I don’t know about you, but 2021 felt like an odd year for music. Very few artists, songs or albums really took the landscape by storm for months on end and while I believe this year had more good than bad in music, there were some absolute stinkers and letdowns.
These were the 10 worst albums of the year.
10. Sling - Clairo
Yeah. An absolute shocker opens this list. I was really looking forward to listening to this record after I was quite pleased with Clairo’s debut Immunity back in 2019.
While I think Clairo’s writing far excels past most artists from this year, there isn’t a sound on Sling that really stood out to me nor one I remembered a day after listening to the record. It’s tough to write this because I do enjoy listening to her voice, but outside of “Amoeba”, no song really stands out in its sound or in her vocals. It was an unfortunately weak and forgettable album that now sends Clairo back to the drawing board for her third go around.
9. Sin City The Mixtape - Ski Mask The Slump God
I know Ski Mask is going through difficult times with losses of friends, but this one was particularly difficult to listen to for the fact that there seemed to be little-to-none quality control or effort on this release. Ski Mask sounds like he’s rapping underwater for just over 17 minutes. It seems like this album just exists to get something out there and to keep his name in the loop.
8. Music Of The Spheres - Coldplay
Toward the end of the year, I did have time to listen to a handful of records before List Week came so I was able to squeeze in this Coldplay album and yeah, it’s not very good as expected.
The sound that Coldplay had in peak form is outdated, so they can’t go back on that. Instead, they try breaking out some space rock and throwback synthwave that falls completely flat on its face. When a song featuring Selena Gomez ends up being your best on a record, I think something’s gone haywire. Not to mention that I came into this album having little respect for it with literal emojis having their own song titles. Just why?
7. star-crossed - Kacey Musgraves
What the hell is this thing?
Look, I didn’t have much love for Musgraves’ music prior to this record. I think she’s just another modern, soulless country star trying to dive into the pop landscape and this is as bad as it can get. The song “good wife” is an odd one as it comes off as someone that’s trying to retain a toxic and even an emotionally-abusive relationship. Then, there’s the song “cherry blossom” that is about as culturally indecent as any song can be as when Musgraves uses the word Tokyo on the hook and essentially pulls out what a white person thinks Asian melodies sound like.
Also, the mastering on this album is HORRIBLE. Almost every time we hear the full instrumentation on the record, every song gets blown to hell like if you were to play your boom box at full blast.
I think there’s still hope for Musgraves to make, at least, a half-decent record, so let’s hope she’s not trending down the line as the woman version of Florida Georgia Line.
6. Culture III - Migos
Simpler times 2016 was, especially when Migos was at the top of the rap world with the tight, first Culture record. “T-Shirt”, “Slippery”, “Get Right Witcha, do you remember all of these bangers?
Well, that time was short lived for Migos as they’ve managed to create an album even more creatively bankrupt than Culture II. Over an hour worth of Migos’ music is a waste of time. If they really want to get back into relevancy, they need to go back to cutting down these albums, but if you guys will continue to contribute to the streaming numbers, then you are going to continue to enable these bloated albums.
5. Certified Lover Boy - Drake
In what should be no surprise to anyone, Drake is back on the “Worst of” list for a third time in four years. Drake has not had an interesting concept or anything different to say since the days of If You Are Reading This It’s Too Late. That was SIX YEARS AGO.
You cannot consider yourself one of the great rappers to ever walk the planet when your last five albums have been pure duds and CLB is the duddiest of all the duds.
When someone else’s solo is the most-listenable track on YOUR album, you know you’ve messed up mightily. There is nothing going for this record outside of horrible decisions on nearly every sample (“Champagne Poetry” and “TSU”) and perhaps the worst song of the year in “Way 2 Sexy.”
I honestly do feel sorry for those that still listen to Drake thinking these songs are good, but shout-out to Yebba for making the dreadful listen somewhat worthwhile.
4. Solar Power - Lorde
Lorde follows up Pure Heroine and the highly-acclaimed Melodrama with what is essentially someone discovering health, mind and body social media influencers for the first time. What a strange album.
“Mood Ring” is by far one of the worst songs of the year as she tries pulling some Alanis Morissette influences, but if she was absolute garbage. Then, there’s the copycat Taylor Swift song “Secrets From A Girl (Who’s Seen It All), which answers the question on what Swift would sound like if she couldn’t write at all.
Lorde wears her influences far too much on this record and does no service to them whatsoever. Solar Power is a truly terrible album.
3. OK ORCHESTRA - AJR
Oh, you poor saps still listening to 45 minutes of Target ads thinking it’s good music. AJR is by far the worst group I’ve had the displeasure of listening to. These are three grown men making Kidz Bop quality music. That’s what AJR’s music is. It’s Kidz Bop sung by adults.
That’s all that needs to be said.
2. Welcome To The Madhouse - Tones And I
Somehow I found an album worse than this. Um, I have no words to describe just how truly awful this record is. How over a billion streams were earned for “Dance Monkey” is beyond me. It’s an awful song. This makes me wish dance/electronic music was completely washed from the face of the earth. I don’t bother to look up whoever does the vocals, but half the time she sounds like an adult imitating a little girl and the rest of it, she sounds like a chipmunk.
God…. If you come across this album for whatever reason, head for the hills as quickly as possible.
1. The Revenge of Hobo Johnson/Hobo Johnson Alienates his Fanbase - Hobo Johnson
Whatever the pandemic did to Hobo Johnson, it wasn’t good as the man completely threw away any credibility he had to make one ironically terrible album and one purposefully terrible album in response to the criticism of the ironically terrible album.
Hobo Johnson isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I still found his uniqueness and quirkiness intriguing because it felt natural. He wasn’t putting up any fronts, but now he takes that quirkiness and turns it up to the max and breaks the wavelengths in pure cringe. “I Want To See The World” is quite possibly the greatest musical sin of the year with whiny vocals and borderline offensive political commentary, but still saying he wants to see these certain places.
Yeah, every decision in terms of songwriting falls flat and he made things worse with the response album. Just a disastrous year for Hobo Johnson in all.