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Spotify and Apple Music Recaps are Quaking: Top 10 Albums of 2021

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The majority of the albums on the charts are ones completely dipped in the personalities of the artists. It seems when each of them tap into raw emotions and real-life experiences, it only increases their views.

Without a doubt, women have dominated the 2021 album charts.

There have been some incredibly generic releases like Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy” and some emotional albums which simply didn’t hit the spot like Kanye West’s “Donda”. Nevertheless, amongst the small handful of albums which really feel like nails on a chalkboard, there were plenty of high hitters in these past few months.

Before getting into the top 10, here’s three runner-ups which didn’t quite make the rank.

Runner Ups:

Halsey’s “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power” album cover.

  1. Halsey, “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power”

Halsey dropped an extended album of 16 empowering songs which dig deep into her soul.

The meaning and depth each song in this album contains was phenomenal and probably one of Halsey’s top albums.

If feminism could be defined by one album, it would be this one.

A man in a gray suit stands against a glass podium with a stern face and an old-fashioned background with another person at a podium behind him.  Below the podium in a fancy yellow font is the title name of the album.

Album cover for Polo G’s “Hall of Fame.”

  1. Polo G, “Hall of Fame”

Who knew Polo G would slam an album like this down in 2021?

Not to mention, the fact he dropped a “Hall of Fame 2.0” in Nov. of 2021, only a few months after the original was released.

Slowly climbing the ranks, Polo G dropped this deep, 20 song album including a handful of amazing artists as features in his song where he rocked the minds of his fans with awesome new beats and a collection of relatable lyrics.

Taylor Swift poses with her hats on her red hat wearing a tan coat against a nature background.

The cover of Taylor Swift’s album “Red (Taylor’s Version)”.

  1. Taylor Swift, “Red (Taylor’s Version)”

Swifties have been waiting for this album to drop all year and it was beyond anyone’s expectations.

Not only did the album consist of a 10 minute version of “All Too Well” and its accompanying new music video, but it consists of twenty-nine re-created versions of the songs from her original “Red” album.

The album was highly-anticipated and very well received, however, because it is technically a repeat of songs and lyrics, the album doesn’t quite qualify for the top 10 in this ranking.

Now, let’s get a drumroll for the top albums of the year.

A man in a black and white drawing is looking mischeviously at the camera with a black shirt and white cross on.  the word "red" is written above his head in a bloody-like font.

Album cover for Playboi Carti’s “Whole Lotta Red”.

  1. Playboi Carti, “Whole Lotta Red”

Playboi Carti definitely shocked the world with his twenty-four song collection of new music including features from Kanye West and Kid Cudi.

This album is not for everyone. The rap genre has a collection of emotions which are carried out in original songs.

Carti somehow manages to bring all of them into one album. Whether it’s sad, angry, fun or crazy lyrics, he brings different vibes into all of the songs in his album.

It is a bit of a mess, but somehow Carti makes it work gracefully.

A young women with glasses on puts her hand up to the camera in a car.  She is wearing black sunglasses with her lips parted.  The title of the album sits on the bottom right corner in cursive writing that's white.

Summer Walker’s album cover for “Still Over It”.

  1. Summer Walker, “Still Over It”

The queen of female empowerment is back for another album called “Still Over It”, which asks as an unofficial sequel to her 2019 “Over It” album that rocked the charts.

Not only is the album relatable on multiple levels, but it is spiritually addicting.

Summer Walker’s collaboration with SZA on her song “No Love” was something fans have been waiting for for years. Now that it’s finally here, it seems Walker may have broken the charts with the beauty of her twenty song album.

A group of eleven women sit and stand around a table with a plaid patterned table cover.  The image is in black and white with the title of the album in white letters just below the table.

The official album cover for Lana Del Rey’s Chemtrails Over the Country Club.

  1. Lana Del Rey, “Chemtrails Over the Country Club”

Lana Del Rey dropped two albums this year, including “Chemtrails Over the Country Club” in March and “Blue Banisters” in October.

Both got the recognition they deserved, but something about the long-awaited “Chemtrails” conquered our ears with its release.

It’s hauntingly beautiful, digging deep into our emotions and driving people to reach for the stars. The album is purely immaculate.

A woman wearing a leather jacket with short black pants puts her hands in front of her hips, against a sky blue background.  The border around the blue is black with the words of the album name in a neon yellow hue in the top left corner.

Jazmine Sullivan’s album cover for “Heaux Tales.”

  1. Jazmine Sullivan, “Heaux Tales”

It has been at least 5 years since Jazmine Sullivan has been seen on the charts.

Now, she finally dropped her extended play “Heaux Tales” and it is absolutely riveting.

