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The Best of 2021

This week’s newsletter won’t be like the others. Given the limited amount of new music released over the Christmas weekend, today’s email will look back at the best songs, albums, and music videos of the year. Throughout the email, we’ve included excerpts from some of our previous newsletters.

Reminder that we are currently in the process of changing service providers, so please bear with us over the next couple weeks. If you stop receiving emails, please check your spam folder as our sending address may change.

Happy New Year!

100 BEST Songs of 2021 🔥

A wildly prolific year for music, 2021 saw artists provide us with a much needed escape from the past two years at home. Given how fast the outside world has changed, it only makes sense that the landscape of popular music has become exceedingly diversified.

From Silk Sonic’s ode to 70s’ slow jams to Kanye West’s love letter to his late mother to Taylor Swift’s ten minute heartbreak, we’ve compiled the 100 best songs of 2021. We’ll countdown the top 30 here, but you can find the full list on Spotify.

30. BROCKHAMPTON, Danny Brown, BUZZCUT (Experimental Hip Hop)

29. Phoebe Bridgers, That Funny Feeling (Bo Burnham Cover) (Indie Folk)

28. Yola, Stand For Myself (Country Soul)

“Yola is the best British-blues-country-rock-soul singer out there, not that we know of any others.” — May 31st

27. Mdou Moctar, Afrique Victime (Psychedelic Rock)

26. Kero Kero Bonito, The Princess and the Clock (Electropop)

25. Weyes Blood, Titanic Risen (Ambient Pop)

24. Porter Robinson, Musician (Electropop)

23. Lingua Ignota, PENNSYLVANIA FURNANCE (Neoclassical Darkwave)

22. Noname, Rainforest (Conscious Hip Hop)

21. Doss, Strawberry (Dream Trance)

20. Billie Eilish, Happier Than Ever (Noise Pop)

19. Cassandra Jenkins, Hard Drive (Art Pop)

18. Kanye West, André 3000, Life Of The Party (Conscious Hip Hop)

“Drake leaked Life Of The Party as part of his ongoing beef with Ye, a bold move considering the song is better than anything on CLB.” — Nov 22nd

17. Squid, Martha Skye Murphy, Narrator (Post Punk)

16. Big Thief, Little Things (Indie Rock)

15. Injury Reserve, Knees (Experimental Hip Hop)

“A disorienting song with heavy distortion and a wave of glitches.” — Sep 6th

14. St. Vincent, Down (Synth Funk)

13. Spellling, Boys At School (Progressive Pop)

12. black midi, Slow (Avant Prog)

11. SZA, Good Days (Neo Soul)

10. Jessie Ware, Please (Electro Disco)


8. Sharan Van Etten, Angel Olsen, Like I Used To (Heartland Rock)

7. Black Country New Road, Concorde (Art Rock)

“Arguably the best song yet from the most promising act in the underground scene, Concorde starts off gentle, like a country waltz, before swelling into a grand, epic stupor with chaotic guitars, flying horns and wailing keys.” — Dec 6th

6. Taylor Swift, All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Soft Rock)

“Delivered with the wisdom only granted after a lifetime of heartbreak, the extended track has the untouched lyrics penned by a wide-eyed, 22-year old Taylor. More vulnerable and nuanced than the original version, the 10-minute song continues to prove why Taylor is the greatest songwriter of her generation.” — Nov 15th

5. Sufjan Stevens, Angelo De Augustine, Back To Oz (Indie Folk)

“Though Back to Oz’ words reference an erosion of internal reality, a loss of innocence and disillusionment, the guitar groove gives the track a flashier vibe than the pair’s previous work.” — Aug 16th

4. Magdalena Bay, You Lose! (Noise Pop)

“Magdalena Bay added a flair of grunge to their latest single You Lose! Heavily influenced by dream pop and shoegaze, You Lose! proves that the genres of the late 80s and early 90s are still very much alive.” — Sep 20th

3. Little Simz, Introvert (Conscious Hip Hop)

2. Japanese Breakfast, Be Sweet (Synthpop)

1. Silk Sonic, Leave The Door Open (Smooth Soul)

“Is there currently anything in music more exciting than Silk Sonic?” — Aug 2nd

You can find our full top 100 songs on Spotify. Note that JPEGMAFIA was unable to clear the sample on HAZARD DUTY PAY! (our No. 9 pick), so the track is missing from the playlist.

