2021 has been a pretty eventful year for the music industry and musicians around the world. After a catastrophic 2020, things had improved. The new normal became a way of life, there were vaccines available to effectively fight the virus (until Omicron surfaced and questioned the entire status quo) and the music circuit was gradually rebounding. Concerts started to take place, musicians went on tours and some of them also released new tracks.
Here’s a look at some of the artists who picked 2021 as their return year and brought new music to the world and made it a better place.
1. ABBA – Travel
When ABBA performed their last live show, India and the UK both had female Prime Ministers, David Letterman had just made his debut as a talk show host and Michael Jackson had yet to launched its pop culture phenomenon Thriller to the world. More importantly, India had yet to win a Cricket World Cup. It was 1982 and the world has come a long way since then. The Swedish pop legends released Voyage, their first studio offering in nearly four decades, and achieved critical acclaim as well as commercial success. It debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, which is the best the group has achieved so far.
On September 2, the band released the album‘s debut video titled I Still Have Faith In You, which features candid footage of the band’s glorious past. On December 3, they released their Christmas special called Little Things, the royalties of which will go to UNICEF’s Global Child Protection Fund. At the moment, ABBA is preparing for their concert which is slated to take place in 2022. According to the band’s official website, “this is the greatest ABBA performance the world has ever seen”. Until now’.
2. Iron Maiden – Senjutsu
Heavy metal fans around the world went crazy in September this year when British heavy metal titans Iron Maiden released their epic Senjutsu offering. It was their 17th studio album and came six years after their last album Book of Souls (2015). The group had gone through a period of uncertainty during those years, especially after frontman Bruce Dickinson was diagnosed with tongue cancer. Dickinson, known for his opera voice and ability to strike the highest notes with effortless ease, in an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment said the cancer couldn’t hinder her voice and the surgery actually made her sound better than before. The first song to be released was Writing on the Wall, a metal song of epic proportions. It was accompanied by an animated music video that dealt with Biblical themes and featured their mascot Eddie. Senjutsu debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart and became Iron Maiden’s highest album during his four-decade career. The group recently announced their upcoming ‘Legacy of the Beast World Tour 2022’, which is set to begin in May in Croatia and will see them travel the world playing in front of a sea of fans across borders.
Towards the end of 2021, British powerhouse Adele blessed her legions of fans with an album that will be remembered for a long time. At a time when the world was collectively going through a difficult phase, moving from one tragedy to another, Adele’s music made the world feel like it was not alone in its sadness and pain. His fourth studio offering, 30 comes more than half a decade after his last release 25 (2015) and deals with topics that are very dear to the singer-songwriter. 30 just like its predecessors 25 and 21 (2011) debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and has consistently managed to hold onto the top spot.
Adele teased the first song on her album, Easy on Me on October 5. The 21-second black and white clip was enough to drive the world crazy and the message was loud and clear: the greatest pop singer of this generation. was coming back. The album came out in November, and streaming giant Spotify did something very remarkable. Acting at Adele’s request, the streaming platform had disabled the shuffle option, allowing people to listen to an album according to the tracklist or however the artists wanted. Last month, Adele announced her very first residency in Las Vegas, where she will perform twice a week at the Colosseum of Las Vegas at Caesars Palace. She is scheduled to perform 24 shows from Jan.21 to April 16.
4. John Mayer – Sob Rock
Guitar virtuoso John Mayer went into experimental mode during the pandemic and decided to bring back the iconic ’80s sound in his own style. The result was Sob Rock, his eighth studio album after a four-year hiatus, which had equal doses of comfort and catharsis. Sob Rock was like a dose of nostalgia for fans of 80s music that was dominated by synth-pop, glam rock, and a very dominant snare sound. It debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Best Selling Albums chart in July. The first song from the album “Last Train Home” was released on June 4th and the music oozed classic ’80s vibe – twin keyboards, snare drum and Mayer playing in his unconventional pink PRS Silver Sky. The influence of artists like Dire Straits, Eric Clapton, Bryan Adams, U2, Phil Collins et al who dominated the decades between the mid-70s and early 90s on the album was evident throughout. Mayer will begin his “Sob Rock” tour from January 7 in Mexico.
