Monthly Listening: Best of 2021 (So Far)
Rounding up the best albums of the year so far from Japan and the rest of the world
Hi! This is June’s Monthly Listening list. I normally do a quick rundown of new Japanese albums I checked out this month that I enjoyed, but this one is a little different. You can browse past Monthly Listenings in the archives.
I can list maybe two albums for June’s Monthly Listening—and they are Kaede’s Youth and Tokyo Jihen’s Music—but it’s not because there haven’t been any great releases. I just haven’t been listening to Japanese albums lately. As I announced in a recent issue, I am currently on a quick break from production, and I’ve been using that time to catch up with new releases outside of Japan.
I didn’t want to completely skip out on providing a Monthly Listening list for you, though. I originally had in mind to share my favorite Japanese albums of the year so far. But after I took a poll, I decided to extend it to make it a general list and include albums from outside of Japan too. I did put together a separate text list (as well as a Spotify playlist) of my favorite Japanese songs so far, if you’re more interested in just Japanese releases of 2021. You can check the songs list here.
Here are some of my favorite albums of 2021 so far.
Angel’s Flight by Biosphere | ambient / classical
► “In the Ballroom”
Ethernity by For Tracy Hyde | indie rock / dream pop
In Spite Of by for your health | screamo / metalcore
LILAC by IU | pop
Heaux Tales by Jazmine Sullivan | R&B
► “On It” ft. Ari Lennox
OYOGUMANE by Kabanagu | electronic
*Read more about the album on issue #34
Split by Kudaranai 1nichi / ANORAK! | emo / indie rock
*Read more about the album on issue #27
Panagnl4e, Vol. 3 by Los & Nutty | rap / hip hop
► “6 N Da Mornin”
Disco! by MIKE | hip hop / rap
► “Crystal Ball”
VI by mitsume | indie rock
ambo(l)enitaksu(p)odulu by Piet Onthel | screamo / post-hardcore
Nurture by Porter Robinson | EDM / pop
Sekadepa! by QUMALI DEPART | pop / idol
PLAY WITH THE CHANGES by Rochelle Jordan | R&B / garage
GWENDOLYN by Serrini | electro pop
1집 by SLANT | hardcore
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