Good Songs To Listen To In 2021
In a time when immediacy reigns supreme — instantaneous news updates and rapid-fire opinions — it's nice to have music. Making, producing, packaging, and releasing music (at least good music) takes time. Therefore, the majority of albums released in 2021 were created within the confines of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Presently, we are listening to songs from albums that were conceived and composed amidst fear, turmoil, grief, and confusion. And musicians have responded to the pandemic in various ways. Some artists have reduced their sound and created sparse, eerie albums.
Some reminded us how enjoyable life is. Others have transformed the out-of-control 18-wheeler that was life in the year 2020 into RAW and LOUD music.
Thus, the latency of music is a gift: music processes the cluster of last year as we process the cluster of last year. Which facilitates our processing. Elton John once remarked, "Music has the power to heal. This man certainly knows what he's talking about when he says, "It has the ability to transport people for a few hours."
Nevertheless, while it is important to acknowledge the context surrounding the release of these songs, the 40 songs featured on this list transcend any one particular year or moment. These are the songs that healed us, moved us, and pushed us to feel our emotions in 2021, be they happiness or despair.
Which artists prevailed in 2020?
The best songs of 2020 were phenomenal, but the best songs of 2021 are equally impressive. From Taylor Swift's re-release of Red to Olivia Rodriguez's debut album to Lady Gaga's jazz and EDM confections, this year provided a treasure trove of new music. Add Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, and Justin Bieber's anthems, and you have a very dynamic year in music.
Music is alive, just as we are. During the last two years, when Covid-19 kept us primarily at home, the Best Television and Best Films gave us something to do, but music gave us a place to go. It mentally transported us to the depths or heights of our emotions; to imagined escapes. Regarding the future.
Which artists produced good songs in 2021?
In 2021, the artists produced some of their finest works. Doja Cat, Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars and Anderson. collaborative Paak's project), and ABBA have provided a plethora of songs suitable for the dance floor, whether the rave is held at home or in a warehouse.
True, ABBA! They returned! And the same goes for our tender, reflective, and liberating moments of solitude. There has been a rock, a healthy amount of soul, and even a handful of incredibly exciting debuts.
What are good songs to listen to in 2021?
Lil Nas X's "MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name"
We are not discussing the incredible video. We're not discussing the popular Satan Shoes. We are discussing the song, which features one of the decade's most potent hooks. With this track, Lil Nas X solidifies his status as the closest thing 2021 has to a bona fide rockstar by continuing his streak of offending the appropriate individuals.
"Cool Dry Place" by Katy Kirby.
The Texas-born singer-songwriter is generally soft-spoken and soft-strummed — until she isn't — which makes the eventual climax of this slow-burner shine all the more brightly.
"BUZZCUT" by Brockhampton featuring Danny Brown.
The Best Male Group Since One Direction has joined forces with Danny Brown. Chaos ensues. We are all better off as a result.
"6 Shooter" by Viagra Boys
This Swedish post-punk band allegedly formed after a night of drinking and Mariah Carey karaoke. This abrupt burst of pure sound resembles the hazy, erratic, and fantastic moments that occur just before closing time.
"Blue Price" by Flock of Dimes
All hail Jenn Wasner. Wasner's songs take their time, fully enveloping you in reverberated vocals and soaring electric guitars, whether she's performing with the Baltimore dream pop duo Wye Oak or her solo project Flock of Dimes. From the opening fuzzed-out riff to the final staticky feedback breakdown, "Price of Blue" is heavy and immersive, delivering the album's standout track.
"Hour of the Wolf" is a track by Tribulation.
The Swedish goth metal band has reemerged from their 2018 album with a subterranean theme, Down Below, to fill this anthem with Megadeath-like riffs, brutal drumming, and soul-ripping vocals.
"Immune" by Jensen McRae
What will we say to one another as the needle is inserted? What began as a Twitter parody of Phoebe Bridgers is now the definitive vaccination anthem. If your emotions regarding the transition to a "new normal" are complex, McCrae's post-quarantine love song will resonate with you.
“All Bidness “by Tha God Fahim and Your Old Droog.
On this concept EP, Droog from New York City and Fahim from Atlanta combine biting bars and soooo smooth beats. "All Bidness" establishes a tone with its horn-swaying and sparseness.
"Thumbs" by Lucy Dacus.
True Lucy Dacus fans have been (impatiently) awaiting a recorded version of this subdued yet intense murder ballad ever since Dacus began performing it live prior to the pandemic.
The studio version lives up to these lofty expectations, with Dacus deftly regulating the tension as she delivers each moving line.
"Last Train Home" by John Mayer.
