Album of the Year

Platform’s Albums of the Year – 2021 Edition

The last few hours of the year are here, making it officially acceptable to indulge in a little 2021-themed nostalgia.

Music has played a massive cultural role in the year, of course, from leading our collective emergence from lockdown to soundtracking moments of celebration, pride and protest.

It would only be right, therefore, to honour the work of some incredible artists in very trying circumstances with a Platform tradition; the Album of the Year piece.

We’ve assembled, deliberated and made our calls.

All that’s left is to reveal them, so without further ado, here is Platform’s AOTY list for 2021!

Easy Life – ‘Life’s A Beach’

Easy Life
Image Credit: Island Records

My favourite album of 2021 is Easy Life’s ‘Life’s a Beach’.

Released in May, the upbeat tracks were perfect to listen to over summer when the sun was shining and uni assessments were finished.

The album accompanied many drives, including a road trip to the beach which was extremely fitting.

There isn’t a bad track on the album, but songs that I particularly like include ‘have a great day’, ‘daydreams’ and the slightly more melancholy ‘ocean view’.

The fan-favourite single ‘nightmares’ is also included, which was initially released in 2018 yet still matches the overall tone of the album.

This album is definitely one to listen to and is of amazing quality for a debut.

Rating: 9/10

By Helen Barber (Creative Corner Editor)

Inhaler – ‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’

Image Credit: Polydor Records

My favourite album of the year was most definitely Inhaler’s debut album ‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’.

Released in July 2021, this highly-anticipated album moves between uplifting classic indie hits such as ‘Cheer Up Baby’ and ‘My Honest Face’ and more experimental, mellow songs which really showcase their musical talents such as ‘Slide Out The Window’.

An energetic, atmospheric and at times aggressive aura is created when listening to the album, setting Inhaler apart from the typical modern, laid-back indie sound.

Not only was this my soundtrack to summer, but also the soundtrack to the rest of my 2021, with hearing this album live in September being a highlight.

Rating: 10/10

By Hannah Adams

Taylor Swift – ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’

Taylor Swift
Image Credit: Republic Records

Though only released in November, my saving album of this year has been Taylor Swift’s re-released ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’.

Taylor’s matured vocals in hand with her expressive lyrics about growing up, moving forward, and turning 22 have sent these songs right to the top of my Spotify library and transported me back to 2012.

Whether you’re a hardcore Swiftie like myself or just a visitor in the musical world of Taylor, this album includes so many loved and iconic songs to play on repeat.

Whilst Taylor’s ongoing battle to own her masters isn’t ideal, it does allow her new musical and promotional opportunities when re-releasing her music.

The biggest of these are her previously cut ‘from the Vault’ tracks, including collaborations with Phoebe Bridgers, Ed Sheeran and Chris Stapleton.

Red (Taylor’s Version) also brought the highly anticipated 10-minute version of a fan favourite song ‘All Too Well’, that on top of this, received a short film.

This album has been my most played for the past month and probably will be for the foreseeable future.

Rating: 9/10

By Rebecca Nichols

Potter Payper – ‘Thanks for Waiting’

Potter Payper
Image Credit: Def Jam Recordings

Potter Payper’s release from prison began with the completion of his ‘Training Day’ trilogy back in summer 2020.

His second year out culminated in the release of a raw and polished 18-track mixtape which references the letter he wrote to fans back in 2017 promising a focus on music once out.

Potter has more than fulfilled on his.

‘Thanks for Waiting’ reaffirms Potter’s position as one of the best beat selectors in the country.

‘Rappers Lie’ and ‘Gangsteritus’ touch the hearts of the East Londoner’s cult rap following, with ‘Eastender’ showing us that Potter has embraced the new drill craze on the block, firmly cementing his place back in the hierarchy of the UK street scene.

Rating: 9/10

By Dario Bharat

The Snuts – ‘W.L.’

The Snuts
Image Credit: Parlophone Records

In a year that has witnessed incredible music created from all corners of the globe, my choice for top album has been an excruciating one.

I could’ve plumped for IDLES’ transformational fourth studio album, Parquet Courts’ impeccable ‘Sympathy for Life’, Wolf Alice’s momentous ‘Blue Weekend’ or excellent releases from Olivia Rodrigo, Angèle or Dry Cleaning.

Ultimately, though, I’ve chosen the debut of Scottish indie artists The Snuts as my pick of the bunch.

Such extraordinary confidence and thoughtfulness ebbs from every pore of ‘W.L.’, which draws its title from the band’s nickname as youngsters; the ‘Whitburn Loopy’.

The four-piece from West Lothian are at their best when pouring their heart into the heart-aching ‘Glasgow’ and bonus track ‘4 Baillie Street’, but also produce excellent genre crossovers on ‘Boardwalk’ and ‘Somebody Loves You’.

From my first listen back in April, I had an instant connection to the album.

As strange and unprofessional as it sounds, I can’t exactly explain why – but I know that it touched me then and still does now.

In the midst of the great upheaval and personal struggles in the past year, it’s been a comfort to have such amazing music to soundtrack many events.

Here’s to another fantastic year in music in 2022, and the best fortunes for everyone!

Rating: 9/10

By Will Hugall

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