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

Joey Guerra’s beloved albums of 2021.

Picture: photograph collage

The albums that I linked with in 2021 have been fueled by exploration. It can make sense, because we used so a great deal time by yourself (again) this 12 months. Even as points opened again up, and sometimes shut once more, artists ongoing to search inward for inspiration. These collections of songs artfully explored sex and sexuality, gender, identification and adulthood. And they did it in ways that kept me listening all 12 months.

Metropolis OF Songs: The 12 most effective Houston albums of 2021

1. “There Will be Tears,” Vincint: Dance new music has normally struck an emotional chord with me. It’s a late-evening rush of adrenaline, a surge of euphoria, a minute of catharsis. People inner thoughts are fantastically captured on “There Will be Tears.” Singer and songwriter Vincint, who came to prominence on singing opposition “The 4,” digs deep into individual trauma, from the death of his father to heartbreak. It’ll make you swoon and cry and, most effective of all, dance.

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2. “Eduardo,” Ed Maverick: Maverick was a teen in Mexico when his music began to go viral. It’s easy to recognize why they related with fans. “Eduardo” is romantic and atmospheric, an intimate assortment of folk-pop originals that feel right away acquainted and bracingly original at the similar time. Maverick transmits more by voice and guitar than quite a few artists do with substantially a lot more production.


3. “El Madrileño,” C. Tangana: Spanish rapper and singer Tangana employs hip-hop as a springboard for “El Madrileño,” a brilliantly various report that incorporates new seems into his palette. He delves into disco on “Demasiadas Mujeres.” Bachata makes its way into “Tu Me Dejaste de Querer.” Brazilian guitarist Toquinho delivers bossa nova to “Comerte Entera.” Flamenco will come courtesy of Gipsy Kings throughout “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 fantastic Disney pop stars. But not like her predecessors, who took time to come across their footing, Rodrigo’s musical identity feels entirely fashioned on her debut album, “Sour.” Just the very first a few singles — “driver’s license,” “deja vu,” “good 4 u” — are plenty of to warrant a put on the list. But even the other tracks audio like radio hits.


5. “The System Remembers,” Debbie Gibson: On her 1st correct studio album in two a long time, Gibson embraces adulthood but acknowledges the fizzy pop that produced her a teenager star. “The Entire body Remembers” moves simply from club cuts (“One Stage Closer”) to gorgeous ballads (“Me Not Loving You”) to wholly new sounds. “Strings” combines spoken phrase verses with clever lyrics “Red Carpet Ready” is a tribute to the partner at the rear of the celebrity. And the title observe justifies to be a hug radio hit.

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6. “Heaux Tales,” Jazmine Sullivan: The most remarkable thing about Sullivan’s “Heaux Tales” is that it is a cautiously crafted idea album that nevertheless manages to feel natural and organic. The 7 tracks are divided by spoken interludes from ladies in Sullivan’s circle who detail their have struggles as girls at the intersection of sex, ability and interactions. It’s all pulled jointly by the urgency and splendor of Sullivan’s voice.

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7. “Montero,” Lil Nas X: No artist endured far more controversy this year than Lil Nas X. The furor just proved what a lot of of us already knew — the act of merely present as an brazenly gay male is even now really much a innovative act. But outside of the criticism and clapbacks, “Montero” is a wonderful pop album. Guest slots from Miley Cyrus, Elton John and Megan Thee Stallion. But it’s Nas’ solo flip on the title observe that gave us the year’s very best pop music.

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8. “Remember Her Identify,” Mickey Guyton: Texas native Guyton states she didn’t publish “Black Like Me,” a music about the racism she’s experienced, to make any form of profound assertion. “I just required to be like every person else and sing some cute region tunes and make some revenue off it and have a career. I was just composing what I saw and what I experienced,” she told me previous year. But it was a turning position, and the ensuing album explores the challenges and intricacies of getting a Black lady in a genre that, for all the converse about a reckoning, however generally ignores Black artists. Their loss.


9. “Pink World,” Pink Sweat$: David Bowden was supplied the nickname Pink Sweat$ for the reason that of his fashion alternatives. It by some means fits his passionate persona and audio, a lush mix of R&B, gospel and pop. “Pink Planet” captures the seem of an artist coming into his own, and it’s exemplified in standout tracks “Pink Metropolis,” “So Sweet” and vivid dance monitor “Icy.”


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

5 far more I loved:

“Deacon,” serpentwithfeet

“Second Line,” Dawn Richard


“Gargolas Endlessly,” Alex Gargolas

“Inedito,” Carin Leon

“K.O.” Danna Paola

  • Joey Guerra

    Joey Guerra is the music critic for the Houston Chronicle. He also covers various facets of pop culture. He has reviewed hundreds of concert events and interviewed hundreds of celebrities, from Justin Bieber to Dolly Parton to Beyonce. He’s appeared as a typical correspondent on Fox26 and was head judge and director of the Satisfaction Celebrity singing levels of competition for a ten years. He has been named journalist of the yr many times by each OutSmart Magazine and the Confront Awards. He also covers numerous areas of pop tradition, which includes the regional drag scene and “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”