2021 wrapped: The industry's favourite albums and tracks Pt.2

2021 wrapped: The industry's favourite albums and tracks Pt.2

Yesterday, we launched our end of year round up, 2021 Wrapped, which includes our annual breakdown of the industry's favourite albums and tracks of the past 12 months.

Revisit part 1 here, and find out what Warner Music UK CEO Tony Harlow, songwriter and Girls I Rate founder Carla Marie Williams, WME's Whitney Boateng and more were listening to most in 2021...

Tony Harlow, CEO, Warner Music UK

TRACK: “Ed Sheeran’s Bad Habits never burned out however much I heard it, and PinkPantheress’ Just For Me had the sense of excitement of a ‘new thing’ happening. In less directly work-related moments, Teno Afrika’s Power Station blew my mind, so did Focalistic's Ke Star. Power to the amapiano.”

ALBUM: “Hardly new but A Love Supreme: Live In Seattle reminded me why this is a piece of music I always go back to – it was nice to hear another much freer take on it. Everything stops at Coltrane. I really enjoyed Floating Points and Pharoah Sanders, but low key delights were the pastoral charms of Warren Hampshire’s Language Of The Birds, lockdown thrills of Brandee Younger and Dezron Douglas’ Force Majeure and the Bitchin Bajas’ Switched On Ra. I wanted The War On Drugs album to be great and it was and the same was true of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.”

Ed Howard, co-president, Atlantic Records

TRACK: “Peaches – Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar and Giveon – an incredibly classy and unexpected pop record. Also, Tion Wayne x Russ Millions – Body 2 ft Arrdee, 3x3E1 & ZT, Bugzy Malone, Fivio Foreign, Darkoo, Buni – the most exciting and fastest-travelling rap record of the year!”

ALBUM: “Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert. Simz just gets stronger and stronger as an artist and musician and she created a beautiful world here with [producer] Inflo. Plus, Ed Sheeran’s =. Incredible songwriting from start to finish, this is Ed’s best album to date.”

Cassandra Gracey, president, Sony 4th Floor Creative

TRACK: “Tom Grennan’s Little Bit of Love. I love the record – I love that it was one of the biggest-selling records of 2021 but even more than that I love that it meant that more people discovered Tom. He is incredible live and seeing his sold-out Ally Pally gig on my four-year Sony anniversary felt apt. His champion manager John Dawkins played me his demos the first week I arrived at Sony – what a ride. I love that he is popping off internationally from all the K-pop duets in Korea to being at the top of the airplay charts in Oz and Germany.”

ALBUM: “Joy Crookes – Skin. An excellent debut album – with personality, emotion, narrative and plenty of South London sass. I love the entire album and don’t have to do any skipping! I will listen to this album for decades to come and if you haven’t done yourself the favour – it’s time.”

Samantha Moy, head of BBC Radio 6 Music

TRACK: “Amyl & The Sniffers – Guided by Angels. Everything about it is perfection. If I could sing it at karaoke I would.”

ALBUM: “Black Country, New Road – For The First Time.”

Paul Pacifico, CEO, AIM

TRACK: “Errol Linton - Rain In Your Life. I have followed Errol since I first heard him busking down in the Tube in about 2003. I love his playing and his unique musical voice. This track is funky as hell.”

ALBUM: “Arlo Parks - Collapsed in Sunbeams. Beautiful music, beautifully made and also a reminder that there are many ways to approach both creative and commercial success in the contemporary music industry.”

Sheniece Charway, artist realtions manager, YouTube Music

TRACK: “Russ Millions x Tion Wayne – Body as it was the first drill song to ever go to No. 1 which is so important for the culture and shows how impactful Black music continues to be. I would also say Lojay x Sarz – Monalisa. What a feel good song! It always puts me in a good mood.” 

ALBUM: “Little Simz: Sometimes I Might Be Introvert. This album couldn't have come at a better time, Simz touched on topics that need to be discussed including race and womanhood. This is a timeless album and it's something we will be listening to in years to come.”

Kwame Kwaten, CEO, Ferocious Talent

TRACK: "Labels by Blue Lab Beats… I can’t stop listening to it. The artistry!”

ALBUM: “It’s a tie between Arlo Parks’ Collapsed In Sunbeams and Dave’s We’re All Alone In This Together. Just brilliance.”

Carla Marie Williams, songwriter/founder Girls I Rate

TRACK: “Essence by WizKid and Tems – that track makes me feel so good, so free! I’m also so proud of the producer P2J who is from South London and killed it! I remember sitting in his bedroom making music in 2011/2012 now he’s Grammy nominated! Absolutely amazing!”

Whitney Boateng, agent, WME

TRACK: “My favourite song this year is Rema – Soundgasm. It takes me back to a happy place personally and also it’s just a very good song.”

ALBUM: “Dave - We’re All Alone in This Together. It’s just a brilliant album. I’ve been able to go back to it several times throughout the year.”

Louis Bloom, president, Island Records

TRACK: “Sam Fender – Seventeen Going Under. Such a personal and poignant song.”

ALBUM: "Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert. Always pushing boundaries and always brilliant.”

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