Best Of 2021: That Grape Juice’s Best Albums Of The Year

Published: Thursday 16th Dec 2021 by Ryan

Last December seems as though it was a decade ago now. The world has come such a long way since then. While things are still far from what they used to be, there is a difference, even if slight.

The music world is springing back to life and with most major artists taking last year off – understandably so – one would think they would make their grand, gilded return this year. And yes, some have done that, but many still lay in wait for the perfect moment.

This has not been all bad, as new artists have taken the opportunity to rise and claim their place in the music realm.

Join us below to find out which artists have made their presence known this year with the best albums of the year so far…

Jazmine Sullivan – Heaux Tales

Jazmine Sullivan becomes the embodiment of female empowerment on her first EP ‘Heaux Tales.’ Any scrub is checked at the door thanks to the soon-to-be-classic ‘Pick Up Your Feelings.’ To solidify the message of empowerment, Sullivan even brings fellow R&B greats Ari Lennox and H.E.R. along, who become a true support system. But make no mistake, Jazmine Sullivan is the star of the show and ‘Heaux Tales’ is the perfect body of work for her to shine.


Dawn Richard – Second Line

It’s hard to believe that music veteran Dawn Richard has been in the music game now for nearly two decades. However, she has not slowed down and it shows in ‘Second Line.’ She takes all of her experience in music and her heritage and fuses them together with house and electronic music to create a project that is equal parts dance-worthy and heartfelt. Underneath the surface, there is a feeling that there is something special here, something new, but then again, that’s Dawn Richard, forever the innovator and inventing the best album of her career to date.


Silk Sonic – An Evening With Silk Sonic

On the surface, two of music’s biggest stars coming together to create a retro soul album may seem a bit gimmicky. However, ‘An Evening With Silk Sonic’ is far from that. Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak come together to create some of the most lush grooves and swooning falsettos that music has been missing as of late. Each artist is fully dedicated and each move is relevant to the project at hand. Full of heart and pure fun, ‘An Evening With Silk Sonic’ provided the perfect escape for the year that was 2021.


JoJo – Trying Not To Think About It

Nearly two decades into her career and JoJo is still making some of the year’s best music. Case in point, her EP from this year called  ‘Trying Not To Think About it.’ The project is a collection of her rawest material to date, as she explores themes of depression and anxiety and wraps them into individual scenes that are often as heartbreaking as they are healing. Each song a snapshot of pure genius that when put together, form the sophisticated portrait of a hidden battle. Easily her strongest work to date, ‘Trying Not To Think About It’ is JoJo at her absolute peak.


Yola – Stand For Myself

In the two years since her album, ‘Walk Though Fire,’ singer-songwriter Yola took the time to venture into new territory sonically and artistically. While this is a huge risk for most artist, Yola pulls this off with resounding success. Taking the lead on the album, Yola rallies against governments and tokenism, while she celebrates her sexuality and her friendships along the way. To say it is great stuff would not do it justice, to put it simply, ‘Stand For Myself’ is a prime example of one of music’s greatest songwriters who is on her way to legendary status.


Taylor Swift – Red (Taylor’s Version)

Here is the thing about Taylor Swift’s re-recorded albums, fans would have eagerly scooped up faithful recordings of the original songs; however, Swift gave them something new, something as essential as her most recent studio albums. The new songs are game-changers – see the Phoebe Bridgers assisted ‘Nothing New,’ the Lori McKenna co-write of ‘I Bet You Think About Me.’ However, there is the crown jewel among gems and that is  ‘All Too Well (10 Minute Version),’ a brutally honest track about the dissolution of a relationship. With ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ she officially kicked off the process of re-recording her albums, but with ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ she proved they are more than a greatest hits package, creating a modern-day classic in the process.


Doja Cat – Planet Her

There is something mystical about Doja Cat’s ‘Planet Her.’ Perhaps it is the fact that she single-handedly reinvented the pop star role, or acted as a shapeshifter, moving through sounds and bars as she acted as a musical chameleon. More than just touching on R&B, pop, and hip-hop sounds, Doja Cat actually explores them and is able to capture the individual depth of each genre stylistically and artistically. A love letter to the females in the game that came before her, ‘Planet Her’ carved out a space for Doja Cat among them, a legacy.


Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert

On her fourth album, Little Simz continues her streak of taking the listener on an emotional journey. Bringing with the bombastic lead song, ‘Introvert,’ the journey then winds through the colorful ‘Protect My Energy,’ and then concludes with the relaxed ‘Miss Understood.’ More miraculously, each song offers something new sonically, while never deterring away from the heart at the center at each of the album’s tracks. Above all, ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’ provides a narrative, one that shows Little Simz knows herself better than any of us ever could. Mysterious and passionate, Little Simz proves she is the hero we all needed this year.


Lil Nas X – Montero

On his debut album, Lil Nas X explores the highs and lows of queer identity. Packed to the brim with themes of isolation, self-acceptance, and identity, the album surprisingly strips back the superstar identity that is Lil Nas X and instead introduces the audience to whom Montero Lamar Hill is. He is an exceptional artist, fearless, and above all, a legend in the making.


Olivia Rodrigo – Sour

Most artists take time to establish a name and build the foundations for their breakup album, not Olivia Rodrigo. Rather, she forges a path of her own and creates a Gen-Z Pop masterpiece in the meantime. Pop-punk ballads are fused with tear-jerking ballads to form not something new, but something that excels from mastering the lane that it is in. From the most vulnerable to the most cutting lyrics, her songwriting is front and center, as she quite literally rewrites history across not only the charts, but the music world as well. And what a glorious sight it is to see history being made before our very eyes.


Honorable Mentions 


Adele – 30


Brockhampton – Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine


Lucky Daye – Table For Two


Tems – If Orange Was A Place


Arlo Parks – Collapsed In Sunbeams


Do you agree with our picks?

Your thoughts?

Comments 5

Please Post Your Comments & Reviews

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. #TruthHurts December 16, 2021

    Tgj why don’t you do a post on what you expect or would like to see artists doing next year. Apart from just promoting billboards and lucrative deals from what we could read on other blogs. I know you have your faves but I’m sure you have constructive feedback for them too. This site has become so biased to what it used to be. Lacking authenticity. With that noted..

    Artists I would like to see –

    Jhene Aiko
    Nicki M
    Chris Brown
    Mariah Carey

    Up and coming artists etc.

    • J December 18, 2021

      They used to share new music and be fun and opinionated. Now they just post things for clicks

  2. Darren December 17, 2021

    Jasmine differently had one of the best records of the year. Tinashe is missing from the list, 333 is so under-rated and really showed range on the one album

  3. Erin December 18, 2021

    I dgaf, Iggy’s album should have been on that list.

    • True Tea December 19, 2021


Recommended Posts