I know I say this every year, but let me say it again this time. The year of 2020, while hectic and chaotic for all of us for obvious reasons, has also delivered to us some pretty inspiring and thought-provoking albums and songs. Is that to say that previous years haven’t been that great? No, not by any means! This past year has been probably the year in which I have grown the most in my musical tastes, and it’s the year that I have found more albums and songs that have resonated with me, but maybe that’s because I was more aware of releases this year than any other year. Partly because of me branching out into different types of music because of my own accord due to me being more at home due to COVID-19, and also partly because of me and Jon writing our blog series about influential artists of all time– and us being exposed to more different types of music that way.
From where I’m sitting though, it seems that 2020 was the year that we were presented with the most hard hitting and poignant songs, as well as the most inspirational albums in recent memory. We were treated to songs like “Together” (for KING & COUNTRY, Tori Kelly and Kirk Franklin), “I Love Me” (Demi Lovato), “Break Up Song” (Little Mix), “Standing With You” (Guy Sebastian), “Underdog” (Alicia Keys), “Thank You Lord” (Chris Tomlin, Thomas Rhett, Florida Georgia Line), “Who Am I” (Needtobreathe), “I Got This” (The McClymonts), “My Weapon” (Natalie Grant), “Run To The Father” (Matt Maher), “Say I Won’t” (MercyMe), “The Blessing” (Kari Jobe), “Hold On To Me” (Sofia Carson), “I Dare You” (Kelly Clarkson), “How They Remember You” (Rascal Flatts), “Until Grace” (Tauren Wells and Rascal Flatts), “Drown” (Lecrae and John Legend), “Battle Belongs” (Phil Wickham), “Different” (Building 429), “Catch Me Singing” (Sean Curran), “Soldiers” (Rachel Platten), “Be My Eyes” (Pentatonix), “I’m Sorry (A Lament)” (TobyMac), “Starting Over” (Chris Stapleton) and “The Fullest” (Josh Groban and Kirk Franklin) to name a few (or to name a lot!). While we were also blessed to hear inspirational and encouraging albums such as Brand New [Matthew West], Silver Landings [Mandy Moore], Mayhem To Madness [The McClymonts], Graves Into Gardens [Elevation Worship], Order, Disorder, Reorder [Jason Gray], No Stranger [Natalie Grant], The Lemonade Stand [Tenille Townes], Let the Ground Rest [Chris Renzema], The Way It Feels [Maddie & Tae], Rare [Deluxe Edition] [Selena Gomez], heart theory [Lindsay Ell], Chris Tomlin and Friends [Chris Tomlin], To Love A Fool [Cory Asbury], Out Of Body [Needtobreathe], Lonely Generation [Echosmith], Citizen Of Heaven [Tauren Wells], Heaven & Hell [Ava Max], Confetti [Little Mix], Holy Water [We The Kingdom], ALICIA [Alicia Keys], The Speed Of Now Part 1 [Keith Urban], Leave What’s Lost Behind [Colony House], T.R.U.T.H. [Guy Sebastian], and Restoration [Lecrae], to name a few (also to name a lot!).
This year of 2020, even though it was dire and somewhat scary and unknown… still had it all in terms of music. Soaring and epically awesome ballads, head banging rockers, introspective tear-jerkers and just plain fun pop tunes to dance to. And now that 2021 is now upon us (I just reviewed the first full length album of 2021- Don’t Lose Hope by Cochren and Co.); it’s that time again in our best of series. To talk about our most anticipated albums for the upcoming year ahead in 2021. So now without further ado, let me briefly touch upon 25 albums that will hopefully release within the next twelve months, of which I am anticipating. So which albums are you looking forward to?
MercyMe– inhale (exhale)– sometime in 2021
Bart and his friends previously teased a new album for 2020 (titled The Spaceman), but with COVID-19, and the new song “Say I Won’t”, things have changed- and now we are looking at a new album definitely in 2021, and hopefully their best yet! MercyMe hold a very special place in my heart- as “I Can Only Imagine” is my favourite song of theirs ever- thus this album is THE album that I’m hanging out for in 2021!
