't want it to be. Though a full album of duets is surely next as this album contains another cracker with the singer of Sunflower Bean. Favourite track: The Secret He Had Missed (feat Julia Cumming)

14. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Spanish Model

Genuinely odd concept - take the original backing tracks of This Year's Model and record the vocals with a series of Spanish-speaking singers from around the world. Sounds dodgy - it's brilliant. Favourite track: Lipstick Vogue

13. Lorde - Solar Power

Straightforward, summery pop - love it. Favourite track: Solar Power

12. Inhaler - It Won't Always Be Like This

Bono's boy done good. I reviewed the album back in July and we saw them play a cracking gig back in October. Favourite track: Who's Your Money On?

11. Silver Synthetic - Silver Synthetic

New Orleans garage rockers find their summer pop/rock groove. Favourite track: In The Beginning

10. Pearl Charles - Magic Mirror

Casbah Records' album of the year, this was a late discovery for me in 2021, but it quickly made its way into my top ten and we are seeing her (pandemic-permitting) in London in February. Think Fleetwood Mac meets Carole King meets a dash of Abba. Favourite track: Only For Tonight

9. Jane Weaver - Flock

I reviewed this back in April and still love it. Psychedelic electronica with a healthy dash of Goldfrapp. Favourite track: Stages Of Phases

8. Gruff Rhys - Seeking New Gods

The best album I will ever hear that has a loose concept about Paektu Mountain, an active stratovolcano on the Chinese–North Korean border. I am willing to put money on that. Reviewed back in May, just after I saw him - my first gig after 436 days. Favourite track: Loan Your Loneliness

7. Public Service Broadcasting - Bright Magic

A concept album about the history of Berlin, this is just magnificent. Favourite track: People, Let's Dance

6. The Courettes - Back In Mono

The best Danish/Brazilian surf-rock, 60s styled Spector-esque girl group meets The Ramones you will ever hear. And that's a promise. Favourite track: R.I.N.G.O

5. Yola - Stand For Myself

Belting soul and country by the ex-Phantom Limb singer. She should be huge, that she's not is a crime. Reviewed back in August. Favourite track: Diamond Studded Shoes

4. The Coral - Coral Island

Scouse dreamers make a concept album about a run down seaside town. Magnificent stuff, with a touch of The Small Faces in its between tracks narration. Great fun. Favourite track: Change Your Mind

3. James - All The Colours Of You

Nearly 40 years into their career, James produced one of their greatest albums, its themes of Trump and Covid are bang up to date and its tunes are killers. Reviewed back in June. Favourite track: All The Colours Of You

2. Arlo Parks - Collapsed In Sunbeams

Just sublime, perfect chilled. So good, I was worried I would hate it through over-playing. I needn't have worried, this remains perfection. Reviewed back in April. Favourite track: Hurt

1. Wolf Alice - Blue Weekend

I said when I reviewed this back in June that this was the real deal, a classic. I stand by that, it's just magnificent, not a duff tune on it. Varied, inventive, wonderful. Favourite track: Lipstick On The Glass

See you in 2022 for more gigs, albums, lists, ramblings and general music nonsense. And be warned, the new Marillion album is coming...I will be very over-excited...


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