Top Tracks of 2021

Top Tracks of 2021

Written by Cliff Chenfeld

It’s been a wonderful year for new music, and my favorites of 2021 are listed below. You can find them all on my Spotify playlist Be Here Now, which I regularly update with new recordings:

Perhaps because music is such a tonic for these crazy times, new recordings occupy an even more essential place than they would otherwise. And, when live music returned earlier this year, it was pure joy. I was so grateful to bond with other humans in our collective love of music and experience the transformative magic that only live concerts can provide. Some of my favorite shows in 2021 included LCD Soundsystem, St. Vincent, Neal Francis, Noga Erez, Woods, Wolf Alice, Yo La Tango, Wilco, Foo Fighters and Laura Marling.

We live in a golden age of music with a vast release of quality new recordings available instantaneously. Sifting through the clutter, though, can be a challenge. I hope that this year-end summary will help you discover amazing artists that you will enjoy for many years.

My top tracks of 2021:

Big Red Machine (featuring Fleet Foxes) – “Phoenix”
Wolf Alice – “The Last Man On Earth”




Lord Huron – “Mine Forever”
Rüfüs Du Sol – “Alive”
St. Vincent – “Down and Out Downtown”
Sofi Tukker – “Sun Came Up”




London Grammar – “How Does It Feel”
Aaron Frazier – “Bad News”
Japanese Breakfast – “Paprika”
Parcels – “Comingback”
Devon Gilfillian – “Unchained”
Sault – “Wildfires”
Mitski – “Working for the Knife”
Celeste – “Stop This Flame”
The Weather Station – “Robber”
Strands Of Oak – “Galacticana”
Fleet Foxes – “Can I Believe You”
Curtis Harding – “Hopeful”
Yola – “Starlight”
Wet Leg – “Chaise Longue”
The War on Drugs – “I Don’t Live Here Anymore”
Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen – “Like I Used To”
Woods – “Strange To Explain”
Girl in Red – “Serotonin”
Mdou Moctar – “Chismiten”
Tempesst – “High On My Own”
Knocks/Foster the People – “All About You”
Jungle – “Keep Moving”
Tim Heidecker/Weyes Blood – “Oh How We Drift Away”
Turnstile – “Blackout”
Neal Francis – “Can’t Stop the Rain”




Torres – “Don’t Go Puttin’ Wishes In My Head”
Parquet Courts – “Walking at a Downtown Pace”
Lindsey Buckingham – “On the Wrong Side”
Noga Erez – “End of the Road”




Gruff Rhys – “Negative Vibes”
Typhoon – “Empire Builder”
Lizzo – “Rumors” feat. Cardi B
Tom Odell – “lose you again”
Foo Fighters – “Making A Fire” (Mark Ronson remix)
Brandi Carlile – “Right On Time”
Altin Gün – “Yuce Dag Basinda”
Morgan Wade – “Wilder Days”
Bachelor – “Stay In The Car”
Tame Impala – “No Choice”
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “That Life”
Waaves – “Sinking Feeling”
Glass Animals – “Heat Waves”


Yebba – “Boomerang”
Nation of Language – “Across That Fine Line”
This Is The Kit – “Coming to Get You Nowhere”
Blitzen Trapper – “Masonic Temple Microdose #1”
Ball Park Music – “Cherub”
Mannequin Pussy – “To Lose You”
Fruit Bats – “The Balcony”
Har Mar Superstar – “Don’t You Go Forgetting About Me Now”
Middle Kids – “Questions”
Bureau de Fatigue – “Laundromat”
Aaron Lee Tasjan – “Up All Night”
Iceage – “Shelter Song”
Washed Out – “Time to Walk Away”
Westerman – “Confirmation”
Briston Maroney – “Freaking Out on the Interstate”
Dräger – “Psycho Narcissistic Paranoia (Temples Remix)”
Arlo Parks – “Too Good”
Halsey – “I’m Not a Woman, I’m a God”
Holly Humberstone – “Falling Asleep at the Wheel”
The Avalanches – “Running Red Lights”


Roosevelt – “Feels Right”
Low – “Days Like These”
Lucy Dacus – “Hot and Heavy”
Cory Henry – “Happy Days”
Clairo – “Amoeba”
Silk Sonic – “Leave the Door Open”
Goat Girl – “Sad Cowboy”
Courtney Barnett – “Rae Street”
Hand Habits – “Fourth of July”
Kunzite – “Jupiter”
Tennis – “Need Your Love”
Half Waif – “Swimmer”
Bartees Strange – “Weights”
The Neighbourhood – “Stargazing”
Richard Dawson – “Lily”
Elderbrook – “Inner Light”
Deep Sea Diver (featuring Sharon Van Etten) – “Impossible Weight”
Royal Blood – “Trouble Coming”
Porter Robinson – “Look at the Sky”
Brandee Younger – “Reclamation”
Mndsgn – Medium Rare”


Kasey Musgraves – “Justified”
Bobby Gillespie, Jehnny Beth – “Chase It Down”
Villagers – “The First Day”
Freedom Fly – “Le Point Zero”
Pale Jay – “Dos Uvas”
Irreversible Entanglements – “Open the Gates”
Twin Shadow – “Alemania”
Dry Cleaning – “Scratchcard Lanyard”
Arooj Aftab – “Last Night”

Top Albums of 2021:

Like many people, I wish I listened to complete albums more often. I’m glad I was able to give these the time they deserve:
Wolf Alice – Blue Weekend
The War on Drugs – I Don’t Live Here Anymore
Parcels – Day/Night
St. Vincent – Daddy’s Home
The Weather Station – Ignorance
London Grammar – Californian Soil
Lord Huron – Long Lost
Rüfüs Du Sol – Surrender
Devon Gilfillian – Black Hole Rainbow
Japanese Breakfast – Jubilee
Curtis Harding – If Words Were Flowers
Lindsey Buckingham – Lindsey Buckingham
The Avalanches – We Will Always Love You
Turnstile – Glow On

Header image: Big Red Machine, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Raph_PH.

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