Best Albums of Summer 2021 (So Far)
We've gotten a hell of a lot of good album releases the past couple of months. Here are the ones that are the most worth your time:
Gold-Digger Sounds- Leon Bridges
Leon Bridges dropped his third album last month and it is his best work to date (OK, tied with the Texas Sun EP with Khruangbin). Leon's nailed modernizing the doo-wop, old school R&B sound and bringing it to a new audience. It's got killer production work (thank you, Ricky Reed) and of course amazing song-writing. We all know Leon writes great love songs, but songs like "Sweeter" call for social change at a time when we need them.
Standout track: Magnolia
If you like Alabamas Shakes and Maggie Rogers, you'll love this album.
Private Space- Durand Jones & The Indications
Feels like it makes sense to list another retro-soul album after Leon right? I got turned onto this band during this album cycle and, my God, does it hit just right. They fit very well into the nu-disco sound that is becoming more and more prevalent over the past five to seven years. With tour dates for the fall selling out, this band is in the process of hitting it really big.
Standout track: Witchoo
If you like Black Pumas and St. Paul & the Broken Bones, you will love this album.
Stand for Myself- Yola
Clearly the theme for Summer 2021 is soul albums. Her second album has garnered wide-spread acclaim and it's all in the timeless voice that conveys so much raw emotion; the lyrics detailing the trials, tribulations, and successes of life; and the production work by none other than Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. This woman does not get nearly enough credit.
Standout track: Starlight
If you like Brandi Carlile or The War and Treaty, you will love this album.
Jaime (Reimagined)- Brittany Howard
Last soul album.....maybe. In 2019, Alabama Shakes' front woman Brittany Howard released her debut album Jaime which some might say is her best work to date.With amazing reworks by Jungle, Bon Iver, Earthgang, and Childish Gambino, to name a few, these re-work even more into the hip-hip, jazz, and electronic vibes of their source material.
Standout track: Stay High (Childish Gambino Remix)
If you like Alabama Shakes or Moses Sumney, you will love this album.
Vince Staples- Vince Staples
Rapper Vince Staples is no stranger to packing a quick, powerful punch. After all, his self-titled album is only 22 minutes. Vince is as sharp and fierce as ever with the producer Kenny Beats coming to give us something that's simple, but impactful. It's not quite Big Fish Theory (which is his best in my opinion), but it's still got that controversial edge that hooks us from the get-go.
Standout track: Law of Averages
If you like Schoolboy Q and Denzel Curry, you will love this album.
Call Me If You Get Lost- Tyler, the Creator
I'm a newborn Tyler fan as of 2021. This album, hosted by DJ Drama, did a great job of reviving the nostalgia of the DatPiff mixtape era. Like his previous works, there is a lot to dissect here, from the lyrics, the use of multiple genres, but with each listen, it comes together more and we get to see his overall vision. Songs like Manifesto fit perfectly into 2021 taking jabs at cancel culture and though he hasn't lost that shock factor edge we know and love him for, his maturity is more apparent here.
Standout track: Lumberjack
If you like Childish Gambino and Pusha T, you'll love this album.
Deadpan Love- Cautious Clay
It truly is the summer of hip-hop and soul. The Cleveland born, New York City realtor turned artist dropped his debut album and has proven to be one of the best new talents in the industry also as a multi-instrumentalist. His voice on songs like "Dying in the Subtlety" literally radiates euphoria. If you haven't heard his stuff yet, don't miss out. He's gonna be huge.
Standout track: Dying in the Subtlety
If you like Omar Apollo or Brasstracks, you will love this album