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Best 12 of 21

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Veteran Rock Quartet Weezer Brought Out Two of the Year's Best Albums


The current century is now old enough to drink, having just celebrated its 21st birthday. Given all of the social animosity and political division it has experienced over the last few years, I would say it certainly has the need for a drink or two to help drown out al the turmoil.

Any party thrown for the century's milestone year will probably require social distancing and masks, since the pandemic is stubbornly besieging us. In order to make the celebration more memorable, here are a dozen albums that came out during 2021.

1. OK Orchestra by AJR

Three brothers named Mett created this infectious and fun record, offering pop tunes like “Bummerland,” “Way Less Sad” and “World's Smallest Violin.”

2. Fatal Mistakes by Del Amitri

Over a decade passed since their last studio album, but remarkable tracks like “Nation of Caners” and “Losing the Will To Die” make it well worth the wait.

3. Toxic Youth by Young Fresh Fellows

Scott McCaughey and friends sound like the Who on “Young Mods” while recalling the Animals on “November,” but the highlight is the autobiographical closing track “Bleed Out.”

4. OK Human by Weezer

“Screens” and “Grapes of Wrath” are two of the titles that indicate Rivers Cuomo's contempt for technology overkill, as well as the single “All My Favorite Songs.”

5. Dreamers Are Waiting by Crowded House

The Finn brothers of Split Enz collaborate with veteran producer-musician Mitchell Froom to make a baker's dozen worth of tracks, the best of which are “To the Island” and “Playing With Fire.”

6. Endless Arcade by Teenage Fan Club

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Norman Blake and his associates have made a worthy follow-up to 2016's Here, offering Moody Blues like numbers such as “I'm More Inclined” and the title track.

7. Self-Titled by Lindsey Buckingham

Former Fleetwood Mac front man Buckingham is still as sharp as ever, as evidenced by this collection of ten accessible songs like “Santa Rosa” and “I Don't Mind.”

8. Half Drunk Under a Full Moon by the Fratellis

Alt-rock continues to be the specialty of this Scottish trio, proof of which can be found in the title track as well as “Action Replay.”

9. Little Bird in the Neighborhood by James Maddock

“Who put the coup in the Ku Klux Klan” the Brit alt-rocker asks in the closing track “Crystal Night,” only to provide the answer with “It was the orange man.”

10. Van Weezer by Weezer

The veteran indie quartet, after flexing its pop talents on OK Human earlier in the year, focus on their rock sensibilities on cuts like “Shelia Can Do It” and “Precious Metal Girl.”

11. Exit Wounds by the Wallflowers

Jakob Dylan reunited his band for their first release in ten years, and just by listening to “Who's That Man Walking in My Garden” fans can appreciate the occasion.

12. Oh The Joys We Live For by Anton Barbeau

Barbeau continues to be the most talented songwriter few people have heard of, and his new collection of catchy but clever cuts adds to his underappreciated discography.

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