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The sound of 2021: English music of this past pandemic year hasnt been all doom and gloom – Firstpost

If anything, the year has seen albums too short, songs too long, egos too big, and debuts too exciting, spoiling us for choice, and pushing us to redefine our own understanding of an album as we lumbered back onto our post-lockdown lives.

If 2020 was a string of Zoom and YouTube concerts and Facebook Live gigs, then 2021 held the promise of turning a corner for the live music industry. It is another matter that the second wave of COVID-19 drowned out many a possibility of getting back on stage in the first half of the year, forcing artists to see their lockdown creativity to fruition via album releases instead.

Therefore, a lot of the music released this year has found its root in the existential dread that loomed in the face of a seemingly never-ending pandemic. But adversity — as frequently quoted — is indeed the mother of invention. Long-nagging ideas, repressed emotions or just unadulterated helplessness have driven the songwriting for a lot of musicians. Yet, it has not been all doom and gloom as 2021 has also been witness to some unusual collaborations and sonic palettes as artists have been uninhibited in their reach for a new musical experience and expression.

Divorce angst has found an outlet, nostalgic sounds have been capitalised on, and scores have been settled through albums; in many ways a typical year, one would say, in the world of English music. But 2021 has also seen so many artists come out of the woodworks, almost in search of contemporary relevance, and shockingly, many have come on top! If anything, the year has seen albums too short, songs too long, egos too big, and debuts too exciting, spoiling us for choice, and pushing us to redefine our own understanding of an album as we lumbered back onto our post-lockdown lives.

There have also been path-breakers, undeterred by industry norms, who have tested the boundaries of what construes a musical album. HER finally released Back of My Mind, an album with 21 songs no less. Juxtaposed against HER is rapper Vince Staples, who put out an album that spans all of 22 minutes, similar to his previous outing FM!

Everybody who is anybody has had an album out this year. From Justin Bieber and Demi Lovato to the Foo Fighters, Sting, and Coldplay, from Elton John to Billie Eilish, Drake to James Blake, the releases this year have seen genre-toppers each dropping albums to varying degrees of success.

If over-bloated egos with overdriven social media marketing strategies have tanked critically (think Drake’s Certified Lover Boy or Coldplay’s extra dose of pop, Music of the Spheres), there have also been some debutants who have shaken us from the inertia of album listening, and forced us to have an aural experience strictly on their own terms. 

Drake in Certified Lover Boy

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Source: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/the-sound-of-2021-english-music-of-this-past-pandemic-year-hasnt-been-all-doom-and-gloom-10213021.html

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They played to passengers all afternoon on Wednesday.

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