Poll results: NPR listeners pick the top albums of 2021 : All Songs Considered See what our listeners picked as the top 20 albums released in 2021.

Poll results: NPR listeners pick the top albums of 2021

Poll results: NPR listeners pick the top albums of 2021

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Clockwise from upper left: Japanese Breakfast, Lil Nas X, Olivia Rodrigo, Little Simz, Lucy Dacus Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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Courtesy of the artists

After nearly two years of a pandemic, with lives still disrupted, listeners in 2021 turned to music that was largely about persevering through difficult times, or songs that celebrated the joy of living even in life's darkest hours. You see it all across the list of albums NPR's audience picked as their favorites.

Jubilee, from Japanese Breakfast, came in it at No. 1 in our online poll, with deeply personal reflections on loss, grief and recovery. Adele's 30, which also processes lost love and loneliness, came in at No. 2, with Olivia Rodrigo's Sour, Lil Nas X's Montero, and the Lucy Dacus album Home Video rounding out the top five. These albums, and more on this list, are often beautiful, sometimes loud and all poignant reminders of human resilience, the fragility of life and the wonder of being able to experience any of it at all.

Listener Picks Playlist (Expanded)

You can hear us count down the top 20 albums with the listen link at the top of the page and read the list below. We've also included an expanded playlist with songs from the top 70 albums selected in the listener poll.

The top 20 listener picks:

  1. Japanese Breakfast — Jubilee
  2. Adele — 30
  3. Olivia Rodrigo — Sour
  4. Lil Nas X — Montero
  5. Lucy Dacus — Home Video
  6. Tyler, The Creator — Call Me If You Get Lost
  7. Taylor Swift — Red (Taylor's Version)
  8. Silk Sonic — An Evening With Silk Sonic
  9. Snail Mail — Valentine
  10. Brandi Carlile — In These Silent Days
  11. The War On Drugs — I Don't Live Here Anymore
  12. Little Simz — Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
  13. Billie Eilish — Happier Than Ever
  14. Julien Baker — Little Oblivions
  15. LOW — Hey What
  16. Chvrches — Screen Violence
  17. Arlo Parks — Collapsed In Sunbeams
  18. St. Vincent — Daddy's Home
  19. Kacey Musgraves — Star Crossed
  20. Lorde — Solar Power