OK, here’s a provocative and probably unpopular opinion – 2021 was a pretty good year. Trump is out of the White House (for now), vaccinations are at least available, and we’re not in a recession, depression, or zombie apocalypse (for now). On the music front, it was one of the best years ever. Most every title in my Top 50 is Top 10 worthy, and since music is not a competitive sport, I come out the big winner here because my music library is all the richer thanks to every damn title I’ll dish more about below.
In the age of streaming, home-recorded albums, and a decentralized music journalism ecosystem — there is no such thing as consensus anymore, so most of the albums you’ll see here probably won’t see anywhere else — but unlike many year end lists, I bet you’ve heard of most of these artists.
My list, as it is every year, is a bit different. No promos. No PR pitches. No streaming. These are albums I bought with my own cash, in the superior physical format – the compact disc. Of course the industry is pushing consumers to vinyl (really expensive, cumbersome, non-portable, and degrading playback quality with every spin) and streaming (a format where the majors can game the stream-count system and walk with 99% of the available royalties), but FTS, for sound quality and convenience, life is better on the CD side.
#21: STING • The Bridge
I love the Police, and for the most part, I loathe Sting and all of his sappy, wispy, overly sanded, lite world beat pop songs. Perhaps the best post-Police project to come from the Sumner household was the 2016 masterpiece, “Information”, by his offspring Eliot. But then in washes this piece of joyful, melodic, mid-tempo sunshine. I did listen to an MP3 promo in advance and liked it enough to spring for the Target edition for the superior sonics and three forgettable bonus tracks.
#20: JOHN MAYER • Sob Rock
Continuing this list’s mellow hello is a fellow whose name I never would have ever thought would land in my CD collection. Mayer’s music is typically too middle of the road for me, but I loved where he seemed to be going with the title, the Michael Sembello-ish cover photograph, and the “Nice Price” sticker which I kept (and snapped into the jewel case tray. Not really an album you pay deep attention to; but the atmosphere is absolutely perfect for dinner parties, wine alone, or a day on a mother-funking yacht.
#19: LADYHAWKE • Time Flies
I have been all in on the shimmering edgy pop purveyed by this beautiful New Zealander singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist since the glory days of MP3 blogs and the Hype Machine index. I DL’d enough free “My Delirium” remixes to covet her official discs and have bought every Ladyhawke disc on opening day ever since. While Charli XCX has long-abandoned her brightly colored/dark themed Siouxsier side (True Romance is one of my Top 10 albums of all time), Ladyhawke keeps mining this sound for sonic gold. To deliver this album, she survived a melanoma scare during a worldwide pandemic, which adds to the danceable urgency of her lyrics and performance.
#18: DEBBIE GIBSON • The Body Remembers
It’s been 20 years since the last album of original material from the record-breaking, top-selling recording artist who burst onto the scene some 35 years ago with a debut so damn charming even goth kids and punk rockers harbored secret crushes on her. One of the all-time great tragedies in pop music is that her third, and best, album, Anything is Possible, underperformed compared to the worldwide sensations that were Electric Youth and Out of the Blue. 2017’s exquisite box set, We Could Be Together, helped tie up all the loose ends on the pre-Broadway era of her career, reminding fans that subsequent albums like Body/Mind/Soul and Think With Your Heart were magnificent as well. The rarities on the box set’s final disc hinted that she still has her magic touch and angelic voice and The Body Remembers pays off that promise big time. “One Step Closer” and “Love Don’t Care” add to the disco revival dominated by Kylie, Dua Lipa, Jessie Ware, ABBA, and the Foo Fighters. “Runaway” kicks off with a deeper bassline and sets her love boat off into new, modern waters, leading up to the glorious title track.
#17: MADISON BEER • Life Support
Madison Beer is one of those decade-in-the-making overnight sensations who has still yet to break through to the mainstream, despite being discovered by Bieber and being a part of the Disney machine. Beer recorded the theme song to my daughter’s beloved “Monster High” series. Her long gestating debut sits more on the edgier side of the pop spectrum, where fellow darkwave pop royalty like Taylor Momsen, Charli XCX, and Sky Ferreira rule the castle. “Boyshit” is the banger we’ve all been looking for since we grew tired of Billie Eilish’s magnificent but overplayed “Bad Guy”.