5. Zac Brown Band – The Return
The American country group led by Zac Brown had big plans before the pandemic hit and disrupted everything. The group was also forced to cancel shows and delay releases. But things that collapsed at the start of the pandemic fell back into place in 2021 and their album ‘The Comeback’ was finally released. Still, the journey was not smooth and they faced huge roadblocks in their quest to play live music. Leader Zac Brown tested positive for COVID-19 in September, due to which they took a break from their “The Comeback Tour”. The album was a success, with audiences praising the group’s efforts to fight against all odds and create music. Their single “Same Boat” rose through the ranks on the Billboard Country Airplay charts to reach # 1. The Zac Brown Band has also posted a series of videos on Youtube, including those that give a rare ‘behind the scenes’ look at how they write their songs and proceed in the process of songwriting and music production. The group will be touring the United States in Spring / Summer 2022 according to their official website.
6. Diana Ross – Thank you
American singer Diana Ross has had a long, eventful and successful career. From lead singer of the hit group Supremes in the 1960s to solo over the next decade, the legendary R & B-Pop singer has entertained and influenced people around the world. She had also ventured into theater and filmmaking through film and television. Ross made a comeback in 2021 with his 25th album “Thank You” after a 15-year hiatus. The Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame Award winner is the second influential artist of the 70s and 80s after ABBA, who released new original music after a long hiatus in 2021. The first single from her album, also titled ‘Thank You ‘was released on June 17th. The full album was released in September. According to concert promotion and production company Senbla, Ross will begin his “Thank You Tour” in mid-2022 and perform extensively in the UK.
7. Lorde – Solar energy
New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde released her third album “Solar Power” in 2021. It became her third consecutive album to clinch No. 1 on the Billboard Alternative Albums chart following her debut Pure Heroin (2013 ) and Melodrama (2017). The 25-year-old artist is well known for her unconventional vocal style and brooding, introspective lyrical themes. His latest album is a constant departure from his previous ones, in terms of sound and theme. The electro-pop dominated sound gave way to a soul-acoustic guitar sound, which is evident in his song “Solar Power”.
Lorde rose to fame with her debut single ‘Royals’ in 2013. She was praised for her vocal quality, which sits in the same league as that of Adele, Florence Welch (Florence + the Machine) and Lana Del Ray. Royals had won the award for Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year at the 56th Grammy Awards, while Pure Heroin received a nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album. At 17, she became the youngest artist to win a Grammy for Song of the Year. Her second album ‘Melodrama’ landed a nomination for Album of the Year at the 60th Grammy Awards. Lorde will be touring the world from spring 2022. The majority of her shows in North America, Europe and her home country of New Zealand are already sold out.
8. 2 p.m. – Must
Another group that wowed the world with their comeback was the K-pop group 2PM. The Seoul-based band took a hiatus in 2017 from compulsory military service and returned with their seventh album Must in June. The album was a great success and broke the group’s previous record in terms of sales. According to reports, the album sold nearly 80,000 copies in its first week, which was far more than their previous offering Gentleman’s Game (2016). The band’s music video from the album, “Make It,” received a good response from their music-hungry fandom for nearly half a decade. In terms of sound, they had kept their basic electronic foundation and added elements of pop jazz. K-pop has gained immense popularity in recent years with Korean TV shows called K dramas. BTS group is one of the most popular bands of the current generation and is also known for their immense influence on social media and their legions of fans called “BTS Army”. BTS became the first-ever Kpop group to win a Grammy nomination, when their song “Dynamite” was nominated for “Best Pop Group / Duo Performance” at the 2021 Grammy Awards.
Honorable mention: Metallica (edited)
No, Metallica hasn’t made a comeback in 2021 and hasn’t released any new material. Yet the American thrash metal giants have managed to dominate the news cycles with their shows and celebrations. They had two milestones to celebrate over the past two months. First of all, their 40th anniversary as a band. San Francisco then declared December 16 “Metallica Day” in respect for its contribution to music, art and culture around the world. The second reason for the celebration was the 30th anniversary of their genre-changing and career-defining Black Album. Released in 1991, Black Album was hailed as one of the best metal albums ever made and saw the band leave their comfort zone creating fast, punchy songs and experimenting without limits, eventually breaking new ground in songwriting. metal.
It became the band’s first album to rank No. 1 on the Billboard 200 upon release and continued to dominate the metal circuit for years to come. Metallica reissued the album, as well as a compilation album featuring 53 artists who covered all 12 songs from the original album. It also features Indian artists Vishal Dadlani, Divine and Shor Police, who collaborated to cover their song Unforgiven.