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  • Writer's pictureSammie Stewart

Top 21 Songs of 2021

2021 was a very good year for music, with many great albums, EPs, and singles being released. Live music also finally made a return this year after a long 18 months, which only made music lovers everywhere appreciate the art even more. This was a very hard year mentally for me, and music helped me through everything. That being said, here are my top 21 songs that I loved this past year. (Disclaimer: just like in past years, not all of the following tracks are actually from this past year, they are just songs that I found myself loving in 2021.)

21. Blood Orange by The Wldlfe

In 2021, I discovered The Wldlfe thanks to my favorite band, Grayscale. I absolutely loved seeing them live for the first time (and the second, and the third...) and instantly downloaded some of their songs once I got home. The track that stood out the most to me was "Blood Orange." This track was amazing live, the studio is also great...even the music video is phenomenal! I highly recommend checking out this song (and band!) if you haven't already.

20. *Equips Sunglasses* by Hot Mulligan

This track instantly makes me think of the summer, taking long walks, driving with the windows down...all that basic bullshit that we all eat up. But seriously, this is such an amazing song; I'm honestly surprised it didn't make it higher on my top songs on my Spotify Wrapped.

19. Stargazing by The Neighbourhood

The first track on this list is a song that I started loving thanks to my time working at Old Navy. "Stargazing" is a song that was on our daily rotation of songs, and I instantly grew to love it. Despite hearing it multiple times a week, I still found myself humming along every single time.

18. Worldstar by Childish Gambino

This past year I bought Childish Gambino's "Because the Internet" on vinyl. On this record is the song "Worldstar," which quickly became my favorite on the album. I found myself listening to it almost every single day; whether that be on my way to work, on my record player, or taking a walk.

17. High Hopes by Yours Truly

This is a song that was introduced to me by my friend Anthony, and ever since the first time I heard it, I was hooked. Every time I listen to this song it just takes me back to early 202. I feel like this song would be amazing live, and who knows? Maybe one day I'll hear it live.

16. brutal by Olivia Rodrigo

"Sour" is an amazing album that was dropped by Olivia Rodrigo in 2021, and just like everybody else, I found myself thoroughly enjoying it. My favorite song on the record is "brutal," the opening track. It's just so damn catchy, and it was different from her single, "good 4 u," that was a lot more poppy. "brutal" has more of a rock feel to it, and I absolutely love it and hope Rodrigo makes more songs like this in the future.

15. The Spins by Mac Miller

As some of you may know, the summer of 2020 I moved to Pittsburgh. I had been dreaming about doing this ever since I was little, since I had so many great memories associated with the city. Mac Miller was from Pittsburgh, so once I moved here, I started listening to him some more. In 2021, I listened to "The Spins" more times than I can count. Every time it was eve slightly warm out, I found myself blasting this song. It's just such a feel good track, and it makes me want to drive around (I can't drive but you get the point) with the windows down.

14. STFU! by Rina Sawayama

"STFU!" is a song that was recommended to me on my Discover Weekly, and from the second I first heard it, I loved it. This track just makes me feel like such a bad bitch every time I listen to it, and that's definitely the kind of vibes we need going into this new year.

13. Airhead by Seaway

This is another track that was introduced to me by my friend Anthony (he has amazing taste, I know). In 2021, I rediscovered my love for pop punk. (it was my top genre on my Spotify wrapped!) I'm fully convinced this song was the start of the resurgence of my love for the genre.

12. Entice Me by Colourblind

"Entice Me" is another song that was recommended to me via Discover Weekly on Spotify. The song starts slow, then the chorus is booming with louder and more rugged vocals. I absolutely love this song, and I will be checking out more songs from Colourblind in the future.

11. Turbulent by Waterparks

While I no longer listen to Waterparks' new material, I do find myself still enjoying some songs of theirs here and there. "Turbulent" is a song by them that I particularly enjoyed listening to in 2021. I found myself listening to it almost every single day, but can you judge me? It's just so damn catchy.

