It's been one hell of a year, full of ups and downs, but it's safe to say it's actually been a pretty great year for music. With the prospect of touring now in sight, lots of artists began releasing albums ready for the stage whilst others kept it more lowkey as they create simple albums from their bedrooms: and both of the methods created some fantastic projects.
I've put together a list of the best releases from each month of this year, so here are 12 of rubyonmusic's favourite albums of the year.
January: Arlo Parks - Collapsed in Sunbeams
Arlo Parks kicked off the year strong with her debut album ‘Collapsed in Sunbeams’: a simple yet sublime journey into the mind of a young person living in the 21st century. The album shows parks as a phenomenal storyteller as she makes the most mundane moments sound like a dream throughout the album.
You can find my previous review of this album here: Collapsed in Sunbeams - Arlo Parks Album Review
Other albums I enjoyed this month: Celeste - Not Your Muse, Maggie Lindemann: Paranoia (EP)
February: Julien Baker - Little Oblivions
The most overlooked album of the year has to be Julien Baker’s heart-wrenching third album. The album shows Baker at her best with its lyrics that are often so brutal it can make you wince, and the alt-indie rock instrumentals bigger than ever. Although ti seemed to get missed off a lot of end of year lists, Little Oblivions is absolutely worth your time.
You can find my review of this album here: Little Oblivions - Julien Baker Album Review
Other albums I enjoyed this month: Black Country, New Road - For the First Time, Hayley Williams - Flowers for Vases / Descansos.
March: Jon Batiste - We Are
Although I only listened to this album in the last few weeks, it’s already my favourite album that was released back in March. Full of soul and energy, John Batiste is a far cry from the albums that a lot of others created during lockdown. The album discusses a lot of inescapable real world events including the Black Lives Matter campaign and the pandemic.
Other albums I enjoyed this month: Lana Del Rey - Chemtrails Over The Country Club, Charlotte Lawrence - Charlotte (EP), Selena Gomez - Revalación.
April: Royal Blood - Typhoons
British rock duo Royal Blood were back with their third album in April, and it's safe to say they changed up their sound a bit. They mixed their classic heavy rock sound with 80s synth influences to create a mish-mash of genres that shouldn’t work yet somehow does. Having seen them in concert earlier in the year, I can confirm that this album sounds even better live.
Read my review of this album here: Typhoons - Royal Blood Album Review
Other albums I enjoyed: BROCKHAMPTON - Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine, Boys World - While You Were Out (EP)
May: Olivia Rodrigo - SOUR
There was no way that this album wasn’t going to be my choice for May. Olivia Rodrgo came out of pretty much nowhere to become one of the most recognisable faces in the music industry with one song ‘Drivers License’, then the debut album that followed. SOUR is an album that completely lives up to the hype that its been given, and although it isn’t perfect, its pretty damn good for a debut album from a 17 year old.
Read my review of this album here: SOUR - Olivia Rodrigo Album Review
Other albums I enjoyed: St Vincent - Daddy's Home, Easy Life - Life's A Beach
June: Wolf Alice - Blue Weekend
Blue Weekend is not only the best album of this month but also a top-three album of the year. Wolf Alice came in strong with this year’s album release, and showed how incredible they are at creating an album full of depth and so consistently good that you get lost in it from start to finish.
Read my review of the album here: Blue Weekend - Wolf Alice Album Review
Other albums I enjoyed: Doja Cat - Planet Her, griff - One Foot In Front of The Other.
July: Dave - We’re All Alone In This Together
2021 was a really good year for British rap and grime, and this album from Dave was a great example of this. It would have been hard to top his well-loved Psychodrama but the 23-year-old rapper did it with ease, with an album that takes on everything from the frivolous boasting to heartfelt stories from childhood and social commentary.
Read my review of the album here: We’re All Alone in This Together - Dave Album Review
Other albums I enjoyed: Laura Mvula - Pink Noise, Billie Eilish - Happier Than Ever
August: Luke Hemmings - When Facing The Things We Turn Away From
Luke Hemmings made his solo debut in august, and bearing in mind I was a huge 5 Seconds of Summer fan back in the day, I’m wondering why he ever needs to go back to them. WFTTWTAF is a well-put-together indie kid’s dream with its atmospheric synth driven instrumentals and relatable lyrics. The album was different than anyone could have expected, but a very pleasant surprise.
Read my review of the album here: When Facing The Things We Turn Way From - Luke Hemmings Album Review
Other albums I enjoyed: Lorde - Solar Power, Halsey - IICHLIWP, Maisie Peters - You Signed Up For This.
September: Little Simz - Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
The fact people were arguing between Kanye and Drake for rap album of the year when little Simz Sometimes I Might Be Introvert was right there is a crime. The Brish rapper released an album that was brilliant from start to finish, and was a perfect introspective insight to Littl Simz own life and her thoughts about the world as a whole right now. If there is oe rap album you should listen to from this year, its this one.
Read my review of the album here: Sometimes I Might Be Introvert - Little Simz Album Review
Other albums I enjoyed: Lil Nas X - Montero
October: Sam Fender - Seventeen Going Under
Newcastle’s new big thing Sam Fender was back with his sophomore album this year, and he used it to act as a voice for the British working class and did it phenomenally well. The album acts as a view into Samm Fender’s own life and childhood, but a lot of northern British specific social commentary that we’ve not really had since the likes of the Arctic Monkeys and even they weren’t doing it this on the nose.
Read my review of the album here: Seventeen Going Under - Sam Fender Album Review
Other albums I enjoyed: Lana Del Rey - Blue Bannisters, Brandi Carlisle - In These Silent Days
November: Taylor Swift - RED (Taylor's Version)
All Too Well (10 Minute Version). That’s all that needs to be said about why RED TV is the album for November.
Read my review of the album here: RED (Taylor's Version) - Album Review
Other albums I enjoyed: Adele - 30, Silk Sonic - An Evening With Silk Sonic
December: Khalid - Scenic Drive
Although there’s not been much time to process December releases, Khalid’s Scenic Drive is probably the release from this month I’ve listened to most. The EP/album features some star-studded collaboration and lives up to its name: the perfect soundtrack to a scenic drive.
Other albums I enjoyed: Alicia Keys - Keys