John Mayer has spent the past few years touring with Grateful Dead offshoot Dead & Company, and it is evident that his solo work has benefited from this exposure. However, this song is more reminiscent of their "Touch of Grey" era, with arena rock synths and a vocal assist from top-tier belter Maren Morris at the conclusion.
"Sunglasses” by Black Road and New Country.
Isaac Wood mentions the Nutribullet, The Fonz, Richard Hell, and Kanye over the course of nine minutes and thirty seconds. It is a beautiful, horn-blasted, sarcasm-dripping, wheel-falling-apart mess.
"Hardline" by Julien Baker
Julien Baker composes lyrics that inspire the desire to get a tattoo. Her most recent album is louder and more audacious than her previous releases, but it is no less sincere, vulnerable, or courageous in its approach. This song is a gut-punch, as are the best Julien Baker songs.
“White Elephant” by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.
Although the two musicians have collaborated on numerous soundtracks (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, for example), Carnage is their debut album. "White Elephant" features Cave's signature imagery and sneer. Set against the sparse-then-sweeping backdrop of Ellis' arrangement, all you can do is hang on.
"Posing For Cars." By Japanese Breakfast
Michelle Zauner owns 2021. She published a memoir titled Crying in H Mart, which became an instant New York Times bestseller (and is now being adapted into a feature film).
It's difficult to choose just one track from her triumphant album Jubilee, but we'll go with the record's closer, which begins with Zauner's almost-whispered lyrics accompanied by understated guitar and gradually builds to a truly epic full-band conclusion. It is the ideal ending to one of the best albums of 2021.
"Call Me a Fool" by Valerie June
In this song about lost love, the Tennessee blues-country musician flexes her vocals with Memphis legend Carla Thomas.
"Soft Spot" by Claud
The strength of Claud's songwriting lies in their capacity to make the personal seem universal and the ordinary seem extraordinary.
If you've ever been in love (and we hope you have), you will recognize yourself in "Soft Spot's" narrative.
"Like I Used To" by Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen
When two of the best siren singers of their generation collaborate, something magical will occur. This is top-down, open-highway rock that nods to the Wall of Sound without veering into pure nostalgia.
On the song's massive chorus, Van Etten and Olsen dare you to pick up a hairbrush or pen and belt along with them.
"All Too Well" by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift's brilliance in transforming a bitter breakup song into a thoughtful discussion on the weaponization of memory.
"Good Ones" by Charli XCX.
"Good Ones" is one of Charli XCX's most pure pop songs ever, but it will stay in your head for much longer than two minutes.
“You for Me” by Rita Ora and Sigala.
"You for me" is perhaps the most-streamed song on Spotify this year; it embodies summer. This song features a bouncy beat and an infectious chorus, making it ideal for poolside dance parties.
"Driver's License" by Olivia Rodrigo.
RED LIGHTS! STOP SIGNS! It is not surprising that Olivia Rodrigo's heartbreak anthem dominated the first half of 2021 based solely on the bridge. It is one of the most popular new songs of the year.
“The Motto” by Ava Max and Tisto.
The latest EDM smasher by Tisto is one of the best new songs of 2021. Here, Ava Max's voice is digitized and robo-fied as she sings about the pleasures of drinking excessively and dancing your asses off.
Charli XCX, Joel Corry, Jax Jones, and Saweetie's "Out Out"
Regarding this theme, Joel Corry collaborated with Charli XCX, Jax Jones, and Saweetie to create an ode to convincing a friend to join you on a night of debauchery.
"We're Good" by Dua Lipa.
Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa is a gift that keeps on giving, and after releasing a remix album last year, the pop star released an extended version of the album in 2021, which includes this bonus track.
It showcases perfectly the soulful side of Lipa's vocals. And the island influences kept it in heavy rotation whenever I felt like escaping.
"Easy on Me" by Adele.
At the beginning of October, Adele previewed a new song. This was the song "Easy on Me." Yes, Adele made her triumphant return to music in the most Adele-like manner possible: with a grand, lush power ballad. Even after a six-year hiatus, her vocals are in peak condition and, dare I say, sounding better than ever.
"Valentine" by Regular Mail
There is no sweeter sound than a woman's purse, unrestrained angst. The contrast between the verses' cool, almost detachment, and the chorus' pounding emotion is adorable.
"Angel Baby" by Troye Sivan
This modern rendition of an '80s power ballad. The synthesizers and saccharine chorus really are amazing. It is possibly one of the best love songs of 2021 and is the ideal accompaniment for kitchen dancing with a significant other.
