Top Ten Albums of 2021

Cassandra Bristol, Opinions Editor

   As 2021 comes to an end, it’s time to reflect upon the most notable album releases of the year. No matter the genre, these highly-anticipated releases each certainly delivered on each of their promises. Here are the top 10 albums of the year.

   10.) The Metallica Blacklist by various artists– According to Metallica’s website, this unexpected tribute to the band’s 1991 self-titled album features “…50+ artists spanning an unbelievably vast range of genres, generations, cultures, continents and more, each contributing a unique interpretation of their favorite Black Album cut” ( Cameos range from a dramatic cover of “Nothing Else Matters” by Phoebe Bridgers to Mac DeMarco’s surprisingly accurate rendition of “Enter Sandman.”

   9.) Red (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift– This reimagined version of Taylor Swift’s 2012 album Red offers a new way to experience her old music, with the added bonus of the artist actually owning its legal rights. It surpassed half a million units in the first five days of its release (

   8.) Violence Unimagined by Cannibal Corpse– Even after 31 years of releasing albums, the legendary death metal band Cannibal Corpse has remained very prolific. The group never fails to deliver brutal lyrics combined with the heaviest and most technical instrumentals, which is evident in their latest release.

   7.) Ice Melt by Crumb– The Boston-based indie band Crumb are best known for their dramatic and psychedelic single “Locket,” released in 2017. But their latest album, Ice Melt, reveals a more low-key, chill side to their sound, featuring energetic drum beats topped with dizzying synths that support solid and captivating melodies in each track.

   6.) Comfort To Me by Amyl and The Sniffers– This Australian punk band’s latest album features much more nuance than prior releases. Their previous self-titled album was more of a classic, lighthearted punk album, while Comfort To Me features more poetic and broad themes.

   5.) CRAWLER by IDLES– U.K. punk band IDLES did not disappoint with their latest studio album. CRAWLER focuses on introspection and nuance more than ever before for the group, taking hints from their influences along the way. The album has been criticized by some for being “all over the place” (according to music reviewer Anthony Fantano), but others embrace it for its versatility.

   4.) Donda by Kanye West– Although controversial, this list would be incomplete without Kanye West’s Donda. After hinting at a new album for seemingly an eternity, “ye” finally delivered his latest solo effort on August 29, 2021. Paired with dramatic listening events, the album was received as equally artistic both musically and performatively.

   3.) An Evening with Silk Sonic by Silk Sonic– The album is a perfect throwback to the 1970s. Bruno Mars’ pop swagger combined with Anderson Paak’s rhythmic presence brings a perfectly nostalgic vibe for listeners of all generations to enjoy. Popular releases include “Leave the Door Open” and “Smokin Out the Window.”

   2.) Happier Than Ever by Billie Eilish– The 19-year-old singer’s sophomore album is quite different from her previous work, including more live instruments and a more diverse set of influences. The title track brings power and emotion, both musically and lyrically. The album spent two weeks atop the Rolling Stone 200 in mid-August (

   1.) MONTERO by Lil Nas X– The initial release of the song “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” was a stark diversion from the status quo. The album opened new doors for the queer community in rap, proving that suggestiveness and promiscuity are not just reserved for straight rappers.