Jon Foreman– Departures- February 12th 2021
Switchfoot have always been one of my favourite rock bands, and Jon Foreman, lead singer of Switchfoot, has always impressed, with his solo projects The Wonderlands and Limbs And Branches. Departures is sure to be a hit and is very much anticipated my myself and others who love Jon’s deep, introspective, thought-provoking and confronting lyrics… and from the three singles “Education”, “Jesus I Have My Doubts” and “Red And Gold”, this project is set to be probably within the top 5 of my favourite albums of 2021. Yep, it’s that special!
Pentatonix– The Lucky Ones- February 12th 2021
Matt, Kevin, Kristin, Mitch and Scott are all geniuses, yet I don’t think the world knows this. It’s also a fact that acapella music doesn’t get enough exposure. Yet by the time mid February rolls around, all this will change with The Lucky Ones. “Be My Eyes” and “Happy Now” are near-flawless! Need I say more?
Carrie Underwood– My Savior- March 26th 2021
Carrie Underwood has been in the industry for quite some time now, and she is respected greatly and loved dearly by fans and friends alike. Her last album My Gift was a traditional Christmas album that veered away from the ‘country’ she has been performing for her whole career- and instead took on a more orchestral sound… and now at the end of March, and just in time for Easter, My Saviour has Carrie taking on a gospel sound and tackling well known hymns and worship songs! Bring on the Jesus loving worship tunes, I say! Because this project will further bridge the divide between Christian music and mainstream music… which needs to happen- as I believe God uses any type of music period. So why can’t Christian musicians and mainstream musicians sing together?
Evanescence– The Bitter Truth- March 26th 2021
Amy Lee and co. haven’t wowed me that much throughout their career. Unfortunately, their blog post from Jon only cemented my view that their super dark music (aside from “Bring Me To Love”) hasn’t resonated with me yet. Yet I have high hopes for The Bitter Truth releasing this March- as “Use My Voice” in particular has rocked and rocked and rocked! So I’m stepping out in faith here… Amy please don’t let me down!
Apollo LTD– Nothing Is Ordinary, Everything Is Beautiful- February 5th 2021
Adam Stark and Jordan Phillips have been around for a while now- and I actually reviewed Apollo LTD’s debut project in 2018 quite high. “Now”, “Better”, “Patient”, “You”, “Rulers” and “Good Day” are all included on Nothing Is Ordinary, Everything Is Beautiful; and if you want to hear more pop goodness… then look no further than thus album.
Amy Shark– Cry Forever- April 30th 2021
This album is one I didn’t expect me to even consider listening to… but you know how God works in mysterious ways? I was surfing Youtube one night, came across “Everybody Rise” by Amy, and I was hooked! The rest is history… and with “C’mon” also resonating; Cry Forever is an album that is sure to tug at my emotions even by the end of the year!
Delta Goodrem– TBA 2021
Yes, yes, yes, I’m a Delta Goodrem fan and I’m not afraid to say it! And with her hits “Dear Life”, “Lost Without You”, “Believe Again”, “Enough”, “In This Life”, “Wings”, “Wish You Were Here”, “The River”, “Heavy”, “Dancing With A Broken Heart”, “Sitting On Top Of The World” and “Born To Try” to name a few; how could you not be? Delta’s upcoming album may have no title yet, and may be TBA in terms of release date… but with her songs like “Solid Gold”, “Keep Climbing”, “Paralysed”, “Back In 84” and “Let It Rain” all rumoured to make this track list… let me just say that I’ll be one of the first to listen to this album and to purchase this album. Expect us as a site to review this album quite quickly after release date!