20 BEST Albums of 2021 💿

20. Low, HEY WHAT (Experimental Rock)

19. Arca, KicK iii (Deconstructed Club)

“Experimental Venezuelan musician Arca made last week her own, essentially dropping a new LP every day, each one showcasing her ability to break boundaries on a different genre. The standout album KicK iii is restless, a hip hop album over deconstructed club music with full throttle glitches.” — Dec 6th

18. JPEGMAFIA, LP! (Experimental Hip Hop)

17. Squid, Bright Green Field (Post Punk)

16. Lingua Ignota, SINNER GET READY (Neoclassical Darkwave)

“Lingua Ignota is back with a foreboding record that explores righteous indignation and her tangled relationship with Christianity. SINNER GET READY is one of the most individually distinctive pieces of work in modern music.” — Aug 9th

15. Turnstile, GLOW ON (Post Hardcore)

14. Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders, Promises (Electronic Jazz)

13. Remi Wolf, Juno (Indie Pop)

“Unique and full of life, Remi Wolf’s debut album Juno does not have a boring moment. Her untold charm seeps through her latest record which serves listeners a refreshing kick to the face. In an industry which can be very formulaic, Remi has stepped out with an unmistakable presence, carving her own niche in the world of pop.” — Oct 18th

12. Porter Robinson, Nurture (Electronic Dance)

11. St. Vincent, Daddy’s Home (Psychedelic Soul)

10. Yola, Stand For Myself (Country Soul)

“Nashville, we hope you’re listening.” — Aug 2nd

9. Spellling, The Turning Wheel (Art Pop)

8. Tyler the Creator, CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST (Hip Hop)

“Prince. David Bowie. Tyler, The Creator… The California native will end his career as one of the greatest artists of all time. With his new album CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST, Tyler, The Creator continues one of the hottest album streaks in recent memory.” — June 29th

7. Injury Reserve, By The Time I Get To Phoenix (Glitch Hop)

By the Time I Get To Phoenix sounds like the end of the world, as if the music were physically collapsing. The music is so abrasive that it makes horrorcore sound childish.” — Sep 20th

6. Japanese Breakfast, Jubilee (Indie Pop)

5. Silk Sonic, An Evening With Silk Sonic (Smooth Soul)

“A love letter to the 70s, An Evening With Silk Sonic showcases the unworldly chemistry between .Paak and Mars as the two push each other to new heights while playfully sparring in a game of tongue-in-cheek wits. The album’s only flaw is it’s not long enough to actually last an entire ‘evening’.” — Nov 15th

4. Sufjan Stevens, Angelo De Augustine, A Beginner’s Mind (Indie Folk)

“On A Beginner’s Mind, Stevens’ and De Augustine’s twin vocals mesh together beautifully, often indiscernible, like a modern day Simon & Garfunkel.” — Sep 27th

3. black midi, Cavalcade (Avant Prog)

“Is Cavalcade album of the year? The jazz fusion meets art rock album features screaming saxophones, elaborate chord changes and dazzling drums. The album is heavy, but also pretty. It’s noisy. It’s psychedelic. It’s not easily digestible. It’s glorious.” — May 31st

2. Magdalena Bay, Mercurial World (Synthpop)

“Pop at its finest, Mercurial World shows listeners what pop music can be, laying out a blueprint for all future synthpop records. The album takes the last 35 years of dance music and spits it out in a new form, transporting listeners to a universe which exists somewhere between 80’s Madonna and the futuristic sonics of SOPHIE.” — Oct 11th

1. Little Simz, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert (Conscious Hip Hop)

Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is nothing short of a masterpiece. The album is stunningly introspective with Little Simz cramming her character into every space of the project.” — Sep 6th

15 BEST Music Videos of 2021 🎥

15. Beyoncé, JAY-Z, Childish Gambino, Oumou Sangaré, MOOD 4 EVA

14. Silk Sonic, Smokin Out The Window

13. Tyler the Creator, LUMBERJACK

12. Lana Del Rey, Chemtrails Over The Country Club

11. Snail Mail, Valentine

10. Dua Lipa, We’re Good

9. St. Vincent, Down

8. BADBADNOTGOOD, Signal From The Noise

7. Kylie Minogue, Jessie Ware, Kiss of Life

6. SZA, Good Days

5. Taylor Swift, All Too Well (10 Minute Version)

4. Little Simz, Cleo Sol, Woman

3. Radiohead, If You Say The Word

2. Japanese Breakfast, Savage Good Boy

1. Mac Miller, Colors and Shapes

5 WORST Songs of 2021 🗑️

5. Kid Rock, Monster Truck, Don’t Tell Me How To Live (Rap Rock)

4. Addison Rae, Obsessed (Dance Pop)

3. TRAMP STAMPS, I’d Rather Die (Pop Punk)

“The most hated band on the internet, the female trio TRAMP STAMPS is under fire for appropriating punk culture. If you asked them what Green Day was, they’d probably think you were talking about St. Patrick’s Day.” — Apr 26th

2. Masked Wolf, Astronaut In The Ocean (Trap)

1. Walker Hayes, Fancy Like (Bro Country)

Next week: We will return to normal coverage.

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