Sound In The Signals - Best Albums of 2021

I think this year was a pretty great year for music. A ton of good albums came out in 2020, but the music industry pushed for a big bounce back after a really rough 2020 (mostly due to the pandemic). With that big push came a ton of great albums, EPs, and singles. 2021 is one of the best years for music releases in a while. This list represents what I would consider to be my favorite album releases of the year (and a few mixtapes). When considering the list and order I took into account what I listened to the most, my own personal taste, and what were my biggest go-to releases this year.

1.Mod Sun - ‘Internet Killed The Rockstar’ (Deluxe Edition)

Mod Sun was one of the leaders in the punk rock mainstream revival this year and deservedly so. He and John Feldmann crafted a unique album that captures Mod Sun’s vibe and personality better than any of his music ever has. The flow, pace, and themes are extremely well done. I think the lyrical approach was great with this album as some is fun, some is tongue in cheek, and there’s also some great depth. The deluxe edition added some great songs and I feel like some of the direction of those songs helped add a lot to the overall vibe of this album. The title track is one of my favorite songs of the year. Mod Sun nailed it with this album. It’s a fantastic statement album from him.

2.Jxdn - ‘Tell Me About Tomorrow’ (Deluxe Edition)

This album is pretty heavily influenced by MGK’s ‘Tickets To My Downfall’ in terms of sound and style. I think that’s purposeful. I think Jxdn, as well as Travis Barker, wanted to show that influence in some ways and to have a continuation of that sound while putting Jxdn’s spin on it. I feel like they delivered and accomplished the goal in a huge way. In a way I was almost surprised how good this album really is. It’s a long album, but it never really lets up. I don’t feel like it has any songs that I skip. It also has nice throwbacks to pop/punk roots of the past while being grounded on the current mainstream pop/punk sound. Again, like with the Mod Sun album, the deluxe edition songs are extremely well done and a nice addition to the album.

3.Kennyhoopla - ‘Survivors Guilt’

I think this mixtape shows off Kennyhoopla’s musical diversity, intensity, and unique lyrical and vocal approach to music. There is so much rawness in the vocals and the performances feel so authentic and real. Travis Barker and his team worked on this and again crafted a great look into what punk music can be in 2021. With this release, while definitely incorporating elements I’ve heard before in punk, emo, and to a degree hardcore, Kennyhoopla makes it feel fresh and like he’s sprinkling in something new and unique.

4.Lil Lotus - ‘Errør Bøy’

This album feels like Lil Lotus’ big moment when he really elevates himself from the pack of artists he’s often associated with at times. The full band approach on a lot of these songs works really well and it’s the best thing he’s ever released lyrically. This album has a great upbeat feeling to it. A lot of the songs are catchy and well done. I think John Feldmann did a great job with the songs he produced on this. The opening song is great and such a fantastic way to start the album.

5.Between You & Me - ‘Armageddon’

This album finds the band a few years removed from their debut album and the songwriting maturity is on full display. There is a bigger display of styles, technicality, and vocal delivery. The album takes more than a few chances with the sound that the band has come to be known for and it really pays off. Sonically, this album sounds great. It’s a massive sounding album full of really well-written songs.

6.Magnolia Park - ‘Halloween Mixtape’

This mixtape is such a massive statement and a big arrival to a larger audience for Magnolia Park. I like a lot of the topics that the band covered in the songs. There are a ton of great musical moments. The lyrics are from an interesting point of view and feel so authentically emo and pop/punk. Musically, it feels like it’s influenced by the past sounds of this genre while incorporating a lot of newer elements making it sound really fresh and current.

7.nothing, nowhere. - ‘Trauma Factory’

This is nothing, nowhere.’s biggest statement to date. I feel like he hasn’t yet peaked as a songwriter, but he’s really hitting his groove here. There are a lot of different genres and moods explored on this album and I think it’s all tied together really nicely. It’s an interesting album and I really like hearing the progression in the sound from previous material to this album. “Upside Down” is easily one of the best songs of this year.

8.Save Face - ‘Another Kill For The Highlight Reel’

Many bands have tried to make an album like this over the last 5-10 years and many have failed. This album does a great job of taking inspiration from the New Jersey pop/punk/emo sound of the early-mid 2000s and it revives it in a modern and fresh way. There are some really interesting and big musical moments on this album. Overall, it feels grandiose in nature. I feel like this could be one of those iconic albums from the emo and punk scene. It seems like the band meticulously thought out every song and piece of artwork and in doing so created a great statement piece that I think will be a genre favorite for this year and possibly years to come.

