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    In an industry that consistently delivers surprise after surprise, this year the music world felt even more unpredictable than ever.

    So what were the headlines? Well, ABBA made a comeback; a High School Musical: The Musical: The Series star became the worlds biggest pop star; Kanye and Drake released 20+ track rap albums just weeks apart, before uniting on stage at a Free Larry Hoover event.

    In 2021, 35 albums claimed the number one spot, including DJ Khaleds Khaled Khaled, Adeles 30 and Olivia Rodrigos Sour.

    Keep reading to discover the top album sales of the year and the most popular albums of the year, all according to Billboard.

    What To Expect

    What exactly are we going to cover in this article? Check out the below to find out.

    Best Selling Albums of 2021

    • Evermore – Taylor Swift
    • Folklore – Taylor Swift
    • BE – BTS
    • Sour – Olivia Rodrigo
    • Fearless (Taylors Version) – Taylor Swift
    • Fine Line Harry Styles
    • Starting Over – Chris Appleton
    • Happier Than Ever – Billie Eilish
    • Power Up –AC/DC
    • Greatest Hits – Queen

    Five Most Popular Albums of 2021

    • Dangerous: The Double Album – Morgan Wallen
    • Sour – Olivia Rodrigo
    • Shoot For The Stars Aim For the Moon – Pop Smoke
    • Evermore – Taylor Swift
    • Certified Lover Boy – Drake

    Ones to Watch

    • 30 – Adele
    • Red (Taylors Version) – Taylor Swift
    • = – Ed Sheeran
    • Live Life Fast – Roddy Rich

    Best Selling Albums of 2021

    Evermore – Taylor Swift

    Evermore came about after Taylor Swift and The National’s Aaron Dessner were keen to continue collaborating after creating the formers eighth studio album, Folklore.

    The surprise album encapsulates the feeling of being beside the fireplace on a winters day; Swifts voice wraps around the listener, giving them a warm hug.

    Is the singer leaving pop behind to return home to her pastoral roots for good? All will be revealed in due course, we’re sure.

    Folklore – Taylor Swift

    As mentioned above, Folklore is the “older sibling” of Evermore, secretly recorded between April and July of 2020 when COVID forced Taylor to cancel her world tour for previous LP Lover.

    Listen to the album, and you can hear how the album-making process was a therapeutic, cleansing experience for the international superstar.

    BE – BTS

    Theres never been a better time to be part of a Korean band, just ask BTS (Bangtan Boys): a seven-member Korean boy band that’s become a global phenomenon.

    Hell, even our grandparents recognise their songs from the Samsung commercials.

    Originally realeased in 2020, BTS’ BE became of 2021s top-selling albums too, helped along by the fact it features some of the bands biggest hits yet, including Dynamite’ and Life Goes On.

    Genre-wise it’s an extremely chart-friendly mix of pop, hip-hop, funk and disco influences.

    Sour – Olivia Rodrigo

    Olivia Rodrigo was best known as a Disney+ actress in 2020, but this year she became the standout performer of this years BRIT Awards, and the youngest solo artist ever to achieve the UK chart double with her single Good 4 U and her debut album Sour.

    Essentially, If you fancy an energetic pop-punk mash-up of Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift, then Sour is very much for you.

    Fearless (Taylors Version) – Taylor Swift

    ICYMI, Taylor Swift lost her masters to music tycoon Scooter Braun which triggered the singer to re-record all of her albums prior to 2019s Lover.

    Fearless (Taylors Version) was the first of six scheduled re-recorded albums, and features all of the tracks from the Platinum edition of Swifts debut (initially released in 2009), including fan favourites Love Story, You Belong With Me’ and Fifteen.

    Personally, we love how Swifts mature vocal cords take to her early country-inspired hits.

    Fine Line – Harry Styles

    Ever since One Direction split, Harry Styles has been on a journey of self-discovery.

    Fine Line, the singers phenomenally successful second studio album, suggests it’s time to stop the search: he’s already one of Britain’s very best popstars.

    Featuring the singles ‘Treat People With Kindness’, ‘Adore You’, ‘Golden’, ‘Lights Up’, ‘Falling’ and ‘Watermelon Sugar’, Fine Line remains a hit machine, more than two whole years since its original release.

    Starting Over – Chris Stapleton

    Chris Stapleton is preserving the classic country music genre, most recently with his album Starting Over which has found its way onto the top-selling albums of 2021.

    The 14-track record is raw, warm and quintessentially Stapleton.

    Most of all, its a record that provides solace during these particularly difficult times. Just like the country singer, were ready to start over.

    Happier Than Ever – Billie Eilish

    Released on 30th July, Billie Eilish's highly-anticipated second album went straight to the top of the UK album charts, making the 19-year-old superstar the first international female artist to reach number one with her first two albums since Lana Del Rey.

