The Best Albums Of 2021

The second year of the COVID pandemic brought more of a sense of familiarity and normalcy with quarantines, cancelled plans, and further delays. While some albums still linger in the shadow of coronavirus, many records have found a place in the new normal and feel less like commentaries on the pandemic and more introspective than years past. Of course there are a few that are direct results of lockdowns (see: the #12 pick on this list). All that being said, it feels good to finally go back to concerts, and many of these records summed up the musical trends, while being some of my favorites.

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The 20 Best Albums of 2020

All we have now is music right? In a year where it felt like the world was falling apart, there was so much to take hope in (even songs that were written and recorded long before things started going to shit). A number of artists created work that both reflected the current moment inadvertently (Punisher, RTJ4) and very intentionally (Taylor Swift, Charli XCX). These are my top albums of the year:

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The Wombats-Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life

I’m standing in the Subway station waiting for the uptown train and racing to connect to the free WiFi before my train comes so I can download the first single off of the new Wombats album. It downloads as the train is pulling in and I find my seat. I always take a moment right before listening to new music from a favorite band or artist; I want to remember where I first heard a particular song or album in case it becomes of great importance to my life. I take in the blue seats and the fairly empty train car and press play. Continue reading

Fall Out Boy-M A N I A

I think one of my favorite things about Fall Out Boy is the way the songs bring people together. “Thnks fr th mmrs” and “Sugar, We’re Going Down” are catchy as all hell, but if you’ve ever screamed them in a car with your best friend, you get this feeling like you could push every bad feeling you’ve ever felt out of your mouth into that moment. Save Rock and Roll certainly had songs for car rides, and although American Beauty/American Psycho wasn’t my cup of tea, I’m sure somebody is screaming it somewhere.   Continue reading

Sidney Gish-No Dogs Allowed

Released almost exactly one year after her debut album, Sidney Gish’s new No Dogs Allowed marks a significant step forward for the Boston singer-songwriter.  Gish’s debut marked the scope of her ambition by having her play every instrument, mostly with just her guitar and voice.  Dogs sees Gish venturing with different guitar tones, more drum loops, and real bass.  Gish also keeps with her writing of catchy songs withs, somewhat random lyrics, although she seems a little bit more thoughtful this time around.  With the increased popularity, Gish is placing herself in league with the likes of Waxahatchee, Julien Baker, and other indie-pop songstresses that have taken the music industry by storm so much in the past year. Continue reading

Phoebe Bridgers-Stranger in the Alps

It would have been really simple to write off Phoebe Bridger’s debut album as a Julien Baker clone.  Both singer-songwriters write ambient folk rock with a large emotional weight placed on the lyrics.  Still, Bridgers’ voice is a refreshing one that really resonates within the pop-punk and emo community.  Even though she is a singer-songwriter through and through, her heart-on-her-sleeve and pop culture referencing lyrics certainly welcome her to a number of melancholy artists that have welcomed the likes of Julien Baker.  Whether it’s the sweetness of “Killer” or the sadness in “Smoke Signals,” Stranger in the Alps is probably the most exciting debut album to be released this year. Continue reading

Jen Gloeckner on Her Third Album, Vine

Jen Gloeckner’s debut and sophomore album were both very faithful folk albums, making her recent Vine a major departure from her previous sound.  We got to talk to Gloeckner about what the recording process was like, touring, and her next album.

BurgerADay:Your sound on Vine is drastically different from Mouth of Mars. It’s a very Bon Iver-like switch to go from a very organic folk sound to something much more ambient and electronic. Why did you make the sudden shift for this album? Continue reading

Waxahatchee-Out In The Storm

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John Darnielle made a name for himself recording simple songs into a boombox, mostly by himself, some people say that the Mountain Goats lost their touch once Darnielle brought in the rest of the band and began recording more polished albums.  Any good Mountain Goats fan knows that the band has only improved as they’ve gotten older, then why did I apply the former philosophy to Waxahatchee?  Katie Crutchfield’s debut album American Weekend was such a masterpiece that I ignored the following two albums, until Out In The Storm, which captures the lyrical essence of Waxahatchee, with wider, warmer production. Continue reading

Black Kids-Rookie

Black Kids first and last full album came out in 2008 and while I was a big fan of them back at the beginning of high school I realized I hadn’t listened to their first album Partie Traumatic in full in at least seven years. As I sat down to re-familiarize myself with Partie Traumatic I got sucked back into the goofy upbeat dance world that Black Kids makes you a part of. Continue reading