Sunday, December 19, 2021

the Top 10 Pop Albums of 2021

Pop speaks for itself. This list once included hip hop, but sadly there was really only one hip hop album, worth making it, and nothing the quality of what we got from Run the Jewels last year. Instead, it seems producers are just recycling sounds from other artists. Much like in years past sort through the genre lists before making the overall top ten of the year list.  The fact these artists made it on the list speaks to how great these albums are, so it's not a slight that the number 8 album is above the 9th album, there is something that just gives it an edge that makes me want to listen to it more. After all we can try to look cool and pick the hippest bands for a list, but at the end of the day what makes an album the best is that it makes you want more, you look forward to listening to it again. Perhaps you can find your next favorite on this list and have included links to reviews of these albums if you want to check out audio on these guys. Anyways here are the top 10 Pop albums of 2021.

10-Young Thug -"Punk"

This is more of an honorable mention as the album falls way short of what he did back on "Beautiful Thugger Girls" which is something he has yet to recapture, but on this album he seems aware of that fact.  It has been a pretty dismal year for new hip-hop, sure maybe there have been a few singles here and there, but not much in the way of an album that is both solid from start to finish and breaks away from just following the back and defaulting to color by numbers. The next closest was the new Gucci Mane, which was well produced, but falls back on safe sounds that are what we have heard 1000 times over from other artists he had already proved himself more creative than. So, Jeffery Williams here should make the SWATS proud for taking more chances than most and experimenting once again rather than just settle for the same old same old.     

Abysmal Hymns: Young Thug ; "Punk"




9-Wolf Alice- "Blue Weekend" 

Formed as an acoustic duo it has evolved into an atmospheric pop band. The dream like qualities are balanced out with grooves and vocals layered into choirs on the choruses. It can be a fairly large sound with guitars heavily effected, sonically closer to things like dream pop and post-rock in the sweeping manner dynamics are used in their songs.

Abysmal Hymns: Wolf Alice : "Blue Weekend"

8-Twin Shadow- 's/t" 

A great album for the summer, as it has more brains to it than what is typically on the radio. He will always beat out the likes of Maroon 5 and Bruno Mars when it comes to not loading you down with too many empty calories. It might not live up to what he did on "Eclipse' but is better than what the mainstream is being offered

Abysmal Hymns: Twin Shadow : "s/t"

7-Halsey- "If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power" 

his collaboration with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is supposed to be a concept album about motherhood. Not in your face as the lyrical content does not tell a story as much as present a unified theme.; Not her most common form of pop music which she has shown an adventurous streak within the past. Imogen Heap emerges as an influence when it comes to her vocal style. 

Abysmal Hymns: Halsey : "If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power"

6-Ed Sheeran - "=" 

I really liked his previous album as well, though to me these songs often feel like he is giving it to pressure from what the current radio status quo. At times the producer might have stuck his head and said can we make it sound more 80s pr more 80s but like the Weeknd..However he played the cards he was dealt in order to make the suits happy well and these songs are still better than most of the current radio artists.   

5-Justin Bieber- "Justice" 

The other album I did not review for this blog. His best song writing yet, further blurring the lines where his sound differs from the Post Malones of the world. There is more of a retro 80s feel and he is frequently more soulful.  

  4-St. Vincent- "Daddy's Home"

 The angular Bowie like guitar has been replaced for a more soulful Prince This organic 70s vibe even invokes Joni Mitchells more jazz influenced work . There is a folkier strum to the title track that also has blues-based slink to it. With trippy atmospherics continuing to drip from the corners of every sound. While she has created quite an elaborate sound for herself here, she has not let it take precedence over the song writing.  


Abysmal Hymns: St. Vincent : " Daddy's Home"

3-Sting- " the Bridge" 

You would expect him to be on the rock list, but instead he opted for slick production and dumbed things down to the lowest common denominator because he is aware of where music is these days and a professional who wants to sell albums, that just does stop him from writing smart songs. This voice sounds better than any 70 year old in pop music.   

Abysmal Hymns: Sting - "the Bridge"

2-Pale Waves - "Who Am I" 

I still listen to their last album "My Mind Makes Noises" , and have been looking forward to this one. From the singles leading up to this album release I was beginning to hear some 90s radio influence. W There is less of an 80s Cure vibe. The album is still dark just in other ways There is more of a HAIM vibe instead of the 1975 feel of the first album/. Her voice is stronger on this album. She sticks to what she does though the moodier accents are smoothed out. This album was in a tight race for the number spot but got edged out for a band with more hooks. 

Abysmal Hymns: Pale Waves : "Who Am I"


1-Chrvches -" Screen Violence"

The Scottish pop band's 4th album. The title come from how they made this album remotely during the pandemic. It picks up where they left off at first and then goes in more interesting places as the album progresses. Mayberry may not employ a great deal of new tools in her arsenal, apart from production tricks, but continues to sharpen what she has been doing. Her growth comes more in the form of her lyrics. 

Abysmal Hymns: Chvrches : "Screen Violence"

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