Year of transition, with a handful of new stars, some great figures and good albums, although not memorable or transcendental, not even with the return of ABBA.
The highlights, Adele, Rauw Alejandro or the Spanish C. Tangana. There is a lot to listen to, even so, with notable works by artists such as Lana del Rey, Villagers, Wolf Alice, Royal Blood, Lorde or Doja Cat.
Here are ten other examples of great albums from the last twelve months, for all tastes and musical records.
1. “Call Me If You Get Lost” (Sony Music), by Tyler, The Creator: Hip hop lovers who did not fully meet the expectations placed on the new Kanye West or Drake will find here a lifeline that drinks of some of the great icons of music to show a diverse mosaic of colors, never monotonous, more mature, free and emotional than in the past.
2. “30” (Sony Music), by Adele: Six years it took the main bestseller of the 21st century to publish a new sentimental biography in songs, less pop and immediate, more in the elegant line of the Barbra Streisand of the 70s, also cruder when tracing for her son a story about the breakdown of the home she had created for him, from guilt to self-atonement and empowerment.
3. “Sour” (Universal Music), by Olivia Rodrigo: Rare would it be that the Grammy for the revelation artist was not for the former child star who took over the charts and that, without transforming anything on the musical or production level, yes she knew how to rescue the intensity of adolescent emotions, first with the ballad “drivers license”, then stirring with “good for u”, one of the (few) great songs of the summer.
4. “Collapsed In Sunbeams” (Transgressive Records), by Arlo Parks: Another young star who has burst forth as a winner of the Mercury award for best British album, “a safe space” – defined by this black and bisexual woman – in the who, following the patterns of figures like Sufjan Stevens or Phoebe Bridgers, sings freely and frankly about sexual freedom, apathy and the search for personal acceptance.
5. “Montero” (Sony Music), by Lil Nas X: A burst of fireworks fired against the waterline of the old heteronormative structures of global music, this is how this LGBT + allegation could be defined, which is also a huge and proud combination of hip hop and pop, with songs that have been peddured and iconic and iconoclastic video clips like the one that gives it its name.
6. “Happier Than Ever” (Universal Music), by Billie Eilish: Here the queen of generation Z shuns the canons of gothic pop that raised her to the top, musically, emotionally and aesthetically, although in a more jazzy vibe maintains his hypnotic capacity and a singular, personal voice, still acid in her account of the effects of fame. Of the best, the homonymous cut that closes it.
7. “Screen Violene” (Universal), by Chvrches: It is commendable that a band reaches perhaps its best harvest of songs on their fourth studio album without losing their identity, that apparently “naive” synth danceable pop but with the that dispatch great existential questions on the edge of the precipice, as they did in their own way The Cure, hence the good understanding with Robert Smith in “How Not To Drown”.
8. “VICE VERSA” (Sony Music), by Rauw Alejandro: Neither Bad Bunny, nor Maluma, nor Karol G nor Rosalía, nor J Balvin’s “In Da Guetto”. If there has been a musician who has set the tone for the urban Latin, it has been this Puerto Rican by tying a rhythm that is difficult to shake to the cathartic arrangements of the 80s on songs that will define the memory of 2021, such as “Todo de ti” or “Desenfocao ‘”.
9. “Home Video” (Matador Records), by Lucy Dacus: The female authors again marked the path with force, people like Brandi Carlile, Kacey Musgraves or this young singer-songwriter with a special timbre, with a lot of air and power of suggestion, in a soft rock album, a bit folk, evocative, melodic, intimate, ideal for driving through the paths of adolescent memory in search of the present version of oneself.
10. “EL MADRILEÑO” (Sony Music), by C. Tangana: The great revolution of the year in Spain jumped internationally with the three Latin Gramm that the artist achieved, known until now more for his collaborations with Rosalía than for his albums .
“Me maten” or “Tú me dejaste de amar” demonstrated the wisdom of reinventing the idea of ”Spanish” from a global perspective, with pasodoble, flamenco and rumba by Calamaro, Jorge Drexler, Gipsy Kings, Elíades Ochoa, Kiko Veneno … He already said it: “It could have been a grotesque”, but it was a milestone.