The soundtracks of 2021: a look back at some of the albums released over the past year

As we look back on the past year, let’s take time to reflect on all that has been brought into our lives. Music is a universal language and a unifying art. It is a source of happiness and healing, something needed and much appreciated over the past couple of years. Whatever the music for you, this past year has given us some of the best. So, let’s step back and consider, in no particular order, the albums of 2021.

Red (Taylor’s version)

It’s no secret that Taylor Swift has been climbing charts and breaking records in the music industry for years, and in the past year she has made significant strides. In order to regain the legal rights to her art, Swift re-recorded all of her previous albums. Especially, Red. Red (Taylor’s version) was very different from Fearless (Taylor version).

In this re-record she released new songs “from the vault”, but she also released a new version of one of her hit songs, “All Too Well”, something fans have been asking for years. . The new 10-minute version received immediate acclaim, officially becoming the longest number one hit of all time, surpassing Don McLean’s”American pie.”

“This song has become a fan favorite on its own. My favorite song and their favorite song, lined up,” said Swift on Tonight’s Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Alongside the 10-minute version was the short film “All Too Well”, written and directed by Swift, starring actor Dylan O’Brien and actress Sadie Sink. These two versions brought more attention to the new version of the song and the album.

Red (Taylor’s version) delivered so much nostalgia while putting a unique new spin on fan favorites, featuring artists such as Phoebe Bridgers, Ed Sheeran and Chris Stapleton.


Rising artist Olivia Rodrigo made her pop music debut this year, releasing her debut album SOUR. The album combined many musical pieces from Rodrigo’s favorite artists, crediting inspiration to Alanis Morissette, Kacey Musgraves and Taylor Swift.

“She’s obviously such a personal songwriter,” Rodrigo said of Swift. in an interview with Zane Lowe. “I think I’m also a very personal songwriter. I draw a lot of inspiration from my personal life.

SOUR climbed the charts, winning Rodrigo a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Album, the American Music Award for New Artist of the Year, and Song of the Year at the MTV Music Awards for “Driver’s License”. Rodrigo has been nominated for seven Grammys, including album of the year.

“It has been the most magical year of my life,” said Rodrigo during his award speech. “I want to dedicate this award to all the other girls who write songs on their bedroom floors. There are a lot of people who will try to dim your light, but speaking your mind and sharing your heart is the most beautiful things in the world.


Adele released her debut album after a six-year hiatus on November 19, 2021, where she explored many new aspects of life and relationships in her music.

The scrapbook, 30, ensured that all four of Adele’s albums reached number one. One of the songs featured on this album, “Easy on Me”, reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles. All of Adele’s previous albums were titled according to the age she was at the time of writing them, so the jump from her previous album, 25 to 30, portrayed her comeback. This album differs from her previous works as it explores more mature ideas and dynamics that Adele had come to explore in her personal life.

“I really think some of the songs on this album could really help people, really change people’s lives,” Adele said. during an interview with Zane Lowe.


Lil Nas X release Montero in September 2021, which won numerous awards and received several other nominations, such as Grammy nominations for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Music Video. Montero won the MTV Music Award for Video of the Year, the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Video, among others.

The album provided a new layer for the artist, allowing listeners to connect with Lil Nas X on a deeper level than they are used to and proved a new perspective on his journey of self-discovery.

“I was able to release a lot of feelings that I didn’t even know I had repressed in some cases,” said Lil Nas X in an interview with Sirius XM. “Some things I just wanted to say, that I couldn’t get across to my fans because I didn’t know how to put them in my music, but I found a way.”

Lil Nas X went on to describe the ways the isolation of the ongoing pandemic allowed him to really reflect and deepen emotionally, which was reflected in this album.

planet she

Doja Cat freed planet she in June 2021, winning him the American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Album. Doja Cat is nominated for multiple Grammys, including Pop Vocal Album, Pop Duo Performance, and Record, among others.

The album explored many different topics and themes; more specifically, empowerment through anthems such as her song “Woman.” In recent years, social media has become an essential part of our daily lives, and among these growing platforms, TikTok has arguably become one of the most influential.

Doja Cat’s music has earned her an influx of fans and popularity as “Get into It (Yuh)” and “Woman”, among others, have become increasingly popular hits on the app and social media. in general. Organizing a wider audience, many content creators created creative TikTok dances and videos to his songs. Doja Cat left a huge mark on the social media world last year.

“I’m in a hurry and I feel good that people are listening,” Doja Cat said in an interview with 102.7 KissFM after performing his new music.

happier than ever

Billie Eilish released happier than ever in July 2021. The album depicts the struggles of adulthood, maturation, relationships, and growing up in general. Eilish shines a light on the struggles many young adults face, which adds to that relatability factor and connection with her audience.

happier than ever received several Grammy nominations, including Best Music Video and Best Musical.

“I wanted to make a very timeless record that was not just timeless to what other people thought, but really timeless to myself,” Eilish said. in an interview with Vevo.


Release of Bo Burnham Inside, a pandemic-inspired Neflix special, in May 2021. Both the special and the album encompassed many powerful tracks, while still being quite satirical in nature. An example would be Burnham’s song, “That Funny Feeling”, which explores raw emotions, feelings of anxiety and dread, but does so by incorporating many examples of that funny feeling. Burnham analyzes anxiety in all its forms, good and bad, in this piece.

“That inconspicuous summer air at the beginning of autumn, The silent understanding of the end of it all,” Burnham wrote in “That Funny Feeling.”

Inside won three Creative Arts Emmys: Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special, Outstanding Music Direction and Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special.

“Thank you to everyone who looked inside. I am incredibly grateful,” Burham wrote. on his Twitter page.

In these silent days

Brandi Carlile released her new album In these silent days, in October 2021, starring Lucius. Carlile’s album is raw and really connects to listeners’ emotions, just like many of his past albums such as The story, By the way I forgive you, and his work with tall women. Carlile presents his experiences of those silent days through his music.

In these silent days debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Americana/Folk album chart. From songs like “Right On Time,” which explored love despite frustration in these difficult times, to the rest of the tracks on the album, Carlile conveyed the emotional complexities of the past year.

“That’s kind of me saying with the album, that’s what I did in those quiet days, and also, what did you do in those quiet days,” Carlile said. in an interview with Zane Lowe. “I always want to engage the listener in a question instead of an answer.”

Cheerful motherfuckers

Allison Russell released her first solo album, Cheerful motherfuckers, who explored his life journey. Russell was proclaimed one of the best new artists of last year by NPR after her release which delved into special moments and pieces of herself that made her feel like an outsider in her own life.

“I’ve been involved in solo work and band work for many years now, but finally did a solo record,” Russell said on Sundance ASCAP Music Café.

The confinement sessions

Elton John is undoubtedly an icon in the music industry. John released his new album, The confinement sessions, last October.

On this album, John has collaborated with many new artists, and a few others he has collaborated with before. Among those names, John has collaborated with Brandi Carlile and Lil Nas X, and created new and exciting music for younger and older generations. John’s lock sessions explored classics and new pieces in a way that captured the essence of his performance and artistry.

“Because of my years of experience as a session musician, you have to know that they want a certain thing, they want a little bit of Elton on it, but they also want a certain thing to fit into the song. “, said John in a recent interview.


Clairo freed Sling in July 2021, which, compared to his past work, effectively portrays a newfound maturity in his writing.

Sling debuted at number 17 on the US Billboard Top 200 and officially made Clairo’s first Top 20 album. “Sling is more the direction I dreamed of making music in and the kind of free space I want to continue in,” Clairo said. in an interview with Vogue.