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Old 12-10-2021, 09:14 PM   #1
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2021 Year in Review

A lot of year-end lists are starting to drop, so I figured we should have a dedicated place to talk about our favorite music of 2021. Lists, recommendations, surprises, and reflections welcome.
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Old 12-11-2021, 01:35 AM   #2
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I haven't even come close to making a list yet, but I have LOVED this year in music.

BTW, I will happily do another year end Interference top list if people are interested.
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Old 12-11-2021, 03:54 PM   #3
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Looking over the P-fork readers' poll results, I'm surprised at how popular Lana Del Rey is.

And I'm interested in a year end interference list. I know I missed a lot of good music this year.
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Old 12-14-2021, 11:25 AM   #4
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Looking over the P-fork readers' poll results, I'm surprised at how popular Lana Del Rey is.


I don’t get it. I’m old and boring, she’s young but also boring.
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Old 12-14-2021, 01:17 PM   #5
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I don’t get it. I’m old and boring, she’s young but also boring.
I truly have never understood the appeal.
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Old 12-14-2021, 01:29 PM   #6
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She lost me after Lust for Life. Her songs have lost whatever punch and catchiness they had. Now they just meander all over the place endlessly. Boring is a good word for it, and I say that as someone who's listened to a lot of LDR in my day.
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Old 12-15-2021, 01:12 AM   #7
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Really good year for music but I'll admit that no one album has separated itself as my favorite. There are like 5 all vying for that spot.

If we do another Interference list, I'm good to go with mine. It broke down in such a way where I have right around 15 albums I'm really passionate about. I'm relistening to a bunch of stuff but I doubt anything will change with those top albums. I've spent too much time with them at this point.
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Old 12-15-2021, 11:29 AM   #8
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El Mel, did you fail to notify us that Kero Kero Bonito released 2 EPs this year, or was I just not paying attention?
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Old 12-15-2021, 11:54 AM   #9
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I have one clear favorite and then another 13-15 after that I've really enjoyed. If we do lists, I'd probably just distribute the points out evenly over everything after #1.
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Old 12-15-2021, 01:50 PM   #10
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El Mel, did you fail to notify us that Kero Kero Bonito released 2 EPs this year, or was I just not paying attention?
To my knowledge, they only put out Civilisation II this year (the first installment was in 2019). Excellent EP, they really fleshed out the electronic sounds they introduced on the first one. Princess and the Clock is a perfect KKB pop song and Well Rested takes the band in fresh new directions.
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Old 12-15-2021, 02:57 PM   #11
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Ahh, I saw on iTunes that the two EPs are being sold as a combined album for $6 and assumed they were both from 2021
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Old 12-16-2021, 02:53 PM   #12
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Great year in music, I agree, though Jan-June was much, much better than August-December as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 12-22-2021, 11:56 AM   #13
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16 albums that stood out to me - in alphabetical order. I was really into the downtempo stuff this year.

Arooj Aftab: Vulture Prince
Fuses orchestral, folk, and indie influences seamlessly.

Bendik Giske: Cracks
Scandinavian jazz with the sax as percussion - extremely distinctive.

Billy Woods & Moor Mother: Brass
Came out in the last week of 2020, but I'm including it here; a great collaboration of underground, industrial rappers.

Cassandra Jenkins: An Overview on Phenomenal Nature
Anyone reading this probably already knows about this one.

Dry Cleaning: New Long Leg
Wry, disaffected mash-up of post-punk and beat poetry.

Grouper: Shade
Whispering lo-fi rock - perfect for winter.

Italians Do It Better: Madonna Tribute
Icy, vaguely disco-fied takes on Madonna's hits and deep cuts alike.

Low: Hey What
Folk-industrial-techno hybrid that brings the emotion through the morass.

Mach-Hommy: Balens Cho
Languid beats with a flow that keeps you guessing - Mach-Hommy was my top hip-hop discovery of the year.

Nala Sinephro: Space 1.8
Synthy, shimmering jazz suite.

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis: Carnage
Cave & Ellis continue to push their boundaries, alternating quiet meditations and booming social commentaries. This is my album of the year.

Skee Mask: Pool
Continues on the themes of the amazing Compro but pushes them in a more hypnotic direction, with beats more for texture than energy.

Sofia Kourtesis: Fresia Magdalena
Propulsive electro accented with Latin influences.

Spirit of the Beehive: Entertainment, Death
Defies easy categorization - an extended song suite with hooks and melodies that bubble to the surface every so often before receding back into a wash of shoegaze.

Sufjan Stevens & Angelo DeAugustine: A Beginner’s Mind
It's remarkable how effortlessly Sufjan can turn out folk-rock gems, and in DeAugustine he has found a great collaborator.

Torres: Thirstier
Hook-iest effort yet from Torres, but the characteristic foreboding is still there.
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Old 12-22-2021, 04:09 PM   #14
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Aside from Biffy Clyro's new album, which is their most experimental album to date, Tom Petty's "Angel Dream" has been my most played album.
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Old 12-23-2021, 02:43 PM   #15
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I really enjoyed music this year, and found albums that will remain very close to me for years to come.

