11 best country albums of 2021

The singular quality shared by the top country music albums of 2021 is that each was made as an album, not a collection of songs. There is an intentional thread that ties the first song to the last, and even when it’s not definable, you can feel it instinctively.

In years, we will be able to identify “Things a Man Oughta Know” and “Rolling Stone” as two songs from Lainey Wilson’s debut album, Say what i think (Number 6). Thomas Rhett’s retro vibes through Country again: side A will always stand out, as will the time when songs from Alan Jackson’s last album, Where did you go, Have been produced.

Distribution models have complicated the previously thoughtless process of differentiating an album from an EP or a package of hits. Carly Pearce added some songs on her 29 EP to make an album, released in September. Eric Church has technically released three different albums, each with their own release day, but for the purposes of this list, Heart soul was treated as a single artistic statement.

Sales and streaming numbers weren’t as big a factor on this list of top country albums of 2021 as they are on Taste of Country’s Top 21 Songs of 2021 list, also found below. However, an artist’s vision and ability to achieve their goals are paramount, followed by overall creativity and accessibility to a mainstream audience. Award nominations and wins also helped shape this list. You will find the 2022 Grammy nominees at issues 2 and 3 below.

Best Country Albums of 2021 – Critics’ Choice

This list of the top country albums of 2021 was curated by the staff at Taste of Country, with fan assistance and with industry acclaim and mainstream accessibility in mind.

Best Album of the Year is a traditional country record that makes subtle efforts to include more progressive fans. Elsewhere, find projects from a dynamic mix of artists and visionaries.

Best Country Songs of 2021, Ranked

You’ll find much more than the 10 best country songs of 2021 on this list. Enjoy the 21 best country songs of the year, based on the opinion of Taste of Country staff and country music fans, along with business data (sales, streaming, broadcast).

Toya J. Bell