The Best and Most Talked-About Music of 2021

Tyler, the Creator; Michelle Zauner from Japanese Breakfast; Faye Webster; Mimi Parker and Alan Sparhawk from LOW; and Bo Burnham. Photo Courtesy: @tylerthecreator/@jbrekkie/@fayewebster/@lowtheband/Netflix

In a year where blockbuster albums from Kanye West, Lorde, and Drake left a lot of listeners wanting more, 2021 was the perfect time for musical discovery. Songwriters like Buck Meek, Faye Webster and Lucy Dacus continued to grow as artists, while seasoned veterans like David Crosby and Nick Cave proved that they still have something important to say.

But while there was no shortage of great new music, some artists went above and beyond with work that motivated, touched and challenged us. Whether you're in need of escapism, companionship or just some kind of release after everything we've been through over the past year, these albums have more to offer than just catchy tunes. From high-energy hip-hop to bold sonic experiments, these are the best releases of 2021. Happy listening!