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The top 10 Canadian albums of 2021 | The Globe and Mail

Though 2021 isn’t quite done yet, the year-end best-of music lists have already been filed. Critically (as opposed to commercially), the consensus top Canadian album is the Weather Station’s Ignorance, which topped roundups by the New Yorker and British rock magazine Uncut, while also impressing the tastemakers at Esquire, the New York Times, Mojo, Paste, Pitchfork and Rolling Stone.

Other Canadian records making high-profile international lists include Allison Russell’s Outside Child (No. 1, according to Variety’s Chris Willman) and Mustafa’s When Smoke Rises (the top pick of New York Times critic Jon Caramanica).

Those three albums and seven others found their way onto the list of my favourite Canadian albums of the year, found below in alphabetical order.

The Zolas – Come Back to Life


Five years after their Juno-nominated album Swooner, Vancouver indie rockers the Zolas returned with a discman’s paradise of Nineties’ rock styles. Come Back to Life has excellent hints of Oasis, Nirvana and other bands from the age – but nostalgia is the vehicle, not the cause. Wreck Beach/Totem Park draws attention to Canada’s treatment of Indigenous people; PrEP references the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s; Bombs Away laments the effect of gentrification on artists: “Living in a city of dotted silhouettes / Everybody’s fading, maybe we’ll be next.”