Daughtry– Nothing Lasts Forever 2021
Daughtry and his band have passion. That’s one thing I have learnt throughout the past couple of years. His songs like “What About Now”, “Waiting For Superman”, “Crawling Back To You”, “Start Of Something Good”, “Feels Like Tonight”, “Battleships”, “Home” and “As You Are” are all resonating to me… and if this new album Nothing Lasts Forever is half as good as any of these songs… then we are in for a treat, and are in for a rocking album in 2021!
Sofia Carson– debut album 2021
My discovery of Sofia Carson is one of the shining lights of 2021- as we are met with heartfelt, comforting and inspiring songs over the years- “Love Is The Name”, “Hold On To Me”, “Back To Beautiful”, “Different World”, “I Luv U”, “Miss U More Than U Know” and “Guess I’m A Liar”. I’ve reviewed Sofia’s latest singles here– but if her upcoming full length project is anything like these tracks; then we’re in for a big surprise this year- in a very good way!
Demi Lovato– TBA 2021
I was hesitant in blogging about Demi Lovato back in March 2020… due to some songs having explicit language. I took a risk anyway (as I knew I had to talk about Demi and her discography in this blog series!), and now I am indeed a Demi Lovato fan! “Still Have Me”, “Ok Not To Be Ok”, “Commander In Chief”, “I Love Me” and “Anyone” were the stand alone songs from Demi released in 2020. From the quality of these songs… the bar is raised extremely high!
Avril Lavigne– TBA 2021
Yep, it’s the artist that started it all. 2019’s Head Above Water propelled me onto the road of me listening more and more to mainstream music, and loving the all encompassing genre as a whole, and being reminded that God can and does speak through any type of music he wants to. Avril’s music will always have a special place in my heart- so why wouldn’t I be excited about potentially something new from Avril in 2021?
Hailee Steinfeld– TBA debut full length album 2021
A pop artist through and through, Hailee’s songs “Love Myself”, “Most Girls”, “Let Me Go”, “I Love Yous”, “Back To Life” and “Afterlife” (as well as her version of “Flashlight”) are super catchy and resonating greatly with myself and other listeners. We were promised a full length album very soon… so why can’t Hailee just release the album already?
Jennifer Nettles– TBA theatre broadway covers album and TBA Spanish/English collaboration album 2021
I’ve only officially been listening to Sugarland and Jennifer Nettles actively just this year. Yep, I’m late to the party… but the honesty, vulnerability and emotion here is what hits me the most, and has converted me into fan almost overnight. Jennifer has a country voice, but these songs are pop and rock with a country edge. And to know that a classical album from Jennifer (a theatre album full of broadway covers)- as well as a Spanish/English collaboration duets album- are both slated to be releasing sometime this year (on top of a brand new Sugarland album!)… well those proposed musical genre shifts alone is enough to pique my interest. Is it too early to call me a fan of both Jennifer Nettles and her band Sugarland?
Sugarland– TBA 2021
See above, what I wrote about Jennifer Nettles’ two solo projects slated for release in 2021, for exactly the same reasoning!
Jennifer Lopez– Marry Me- May 21st 2021
Known as an icon in the Latin community (for her music and her acting!), Jennifer Lopez (or J Lo) needs no introduction. She is influential without a doubt (just look up Wikipedia, and read the extensive material about her impact and legacy!), and we will blog about her this year for our series on influential artists of all time; yet for me personally, I’ve only recently listened to a few songs of Jennifer’s here and there. Enough for me to say that she was relevant back then in the early 2000’s, and enough for me to conclude that she’s still relevant now. May is when Jennifer’s new movie Marry Me releases- and it’s also when the companion soundtrack will release as well. And though now I’m not that well versed in Jennifer’s music, I am still anticipating this project (movie and album)- simply because the storyline of the film intrigues me, and also because I’d like to hear some inspirational and hopeful and hard-hitting music, of which I believe the album Marry Me will be. Jennifer is a legend in her own right- and I firmly believe that she will remind us all in this project why she is still a force to be reckoned with in 2021!