#16: BLACK SWAN LANE • Hide in View
It’s kinda odd that the dark, shimmering sounds of 1980’s England popularized by the Chameleons of Manchester and the Comsat Angels of Sheffield is alive and well in sunny Atlanta, Georgia — a city so bright, most streets are named Peachtree, except for a dark and magical winding road called Black Swan Lane. Here we are, nine glorious albums in with co-founder Jack Sobel handling most of the duties this time around. Each of the band’s previous albums were collaborative efforts to some degree — in addition to co-founder John Kolbeck, many former Chameleons and Chams spinoff Sun and the Moon members have guested on one or more Black Swan Lane albums, including Mark Burgess, Dave Fielding, Andy Clegg, Andy Whitaker, Yves Altana, and Kwasi Asante. Hide in View continues exploring the fertile, dark forests of its predecessors, delivering haunting and harmonic songs about love, loss, isolation and longing. Sobel and I clearly have loads of the same favorite bands, as hints of the Jesus and Mary Chain, Cocteau Twins, Kitchens of Distinction, The Church, and Echo and the Bunnymen flow from the speakers when this album is on. Hide in View reveals more and more with every listen, as you penetrate the walls of guitars and percussive elements to truly explore the lyrics and complex soundscapes. Much like the lockdown from which this album was produced, we aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon, so we have all the time in the world to savor every element on this record.
#15: JOY OLADOKUN • In Defense of My Own Happiness
I forget which late night show I was watching when I first experienced Joy Oladokun, but her set was so mesmerizing, I had this CD pre-ordered by the time it was over. Similar to how a hush fell over the room the first time we spun “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman at my college radio station back in the day, Oladokun’s songs demand complete attention, rewarding the listener with the deep hugs and rallying cries we need at this precarious moment in the nation’s history. If we survive the pandemic, and the midterms, I hope more and more people discover her music and message. Hatred appears to be winning, if you read the headlines, but when this album is playing, I feel renewed hope that love will find a way.
#14: JARVIS COCKER • Chansons d’Ennui Tip-Top
I had no idea this album was a tie-in to Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch until the CD arrived, but that certainly helps explain its charm. The former Pulp frontman is at that “I could do whatever the F I want” phase of his career, be that putting out albums filled with sea shanties, spoken word, verbalized calculus equations backed by a baroque ensemble… so when I heard his follow-up to last year’s epic Jarv Is project would be entirely in French, I figured, what the hell, if Iggy Pop can do it, why not Jarvis? The album, whose name translates to “top shelf boredom songs”, is absolutely stellar; each track is filled with luscious melodies, brisk tempos, sonic shifts, and surprises. Much like watching The Umbrellas of Cherbourg without the subtitles, you can still get what’s going on while enjoying the lush colors, costumes, and colorful cinematography in the music.
#13: DROPKICK MURPHYS • Turn Up That Dial
Closing on 25 years and Rock Hall eligibility, Boston oi punk ambassadors Dropkick Murphys have never released a dud album or a wayward single. So while this long-play, their 10th, ranks among their best, it ain’t too far flung from their worst album since every release is in their discography usually an 8.5/10 or higher. Turn Up That Dial delivers everything we need at this point in the pandemic, some community, catharsis, back of the bar caroling, clarity about what we’ve been through in the past few years, and countless reasons to smile underneath our masks. Like the Foo Fighters, they have too many big arena bursting big songs to fit into a 3-hour set, and now they have 10 more gems to rotate into the setlist. And once the party is over, a new original (and not a Pink Floyd cover) “I Wish You Were Here” honors singer Al Barr’s departed father alongside everyone taken this year by COVID or other tragedies.
#12: MANIC STREET PREACHERS • The Ultra Vivid Lament (Deluxe Edition)
OK, there was a time in the mid/late 1990’s when I was SO obsessed with Pulp’s final three albums, that I just needed more hits of that glorious Brit Pop hash pipe. By this time, Blur was in their weird phase and so the Manic Street Preachers filled the gap. Everything Must Go and This Is My Truth, Tell Me Yours arrived after their weird phase and were just beyond dreamy in terms of lush, orchestral, majestic, pop symphonies. I have no idea why I stopped following the band – perhaps I was distracted by the louder sounds of the aughts delivered by The White Stripes, The Strokes, The Libertines, and Against Me! But this year’s The Ultra Vivid Lament (available in a 2-disc deluxe edition) is simply exquisite and lush from start to finish. I have yet to even play the second disc of demos, there’s simply too much grandeur here to take in.
