Missed Connections: Looking Back on 2021

Best of 2021

Oh hey, you thought lists were all done?  Nope, I’ve got one more in the tank and some more albums to talk about.  I wrote one of these lists last year, amid a flurry of excitement and trepidation that I had missed something truly great, which is kind of a silly thing to worry about now that I think about it.  Of course I did then, and of course I do now.  There just isn’t enough time in the world for me to take every great album in, even in the span of a whole year.  And, not least of all, new bands and new albums are always being thrown my way thanks to the good folks we have on staff.  So, here I sit with some leftovers of 2021, albums that for whatever reason didn’t jump out at me right away but have since found their way into my heart.  Don’t consider these throwaways; they stack up to anything on anyone else’s list, and in fact, many of them WERE on other peoples’ list and that’s what brought them to my attention.  Just consider it a nice bonus present, post-holidays.

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Best of 2021: Angela’s List

Best of 2021

2021 was…. a bit much.  We will take each day at a time cautiously in 2022 and try not to spook it.  While 2021 brought a hefty amount of unpredictability and chaos, some wonderful things were forged in the turmoil.  This was a really great year for music, and I have many albums that I want to shout about from the rooftop, but I am keeping it concise and calling out my Nine Circles nine (we love a good theme).  Once again, I am one of the last of the bunch of wonderful writers here to post my year end list as my indecisiveness and overthinking ruined the party again.  However, I did participate in the group list (though my albums have shifted a bit…) and also the Best of 2021 Audio Thing (which was a blast).

Here are my top nine personal favorites as well as a list of honorable mentions and non-metal albums that brought me some joy this past year.

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Best of 2021: Corey’s List

Best of 2021

Is that it? Am I the last one? Dang. Again. Wait, maybe one more to come… Anyway, I guess I’ll start this off on my soapbox as always, by noting that I truly cannot comprehend where we are as a society. Well, I suppose I can, which is even more frustrating. If 2020 wasn’t a brutal enough year (not in a good way), 2021 seemed to serve as an appropriate encore. Seemingly everything we experience in life has been weaponized for political gain in one way or another, a global pandemic has been widely accepted as an endemic thanks, in part, to widespread misinformation, and, just as bluntly, climate disasters resulting from human activity are on the brink of running rampant for the duration of humanity’s remaining existence… however brief that may be. And those are just my three favorite, non-personal, items to discuss in our corner of the universe. It sucks, and I’m burnt out. Optimism has completely faded at this point, and I’m ready to run screaming into the woods. But hey, cheers to 2020, right?!

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Best of 2021: Buke and David Stepanavicius of Atræ Bilis share their favorites and more!

Best of 2021

David Stepanavicius of Atræ Bilis is no stranger to the podcast as he and Buke discussed Apexapien at length back in November and it was such an electric discussion that Buke reached back out to have David on again to discuss all things Best of 2021. The two catch up a bit since last time then launch into their biggest disappointments of 2021, their Honorable Mentions, and their collective Top 10. They also discuss Best of lists in general and how an artist / band views list season, how music usually finds David and how much labels play a part in it, whether Chris Barnes or memes are better, upcoming things for Atræ Bilis, and so much more. You’ll definitely want to keep a pen and paper handy as they cover a ton of great albums, forty in total. No surprise here at all, this is an excellent discussion! 

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Best of 2021: Vincent’s List

Best of 2021

Don’t call it a comeback. I’ve been here for years.

2021 did force me to put my writing here on pause for a while. Between the very good and the very bad it was a wild pendulum of a year, and at some point I found myself unable to keep up with all of it. I took time away, as I have been want to do lately. And for the first time in a long time, I feel like that time away really did me some good. I’m not just back here writing a year-end list because I feel like I have to in order to earn my keep, I’m doing it because I feel like I have things to say about the music I loved this year. Because there was a lot to love, and because I managed, somewhere along the way, to find that love again after feeling like it had been fading for the last few years. Between long train rides with old favorites and early mornings with coffee and brand new discoveries, I felt that connection between me and the music I love slowly flowing back. I feel hopeful that that connection will allow me to be able to share more with you all about what it is that makes me light up.

But then, I suppose I should talk about what made that happen for me in 2021, right?

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