Sullivan woke the R&B genre up with the empowerment of female sexuality, the relatable feelings of heartbreak and the true reality behind love and relationships.

Her phenomenal voice, however, was the final piece of the puzzle that brought her to the top.

Tyler, the Creator has a picture of himself on a driver's license that is yellow against a black background.

Tyler, the Creator’s official album cover for “Call Me If You Get Lost.”

  1. Tyler, the Creator, “Call Me If You Get Lost”

Did Tyler, the Creator just drop another game-changer on his fans? Yes, he did.

“Call Me If You Get Lost” is short, sweet and full of surprises to say the least.

With such a twist of vibes and a collection of incredible artists, Tyler, the Creator may have just glued the best parts of his music into one album.

“Sweet / I Thought You Wanted To Dance” featuring Brent Faiyaz and Fana Hues probably takes the lead as the top song in the album.

The artist Adele, posts with her right side profile face the camera against a blue background.  Her hair is blonde and she is posing straight-faced with makeup on.

The official cover of Adele’s new album “30”.

  1. Adele, “30”

Adele fans have been waiting around solemnly for another sob-worthy album to drop.

And thank goodness Adele brought everyone what they’ve been waiting forever for.

Her style is a bit different in “30”, somehow a bit less soulful, but a little more unique and diverse from her previous albums “25” and “21”. However, the raw emotions of her divorce and motherhood experience resonate through all twelve of her beautiful songs.

Everything about this album is angelic and breathtaking. There isn’t one song that’s not enjoyable on this collection.

Lil Nas X floating in a magical land with a circular raindow surrounding him as well as a river floating beneath him.  A bunch of buildings and pink trees surround him with butterflies flying around him.

The official album cover of Lil Nas X’s “MONTERO”.

  1. Lil Nas X, “Montero”

Lil Nas X has finally made a real name for himself.

He’d previously been popular for “Old Town Road” and his extended play “7”, but “Montero” is the album that won’t be soon forgotten.

Sure, his past creations were obviously engaging and helped him get recognized. However, “Montero” brought him the full-time glory he deserved.

His personality shines through every song and really gives the LGBTQ+ community an album to relate to.

At only 22-years-old, Nas managed to dominate the charts, pretty much knocking Drake and Kanye West out of the running for top rap albums.

Doja Cat is in the middle of a colorful nebula with alien like lettering in white going vertically over her naked body.

Album cover for Doja Cat’s “Planet Her.”

  1. Doja Cat, “Planet Her”

As the ranking jumps into the top three, it’s easy to keep Doja Cat closer to the top than anything else.

Her previous albums had received lots of love and attention, but “Planet Her” was everything and more for the American artist.

The album is empowering, sensual and captivating. Every song in this album is catchy and hits a deep relatable side for all of her fans.

Doja Cat finally got the phenomenal female rapper recognition she deserved.

Blonde Billie Eilish holding her shoulders with a white baggy sweatshirt around her in a brown background with her album title in cursive next to her.

Billie Eilish’s official album cover “Happier Than Ever.”

  1. Billie Eilish, “Happier Than Ever”

Billie Eilish dominated the charts with this album and for good reason.

The truth behind stardom comes out in this sixteen song compilation of the real, raw experiences of being a nineteen-year-old artist and its heartbreaking.

Watching Eilish open up about depression and body-shaming is jaw-dropping and relatable for many fans that surround her platform.

Even behind the heartbreaking meaning of her album though, there is a sense of empowerment that we’ve never seen before in her work.

She is confident and the growth of her voice and song-writing skills outshines all most of her counterparts in the music industry.

Thank you Billie, for giving us a piece of yourself with this gripping album.

Olivia Rodrigo poses with her tongue sticking out in front of a purple background

Album cover for Olivia Rodrigo’s “SOUR.”

  1. Olivia Rodrigo, “SOUR”

Olivia Rodrigo, 18, completely demolishes all other artists on the 2021 chart with her debut album, “Sour”.

It may have been the drama surrounding its release which increased the album’s recognition, but regardless, Rodrigo re-created the pop genre within a collection of eleven songs.

This may be the shortest album dropped in the collection of top ten, but it definitely shook the world with its relatable and dramatic content and incredible lyrics.

Rodrigo is definitely one of the brightest artists of the new generation, but she’s definitely got a lot of competition for her future albums based on the hype around this first one.

These artists completely dominated their genres and can glady enjoy the feeling of a heavy crown on their head from their magnificent creations.

Cheers to the artists who changed their fans’ worlds.

Jaedyn Young can be reached at jaedynyoung@sagebrush.unr.edu or on Twitter @jaedyn_young3.

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