It wasn't easy narrowing down all of 2021's biggest and best tracks - especially into a list with one standout winner, but after much care and deliberation we've chosen and collated our absolute favourites. The result is a varied and colourful list that showed just how dynamic the music we were blessed with this year is including the likes of Charli XCX, Little Simz and Origami Angel.
Charli XCX - New Shapes ft. Christine & The Queens and Caroline Polachek
In one of the hottest collabs of the last several years, 'New Shapes' comes in as a late entry to our songs of the year list, but took no time whatsoever to earn its place there. 'New Shapes' is the meeting of three pop powerhouses - Charli XCX, Christine & The Queens, and Caroline Polachek - each bringing their own personality to the track as their verse drops. It's an instant earworm and a most perfectly formed pop track. 'New Shapes' along with its predecessor 'Good Ones' promises greatness from the upcoming Charli XCX album 'CRASH' and we can't wait to see what the full record has in store for us next year - and we certainly can't wait to see her on her UK tour next spring!
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Nick Cave and Warren Ellis - Shattered Ground
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Nick Cave three times since 2018 – all in different capacities. The first alongside The Bad Seeds, the second a solo performance with just a piano for company, and most recently alongside long-time collaborator and friend Warren Ellis. It was at this show where ‘Shattered Ground’ (taken from this year’s ‘Carnage’) was given an exquisite rendition.
‘Shattered Ground’ is a reminder of Cave and Ellis’ unique bond that has grown beautifully over the past half-a-decade. Ellis’ compositions are elegantly complemented with Cave’s flawless penmanship and the result is a raw, stripped back masterpiece created and nurtured perfectly in jam sessions between the pair.
Little Simz - Point and Kill
‘Point and Kill’ is the 15th track on Little Simz’s 2021 album ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’, featuring London-based Nigerian artist Obongjayar. The afrobeat influenced track produced by Inflo (SAULT) is an instant groove which on first listen had my feet tapping and head bobbing along to it – I don’t think it left my head for about three weeks straight. In an interview with Apple Music, Simz explains how the song is about tapping into her Nigerian roots and having fun with it, while rapping about her go getting, driven mindset. If you haven’t heard it, whack it on full volume and get ready to have it stuck in your head for the rest of the year!
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Olivia Dean - Hardest Part
By far my favourite track of the year, Olivia Dean is absolutely one to watch. An effortless blend of jazz, soul and pop, Dean has mastered the marriage of catchy rhythm, heartfelt lyricism, on-point stage presence and she’s only 22 years old. Gathering nearly 1 million hits on YouTube for the Motown inspired music video, go have a listen and if you like what you’re hearing, check out her incredible 2018 single ‘Reason To Stay’.
Origami Angel - Footloose Cannonball Brothers
There’s something comforting about Origami Angel’s music. Maybe it’s their commitment to name checking sources of nostalgia like Pokémon and Happy Meals, maybe it’s how they don’t take themselves too seriously as is evidenced by song title ‘Footloose Cannonball Brothers’ from their latest album ‘GAMI GANG’ (2021). The understated intro to this song grabbed me straight away, and the hook ‘if the shoe fits no one’s gonna blame you if you use it’ keeps me coming back. Origami Angel blend genres seamlessly with hints of metal, hip-hop, pop punk and indie all present across their discography. The times this song hasn’t been stuck in my head have been rare, and that’s perfectly okay with me.
Big Red Machine - Renegade (feat. Taylor Swift)
Wet Leg - Wet Dream
Caroline Polachek - Bunny Is A Rider
Self Esteem - I Do This All The Time
Ben Howard - Far Out
Gus Dapperton - Palms (feat. Channel Tres)
Listen to the tracks that we loved the most in our Spotify playlist below:
Which songs are we missing from our list? Let us know on social media!
Find our 'Albums of the Year 2021' list here.
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