21 December 2021

The 10 Best Albums of 2021

From Olivia Rodrigo to Joy Crookes, HUNGER highlights the best of the best for music this year. 

The Anxiety – The Anxiety (WILLOW & Tyler Cole)

All you have to do is trip and fall into a TikTok hole to hear WILLOW blast “CaUghT a ViBe!” at least ten times over videos of non-dancers dancing to the number one hit. And there’s no surprise the track has had meteoric success on the app – all good songs do. Soon, clips of the accompanying music video were scattered throughout the platform as ads, or were stitched with other videos of people expressing their profound adoration of both the song and its singers. Alongside her bandmate, Tyler Cole, ‘Meet Me At Our Spot’ was nothing but the sound of a starting pistol on the group’s race to success, with the band’s album – a genre-bending, brief, yet totally artistic debut –  affirming what we all expected from the singers.

Joy Crookes – Skin 

Crookes’ highly-anticipated album was everything we wanted it to be. After a while, the singles and EPs were no longer enough. We wanted an album that was an even deeper, more intricate display of Crookes’ heart-felt, honest songwriting, as well as a mixture of detailed storytelling, songs to cry to, songs to dance to, oh, and some references to London would be nice. And that’s exactly what we got. ‘Skin’ broke through to number 5 in the UK Album Chart – a deserved spot amongst some of the most established names in music.

Dave – We’re All Alone in This Together

After winning big at the MOBO’s, taking home the award for ‘Album of the Year’, as well as placing in the top five in charts around the world, Dave’s second album has to be recognised as a trailblazing release this year. The album is a dissection of race, scandals, social injustices in the UK – a breathtaking comment on the world and the UK’s actions, raking up all of the accolades it deserves.

Billie Eilish – Happier Than Ever

The album brought in a new era for Billie Eilish with the same force as her Vogue cover or as when she sings “I don’t talk shit about you on the internet” in ‘Happier Than Ever’. It felt different. Or rather, it felt like it had to be a little different. With Eilish, we’re watching her grow. Listening to her changing talents and influences. A lot of people probably expected the dark, teenager-y, angsty pop that she’s known for. They may have also thought she was going to be on the cover of Vogue in a baggy hoodie, oversized jeans and electric green hair. But ‘Happier Than Ever’ reflects this transformation – a nod to maturity and development, growing up, getting over things and, most importantly, being okay with it.   

Doja Cat – Planet Her

The pop star, rapper, and TikTok-lover’s third album felt like the perfect representation of the artist: carefree, wide-ranging, and woven with talent, both lyrical and musical. Featuring appearances from Young Thug, Ariana Grande, SZA and more, the record never falls short of excellence, reaching a top five spot in charts around the world, including number two in the US Billboard 200.

Bruno Mars + Anderson .Paak – An Evening With Silk Sonic 

Accompanied by some of quite possibly the coolest, most stylish music videos ever made, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak’s collaboration is rooted in throwback nostalgia but with the relevance and success of any other extraordinary releases nowadays. In their hit single, ‘Leave The Door Open’, the whole cast sport the Lacoste x Ricky Regal collaboration and throw their shoulders back and forth in sync with one another. The album deserves praise not only for its tracks, but for the unrivalled imagery and aesthetic that comes with it. You can also see the duo getting drunk together in almost every interview they do.

Olivia Rodrigo – Sour

It seemed like Sour was put together in a matter of seconds following the unprecedented success of Rodrigo’s single, ‘Drivers License’ – a song that reached every corner of the globe overnight, once again, thanks to TikTok. But even though everyone ran into the recording studios and knocked out an album as quickly as they could, what they created was genius. It was fresh, exciting, and brought rock-pop, pseudo-grunge, and real teenage angst to the fore. Sure, there may have been some questions around how literally inspirations were taken when writing the songs, but these debates don’t take away from the fact that Sour will always go down in music history as one-of-a-kind.

Sad Night Dynamite – Sad Night Dynamite

The band’s eponymous album is one of those special moments in music where you really have not heard anything like it. The duo’s eclectic mix of inspirations, ranging from dark and eerie sounds, to the countryside, to drug-fuelled club nights, tells you all you need to know about what to expect from Sad Night Dynamite. The album led to sold-out shows across the UK and a growing friendship with Gorillaz frontman, Damon Albarn.

PinkPantheress – To Hell With It

TikTok is once again (partly) responsible for the musicians rapid rise to fame. Known for her anonymity and less-than-two-minute songs, the artist started posting short snippets of her songs on the app until people started to notice. Her song ‘Just For Me’ went viral on the platform and has garnered over 60 million streams on Spotify, with another of her singles, ‘Pain’, almost doubling that. ‘To Hell With It’ is made up of 10 songs, but is only 18 minutes long. Similar to the likes of Tierra Whack’s ‘Whack World’, the album is purely a display of PinkPantheress’ ability to craft all kinds of songs, toy with sounds, blend genres, and, most of all, keep us keen.

Lil Nas X – Montero 

There used to be fears floating around that Lil Nas X could be a modern-day one-hit-wonder after ‘Old Town Road’. But the 22-year-old proved people wrong. It seems that everything Lil Nas X touches turns viral, such as his ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name)’ video where he pole danced down into hell and gave the devil a lap dance, or the artist documenting his “pregnancy” from bump to birth. His album did not fall short of the expectation he had whipped up from his online presence. The record looked deep into his life through the lens of a range of genres, picking apart his experiences with sexuality and his family life.

We also love… 

Lana Del Rey – Chemtrails Over the Countryclub

Priya Ragu – Damnshestamil 

Arlo Parks – Collapsed in Sunbeams

Sam Fender – 17 Going Under

Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert

Mach Hommy – Pray for Haiti 

Maisie Peters – You Signed Up For This

For Those I love – For Those I Love 

Griff – One Foot in Front of the Other

James Blake –  Friends That Break Your Heart 

Adele – 30

Taylor Swift – Red

Arca – kiCK iiii

Tyler, The Creator – Call Me If You Get Lost

Clairo – Sling

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