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Shawn Campbell writesCHIRP Radio Best of 2021: Shawn Campbell

CHIRP Radio Best of 2021

Throughout December, CHIRP Radio presents its volunteers’ top albums of 2021. Our next list is from Founder and General Manager Shawn Campbell.

Albums! We still love you! Lots of good records came out this year, including...











#1 Jubilee by Japanese Breakfast (Dead Oceans)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Japanese Breakfast JubileeA sharp, shimmering wide-ranging classic of an album (Slinky dance numbers! Warm and fuzzy dream pop! Smart singer-songwriter tracks!) that I'll be listening to for years to come.











#2 I Don't Live Here Anymore by The War on Drugs (Atlantic)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

The War on Drugs I Don't Live Here AnymoreIn 2021, sometimes all you wanted was a big slab of comfort, and The War on Drugs delivered just that -- another grand, sweeping rock record in the Dylan/Springsteen tradition, but with some sonic explorations here and there just to keep you guessing a bit.











#3 Surrealist EP by OK Cool (Take A Hike)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

OK Cool Surrealist EPAdmittedly this one is a six-song EP rather than a full album, but the moment that "Five Finger Exploding Heart Technique" came blasting out of my speakers, I fell in love with this local duo who comfortably merge classic indie rock and power pop influences with lyrics tackling contemporary issues.











#4 Smiling With No Teeth by Genesis Owusu (House Anxiety/Ourness)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Genesis Owusu Smiling With No TeethOwusu incorporates electro-funk, hip-hop, and rock to great effect in an album that sounds like nothing else that came out in 2021.











#5 Occult Fractures by Arthhur (self-released)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Arthhur Occult FracturesDance anthems to kick off the third decade of the 21st century. Try to sit still.











#6 Mother Nature by Angelique Kidjo (Verve)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Angelique Kidjo Mother NatureThe veteran Beninese singer brings on a ton of great young collaborators from West Africa and beyond on her 18th album, a collection of uplifting and powerful protest songs.











#7 Still Life by Massage (Mt. St. Mtn)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Massage Still LifeWe're likely not going to get another Pains of Being Pure At Heart record, so this album from Pains bassist Alex Naidus is the next best thing. A great collection of catchy, dreamy fizzing and jangling pop songs.











#8 Skin by Joy Crookes (Speakerbox)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Joy Crookes SkinA hugely promising debut from this young Londoner, full of vintage analog sounds and memorable melodies. As many reviewers have pointed out, there's certainly some Amy Winehouse here, but also the effortless retro cool of here-and-gone acts like Noonday Underground.











#9 Home Video by Lucy Dacus (Matador)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Lucy Dacus Home VideoDacus continues to prove she's one of the best songwriters of her generation with another collection of personal yet somehow universal songs with stylistic variety that avoids the mid-tempo sameness that plagues some of her contemporaries.











#10 Thirstier by TORRES (Merge)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

TORRES ThirstierThis is the first TORRES album that's really won me over, featuring powerful tracks that build to bombastic sing-along choruses, driven by what may be my favorite song of 2021, "Don't Go Putting Wishes In My Head."











Here's to a safe, happy, healthy 2022 for all of us!

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2021

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