#11: OLIVIA RODRIGO • Sour
Perhaps no song since Adele’s “Hello” has captured the heartache, soothing, cathartic weep-inducing zeitgeist like “Driver’s License”, the monster hit that elevated yet another Disney starlet onto the pop music A-list. And then her debut album drops and surprises one and all for taking loads of punky twists and turns, marrying 90’s alt rock aesthetics with modern day balladry. Finally, an album fans of Arianna and Taylor, Weezer and Rancid can all agree upon. Rodrigo penned all or part of each track, with some nods (and shared revenues) given to Taylor Swift and Paramore for some intentional or subconscious inspirations. Sour is on most year-end top albums lists, and for good reason. It’s deep and shallow in the right places, deliriously fun and richly cathartic in others.
Dublin’s Inhaler blasted onto worldwide consciousness based solely on the strength of their songwriting and stylish AF brand packaging — it almost seemed like success came despite singer Elijah Hewson having one of the most famous rock star parents on the planet, and not because. Imagine the edge (tangential pun intended) of the Libertines, the majesty of the Manic Street Preachers, the earnestness of The Killers all in one danceable rock, pop, pretty boy punk package. Once the pandemic wanes and the group can tour the world, the sheer force of their promise and potential will be felt. In the meantime, they’ve already followed up this album with a crackling 3-track EP.
#9: FOO FIGHTERS • Medicine at Midnight / THE DEE GEES • Hail Satin
I am the world’s biggest Foo Fighters fan — I was there when they played Metro in Chicago, opening for Mike Watt before their self-titled debut album dropped in 1995 — I’ve collected a good three albums worth of b-sides on a stack of European CD singles and soundtracks — and yet, even I have found their past few albums to be a bit much. There’s nothing wrong with a throat shredding arena banger, but Dave’s larynx could use a rest — and the band could lighten the mood a bit. Hell, we all just survived the first four years of Trump’s presidency and now have a few years to recharge for the next (and likely downfall of society). Sensing the end of days, the Foos clearly want to party like it’s 1997 by releasing their most fun, most surprise-filled, and most breathable album since The Colour and the Shape. Meanwhile, Hail Satin (released on a limited-edition Record Store Day vinyl and a still-available, superior sounding lossy digital download via HDTracks, pairs five top-tier Gibb Brothers covers with five live-in-studio takes on key Medicine tracks.
#8: LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM
As much as I love Stevie Nicks’ Belladonna and Wild Heart albums, and her timeless contributions to the Fleetwood Mac catalog, my ride or die in the Mac-a-Verse is Lindsey Buckingham. His nine solo/duo studio albums are note-for-note perfect — exquisite in songcraft, production, vocals, and some of the best guitar playing you’ll find in popular music. He always strides that perilous line between melodic and weird, the ripples of darkness and crazy in his ice cream make his work all the more savory and delicious. If you believe the lore, this self-titled album is the reason he was booted from the Mac — they wanted to milk the cash cow on tour, he wanted to finish his album. Petty bullshit if you ask me, as 80% of the Mac was on Buckingham’s previous album, marketed under the name “Buckingham/McVie” because Nicks was absent. Anyhoo, despite the many break-ups (Buckingham with his band, his wife, and almost nearly with his life) we are blessed with this amazing child — some of Buckingham’s best work.
#7: GOLD & YOUTH — Dream Baby
In the mid-aughts, Canadian pop pop band Lillix made a splash on the soundtracks to Lindsay Lohan vehicles Freaky Friday and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen: but their three full-length albums still to this day rank among my all-time favorites for any artist, any genre. Louise Burns played bass on the first two (and the soundtrack singles, including a hit Romantics cover) before departing on a rich and rewarding solo career. Much like Jennie Vee (who plays bass in the Eagles of Death Metal), Burns solo work carries the torch of 80s dream pop darlings like Echo and the Bunnymen and The Church into the modern era – shimmering guitars, lush keyboards, brooding basslines and vocals that are haunting and angelic. Much like another kindred spirit, Neko Case, she also side-hustles in a variety of bands, including Gold & Youth. While Matthew Lyall takes center stage and is a magnificent front man, Burns provides harmonies, vocals, and instrumentation throughout. This album is an absolute gem, providing essential listening for fans of The Wild Swans, Arcade Fire, Manic Street Preachers, The Ocean Blue and similarly inspired left of the dial dreampop. If you’re in the USA, Amazon has the CD on sale this week for $8.99, snap that up ASAP!
