My appreciation for music grew in 2021; here are my top albums of the year

In 2021, I dove into my favorite artists, listening to full albums and finding meaning in each one


Eldon McGraw

A Title Fight performance live in Detroit at the Magic Stick.

People change with time. So do their music tastes. Over the course of 2021, I’ve listened to 1,027 unique albums. When I listen to and interpret albums, I try to listen to each album in order and find the story the artist is telling. With this in mind, here are my top three albums of 2021:

  • Circle Thinking by I Hate Sex
  • Loveless by My Bloody Valentine
  • Floral Green by Title Fight

These weren’t necessarily my top albums because they were my most listened to of the year, but because of how different they were compared to what I would usually listen to. 

I’m the kind of person who loves music enough to make separate playlists for each mood I’m in, what genre I want to listen to that night, when I’m in the car — anything and everything. My playlists could be anywhere from an hour and a half to 18 hours, all songs I specifically chose for that particular playlist. There’s never an hour I’m not listening to something through my earbuds.

My love for music began at a really young age; I was always flipping through YouTube on my iPod in 2012. I would listen to Ke$ha and then click video through video onto a Thirty Seconds to Mars lyric video, memorizing every word to every song. I took value in every guitar rift, the subtle keyboard keys underneath every word, and every noise that laid in between each track. 

As I’ve grown older, I’ve developed more of an appreciation for full albums — for the artist’s intention of writing what they did. I’ve loved some of the songs, but up until this year I didn’t fully appreciate the albums they came from. I finally listened to them in their entirety, looking up the artists, going through discographies, and enjoying them in their entirety.

Circle Thinking by I Hate Sex

Circle Thinking is 17 minutes and 29 seconds long and has seven songs. It was released Jan. 1, 2015. The band, I Hate Sex, was “a four piece screamo band from Edmonton, Alberta Canada that was active from 2015-2018”. This band has become one of my favorite bands. I’ve grown into them, and I’ve come to believe the lead singer, Nicole Boychuk, has great (if not the best) female screamo vocals.

The theme of Circle Thinking is being in an emotionally abusive relationship. In an interview with Form Und Leer, Boychk said, “Personally, I started writing poems and lyrics when I was 13.”

She continued, “For I Hate Sex, what inspired me initially is just life, daily relationships and the people around me”

Although I Hate Sex is no longer active, I recommend thier music. My favorite song on this album would be San Francisco. It starts off slow and mellow and then rushes into a loud and fast paced melody.

Loveless by My Bloody Valentine

Loveless is a 48 minute long album with 11 songs featured on it. It was released on Nov. 4, 1991. My Bloody Valentine has a long history with moving labels and moving throughout the UK. This band has since impacted the shoegaze early American rock genre. The album Loveless has a different sound from many other albums of the time. The guitar methods they use are different, creating vibrations and using a gliding technique to add texture to the noise they’re producing.

My favorite track on this album has to be To Here Knows When. The guitar scraping and pitches going in completely opposite directions is beautiful, and although the lyrics are hard to make out, I perceive it as a confusing love song. Although My Bloody Valentine also broke up, I still admire their music and they’re still active on social media.

Floral Green by Title Fight

Floral Green is 32 minutes long with 11 featured songs on it. It was released on Sept. 18, 2012. They made post-hardcore music with influences from genres such as shoegaze, alternative rock, and post-rock. 

In 2018, Title Fight went on hiatus and has not come back from it as of 2022. Floral Green is their most popular album of the three they’ve released. My favorite track on this album is Lefty. I really love how they use smooth vocals in their music with harder instrumentals. Title Fight is an iconic band in terms of post-hardcore music, and this album will be my favorite for years on end.