It’s been nearly two years since the COVID-19 pandemic reared its ugly head in our direction, and yet still to this day we’re faced with its nasty consequences. In that time we’ve seen 2020 come and go, and we’ve also seen 2021 arrive with handfuls of hope and handfuls of worry. As we near the end of this mostly tumultuous year, it’s time to do what we’ve always done across November and December, namely look back and rank the best albums that crossed our paths the last twelve months. Together with members of the All Things Loud team we’ve been able to put together a mouthwateringly diverse list of albums which shone this year, and today we kick off that countdown with the records which hold spots 40 through 31.

40 MDOU MOCTAR – AFRIQUE VICTIME

39 OLIVIA RODRIGO – SOUR

38 DOJA CAT – PLANET HER

37 TWENTY ONE PILOTS – SCALED & ICY

36 SERPENTWITHFEET – DEACON

35 FRANK CARTER & THE RATTLESNAKES – STICKY

34 LAURA MVULA – PINK NOISE

33 THE VICES – LOOKING FOR FACES

32 MAISIE PETERS – YOU SIGNED UP FOR THIS

31 MANCHESTER ORCHESTRA – THE MILLION MASKS OF GOD

Check back soon for the second part of our countdown.