2021 Albums that disappointed and ones that exceeded expectations

Any big disappointments or conversely nice surprises?

Disappointments :

  • Virginia Wing. Love them but just didn’t connect with this, always sounds harsh for some reason
  • Penelope Trappes. Again love her previous albums and the last 2 E.P’s have been great but this just kind of passed me by and haven’t had any urge to give it more time.

Need to give both of these more time though tbh.

Nice surprises:

  • In contrast to the above Penelope Trappes Mother’s Blood Edition which transformed Three into something wholly different and wonderful.

  • Darkside . Nearly didn’t bother as the first Darkside album is the one Jaar album I don’t like (I know that’s an unpopular opinion).

  • Tirzah; and

  • Mario Batkovic.

Both artists where I really liked the debut but didn’t really have any expectations of the follow up for some reason. Both even better than the debuts imo.

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Parquet Courts was instantly forgettable



  • Converge/Chelsea Wolfe - Blood Moon I - considering the back catalogues these 2 acts have, this is pretty rubbish
  • Parquet Courts - Sympathy For Life - forgettable
  • Julien Baker - Little Oblivions - wanted this to be excellent, was really disappointed in it.


22° Halo - Garden Bed


Unhappy to endorse this sentiment.


Andy Stott :frowning:


I know it went down well here but I was disappointed with the new Self Esteem album. The last one was 2nd on my albums of 2019 but the new one would struggle to make my top 500 for this year - don’t think its best songs come close to the bangers from Compliments Please, and there were a few songs I actively disliked.

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I liked little oblivions! It’s not the greatest work she’s ever done and I think she’s been overshadowed by Bridgers and even Dacus but it’s still better than 95% of all the singer songwriter stuff released this year. Its not a bad record it just doesn’t break any moulds.


Biggest disappointment for me was Tyler the Creator’s new record, fucking loved IGOR but this new one bar a couple of tracks just didn’t really do anything for me.


That’s interesting. It’s been getting a lot of aoty accolades hasn’t it.

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yeah, i haven’t given it a spin in a couple of months, maybe i should give it another listen and see if anythings changed for me.

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Armand Hammer is the obvious one that exceeded expectations. I’d liked previous albums, but nothing really stuck. But this one with The Alchemists productions is just perfect. It’s also made me do a proper revisit of their older stuff and it’s helped me appreciate Shrines and Furtive Movements a lot more.

As for disappointed, probably the SAULT album. The whole “only available for 90 days” things soured me a little. The actual project itself was not on the same level as their previous two from last year (which were AOTY contenders for me), so was a little disappointed by it. Maybe part of it was my high expectations. I would go back to it, but… :man_shrugging:


Oh I love the Sault album. Obviously not as epic as the two from last year but I like the different nature of it. Made me listen to 5 & 7 as well, which were also a joy to discover.

99 day thing ended up being a bit of a miss though didn’t it. Think it’d be fine if they’d left the digital version up on Bandcamp.

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Only focussing on things where I had some expectations in advance:

Disappointment: Julien Baker

Loved the previous one but this one didn’t seem to have any actual songs on it. Everything just melded into a really forgettable mush.

Pleasant surprise: Lucy Dacus

On the other hand, what a great record this is. This kind of straightforward, almost prosaic story-telling songwriting feels a bit of a blast from the past but who cares when it is this good. Really great, distinctive and powerful songs throughout.

Disappointment: Lambchop

I’ve been a fan for years and I really liked the new electronic elements on FLOTUS but it’s sort of petered out since then. The new one was so insubstantial that it was impossible to keep your attention on it. You could feel yourself forgetting it as you were actually listening to it, which was a new experience for me.

Pleasant surprise: Jane Weaver

I’ve always liked the sound of her records but felt that she had been repeating herself a bit. She really upped the ante with this record though - her best selection of songs by far.

Disappointment: Lana Del Rey

They’re not bad records, and I like Chemtrails more than a lot of people, but there’s a real feel of her treading water after the big leap forward on NFR. The second record, with limited input from Jack Antonoff, had a worrying lack of focus and bite.

Pleasant surprise: Self Esteem

I thought the first album was ok and liked the singles but I really wasn’t prepared for how good this record would be. Really powerful, affecting and inspirational. She’s a real talent.


Blue Banisters is probably in my top 5 of the year. Reckon it’s way better than Chemtrails

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Sons of Kemet album was a bit underwhelming - not terrible by any means and I think it’s a really powerful statement, but a bit of a letdown after Your Queen is a Reptile which would be one of my albums of the last decade.


Parquet Courts - boring
Snail Mail - boring
Du Blonde - just didn’t work for me like the first two
Squid - annoying

Ashnikko - Devidevil
Probably my most listened to album this year. I’m obsessed with her music

Olivia Rodrigo - SOUR
Loads of tunes

Torres - Thirstier
I never doubted its quality, i’m just pleasantly surprised that one of my favourite artists is still putting out such bangers

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I thought each one of the songs on it could make a good ‘big slow ballad’ on a LDR album, but making a whole album of them was a massive mistake. I suppose if those are the songs of hers that you like then you’ll like the album, but I much prefer it when she varies things.

when i want pop Lana i slap on born to die, but i’m big into the ballads. Blue Banisters has become one of my favourite albums to write to at work

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They leant a bit too hard on the vocal tracks in my view, and lost a bit of what was special about them.

In that it was exactly what I was expecting Donda was an obvious disappointment.