#6: CHEAP TRICK • In Another World
No other album this year cost me more money, or delivered more hours of bonafide entertainment, than Cheap Trick’s 20th studio album. The tight songwriting and kinetic performance delivered here rivals the debuts of the genre’s best scrappy young upstarts — kids with fresh ideas, bountiful energy, and everything to prove. It’s not as if Rockford’s finest needs fresh material, they could easily fill a five hour set with wall-to-wall hits and still leave fans wanting more. But instead of milking the nostalgia circuit, they’ve been on a tear, delivering great album after great album in the 2010’s and now 2020’s. I wondered if this was a “comeback” or “creative resurgence” since I personally ignored so many Cheap Trick albums in the 90’s and Aughts. So I went to my local record store, Amazon, eBay and Discogs and hunted down every single disc in their catalog — finding new, sealed copies of most titles, and mint used copies of the rest. Sure it cost me a few hundred bucks, especially the bonus track stuffed Japanese editions of many titles, but the revelation after listening to them all was, there’s nary a dud in the bunch — even the much maligned The Doctor from 1986 proved to be quite righteous in a Big 80’s kinda way. Once the career lap was complete, I was able to appreciate In Another World all the more. Power Pop at it’s finest — and as much as I miss seeing Bun E. Carlos’s weathered cop persona behind the drum kit, Daxx Nielsen has more than earned his place in the hot seat — he’s an accomplished drummer whose crackling percussion breathes life into the band’s bankable rhythm section.
#5: DURAN DURAN • Future Past (Deluxe Edition)
Here we are, 40 wild boy years past their self-titled debut and the band is three albums into a resurgence on par with their first trilogy in terms of excellence and prominence in the modern pop culture zeitgeist. Producer Mark Ronson, who helped get them back onto the A-list with 2009’s All You Need is Now, returns in a smaller role, offset by contributions by Giorgio Moroder and lead-producer Erol Alkan. Blur’s Graham Coxon fills in the Andy Taylor role on guitar and Tove Lo is among the guest vocalists. Front and center are the songs – as sexy, freaky, and danceable as the classics. Move over “Wolf”, “Hammerhead” is the band’s new thirst trap classic.
#4: ABBA • Voyage
The very fact that this album exists, let alone is absolutely excellent, is an utter miracle. ABBA was my first-ever “favorite band”, back when wearing an ABBA t-shirt and having a self-made ABBA book cover was a middle school death sentence. In the 40 years since The Visitors, the world of course caught up with the music and spectacle generated by the music they created in a brief 8-year original run (as a frame of reference, Adele just went 6 years between albums). I have four coffee table sized books on the band, and the one clear throughline was, “they are never, ever, ever, getting back together.” So when news first surfaced years ago that 2 new songs were in the can, I was hopeful for an eventual EP. Never in a million years did I expect they’d record a full album, and even then, would it sound like classic ABBA, or sound like something new? Shockingly, Voyage accomplishes both. Instead of building upon the sophisticated, stadium-sized synth pop of The Visitors and Super Trouper (both, really BIG albums from a production standpoint), ABBA returns to the valley between Arrival (1976) and Voulez Vous (1979) — cheesy ballads, light disco, and one syrupy holiday song. The balance of the album pairs nicely with the handful of singles that followed The Visitors. The end result sounds more like a new beginning than a one off coda. Here’s hoping the album’s worldwide success (and first-ever Grammy nod) inspires Benny and Bjorn to retreat to the cabin as they used to, to pen new songs and charm the ladies into one more recording session. If Tony Bennett can score a hit album at 95, imagine what a non-touring, fully relaxed ABBA could do in their 80’s.
#3: DEMI LOVATO • Dancing With The Devil
There’s a moment in the YouTube documentary of the same name where Demi Lovato’s friends and sorted hangers-on reminisce about the night she OD’d and nearly died. As critical moments ticked by, they debated calling 911 for fears of getting in trouble and the potential bad publicity red lights outside her home would bring. I immediately drew parallels to Prince leaving that ER in Moline, Iowa for fear of bad press and how his last spotting was outside a Walgreens in Minnesota while his handlers scored more medications for him. I then thought of Amy Winehouse’s last breaths and how she proudly said no no no to rehab because “my daddy thinks I’m fine.” At least Prince, Winehouse — and for that matter, Cobain, Cornell, and Houston had all delivered their iconic, culture-changing masterworks by then, but Lovato for the most part was just sitting on a stack of pleasant, but not Earth-shattering teen pop. I would know, I bought every CD of hers after falling in love with this one, and there’s not much there. All that makes “Devil” all the more magnificent. Her first album since surviving the OD and declaring her true gender identity, in many ways feels like a glorious debut. The vocal performances here are next level for the entire pop diva genre, and the confessional yet universal showcases of songwriting are a masterclass in the creation of popular music. As good as Taylor Swift and Arianna Grande music is (I buy most, if not all, of their CDs), most fans dissect each track like tweets, looking for dish and dirt on the singer’s personal lives. Lovato’s songs focus on the music first, coating her frank revelations with glorious harmonies, bridges and hooks.
