December 28, 2021

Brooklyn Vegan's Top 50 albums of 2021


"It's hard to narrow down all the albums we loved this year, but we whittled a list down to 50, which spans over a dozen different genres of music, from breakthrough debut albums to career-high peaks from veteran artists and plenty of the in-between" - Brooklyn Vegan points out introducing their Top 50 albums of 2021. Here are their Top 10:

10. Japanese Breakfast - 'Jubilee'

9. Billie Eilish - 'Happier Than Ever'

8. Every Time I Die - 'Radical'

7. Cassandra Jenkins - 'An Overview on Phenomenal Nature'

6. The Weather Station - 'Ignorance'

5. Little Simz - 'Sometimes I Might Be Introvert'

4. Tyler, the Creator - 'Call Me If You Get Lost'

3. Low - 'HEY WHAT'

2. Jazmine Sullivan - 'Heaux Tales'

  1. Turnstile - 'Glow On'

Guarding us from bad music
December 26, 2021

Guardian chooses best albums of 2021

An interesting list of the 50 best albums of 2021 chosen by the Guardian writers. Before that, let's mention their list of the best global music albums, headed by Toumani Diabaté and the London Symphony Orchestra's 'Kôrôlén', and their list of best folk albums, with John Francis Flynn taking the top spot with 'I Would Not Live Always'. Going back to their general list, the top 10 are:

10 Mdou Moctar – 'Afrique Victime'

9 Arlo Parks – 'Collapsed in Sunbeams'

8 Olivia Rodrigo – 'Sour'

7 Dry Cleaning – 'New Long Leg'

6 Sault – 'Nine'

5 Tyler, the Creator – 'Call Me If You Get Lost'

4 The Weather Station – 'Ignorance'

3 Little Simz – 'Sometimes I Might Be Introvert'

2 Wolf Alice – 'Blue Weekend'

1 Self Esteem – 'Prioritise Pleasure'

Sometimes lists might be summarized
December 26, 2021

Little Simz tops BBC's best albums list

'Sometimes I Might Be Introvert' by Little Simz has been named the best record of 2021 in BBC's summarized list. The album topped a BBC News "poll of polls" that combined the results of 30 critics' end-of-year lists. BBC points out that this "journey through her family background and artistic struggles" has been "praised for its 'razor-sharp lyricism' and 'extravagant, orchestral' songs". The best songs list is topped by 'Good 4U' by Olivia Rodrigo.

The top of the needle
December 23, 2021

The Needle Drop selects 50 best albums of 2021

YouTube music critic The Needle Drop also comes out with his selection of best albums of 2021. A really very versatile selection, covering genres such as death metal, classical music, rock, conceptual pop... The top 5 albums chosen by The Needle Drop: St. Vincent, Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra, Arca, Lingua Ignota, and Spelling.

Xmas came different this year
December 21, 2021

Vice's... different list of the best Christmas songs of all time

"Christmas songs vary hugely in genre – you’ve got everything from Songs-of-Praise-core to “Mad World” – and as you will see throughout this list, we are not afraid to challenge boundaries and perceptions. (One of the songs included, for example, doesn’t actually exist.) Not all Christmas songs mention Christmas, and not all Christmas songs are even “songs” as you may know them. Your mother screaming at you to get the dog out of the living room while there’s ham out, say, is just as much a Christmas ditty as “Silent Night” herself. You may not be able to play all our choices on your little Spotify, but they are all undoubtedly Christmas songs in that they contribute to the sounds and the mildly deranged mood of the season" - Vice kind of argues in favor of its list of 50 best Christmas songs. A mad list.

"The jazz and experimental music that left the biggest impression this year did so primarily because it challenged us to find momentum in life" - Pitchfork argues in favor of their selection of best jazz and experimental music. Some interesting music there - political poet Anthony Joseph who got a helping sax from Shabaka Hutchings, Pakistan singer Arooj Aftab, free-improv team of guitarist Bill Orcutt and drummer Chris Corsano, broad collab by Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and The London Symphony Orchestra, rap poet Moor Mother and others.

