Best Albums, Shows, and Movies of 2021
An entirely subjective list of my favorite media
I listened to a lot less music this year than most past ones between an increased meeting cadence and a tendency to listen to podcasts on my bike. Still, I heard many fantastic tunes. In no particular order:
Lande Hekt: Going to Hell
So much of the mood of this album perfectly encapsulates how I’m feeling on rough days. A real delight of a downer.
Sarah Mary Chadwick: Me and Ennui Are Friends, Baby
An album about bad dads? Yes, please.
Floating Points & Pharaoh Sanders: Promises
A wildly good modern jazz jam. I had this on repeat for a while—it makes for a banging Saturday afternoon.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor: G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END!
This isn’t the best of GY!BE, but it’s a great addition to their catalog, and made for nice dramatic times.
Spelling: The Turning Wheel
It’s hard to describe this album. It’s wild indie-rock that reminds me of Björk and Nicole Dollanger, with a bit of Kate Bush. From the first track I found Spelling spellbinding.
Chill lesbian music.
MAN ON MAN: MAN ON MAN
Their love is infectious, and the bops on this record are an antidote to a bad mood.
Low: Hey What
The lo-fi electronic aspects of this Low album drew me in and created a good atmosphere. It’s amazing that Low can continue to create such music this far into their career, but after seeing them live, I’m in awe of their performance and presence.
Eydís Evensen: Bylur
This year I spent a lot of time trying to relax and work out stress while cycling, and that inevitably meant I needed a lot more sports massage. This album is pretty ideal for having a whiskey or getting a long deep-tissue massage.
Laura Stevenson: Laura Stevenson
A gorgeous indie rock album.
Ada Lea: one hand on the steering wheel the other sewing a garden
Boy Scouts: Wayfinder
These next two artists have a similar vibe with a very different sound. There’s some great piano on That’s Life Honey, but the real star of the show is Taylor’s voice.
Faye Webster: I Know I’m Funny haha
There’s a great 70s country crooner vibe to Faye Webster’s music. I loved this follow-up to Atlanta Millionaire Club. Every song is a bit dreamy, and perfect for a bike ride or a lazy Sunday.
Japanese Breakfast: Jubilee
Every album Zanuner has released is outstanding. This is a bit more upbeat and fun than Psychopomp, but has some solid romantic tunes too.
The Power of the Dog
The Card Counter
Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time
A late entry, and it’s too early to know if it sticks the landing, but so far the mystery and haunting vide is perfect.
How to with John Wilson: Season 2
This show is a gift of incredible observations and social anxiety well-utilized. The first season was wild that I doubted a second could match it, but 2 episodes in, it’s outstanding.
An older show that I didn’t care much about watching until I saw White Lotus. It’s cute to see many SF and Oakland locations I’m familiar with in a cute gay dramedy. I wish there was more lesbian content like this.
A holiday abroad triumph.
Pen15: Season 2.5
Ended on a high-note and remains one of the best shows of all time about being a teen.
Upsetting and riveting.
Possibly the best spy show on tv.
This year I listened to a wild amount of podcasts, but Maintenance Phase was the most delightful, with the strangeness of Election Profit Makers, and the meandering fun of Blank Check coming into my top list.