#2: KRIS BOWERS • Bridgerton: Music & Covers from the Netflix Original Series
It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since Shonda Rhimes’ opulent take on Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton novels ended one of the shittiest years ever on such a joyous, colorful, and ridiculously sexy note. Beyond the juicy and fertile source material, no detail was overlooked and every single element shined brightly — the casting, scripts, directing, editing, plus those spellbinding costumes and idyllic locations — and running beneath it all, the glorious music. Composer Kris Bowers later revealed the lush orchestrations that drive the narrative were recorded in lockdown, with eight musicians (dubbed the Vitamin String Quartet) creating a symphony hall of sound thanks to the miracle of multi-track recording. Released in two digital editions, the formal score and an EP of orchestral covers of modern pop songs, the songs bring back fond and frisky memories of every scenic vista, heaved bosom, ripped bodice, stolen glance, hushed whisper, ballroom entrance, first kiss, forbidden encounter, defiant strut, bare chest, dropped jaw, and euphoric burst of applause in the series. While an abbreviated hybrid of the two titles was released on vinyl, it’s tragic that the full score wasn’t released on CD — it’s well worth springing for lossy downloads on Tidal or HDTracks.
#1: VOLK • Cashville
OK, grab some markers kids, cuz school is in session. Draw four concentric circles on the board: Dolly Parton, The White Stripes, Poison, and the Reverend Horton Heat. How shoot a blazing AC/DC thunderbolt into that magical sweet spot where they all intersect and that just about gets us to the sweltering hot tip of the volcano of sound that is Volk. I googled the densest element on Earth — which turns out to be metallic osmium — to land on an apt metaphor for how Volk channels Americana, folk, hair metal, blues, pop, western, country, skiffle, and much more into their sound — with most of these elements exploding out of each verse, chorus, memody, and bridge at the same time.
Late last year, I predicted this new cowpunk classic would win the album of the year nod, and as the year played out (as you have seen), I began to wonder if it could hold on. But it did — and it didn’t hurt that I was reminded of their greatness during a west coast tour stop in Seattle supporting Nekromatix and the Murder City Dolls. In 2018, the blistering, ass kicking “Honey Bee” steadily rose the ranks to become my all-time favorite rock song. I came into their full-length with high hopes and low expectations, but Cashville truly delivers, allowing the band to join the White Stripes, Black Keys, and Local H in the pantheon of all-time “how the fuck is that much music coming from only two people?” bands. If there is a God ruling rock and roll heaven and hell, Eleot Reich (drums, lead vocals) and Chris Lowe (guitars, vox) will soon be headlining bigger stages around the globe.
And the rest:
A few titles flipped from one list to the next by the time I published this. In the year ahead, these will be the titles I will be spending long overdue quality time with, including what I’m guessing is a another great album by James (whose previous album topped my year-end list) — and yes, there is a Mouse Rat album in the house, a Parks and Recreation-inspired album sung by Chris Pratt. I have a lot of Lady Gaga to catch up on, Chromatica, The Dawn of Chromatica (remix album), and her darling second album with Tony Bennett.
While I bought enough reissues in 2021 to warrant several lists, there are a few other releases worth noting.
The Year’s Best EPs
More and more artists are ditching the full-length album to release short-form EPs – either in batches leading up to a full-length (like what Johnny Marr is currently doing) or as a one-and-done type statement. Here are a few of my favorites from this year.
Laura Jane Grace • At War With The Silverfish
The second solo outing by one of my all-time favorite artists, after a career fronting Against Me! and a one-off album by The Devouring Mothers, is her best since Transgender Dysphoria Blues topped my 2014 year-end best list a lifetime ago. Simple and bare describe the emotions, the lyrics, and the music here — as LJC, like the rest of us, rides out the pandemic in isolation. She moved to Chicago long after I moved west, just as her glory days in Florida were long after mine. While we keep missing each other city wise, her tales of loss, longing, anxiety, anger, defiance, resolve, and strength resonate with me wherever I go.