"Last Night We Met" by Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande
Unsurprisingly, Lovato and Grande's vocals blend beautifully on this slow jam about meeting a bad guy.
"Bunny Is a Rider" by Caroline Polachek.
The nonsensical lyrics—according to Polacheck, we are all "Bunny"—and metallic, almost methodical instrumentals make me feel as though I'm inside a classic video game in the best way.
"Kissing in the Rain" by Soccer Mommy.
In the immortal words of Mr. Bernie Sanders, "Please accept my thanks for the music, Soccer Mommy." This year, the artist has been one of the mainstays, as has this lovely and melancholy song.
Wizkid, Justin Bieber, and Tems' "Essence"
"Essence" evokes an ideal day. Like having sand between your toes, smelling the salty air, and holding an ice-cold cocktail. When the beat drops, it's impossible not to sing along and move your hips. Wizkid has been a well-established Afrobeats artist with numerous hits, but this song has a special effect on you.
"Butter" by BTS
BTS continued their ascent to global dominance by releasing the summer's most popular song. Butter is unadulterated joy, with a funky beat, feel-good lyrics, and strong vocal performances from each member.
"Peaches" by Justin Bieber, Daniel Caesar, and Giveon
For this shimmering love song, Justin Bieber recruited two of the most exciting voices in R&B, Daniel Caesar and Giveon. Caesar's and Gideon's verses are true to their respective styles, but they blend seamlessly with Bieber's to create an easy, catchy megahit.
Galantis, Little Mix, and David Guetta collaborated on "Heartbreak Anthem."
Contrary to the title, Galantis, Little Mix, and David Guetta's serotonin-infused confection is not a heartbreak anthem. As the British girl group sings, they have no time to reflect on the negative circumstances.
What popular songs are a hit in the music charts?
"Bite Me" by Avril Lavigne
Avril Lavigne returns to her roots with an angst-filled, guitar-driven farewell to a man who mistreated her. Lavigne screams "Bite me" in the chorus, which pretty much sums up the situation.
"Message in a Bottle" by Taylor Swift
Hearing her previously unreleased "from the vault" tracks is one of the highlights of Taylor Swift's re-recorded albums. With its pulsating bass and bright '80s-inspired synthesizers, "Message in a Bottle" offers a fascinating glimpse into where Swift was headed musically — it feels more in line with her follow-up 1989 than its intended album, Red — and provides a promising preview of what's to come with the rerecording.
“Breadwinner” by Kacey Musgraves.
Kacey Musgraves is unrivalled in her ability to transform a clever phrase into gut-wrenching lyrics. Consider her song "Breadwinner," in which a woman realizes that her partner is too insecure to handle her success.
ABBA's "I Still Have Faith in You"
For their first album in forty years, ABBA pulled out all the stops, beginning with the power ballad "I Still Have Faith in You," which BBC described as "slowly, majestically building to an astronomical climax."
"Take My Breath" by The Weeknd.
As the lyrics suggest, The Weeknd collaborated once more with pop maestros Max Martin and Oscar Holter to create a thumping, retro-dance banger that will take your breath away.
"Shivers" by Ed Sheeran
Sheeran abandons his signature acoustic style in favour of a spirited pop beat that builds to a genuinely satisfying chorus.
"A Second to Midnight" by Years & Years and Kylie Minogue
No one does disco quite like Kylie Minogue, and for this round, she's joined by the British singer Years & Years (Olly Alexander) for something truly spectacular.
"Bang Bang" by Rita Ora and Imanbek
"Bang Bang" by no means reinvents the wheel, but it has arguably the most sledgehammer beat of the year, one that makes you want to do more than just dance. It obliges you to.
"Every Time I Cry" is a song by Ava Max.
As is typical of Ava Max, "EveryTime I Cry" is not a slow, sombre ballad, as its title might suggest. Rather, it is an anthem for crying in clubs and an ode to tears.
“I Get a Thrill From You" by Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett
A jazz classic reimagined by two legends for their final collaboration, Love for Sale, which was critically acclaimed. The album, a collection of Cole Porter songs, was nominated for six Grammys.
"Transparent Soul" by Willow with Travis Barker.
A throwback to the video-countdown era of the early 2000s (when bands like Blink-182 dominated), "Transparent Soul" delivered a blast of delicious angst with a large, blunt hook. The song's structure is as straightforward as its performance visual, which depicts a black-clad Willow Smith yelling into a gritty fish-eye lens.
“New Person, Old Place” by Madi Diaz
In this gem from the severely underrated History of a Feeling, the Nashville singer-songwriter delves deeply into heartache and salvages what's left. "I used to shop for pain," she confesses over a warm guitar accompanied by strings.
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