My Favorite Songs of 2021
Of all the years we have experienced on this planet 2021 has been one of them, which means we have the obligatory Best of lists. But I personally am not one for those because frankly there is so much media out there I will never experience enough of it to truly do justice to such a list. So here are the songs which came out in 2021 which were my favorite.
I Wanna be Your Slave by Maneskin: After taking Europe by storm, this Italian band finally made it to the US this year and I could not be happier. A combination of badass rock with a catchy dance beat can be difficult to balance but “I Wanna Be Your Slave” finds that balance to perfection. Adding to the coolness is the face Maneskin even recorded a cut of this song dueting with punk rock legend Iggy Pop.
Hunter’s Moon by Ghost: Often times when a song is produced simply to be a part of the soundtrack of a major film, it can be hit or miss. Of course when my favorite metal band Ghost does a song for the Halloween Kills soundtrack it is going to hit hard in my book. Combining an eerie tone with their throwback style “Hunter’s Moon” is the kind of song that gives you the shivers in a good way.
If I Had Money by John Paul Keith: This year rockabilly favorite John Paul Keith released what may be the best album of his career with Rhythm of the City. The Memphis-based singer does not hide the impact the city’s musical heritage had on his music and this is quite clear with “If I Had Money” where early R&B and rock n’ roll beats come through loud and clear. His guitar playing is top tier as usual and benefits from the backing of a full band including keys and trumpets in addition to his usual back-up band.
The Chapeltown Rag by Slipknot: The newest album from Slipknot may not actually hit until next year, but this title track has given us plenty to look forward to. The masked metal band hold nothing back in this banger of a song inspired by lead singer Corey Taylor’s viewing of a documentary about the Yorkshire Ripper. “The Chapeltown Rag” carries definite echoes of their second major album Iowa but still showcasing the growth and evolution they have gone through over the ensuing two decades.
Good Girls by CHVRCHES: When front woman, Lauren Mayberry of the synth-rock band CHVRCHES wanted to write a song which struck a blow against misogyny she wrote one that hit all the right notes. This anthem is nothing short of a smooth and catchy synth-rock anthem with sharp, brilliantly penned lyrics raging against the patriarchy. This is probably my favorite song the band has released since 2013’s “The Mother We Share” and for a band that is as consistently great as CHVRCHES that is saying something.
Bed Head by Manchester Orchestra: A full four years after their biggest album yet, this indie rock band unleashed The Million Masks of God on listeners in 2021. While the lyrics have a haunting and heartbreaking quality to them the band brings an energy and catchiness to pull any listener in. The expectations were bound to be high for this band but Manchester Orchestra had no problem meeting and exceeding them.
Radium Girls by Tom Morello & The Bloody Beet Roots: One of the greatest guitarists of all-time proved he still has plenty left in the tank and is eager to use his talent to benefit a new generation of rockers. Combining his powerful guitar playing with a hard-hitting industrial style proves to be a stroke genius. Taking on the vocals for the track is an all-star crew of Nadya Tolokonnikova (Pussy Riot), Aimee Interrupter (The Intrerrupters), Mish May (White Lung), and Delila Paz (The Last Internationale).
The Shower Scene by Ice Nine Kills: Hard rock/heavy metal and horror movies go together like Leatherface and chainsaws. This connection is definitely understood by Boston-based Ice Nine Kills who regularly base their songs on famous cinematic terrors. Off of their latest album comes this tribute to one of the greatest scenes in horror film history. While this is hard rock song kicks all of the ass, the band is sure to include tribute to Bernard Hermann’s iconic striking Psycho score.
Survivor by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats: Infusing their trademark throwback style with a groovy beat, Nathaniel Ratliff & The Night Sweats made their latest single irresistible to turn off. Rateliff’s wears his Mississippi Delta musical influences proudly and the Night Sweats back him up with a nice dose of 70’s-esque soul for a song worthy of all the acclaim it has received.
Be Sweet by Japanese Breakfast: If I had to find one word to describe this song Michelle Zauner’s indie pop crew Japanese Breakfast I would say “FUN”. It may be impossible to listen to this bouncy song an not be infected by it’s upbeat nature. For “Be Sweet” Zauner goes in an 80’s synth-pop direction for her music and it pays off in spades.
I’ll Call You Mine by girl in red: Norwegian singer-songwriter girl in red made her presence known in the United States this year letting American listeners know what they have been missing out on. With honest emotional lyrics about the feeling of falling in love quickly and unexpectedly. She combines this with a pop-rock style that is both heartfelt and catchy.