The year began with me watching The Office on Netflix for the last time. I woke up, and it was no longer there. The rest of the year was similar. I enjoyed the things I liked for as long as possible, but they ended too quickly. Maybe next year. Here is my best of 2021 list, along with my song of the year and some honorable mentions.
Here are my top 10 Albums of 2021 (in alphabetical order):
Between the Buried and Me: Colors II
Between the Buried and Me create an intriguing sequel to Colors, only released 14 years and seven albums later. The musicianship is crazy, and the songwriting packs a punch. I had drifted away from any sort of heavy music in recent years. Colors II had me rediscover its power.
The Dirty Nil – Fuck Art
Fuck Art was my first taste of The Dirty Nil, and it’s been my go to album all year. The songs are fun and bouncy and easy to sing along to. They are a catchy combination of melodic punk and hardcore breakdowns. The spotlight is in their horizon.
Dave Hause – Blood Harmony
This is a beautiful album. The songs are personal, gut-wrenching tales of regret, love, and hope for the downtrodden. Each song is a story sung by one of the most recognizable voices out there.
First Fragment – Gloire Eternelle
This album is just insane. First Fragment combine all things metal with classical music and throw in one of the most creative bass players in the game. The songs can be long, but they never get boring.
The Hold Steady – Open Door Policy
There are so many layers to The Hold Steady, with their unique approach to rock and roll led by Craig Finn’s talk/sing vocals. The stories in the songs always have me listening. There aren’t many heavy rockers, which is fine because even the lighter tunes build up to something great.
Lucero – When You Found Me
When You Found Me follows the laid back, alt-country/rock ‘n’ roll formula that they’ve had on their past three albums, with this being the strongest of the bunch. The songs run the gamut of emotions. This is everything a Lucero fan could have hoped for.
NOFX – Single Album
Fat Mike used Single Album to share a lot about himself. Hearing the songs in his voice is much more intimate and telling than reading the book. Though they do experiment with some new sounds, the music is NOFX. The lyrics are the selling point.
Pass Away – Thirty Nine
Pass Away have calmed down a little bit from their debut album, but they still created a half hour of amazing punk indie music. The hooks are everywhere, making the songs a blast to listen and sing along to. It took a couple listens for Thirty Nine to make its way through my bloodstream, but it’s well worth the slow burn.
Postage – Self-Titled
Dear Lord this is a fun album to listen to. Postage play bouncy pop punk that is catchy as anything. The album is short but memorable.
Scowl – How Flowers Grow:
Scowl are angry, fast, and chaotic. They have a great hardcore sound that is both classic and current. There’s a reason they have been popping up on a lot of year-end lists.
Best of 2021 Song of the Year:
Micah Schnabel-“White Roses”
This is a song that hits the emotion button from the start. Micah Schnabel is great at writing songs that make you think, move your body and feel something special at the same time. There is a ton of tension, all building up to the powerful ending that borrows lyrics from the children’s song “Roller Coaster” (or Nelly’s “Country Grammar” if you so choose). He’s always been a great rock and roll songwriter, and “White Roses” may be his best yet. This song is well worth the dollar price tag.