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Best Of 2021: Songs In Order Of Preference For The Entire Year

Rainforest – Noname – the new vanguard’s first release since last year’s best song of the year is this year’s best song of year, now that the protests have ended and the prickly conscious of pop is back asleep, Noname remains at the edge of protest and beyond

Jonah – Kanye West – The choice is almost random, there are four or five other songs on Donda that could have made it (and maybe “Moon” or “Jesus Lord, Pt 2 should have) but this will cement Lil Durk’s position in hip hop and make a star of Vory, in this tribute to Jonah Ware, an independent artist in Louisville who was shot and killed on August 8, 2020.

INDUSTRY BABY (feat. Jack Harlow) – Lil Nas X – Co-produced by Kanye West, with a good verse from Harlow and a facedown with the music industry as Lil Nas X thrives post-road… plus that fanfare!

All Night Parking (with Erroll Garner) Interlude – Adele – The late jazz pianist Erroll Garner interloped instrumental helps make easily the best song on 30, maybe Adele’s best ever, a glorious sound

Peaches (feat. Daniel Caesar & Giveon) – Justin Bieber – it’s the sound of cotton candy r&b, soulful and easy going with a fine chorus… also introduced us to new soul guy Giveon

Scream – Lindsey Buckingham – it’s not that Buckingham ever made this look easy, you never didn’t see him sweat (pace Tusk), it is that he hasn’t written ear candy as great as this terrific slice of classic rock pop since 2008, a master work of Buckingham melodicism by a past master not past it

rubberband – Tate McRae – Tate is sadgirl pop with electronic backing and a top, highly intelligent vision of her reality on her break-up song: “And I got this rubber band on my wrist, on my wrist and I snap it every time that I think about your lips,” and though it might be her only song -she was generic on stage, that doesn’t make it anything less than great

Do You? – April Rose Gabrielli – a gorgeous song, I don’t know how she can beat this one though a couple I heard at The Bitter End come close

Earthlinks – Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – the conclusion of Ghosteens that didn’t make it and should have

Icy Chain – Saweetie – sexy and an ear candy that turns hip hop and rap on its side and sucks you in

brutal – Olivia Rodrigo – Olivia’s re-write of “Pump It Up” is getting exploited in search of her teenage dream

Question (feat. Don Jazzy) – Burna Boy – a brilliant piece of modern pop with a slithering beat and a Graceland vibe

Everything I had – Sun June – The Austin, Texas indie-pop five piece band have crafted a mini miracle of mood, an austere brooder that simmers till it becomes a wall of brooding sound as it falls into the one, undoubted truth of 2021: “everything I had, I want it back”

Down Nuh River – serpentwithfeet -modern hip hop as a children’s playground rhyme

Don’t Go Puttin Wishes in My Head – TORRES – if you believe it used to be as easy for a woman to be an out lesbian in pop, I have two words for you: Lesley Gore. So if we support lesbian musicians there is an additional reason though, really, who needs one for King Princess or Hayley Kiyoko, or Torres who gets more mainstream with every indie art rocker, especially this lovely ear candy rocker of romantic bliss until the toothbrush disappears.

La Chica De Hoy (This Year’s Girl) – Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Cami – not only having it sung in Spanish but also having a woman singer opens the song up to a wider interpretation than even is muted compassion implied

So May We Start (feat. Simon Helberg) – From “Annette” – Sparks, Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard – The lead off song from the sparks musical, is the most purely Sparks like song you’ll ever hear with its hook laden repetition based upon a clipped off marshall beat. Fifty years ago it would have been huge

Born This Way – The Country Road Version – Orville Peck – while Orville’s, gay masked, country affectation is beyond irritating, his thundering baritone is a locking up of gay pride on one of Lady Gaga’s greatest moments

Off the Yak – Young M.A – if Angel Haze was masculine she still wouldn’t be as good as Young. M.A., with the MC putting down the Courvoisier and a word to listen to: “three things I hate are liars, bills, and paying my taxes” as she writes new York Drill in her own image

Stuck In Time – Brando’s Lair – Former Let’s Talk About Girls leader Barry Holdship’s band have promised a new song a month, though he will be hard pressed to beat out this gorgeous, harpoon leaning, early 60s style folk rocker meets doo wop

drivers license – Olivia Rodrigo – Rodrigo is our first rock star in over a decade, and this very popular lost love is the first act of Olivia’s revenge and turned the US on its ears. She was seventeen when she co-wrote, eighteen as I write this

Fillin’ My Cup (feat. Little Big Town) – Hailey Whitters, Little Big Town – a superior drinking song from the country singer, rides a snappy fiddle

BUZZCUT (feat. Danny Brown) – BROCKHAMPTON – Danny Brown might well be the only rapper we don’t hear enough from, and Brockhampton  are on fire on this whirling, spiralled track best moment on their fine new album

KESI – Camilo – if Medellín is on your mind, it might be because you just watched J balvin’s documentary but if you are really lucky it’s because you’ve been listening to the sweet as molasses love song from the 27 year old singer songwriter with a peak track

No Hole In My Head – Tom Jones – TOOOO BAD

Back In Love City – The Vaccines – The Vaccines are always very witty rockers and especially on a terrific pop that works as an anthem to post-vaccines and a lost love in the big city

Let Them Know – Mabel – she is all about her business on this addictive and hook laden dance track

My Father’s Daughter – Olivia Vedder, Eddie Vedder, Glen Hansard – The way Eddie’s daughter Olivia sings “I’ve got no truck with men like them, they can go to hell” is very moving, and the song itself is a beautiful Americana and is a good add to the catalog of both Eddie and Iron & Wine.

Far Too Late – Andrew Lloyd Webber, Carrie Hope Fletcher – Andrew has said he is re-opening Cinderella on the West End with or without the government’s approval, and I can hear why on one of his loveliest ballads giving a sweepingly soft touch

I Hate U – SZA – SZA has been promising us a return to CNTRL style neo-r&B soul stand alones.

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