Winter is for lovers. Though we’re past the holiday season, that cold and burdensome weather makes for more time at home, relaxing, and, well, you know. If nothing else, this winter should be a great time for lovers. The colder weather — combined with the global pandemic that has us stuck inside again — means couples are spending more time together than ever. In theory, there should be plenty of time (and appetite) for getting busy under the covers, but, alas, it turns out that wearing sweatpants at home all day isn’t that sexy. So, in the spirit of helping you set “the mood” in the face of everything else the universe is throwing our way, we’ve rounded up our favourite mood-setting albums of 2021.
Charlotte Day Wilson, Alpha
Song: Take Care of You
Can a breakup album be sexy? Indeed, and the Toronto singer-songwriter’s debut album is proof. While Alpha features the likes of Syd, Daniel Caesar, and BADBADNOTGOOD, it’s anchored by Day Wilson’s endlessly mesmerizing voice: warm, textured, and deep. In fact, Pitchfork said that Take Care of You “could pass for a Destiny’s Child deep cut.” Need we say more?
Faye Webster, I Know I’m Funny haha
Song: In A Good Way
Slow propulsive rhythms. Crisp guitar lines. Aching, whispering vocals. All these elements combine to create an album that’s perfect for turning the lights down and cracking open a bottle of something good. In fact, the album’s first song, Better Distractions, made its way onto Barack Obama’s end of year playlist — and Barry O knows what’s up.
Drake, Certified Lover Boy
Song: Way 2 Sexy (with Future & Young Thug)
Is CLB Drake’s best album? Not by a long shot. But it is the only one with a grid of emoji-women holding their pregnant bellies on its cover (courtesy of British artist Damien Hirst). The album’s most enduring hit is Way 2 Sexy, a Drake and Future co-joint that flips the iconic I’m Too Sexy by Right Said Fred. And if that doesn’t automatically get your album onto a sexiest album of the year roundup, what will?
Jacques Greene, ANTH01
Song: Another Girl
For most of 2021, getting sweaty while dancing up a storm in some nightclub basement felt like a long-lost memory, but that’s exactly why we were happy to have Jacques Greene’s ANTH01 on hand. The Toronto-based DJ’s latest album is the type of engrossing, transportive musical experience that makes you want to drop everything and shake off a year of both immediate and existential stresses — even if the only place you could legally listen to it for most of the year was in your kitchen or living room.
Nala Sinephro, Space 1.8
Song: Space 2
The Caribbean-Belgian composer and harpist’s Space 1.8 is, in our opinion, one of the best albums of the year: an ambient jazz soundscape so big and enthralling you could get lost inside it. Is every song on it “sexy”? Definitely not (speaking from experience: skip Space 6 if you’re trying to set a mood that is anything other than stressful), but for the most part, there’s no better album to unwind to. Plus, now you can pretend like you listen to jazz. And that’s sexy, right? Right?
Dawn Richard, Second Line
Doja Cat, Planet Her
Jazmine Sullivan, Heaux Tales
Men I Trust, Untourable Albu