Dominique Pruitt • Praying For Rain
Despite what Nashville wants to sell you, some of the very best country music in the world comes from unlikely places, including Washington State (Brandi Carlisle) and the San Fernando Valley where once in a blue moon, Dominique Pruitt reveals a new barn burner. We first caught wind of her in 2012, and in the 9 years since, she’s only released about just as many songs — her covers are gorgeous but the originals are absolutely mind blowing. Much like her previous single, “High in the Valley”, “Praying For Rain” is a Quentin Tarantino movie boiled down to a 4-minute masterpiece. The EP, available on Bandcamp as a lossy download and limited-edition vinyl, is an absolute stunner.
Brielle Brown • The Well
The music industry is so focused on young, teenage pop starlets that it purposefully seems to forget who it’s top-selling artists are – Adele, Mariah Carey, Taylor Swift, and ABBA sell boatloads of albums (especially higher profit physical units) because they appeal to both teens and their parents. The US Census Bureau estimates there are 85 million moms in the USA alone, so why is this a somehow forgotten demographic? I have the Adele 30 deluxe edition, and I swear I’ll get around to it someday, but for now, nobody has captured the laundry basket full of big feels that come with parenting – and living – in times like these like The Well, the debut EP by Brielle Brown. Popdose premiered the first track, “Concrete Stars” back in October 2020, before the election, when the world truly felt like it was ending. At the time, Brielle told us, “I’ve created something to believe in, something honest, raw, and real. Something my children could hold onto.” In 2021, she directed an award-winning video for “She’s Come to Sing”, featuring Eatonville, NJ’s Project Dance while Indie Shark magazine named The Well its album of the year.
Holden Laurence • Falling/Drifting
Northeastern Ohio, including the cities of Cleveland, Akron and Kent, has produced a bounty of internal rock legends over the years, from Nine Inch Nails and the Dead Boys, to Chrissie Hynde, Devo, Tracy Chapman, and the Black Keys. The Modern Electric edged to the precipice of a breakthrough with 2015’s sweeping Original Motion Picture Soundtrack before disappearing. While the Bowie-loving band could have been, and still may become, the next The Killers, in the meantime, guitarist Holden Laurence has put out two near-perfect albums. 2017’s Wild Empty Promises and 2019’s Rewire are more in line with Echo and the Bunnymen, New Order, The Cure, and The Ocean Blue. Perhaps the latter’s big hit “Drifting/Falling” served as inspiration for Laurence’s new EP, Falling/Drifting. A bit darker than its predecessors in all the best ways, the EP builds upon a handful of one-off singles to comfort the lonely and lovelorn. Essential listening for teen goths and punks or their parents (like me) who still are such at heart.
And finally, great albums from 2020 that became greater in 2021.
Had I published a best album’s list in 2020 – the pandemic and the election crushed my soul, so while I listened to a lot of music, I just couldn’t write about it – these next few titles would have been top-ranked. In 2021, each was re-released with a bonus disc of new tracks as good as, of not better than, the amazing originals.
DUA LIPA • Future Nostalgia: The Moonlight Edition
2020’s best album (a worldwide monster smash) already got one 2-disc re-release in 2020 (Club Future Nostalgia, a DJ-set that added Madonna to the mayhem). This year’s Disc 2 adds a mountain of singles released after the original album.
JESSIE WARE • What’s Your Pleasure? The Platinum Pleasure Edition
Ware’s career-best, 2020 outing of sophisticated disco adds 7 new tracks and a remix to make a perfect album even perfecter.
KYLIE MINOGUE • Disco: Guest List Edition
Disc(o) 2 of this sold-out club banger adds Jessie Ware and Dua Lipa to the VIP guest list to keep the party going all night long and into the sunshine.
And finally, there are the albums I ignored this year simply because they did not come out on CD. Lorde (Solar Power), Susanna Hoffs (Bright Lights), Aly & AJ (a touch of the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out and then into the sun), Lil Nas X (Montero). Don’t really like this trend. One of 2020’s best albums, Divine Accidents by Butch Vig’s all-star supergroup 5 Billion in Diamonds was never released in any physical format or lossless DL. If that trend continues in 2022, I guess it will simply free up more of my spending money; clearly I have enough music to listen to.