9.Super American - ‘Sup’

This album is fast, scrappy, quirky, and thoughtful. It’s a great mixture of everything this band has ever released. It’s the best batch of songs they’ve ever written. The vocal trade-off is done really nicely. This band is so talented at writing catchy choruses and conveying their message through their unique lyrical approach.

10.Willow - ‘lately i feel EVERYTHING’

A lot was made about this being a pop/punk album, but it’s more of an alternative rock album with elements of indie rock, grunge, garage rock, 90s alternative music, and pop/punk. It flows together well. I think the production sounds rough in spots, but that’s definitely that way on purpose. “Grow” is such an infectious song. It’s short, catchy, and extremely well-executed. I like the 90s alternative pop/rock vibe of “Gaslight” a lot. I think Willow has an interesting vocal approach on a lot of this album and her vocals really make this album interesting.

11.Jail Socks - ‘Coming Down’

12.Olivia Rodrigo - ‘Sour’

13.This Wild Life - ‘Ever Blossom’

14.Origami Angel - ‘GAMI GANG’

15.American Teeth - ‘We Should Be Having Fun’

16.Grayscale - ‘Umbra’

17.AG Club - ‘F**k Your Expectations Pt.1 & Pt.2’

18.Calling All Captains - ‘Slowly Getting Better’

19.99 Neighbors - ‘Wherever You’re Going I Hope It’s Great’

20.Chloe Moriondo - ‘Blood Bunny’

21.A Better Way - ‘Love Affair’

22.You, Me, And Everyone We Know - ‘Something Heavy’

23.Cole Chaney - ‘Mercy’

24.Turnstile - ‘Glow On’

25.With Confidence - ‘With Confidence’

26.Zao - ‘The Crimson Corridor’

27.Worst Party Ever - ‘Dartland’

28.Jutes - ‘Careful What You Wish For’


29. Lil Huddy - ‘Teenage Heartbreak’


30.Goody Grace - ‘Don’t Forget Where You Came From’


31.Like Pacific - ‘Control My Sanity’

32.De’Wayne - ‘Stains’

33.Brockhampton - ‘Roadrunner’

34.Tyler, The Creator - ‘Call Me If You Get Lost’

35.Youth Fountain - ‘Keepsakes & Reminders’

36.Home Is Where - ‘I Became Birds’

37.The Maine - ‘XOXO: From Love & Anxiety In Real Time’

38.Couplet - ‘LP1’

39.Angels & Airwaves - ‘Lifeforms’

40.Waterparks - ‘Greatest Hits’

41.Good Sleepy - ‘everysinglelittlebit’

42.Joystick - ‘I Can’t Take It Anymore’

43.Eric Church - ‘Heart & Soul’

44.Bleachers - ‘Take The Sadness Out Of Saturday Night’

45.Charles Wesley Godwin - ‘How The Mighty Fall’

46.$uicideboy$ - ‘Long Term Effects Of Suffering’

47.Trippie Redd - ‘Neon Shark’

48.Joshua Ray Walker - ‘See You Next Time’

49.Gojira - ‘Fortitude’

50.SeeYouSpaceCowboy - ‘The Romance Of Affliction’

51.Carcass - ‘Torn Arteries’

52.Every Time I Die - ‘Radical’

53.Nominee - ‘Lowlife’

54.Wristmeetrazor - ‘Replica Of A Strange Love’

55.Rationale. - ‘If The Problems Persist’

56.Drayton Farley - ‘A Hard Up Life’

57.Graduating Life - ‘II’

58.Kanye West - ‘Donda’

59.Young Thug - ‘Punk’

60.Jack Kays - ‘Mixed Emotions’

61.The World Is A Beautiful Place… - ‘Illusory Walls’

62.Sincere Engineer - ‘Bless My Psyche’

63.Scowl - ‘How Flowers Grow’

64.Drake - ‘Certified Lover Boy’

65.Stars Hollow - ‘I Want To Live My Life’

66.Vince Staples - ‘Vince Staples’

67.Spiritbox - ‘Eternal Blue’

68.Mike And The Moonpies - ‘One To Grow On’

69.Catbite - ‘Nice One’

70.Poorstacy - ‘Party At The Cemetery’

71.For Your Health - ‘In Spite Of’

72.Lil Tecca - ‘We Love You Tecca 2’

73.Guccihighwaters - ‘Jokes On You’


74.Posture & The Grizzly - ‘Posture & The Grizzly’

75.Limp Bizkit - 'Still Sucks'

Follow Sound In The Signals:



No comments: