A 2021 musical sampler: 20 + 40

I published a piece on my top twenty albums of 2021 just before Christmas. I said then that a lot of the songs that I’ve enjoyed most this year aren’t from albums. Some are on EPs, some are just singles; all are available on Spotify.

So, I’ve put together this playlist, which has one tune from each of the top twenty albums, plus another forty tracks. And, let me tell you, it was hard to narrow it down to that! There is such a lot of great new music out there – as there always is. I rely a lot on BBC 6 Music to get wind of new music these days. I still read reviews, of course; and the festivals always direct you towards some new favourites. But a lot of the singles and EPs I’ve first heard on 6 Music, especially the four weekly episodes on BBC Sounds which are called New Music Mix these days. The DJs responsible for them most of the time are Steve Lamacq, Lauren Laverne, Mary Anne Hobbs and Tom Ravenscroft. Between them they cover the musical waterfront, other than the pop mainstream – though Lauren Laverne touches on that. So I’m afraid there is no Adele or Ed Sheeran on this list, but there is a lot of great music, including some pretty hardcore rock’n’roll or punk – call it what you will. Has it been a good year for that, or am I just more receptive, reaching back to my youth? A bit of both probably. There are some beautiful songs, a fair number of swirling guitars and a bit of jazz and R&B. There’s a small amount of electro – probably not as much as there should be, if the list reflected what I have been listening to over the year. But the tunes are often quite long and repetitive, and I’ve tried to keep most of the songs on this list reasonably short. My Electro playlist, which is updated quite often, is publicly available at my Spotify address – johnsills.

Best track of the year? Hard, really, to single anything out; but if I had to it would be one of  Chaise Longue by Wet Leg (the festival rock’n’roll highlight), The Right Thing is Hard to Do by Lightning Bug (pure shoegaze bliss), or Her by Logic1000 (joyous techno from a Berlin-based Aussie). Best ballad probably Bedroom Walls by Etaoin, though right now I’m really loving Going Where the Lonely Go by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (Alison lead singer on this one). Best noise is Sibensko Powerhouse by JOHN (good name!), though I’m enjoying some of the metal riffing on Turnstile’s album Glow On at the moment, notably Don’t Play and Blackout. Metallica collides with the Beastie Boys.

It’s all good! Check out the list on Spotify: 20 + 40 from 2021. There’s also a longer version of my 2021 favourites, running to around 160 tracks, simply called Best of 2021. The Director’s Cut…

And while we celebrate the passing year’s music – if not the passing year! – here’s to all those new sounds that await us 2022…

About John S

I'm blogging about the things I love: music, sport, culture, London, with some photos to illustrate aspects of our wonderful city. I’ve written a novel called “The Decision”, a futuristic political thriller, and first of a trilogy. I’m also the author of a book on music since the 1970s called “ I Was There - A Musical Journey” and a volume of poetry about youth, “Growin’ Up - Snapshots/ Fragments”. All available on Amazon and Kindle.
This entry was posted in Music - concerts, lists, reflections. Bookmark the permalink.

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