10. Sleeptalk by Dayseeker

Surprise, it's another song that was on my Discover Weekly! "Sleeptalk" is actually a song that I discovered more recently, however, I still love it. This is a track that I love screaming the words to. It's such an addictive song, and I can definitely see it being in my top songs on Spotify Wrapped 2022.

9. All Eyes on Me by Bo Burnham

In 2021, I had a huge Bo Burnham phase. Inside, his Netflix special, was released in May. I believe I watched it for the first time in June, and in that first week, I watched it upwards of five times. "All Eyes on Me" is the track that caught my attention the most. Not only is the song itself amazing, but the actual video for it in the special is amazing. The lighting, the cinematography...everything about this song is perfect in my eyes.

8. Colourblind by Movements

Back in August and September, I had the opportunity to see Movements live four times. I had never really listened to them before (besides "Daylily") but I definitely wasn't disappointed. I grew to love their song "Colourblind" shortly after, and I still have yet to stop listening to it. It's now a part of my daily rotation of songs.

7. Live Again by Grayscale

2021 is the year that I rediscovered Grayscale. Now, I have been a fan of Grayscale probably since 2018, however, I kind of fell off after their album "Nella Vita" dropped. However, when their newest album, "Umbra," was released, I fell back in love with them. One song in particular off of the new record that caught my eye is "Live Again." This song talks about the struggle of having a loved one in the hospital and the thought of losing them. I talked about this already in my review of the album, but this song is very relatable to me. My mother was in and out of the hospital for the last few years of her life. This song is even better live, and I'm so grateful to say that I saw it on their tour three times. I love this song so much, I highly recommend you listen to it if you haven't already.

6. Drift by Young Culture

Young Culture is another band I rediscovered in 2021, thanks to Grayscale. The Philly band brought Young Culture on their Umbra tour, and I was so excited to finally be able to see them live. "Drift" is a song that I have had saved for a few years now, but I really started loving it again this year. I especially listened to it a lot leading up to my Umbra tour dates and after the tour had ended. I can confidently say that this song is even better live.

5. Foolish Believer by Broadside

A few months ago, in October, I got to see Broadside live (or at least, Dom and Ollie doing an acoustic set). The show was at a restaurant and there was maybe 20 people there. It was such an enjoyable show, and thus, my love for Broadside was awoken. I'll admit, I still haven't listened to a whole lot of their music, but I'm definitely trying to change this in 2022. My favorite song by them currently is probably "Foolish Believer." They played this song at the show attended, and I instantly fell in love with it.

4. Crow by Noel Miller

Noel Miller released his first EP, "Push," in 2020. My favorite song off of the record was easily "Crow," and I definitely listened to this track a lot this year. (it was my third most played song of the year according to Spotify Wrapped!) Noel just sounds so amazing here; I love the beat, the bars, everything. I look forward to hearing more solo projects from him in the future.

3. Bad Machine by Boston Manor

This list is full of Discover Weekly songs, and "Bad Machine" is no exception. It was actually the first song I ever heard from Boston Manor, and I adore it so much. This is another track I listen to when I'm not feeling great about myself, and it instantly makes me feel confident. And who knows? Maybe now I'll finally start listening to more of Boston Manor's music.

2. Dirty, Pretty, Beautiful by The Maine

The Maine is one of my favorite bands, so you already knew they were going to make it onto this list. They released a new album last year, and I loved every second of it. My favorite song on the record is "Dirty, Pretty, Beautiful." It's such a vibey song and it's so fun to dance along to. I can't wait to finally hear it live at 8123 fest in a few weeks!

  1. Fever Dream by Grayscale

If you know me at all, you probably saw this coming. As I mentioned earlier, in 2021, I fell back in love with Grayscale. One of the first songs I ever heard from them back in 2018 was "Fever Dream." I instantly loved it, and it is still to this day my favorite song by them. I even have a tattoo of the lyrics "we'll try in another life" on my shin. This track is also amazing live, and I'm happy to say that it was the second song (first being "Atlantic by Grayscale) I ever crowdsurfed to. 10/10 would recommend.

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