Top rated albums of 2021, in accordance to Chronicle new music critic Joey Guerra

Joey Guerra’s favored albums of 2021.

Image: picture collage

The albums that I connected with in 2021 had been fueled by exploration. It would make perception, given that we spent so considerably time by itself (all over again) this yr. Even as points opened again up, and sometimes closed again, artists ongoing to search inward for inspiration. These collections of tracks artfully explored intercourse and sexuality, gender, identity and adulthood. And they did it in ways that stored me listening all year.

Metropolis OF Tunes: The 12 very best Houston albums of 2021

1. “There Will be Tears,” Vincint: Dance music has normally struck an psychological chord with me. It is a late-night rush of adrenaline, a surge of euphoria, a minute of catharsis. All those emotions are fantastically captured on “There Will be Tears.” Singer and songwriter Vincint, who came to prominence on singing opposition “The 4,” digs deep into personalized trauma, from the dying of his father to heartbreak. It’ll make you swoon and cry and, very best of all, dance.

2. “Eduardo,” Ed Maverick: Maverick was a teen in Mexico when his tunes started to go viral. It is uncomplicated to have an understanding of why they connected with fans. “Eduardo” is passionate and atmospheric, an intimate selection of folks-pop originals that come to feel promptly familiar and bracingly first at the exact same time. Maverick transmits a lot more through voice and guitar than several artists do with significantly a lot more generation.

3. “El Madrileño,” C. Tangana: Spanish rapper and singer Tangana utilizes hip-hop as a springboard for “El Madrileño,” a brilliantly varied history that incorporates new appears into his palette. He delves into disco on “Demasiadas Mujeres.” Bachata would make its way into “Tu Me Dejaste de Querer.” Brazilian guitarist Toquinho provides bossa nova to “Comerte Entera.” Flamenco arrives courtesy of Gipsy Kings during “Ingobernable.” There are also collabs with regional Mexican singer Carin Leon, Omar Apollo and Jose Feliciano.

4. “Sour,” Olivia Rodrigo: Rodrigo joins Miley, Demi and Selena in the pantheon of wonderful Disney pop stars. But in contrast to her predecessors, who took time to uncover their footing, Rodrigo’s musical id feels completely formed on her debut album, “Sour.” Just the 1st three singles — “driver’s license,” “deja vu,” “good 4 u” — are adequate to warrant a area on the checklist. But even the other tunes audio like radio hits.

5. “The Physique Remembers,” Debbie Gibson: On her to start with correct studio album in two a long time, Gibson embraces adulthood but acknowledges the fizzy pop that made her a teenager star. “The Overall body Remembers” moves effortlessly from club cuts (“One Action Closer”) to lovely ballads (“Me Not Loving You”) to wholly new sounds. “Strings” brings together spoken word verses with intelligent lyrics “Red Carpet Ready” is a tribute to the spouse at the rear of the superstar. And the title monitor warrants to be a enormous radio hit.

6. “Heaux Tales,” Jazmine Sullivan: The most remarkable detail about Sullivan’s “Heaux Tales” is that it is a carefully crafted idea album that continue to manages to really feel organic. The seven music are divided by spoken interludes from females in Sullivan’s circle who detail their possess struggles as ladies at the intersection of sex, electrical power and relationships. It’s all pulled with each other by the urgency and elegance of Sullivan’s voice. at?v=QDYDRA5JPLE

7. “Montero,” Lil Nas X: No artist endured more controversy this calendar year than Lil Nas X. The furor just proved what several of us previously understood — the act of simply just existing as an openly homosexual man is even now extremely significantly a innovative act. But beyond the criticism and clapbacks, “Montero” is a fantastic pop album. Visitor slots from Miley Cyrus, Elton John and Megan Thee Stallion. But it’s Nas’ solo transform on the title monitor that gave us the year’s best pop tune.

8. “Remember Her Name,” Mickey Guyton: Texas indigenous Guyton suggests she didn’t generate “Black Like Me,” a song about the racism she’s experienced, to make any type of profound statement. “I just wished to be like most people else and sing some sweet country tracks and make some funds off it and have a career. I was just writing what I saw and what I experienced,” she instructed me final yr. But it was a turning issue, and the ensuing album explores the troubles and intricacies of being a Black female in a genre that, for all the chat about a reckoning, even now primarily ignores Black artists. Their decline.

9. “Pink Planet,” Pink Sweat$: David Bowden was supplied the nickname Pink Sweat$ for the reason that of his vogue choices. It somehow fits his romantic persona and seem, a lush blend of R&B, gospel and pop. “Pink Planet” captures the sound of an artist coming into his possess, and it’s exemplified in standout tracks “Pink Metropolis,” “So Sweet” and vibrant dance observe “Icy.” out?v=lq9PJsS3-EY

10. “My Agenda,” Dorian Electra: “My Agenda” is a chaotic, resourceful showcase for Houston native Electra’s complicated appeal. It’s a audio that does not just steer clear of style containers, it flattens them and tosses them in the recycle bin. There are musings on intercourse and gender, appearances by Rebecca Black and The Village People today and humor, as well, exemplified by “Sorry Bro (I Adore You).” Strap in for this a person.

Five additional I liked:

“Deacon,” serpentwithfeet

“Second Line,” Dawn Richard

“Gargolas Forever,” Alex Gargolas

“Inedito,” Carin Leon

“K.O.” Danna Paola

  • Joey Guerra

    Joey Guerra is the audio critic for the Houston Chronicle. He also covers numerous features of pop society. He has reviewed hundreds of live shows and interviewed hundreds of celebs, from Justin Bieber to Dolly Parton to Beyonce. He’s appeared as a frequent correspondent on Fox26 and was head decide and director of the Pride Celebrity singing opposition for a ten years. He has been named journalist of the calendar year several periods by both equally OutSmart Journal and the Deal with Awards. He also addresses different areas of pop lifestyle, including the neighborhood drag scene and “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”