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The best music of 2021

posted 2022.01.01

I listened to a lot of music in 2021, so I decided to make an end-of-year list for kicks. I didn’t go completely bonkers with the albums, but I did listen to most of the top 25 on RateYourMusic, plus anything else I suspected might be good. This list is based solely on my opinion, so it is unsullied by ‘respectability’ and other weaknesses.


  1. The Turning Wheel by Spellling
  2. CUTIEMARKS (And the Things That Bind Us) by Vylet Pony
  3. Smiling With No Teeth by Genesis Owusu
  4. Mercurial World by Magdalena Bay
  5. Nurture by Porter Robinson
  6. Sometimes I Might Be Introvert by Little Simz
  7. Bright Green Field by Squid
  8. Yellow by Emma-Jean Thackray
  9. Jubilee by Japanese Breakfast
  10. Flux by Poppy


  1. Our Extended Play by beabadoobee
  2. Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 3 by Tkay Maidza
  3. Background Songs For Your Boring Life, Part I by Revenge Wife
  4. EAT by Poppy
  5. Civilisation II by Kero Kero Bonito


  1. rom com 2021 by Soccer Mommy and Kero Kero Bonito
  2. Dream I Had by Revenge Wife
  3. Narrator by Squid
  4. mememe by 100 gecs
  5. Say Something by Emma-Jean Thackray
  6. The Beginning by Magdalena Bay
  7. BONNIE by Vylet Pony
  8. Pennsylvania Furnace by Lingua Ignota
  9. Unfold by Porter Robinson and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
  10. Last Day On Earth by beabadoobee
  11. Silk Chiffon by MUNA and Phoebe Bridgers
  12. Rave In My Garage by Little Sis Nora
  13. Breathe by Tkay Maidza
  14. Dreams by Anamanaguchi and Flux Pavilion
  15. are you? by Zeph

The fact that no artist has multiple entries is part coincidence and part intentional. Secrets (Your Fire) and You Lose! by Magdalena Bay, Animal Sounds by beabadoobee, Earthquake and the first half of Lucifer’s GF by Revenge Wife, and many others were borderline repeat inclusions.

Briefly I will highlight my favorite mainstream songs of the year:

I didn’t listen to all that much mainstream music, so there are some blind spots in that category, but the surprisingly many of the most popular songs were good. And finally, I must praise the single best music video of the year, which belongs to: Secrets (Your Fire) by Magdalena Bay.

Anyhow, that’s the list. If your favorite artist wasn’t mentioned here, it’s probably because you like bad music :)