Sia– Music: Songs From And Inspired By The Motion Picture- February 12th 2021
Let me say from the outset that I’m not a fan of Sia. Her voice is grating sometimes, and I feel that she uses a lot of autotune. But the film Music is one of my most anticipated movies of 2021… so I have a conundrum- as Sia is releasing the soundtrack of the movie classified as another studio album of hers. But I will listen to this project with open ears- and I’ll give this album a chance. Will I like it? Will be become a Sia fan even if I don’t want to? Come back to me in a few months and I’ll let you know.
Kelly Clarkson– TBA 2021
The winner of the very first American Idol has had many, many hits. “Breakaway”, “Since U Been Gone”, “A Moment Like This”, “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”, “Piece By Piece”, “Invincible”, “Mr Know It All”, “My Life Would Suck Without You”, “Never Again”, “Dark Side”, “Because Of You”, “Miss Independent”, “Move You”, “Meaning Of Life”, “Broken And Beautiful”… the list goes on. It’s a no brainer that I’m anticipating Kelly’s upcoming album to be released this year! I don’t think I need to list any more reasons why, don’t you think?
Natalie Imbruglia– TBA 2021
The songstress who became famous from songs like “Shiver”, “Torn”, “Counting Down The Days” and “Starting Today” is back with her upcoming album to be released sometime this year- her first in 6 years, and her first of original material in more than 10 years. Natalie’s songs have that personability about them… so I am intrigued and interested in this project to say the least!
Jana Kramer– TBA 2021
Jana is one of the most honest, vulnerable, emotional and heartfelt singers I’ve heard- just listen to her Whine Down podcast, and then you’ll know the level of openness she as husband Mike reveal to all of us. Jana hasn’t released an album in 6 years- so maybe this year is the year? If so… I reckon it would be really vulnerable, and perhaps we’d all need a tissue box at the ready!
Hunter Hayes– Red Sky TBA 2021
After being booted off the Masked Singer last year, Hunter revealed that his musical genre for the next album Red Sky would be more like a pop album. I was apprehensive, as I wasn’t sure if country music could handle another Thomas Rhett… but “The One That Got Away” is so, so catchy and confronting! Shall we fast forward to Hunter’s release date?
Remedy Drive– Imago Amor- January 29th 2021
Remedy Drive haven’t always been my cup of tea. I loved their song “Daylight” as well as “All Along”… but I haven’t connected with their last few albums, even though lyrically these songs are challenging because they’re based on the idea of human trafficking and what we as a people can do about this horrific act. Yet this year is the year to step out of my comfort zone… and this means listening to a Remedy Drive album. And it might as well be 2021’s Imago Amor.
Pat Barrett– Act Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly- February 26th 2021
Known as the frontman of Housefires, Pat Barrett became famous when he sung with Chris Tomlin on “Good Good Father”. He is set to release his sophomore album in February this year- and while the 17 song long track list may be daunting… expect to hear heartfelt, emotional and vulnerable worship anthems for the church and for personal worship- and don’t we all need worship songs right now in 2021, am I right?
Florida Georgia Line– Life Rolls On- February 12th 2021
Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelly make up the country duo… and while the group has recorded some cheesy stuff- and like Sia I would never have actively sought them out to listen to an album of theirs; my interest in their music went through the roof when I heard their collaboration with Chris Tomlin in the album Chris Tomlin and Friends last year. These guys produced the country/worship album- and now that I know that these two are passionate about Jesus… well let’s just say that I’ll listen to Life Rolls On and then reserve any judgements for later. If I like what I hear, then I’ll move backwards through the group’s discography. If I don’t then it’s back to Chris Tomlin And Friends!
Taylor Swift– All of her albums pre-Lover, re-recorded, TBA 2021
Taylor is the artist of the decade, and ever since splitting from Big Machine Label Group, she’s been wanting to re-record all of her older material. This year is most likely the year that she will rerecord these timeless classics- so what are you all waiting for? Are you ready for new life to be breathed into these melodies?