There seems to be more EP’s released than albums these days— it now makes more sense in an industry predominantly dominated by singles rather than full length projects. Music fans and people in general aren’t listening to albums in its entirety anymore, the decline in both physical and digital album sales proves this. However, artists are still releasing albums, but most of them are just a bunch of songs put together, which is sadly, annoying to music nerds like us.
Albums are meant to take months and even years to make, the best albums often have a concept or a theme behind them. We’ve listened to hundreds of albums this year and the 10 below were the most memorable and had a lot of replay value.
10: JAZZ CARTIER — Fleurever
Jazz Cartier’s debut album is filled with both catchy bangers built over hard trap productions perfect for a club setting, and smooth self-reflective tracks.
Standout Track: “IDWFIL”
9: Octavian — SPACEMAN
The London-based French rapper has been on form this year. His debut mixtape SPACEMAN is a cohesive project that combines multiple genres such as hip-hop, grime, house, trap and drill effortlessly. A strong debut that showcases his immense potential as an artist.
Standout Track: “Lightning”
8: Black Atlass — Pain & Pleasure
Pain & Pleasure is a fantastic album reminiscent of The Weeknd’s earlier work. Black Atlass keeps listeners engaged throughout with his alluring falsetto vocals as he sings about love and pain.
Standout Track: : “If They Only Knew”
7: Honors — Feel Better
Canadian band Honors surprised us with their ambitious debut album Feel Better. We were expecting an indie-pop release, but instead they took it to another level by infusing alternative R&B, indie, pop and electronic music to create this brilliant album.
Standout Track: “August”
6: Teflon Sega — Velvet Pill
Teflon Sega’s debut album Velvet Pill has only been out for a week but it’s already been well-received by both critics and fans alike. We’ve always praised Teflon’s alluring vocals and production, but his songwriting on this album is truly one of the best out there. Press play.
Standout Track: “Oh Yeah”
5: Mothica — Ashes
Mothica continues to grow both as a vocalist and a songwriter, her latest release Ashes is much more superior than previous project Heavy Heart. Her beautiful voice shines throughout as she balances light and dark on this ethereal electronic pop project.
Standout Track: “Burnout”
4: Haley Smalls — The Cure II
Haley Smalls is arguably the most underrated R&B singer-songwriter on this planet. She’s been quietly killing it for the best two years. Her album The Cure II is one of the R&B projects of the year—it’s filled with beautifully-sung emotional ballads and the occasional mid-tempo R&B tracks.
Standout Track: “Only One”
3: SAINt JHN — Collection One
There is no doubt that SAINt JHN is one of the most-sought after rappers right now. The Brooklyn native dropped his sure-fire debut album Collection Oneearlier in the year after spending the previous 12 months touring and releasing fan-favourites “Some Nights” and “3 Below”. JHN showcases his lyrical prowess and vocal ability from start to finish, mixing it up with trap bangers, strip club anthems and emotionally-driven tracks such as the amazing “Selfish”.
Standout Track: “Some Nights”
2: Always Never — Always Never
Always Never’s eponymous debut album is amazing from start to finish. The project is built over producer Dean’s captivating and consistent production, with singer Patrick’s compelling and warm vocals giving it a perfect late night vibe. Replay value.
Standout Track: “Worst”
1: Tsar B — The Games I Played
After finishing number 2 on both the Top 100 Songs and Top 10 Videos list with “Syzygy” and “Rattlesnake” respectively, Belgian singer-songwriter, producer and violinist Tsar B’s monumental debut album The Games I Played is our top album of the year.
We’ve almost ran out of words to say about this mind-blowing album. Every once in a while we are gifted a special album, The Games I Played was that special album this year. Combining elements of dark R&B, Middle Eastern sonics with electronic vibes, and Tsar B’s breathtakingly sharp and alluring vocals, it’s a refreshing album in an era oversaturated with the same old sounds. 10/10 album.