1. The Weather Station - Ignorance
I like this album more with each new listen. Tamara Lindeman managed to capture our zeitgeist and record a protest album for our times, but without ever losing her lyricism, poetry and grace. She's a magician in crafting beautiful melodies that work off her deep voice, and I can't think of a recent record that has such a strong sequence of opening songs (favorite songs: Parking Lot, Subdivisions).

2. Cassandra Jenkins - An Overview of Phenomenal Nature
I read someone who described this as a "lifejacket of an album", and I couldn't think of a better image. From the music to Cassandra's whisper to the production to Ramble, this album embraces you warmly. It's a beautiful meditation on loss and healing from an artist that seemed to have been looking for her own identity until she recorded this. Despite its almost ethnographic nature, its songs are full of hidden secrets and confessions that will reveal themselves to the listener slowly, a celebration of the magic of everyday moments that we tend to take for granted (Hard Drive, Ambiguous Norway).

3. Little Simz - Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
This was the album that surprised me the most this year, such is the power of Little Simz's creativity. She often cites Lauryn Hill as an idol, and you can hear her influence throughout this album (Woman is perhaps the most obvious one). Her rapping, even to a non-expert like me, is mesmerizing, and the production is smart enough to let it shine. Just fantastic (Woman; I Love You, I Hate You).

4. Spellling - The Turning Wheel
Seems like a pretty divisive album, mostly because of Cabral's voice, but this is one of the most inventive albums of the year, with gorgeous, sophisticated melodies and fantastic tunes all around. If you enjoy Kate Bush and art pop in general, chances are you will like this (Always, Turning Wheel)

5. Japanese Breakfast - Jubilee
Michelle Zauner released a great record and a memoir in 2021, and what did you do? While still coping with the loss of her mother, Zauner seems to be in a much better place with this album, which has moments of pure joy despite still stradling in some of her older themes. Her dreampop influences are not as pronounced here, as more direct synths and melodies dominate the album, but it somehow perfectly captured the joy of spring 2021 before we came to our senses (Be Sweet, Posing for Cars)

6. Genesis Owusu - Smiling with No Teeth
A theme across many releases this year was artists pushing boundaries of their genres or seemingly integrating disparate influences into something coherent. Smiling with No Teeth is perhaps the best example of the latter, with influences ranging from TV on the Radio to Pharrel. But where this stands out is in its clear-eyed political message, which took me back to Solange's A Seat at the Table (The Other Black Dog, Don't Need You).

7. black midi - Cavalcade
This was close to AOTY for me when it came out, but I haven't gone back to it as often as I thought. I didn't like their debut very much, but this one is a tour de force in creativity. Experimental prog rock at its best (John L, Slow)

8. Black Country, Black Road - For the First Time
That Windmill scene in the UK was pretty prolific this year, with black midi, Squid and this gem of an album by Black Country, Black Road. It's perhaps just as experimental as Cavalcade, and there's some resemblance in the aggressive vocals, but they are less interested in some of the prog troupes (Athens, France; Opus)

9. Sufjan Stevens & Angelo De Augustine - A Beginner's Mind
Nice to be positively surprised by a Sufjan album after The Ascension. The melodies here are top notch, their subtlety and complexity are truly testament to his skill as a songwriting right now (Lady Macbeth in Chains, Back to Oz)

10. Feu! Chatterton - Palais d'Argile
Beautiful album, lovely way to stay true to traditional French chanson while making what sounds like a really fresh, modern album (Cristaux Liquides, Compagnons)

11. Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & London Symphony Orchestra - Promises
12. Clairo - Sling
13. Squid - Bright Green Field
14. Rodrigo Amarante - Drama
15. Jane Weaver - Flock
16. Pearl Charles - Magic Mirror
17. Lucy Daucus - Home Video
18. Wolf Alice - Blue Weekend
19. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END!
20. Sweet Trip - A Tiny House, in Secret Speeches, Polar Equals
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Old 12-24-2021, 06:18 PM   #16
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10. Feu! Chatterton - Palais d'Argile
Beautiful album, lovely way to stay true to traditional French chanson while making what sounds like a really fresh, modern album (Cristaux Liquides, Compagnons)
Hell yeah. In my Top 3 for sure. And Compagnons is among my fav tracks of the year as well.
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Old 12-25-2021, 11:41 AM   #17
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2021 Year in Review

It’s such a good track! Even in an album that it is pretty consistent all around and that is more about its overall mood than specific tracks, it really stands out.

Just realized that I forgot to include Faye Webster in my list. Not sure how that happened! I loved her album, would probably place around 5-6 on my list. Oh well.
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Old 12-25-2021, 12:30 PM   #18
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I still need to catchup with the new Faye. Loved the last one, Atlanta Millionaire's Club.
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Old 12-26-2021, 10:29 PM   #19
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I find your lack of Faye disturbing.
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Old 12-29-2021, 04:38 PM   #20
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I only discovered Lighthning Bug's A Color of the Sky today, but it might have made the back end of my list were I to revise it. Lovely, peaceful, ethereal dream pop. The Return, the opener, is one of the very best songs of the year.

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