Last year around this time, 2021 felt like a gleaming promised land, a place where festivals gates and club doors would be thrown open and dance music lovers would enter en masse to reconnect with gleeful abandon.
Did this happen? Kind of? Sort of. But not with the total freedom we might have dreamed of, and certainly not without the nagging anxiety of what might happen if we weren’t careful about any and all human contact. While limitations have never been a key dance world characteristic, in spite of them, this year we did — in moments — get back to normalcy on dancefloors worldwide, even if we had to show a test result or vaccine card to gain access.
But in many ways, 2021 was still a year primed for dance albums, as shifting unknowns made at-home listening still feel safer than communal listening, while also providing swaths of time to just let LPs play out. In a scene so often driven by singles, this increased space for albums was a silver lining amidst the new normal.
Here are Billboard‘s picks for the 20 best dance/electronic albums of 2021, presented in alphabetical order by artist.