2021’s Top Hits (So Far)

Reviewing some of the most exciting albums released in the last two months


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NEW MUSIC. Are your playlists getting a bit stale or do you need some new albums to listen to? Here are three great albums released this year that might do the trick.

     Every Friday, the customary release date for music, countless singles and albums are released to the public, and it can be impossible to keep up. However, since the majority of music is released over the summer, interesting new music can even be difficult to come by at the beginning of each year. So far in 2021, not all that many major projects have come out, but plenty of great music has been released. Here are just a few of the great albums that I have been listening to over the past couple of months. 


     This year already has held some stunning debut albums, for example, British singer and songwriter Arlo Parks’ Collapsed in Sunbeams. Released in January, the album’s preceding singles were largely released over the course of 2020 and the beginning of 2021. Collapsed in Sunbeams is a blend of indie-pop and R&B with a very mature yet organic tone to it. Each song is both poetic and relatable; many of the lyrics were reportedly written based on poems she had written, which makes the tracks feel very personal and comforting. This record is a great reflection of some of the individual problems that so many people face in this world and overall makes for a beautiful and concise listen. The 20-year-old artist is still emerging and carving out her own space within the music industry, but this album is a clear step into the spotlight.


     Along with some excellent debut albums, 2021 has seen releases from some musical veterans. Weezer is one of the most polarizing bands of the last few decades—it seems that no one can make up their mind on whether or not they are still worth listening to—and they returned in January with a new album titled OK Human. In the music industry, not much is more difficult than sustaining a career over multiple decades. With this album, however, the band proves that they still have the will to create albums and experiment with new sounds. Unlike their earliest, most critically acclaimed work, which generally has a light-hearted indie-rock tone that is perfect for the summer, their recent effort offers orchestral-backed pop-rock songs that are perfect for a cold winter day. Some of the lyrics might sound a little cliché, sure, but Weezer has proven that in 2021 they can still make a great album.


     A final album released this year is Magic 8ball by New York-based singer Mac Ayres. It is a brief listen, clocking in at just under a half-hour of music, but it is a perfect display of why quality is more important than quantity. The album is chilled out, funky, soulful, and carefree; in an Instagram post about the album, Ayres said that it “has no genre… Just the absolute best tunes I could write in 2020.” Each track is quite warm and rather energetic, somewhat reminiscent of work from larger artists such as Tame Impala or Steve Lacy. While the album may lack substance in some areas, the singer delivered exactly what everyone needs in 2021: some fun songs with great energy.