Celluloid rain
December 11, 2021

50 best soundtracks since 1971

The Ringer has made a selection of the 50 best soundtracks from the past 50 years, with only pure soundtracks permitted - no scores. An interesting selection, from '8 Mile' to 'Purple Rain'.

So, take a weekend off
December 10, 2021

NME selects 50 albums of 2021

Sam Fender

"Take a close look at this year’s truly brilliant album releases and you might just conclude that the last 12 months have been all about pushing things forward while taking stock of the past" - NME introduces its selection of 50 best albums of 2021. Here are the Top 10:

10. Olivia Rodrigo - ‘Sour’

9. Turnstile - ‘Glow On’

8. Halsey - ‘If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power’

7. Arlo Parks - ‘Collapsed In Sunbeams’

6. Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - ‘Carnage’

5. Tyler, the Creator - ‘Call Me If You Get Lost’

4. Self Esteem - ‘Prioritise Pleasure’

3. Wolf Alice - ‘Blue Weekend’

2. Little Simz - ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’

  1. Sam Fender - ‘Seventeen Going Under’
December 09, 2021

Pitchfork's 35 best electronic albums

"Much of this year’s best electronic music, both on and off the dancefloor, attempted to channel the mixed emotions of the present day. Loraine James, Space Afrika, Perila, Muqata’a, the Bug—all of them reminded us that electronic music can also be a vehicle for contemplation, sorrow, and even fury, while simultaneously testing the possibilities of their chosen forms" - Pitchfork says introducing its selection of 35 best electronic albums of 2021.

List tales
December 07, 2021

Pitchfork: The 50 best albums of 2021

"Breakout artists like L’Rain, Dry Cleaning, and Arooj Aftab put themselves on the map and set high expectations for whatever they do next. Favorites like Jazmine Sullivan, Low, and the Weather Station moved from the margins into the spotlight with career-best releases. More than ever, great music was there to be found if you looked hard enough" - Pitchfork presents its list of 50 best albums of 2021. Here are their top 10:

10. Dry Cleaning: 'New Long Leg'

9. Playboi Carti: 'Whole Lotta Red'

8. Mdou Moctar: 'Afrique Victime'

7. The Weather Station: 'Ignorance'

6. Turnstile: 'Glow On'

5. Low: 'HEY WHAT'

4. Floating Points / Pharoah Sanders / The London Symphony Orchestra: 'Promises'

3. Tyler, the Creator: 'Call Me If You Get Lost'

2. L’Rain: 'Fatigue'

  1. Jazmine Sullivan: 'Heaux Tales'

Tyler, the Listed
December 07, 2021

Consequence picks out 50 albums of the year

"The year’s best albums built idea on idea, theme on theme, one track at a time. Some explored the heaviness of life and death, and others provided us with all the joy we were missing from the world at large. What they have in common is an awareness of how to place a thought next to another thought, building in richness and complexity" - Consequence introduces its Top 50 albums of 2021 list. Here are their top 10:

10. illuminati hotties – 'Let Me Do One More'

9. Armand Hammer, The Alchemist – 'Haram'

8. Lil Nas X – 'Montero'

7. Lil Nas X – 'Montero'

6. Lucy Dacus – 'Home Video'

5. Little Simz – 'Sometimes I Might Be Introvert'

4. Turnstile – 'GLOW ON'

3. Arlo Parks – 'Collapsed in Sunbeams'

2. Japanese Breakfast – 'Jubilee'

  1. Tyler, the Creator – 'CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST'

The song never remains the same
December 06, 2021

The 100 + 50 best songs of 2021

"In another trying year, many of the best songs were about picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and trying again" - Pitchfork writes introducing its selection of this year's 100 best songs. Interesting choices between Halsey's 'I am not a woman, I’m a god' and Caroline Polachek's 'Bunny Is a Rider'. Rolling Stone also unveiled its selection of best songs of 2021, 50 of them. Twice's 'The Feels' and Wizkid's 'Essence' enclose the list.

The consequence of 2021
December 06, 2021

Consequence's artist of the year: Lil Nas X

"There wasn’t another artist in 2021 who dominated headlines, charts, and streams the way Lil Nas X did, all while delivering thought-provoking art pieces and promises of more to come. A star was born a few years ago, and now he’s arrived, more of a burning comet. Consequence is thrilled to name Lil Nas X our 2021 Artist of the Year".

Listing stone
December 03, 2021

Rolling Stone's 50 best albums of 2021

The early birds of Rolling Stone have made a selection of the best albums of 2021. Not so retro list actually, and plenty of various artists between St. Vincent and her 'Daddy's Home', and Olivia Rodrigo's 'Sour'. Check the full list here.

Glam list
December 02, 2021

Top 11 glam rock songs

Medium presents top 11 glam rock song, with the No. 1 being 'Ballroom Blitz', the Sweet song based on a 1973 concert that got out of hand. Guitarist Andy Scott described how he and singer Brian Connolly were dragged off the stage in Glasgow, Scotland: “There was an absolute riot. All the fans were screaming and going crazy. A bunch of girls grabbed Brian and me by the ankles and dragged us off stage. They started lobbing off our hair with scissors they had been hiding in their handbags.To say we were terrified was an understatement. No one had ever seen a reaction like this and security didn’t stand a chance. Mike went away and wrote the lyrics to ‘Ballroom Blitz’".

Inspired by Peter Jackson's Beatles documentary 'Get Back', Rolling Stone has compiled a list of the 70 greatest music documentaries of all time: "the concert films, fly-on-the-wall tour chronicles, punk and hip-hop and jazz time capsules, and career assessments of everyone from Amy Winehouse to the Who that have set the standard and stood the test of time". The list finishes with 'U2: Rattle and Hum' and starts with Bob Dylan 1967 docu 'Don't Look Back', with plenty of good stuff in between.

Pitchfork made a selection of 11 best new music books. Among them: 'A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance' by Hanif Abdurraqib because of "language that evokes possibility; memoir that is both vulnerable and instructive; cultural analysis that deftly rejects linear historicizing; unlikely connections that tilt a reader’s understanding of the world"; 'Crying in H Mart', the debut book from Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner - "a gutting music memoir disguised as literary mukbang"; 'In Defense of Ska' by Aaron Carner "is a lovingly written defense of a vibrant, diverse musical underground that stayed afloat against all odds".

Riff and roll
November 15, 2021

Video: The heaviest riffs of all time

Revolver asked an expert panel of heavy-metal and hardcore musicians — including members of Type O Negative, Revocation, Imperial Triumphant, and more — to pick out the heaviest riff. The musicians chose Black Sabbath, Slayer, Metallica, Pantera, Rage Against the Machine, Van Halen...

Watch out list!
November 05, 2021

Stereogum's 40 best new bands of 2021

PinkPantheress / Horsegirl / Bruiser Wolf

Stereogum picks out 40 musicians "that make us most excited about the future", which includes Bruiser Wolf, Olivia Rodrigo, Enumclaw, For Your Health, Indigo de Souza, Horsegirl, Mustafa, PinkPantheress among others. The criteria is that "all of them are doing something worth hearing right now, and deserve to have your ears on them going forward". Check out the full list.

Life's bricks
November 01, 2021

Tori Amos presents the music that made her

Tori Amos ran down the songs and albums that formed the contours of her life, at Pitchfork. Plenty of different music - Aphex Twin ("coming from a brain that thinks differently than the rest of us"), Radiohead ("It was this explosion that changed the terrain sonically"), Mary Hopkin ("the most beautiful, whimsical thing"), Adele ("like a meteor had crashed in through the atmosphere"), Tracy Chapman ("It woke me up and took me back to my 5-year-old self, who was creating from a pure place of intention of music being magic, as a place where we could walk into and feel many different things").

Pitchfork asked its readers to rank the 200 best albums released between 1996 and 2021, in celebration of the site's 25 years online. The People's List is also an interactive, infographical look at how their readers’ gender identities, ages, locations, and the number of years they’ve been reading Pitchfork. Check it out here.

Pitchfork is continuing to celebrate its 25th birthday, the latest b-day cake being a selection of favourite albums by some of Pitchfork's own favourite musicians. Some interesting choices: ANOHNI chose 'Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Power in the Blood' ("Buffy is one of the people I am relying on to help me understand how to move forward as an artist and as a human being"), Bun B chose Radiohead’s 'OK Computer' ("when life starts moving too fast, 'OK Computer' is still there to help slow it down for me"), Daniel Kessler from Interpol chose Aphex Twin’s 'Richard D. James Album' ("pushed music to where it had never ventured before"), Thundercat chose Slipknot’s 'Slipknot' ("awesomeness"), Timbaland chose OutKast’s 'SpeakerBoxxx/The Love Below' ("groundbreaking").

Yves Tumor / Moor Mother / Navy Blue

Pitchfork made a list of 25 new artists "that help us consider the future of music: how it’ll be made, where it’ll come from, what role it’ll play in shaping scenes, and how genre lines may be increasingly dismantled". Some of the promising ones the P staff chose: MIKE for being "a beacon within the modern rap underground", Black Midi for "oddity and unpredictability", 100 Gecs for their "extreme pop music", Moor Mother for her "radical message", Bartees Strange for "his vision of what guitar music can encompass", Yves Tumor for their "restless experimentation", Amaarae for "bending the boundaries of Afro-fusion music", Navy Blue for being the "leader of a new class of introspective rapper-producers", Blood Incantation because they've "elevated old-school death metal into a psychedelic, ever-expanding solar system".

Adult oriented lists
September 15, 2021

Rolling Stone's 500 greatest songs of all time

Rolling Stone has reviewed its 2004 list of 500 greatest songs of all time. Nearly 4,000 songs received votes. Where the 2004 version of the list was dominated by early rock and soul, the new edition contains more hip-hop, modern country, indie rock, Latin pop, reggae, and R&B. More than half the songs here — 254 in all — weren’t present on the old list, including a third of the Top 100. The result is a more expansive, inclusive vision of pop, music that keeps rewriting its history with every beat - RS points out. The list starts at the number 500 with Kanye West's 'Stronger', and reaches the highpoint with Aretha Franklin's 'Respect'.

There's also beauty there
August 29, 2021

New Sounds makes a selection of music from Afghanistan


New Sounds produced a podcast with a selection of music from Afghanistan, putting a different light on the troubled nation. Among the selected are Homayun Sakhi and Quraishi with their rubâb music, folk poems of Afghani women, the Hazara tradition by Hamid Sakhizada, and adapted music from the Khorasan region by the duo Badieh. Much of the music comes from musicians who have fled the country to Europe or North America.

Sympathy for the drummer
August 25, 2021

100 greatest drummers of all time

Rolling Stone is celebrating the life of the deceased Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts with a (repeated) list of 100 "kings and queens of slam". An interesting list, starting with Christian Vander from the French prog-rock band Magma, and finishing with Led Zeppelin's John Bonham.

Kwaito dancing

The Face brings a brief history of some of Africa’s most exciting modern music genres. Kwaito was born as a voice of South Africa’s Black population and liberation from Apartheid. Amapiano is kwaito's derivate made in the same country. Singeli is a fast-paced, jangly offshoot of the party-friendly bongo flava genre, sped up to between 180 and 300 BPM. Asakaa is also known as Ghanaian drill. Coupé-décalé is characterised by soaring guitars, triumphant horns and lilting basslines.