    And the records continue to roll in: Eilish has already been announced as the Friday night headliner at next years Glastonbury, making her their youngest solo headliner ever.

    Power Up – AC/DC

    Australian rock band AC/DC proved they’ve still got it in 2020 with the release of their 17th studio album, Power Up – their first without late guitarist Malcolm Young.

    Both Consequence and Rolling Stone included the album in their list of Top 50 Albums of 2020.

    Plus, critics raved about the 12-song record – most especially, lead single ‘Shot in the Dark’ which was nominated for two Grammys. Now, AC/DC can celebrate having one of the top-selling albums of 2021.

    Greatest Hits - Queen

    Are Queen the biggest band in rock history? The stats certainly seem to suggest so.

    For a compilation album to be released in 1981 and appear within the top 10 top-selling albums 40 years later is no mean feat.

    Collectively, it seems we just cant get enough of classic rock hits like ‘Another One Bites the Dust, Bohemian Rhapsody’ and Dont Stop Me Now.

    Five Most Popular Albums 2021

    Dangerous: The Double Album – Morgan Wallen

    We won’t pretend we weren’t surprised to see Morgan Wallen leading the pack with the most popular album of 2021, but here we are.

    The country singer-songwriter is perhaps the biggest success story to come from NBCs The Voice; after being eliminated from the TV show, Wallen signed to the independent record label, Panacea Records.

    Now, hes enjoying success with his 30-track record that features Chris Stapleton and Ben Burgess.

    Sour – Olivia Rodrigo

    As mentioned above, Olivia Rodrigo may be the new girl in town, but she knows how to launch a pop career.

    Her debut album Sour, is a mixture of emotional ballads (Drivers License), nostalgic pop-punk hits (‘Brutal’) and Tik Tok-ready heartbreak singles (‘Déjà vu’).

    Oh, and, FYI, this isn’t just an album for teens – our whole team is obsessed with the record!

    Shoot For The Stars Aim For the Moon – Pop Smoke

    Pop Smokes posthumous career marches on across the world; here in the UK, the Brooklyn rapper is responsible for one of the biggest selling albums of 2021.

    Shoot For the Star Aims For the Moon was exec-produced by 50 Cent and features stars including Quavo, Future and Swae Lee.

    A second album from the late drill icon dropped at the end of July, entitled Faith.

    Evermore – Taylor Swift

    Not only is Evermore the best selling album of 2021, but its also one of the year’s most popular albums.

    A whole generation has grown up with Taylor Swift, and theyre keen to continue exploring her story.

    Swifties have already taken this latest chapter to their hearts, with ‘Champagne Problems, 'Tis the Damn Season’ and ‘Willow’ joining the list of all-time fan faves.

    Certified Lover Boy – Drake

    Torontos finest returned in September with his sixth studio album Certified Lover Boy – from the get-go, the album was divisive, and so was the Damien Hirst-designed artwork.

    In case you care, were fans of both the music and the cover.

    One things for sure: its one of the starriest albums of 2021 so far – theres Jay-Z, Travis Scott, Future, Kid Cudi (yes, really), Lil Baby, Yebba and more. Our favourite track? Its got to be Papis Home.

    Albums To Watch

    30 – Adele

    To no ones surprise, Adeles done it again. In November 2021, the Tottenham icon released her fourth studio album, which immediately went to number one and became the fastest-selling album of the year.

    This is Adeles fourth UK number one album, and we imagine itll be one of the top-sellers of 2022 too.

    Red (Taylors Version) – Taylor Swift

    When Taylor Swift announced that she planned to re-record her first six albums, fans of the singer were super excited to hear an updated take on what many consider her pièce de résistance: Red.

    At the time of writing, Red (Taylors Version) is just behind Adeles 30 as the top-selling album of the week, and we can only imagine that this take on a classic will continue to soar.

    Perhaps the most exciting addition to the album is the extended version of All Too Well’, which broke the Billboard record as the longest number one hit ever.

    = – Ed Sheeran

    Ed Sheerans Equals (stylised as =) is the singers fourth studio album and, like always, is a cocktail of pop, R&B and folk music.

    Sheeran pleases old fans by staying true to his rustic roots and draws in new fans by playing with bleeding-edge beats and rhythms.

    Singles so far include Bad Habits, Shivers and Visiting Hours, and more and more people are streaming and purchasing the album. So, watch this space.

    Live Life Fast – Roddy Rich

    23-year-old Roddy Rich may have only released one studio album prior to his upcoming record Live Life Fast, but hes already a world-renowned star with accolades including a Grammy Award and an American Music Award.

    Will the album become one of the top-selling albums of 2022? Only time will tell.

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