2021 has been a strange year – but luckily there was no shortage of great pop music to celebrate the highs and face the lows of the past 12 months.
While gigs unfortunately weren’t quite back in full force, there were still plenty of solid releases, including full debuts, collaboration tracks, and re-recordings of old favorites. (Plus: A highly anticipated comeback that felt like a betrayal.)
Before the end of 2021, queue those three tracks and skip the last one.
“Chut” by The Marías (Still Woozy Remix)
Release date: September 16, 2021
Kind: Indie pop
Track length: 3:02 minutes
Spotify stream: 6.7 million
Two first albums – “CINEMA” by The Marías and “If This Isn’t Fun, I Don’t Know What Is” by Still Woozy – are my best releases in 2021. But how do I choose a favorite track from a track without skipping lists? Solution: Put the two artists together on the same song.
Four months after its original release in May 2021, musical duo The Marías teamed up with Still Woozy (aka singer-songwriter Sven Eric Gamsky) for a remix of one of their most popular songs, ” Hush “.
The result is an independent masterpiece that combines the haunting psychedelic vibes of The Marías with the groovy, upbeat approach of Still Woozy. The sound of the two artists is not compromised; panting vocals, courageous guitar picking, delicate piano, daring drums … it all comes together in a mesmerizing piece that is both soothing and energizing.
“Silk Chiffon” by MUNA (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)
Release date: September 7, 2021
Track length: 3:26 minutes
Spotify stream: 12.6 million
Want a song to cure your depression? Do I have what you need!
MUNA’s viral single “Silk Chiffon” is the perfect pop bop: full of beautiful harmonies, powerful guitar playing and catchy hooks. For the song, the three-woman group teamed up with singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers, who actually signed MUNA to her Saddest Factory Records label in May.
I had never heard of MUNA; I came across the single as a die-hard Bridgers fan. Granted, I was weary of the collaboration … a catchy pop song featuring the Queen of Darkness? But somewhere it works, and artists can find themselves in the middle of their different musical energies. I think there’s a little irony that bleeds through this song – I don’t really buy Bridgers thinking “life is so fun” in her miniskirt and inline skates – but anyway , I’d say it’s a high approach to a nerdy, happy-go-lucky song that still has a lot of musical and lyrical talent behind it.
“All Too Good (10 minute version)” by Taylor Swift
Release date: November 12, 2021
Kind: Country pop (although it’s debatable)
Track length: 10:13 minutes
Spotify stream: 159.8 million
Only Taylor Swift could release a chart-topping song longer than 10 minutes.
The extended version of her song “All Too Well” is featured on the re-recording for “Red”, originally released in 2012. I was in freshman year in college when the album came out – very into the “happy”. , free, confused and lonely “. phase of my life, which included mourning my breakup in high school … in part with the help of the “All Too Well” deck. And that re-recording broke my 18 year old heart again.
In the re-recording, Swift proves just how much her vocal range and production prowess has improved over the past decade, and you can hear the emotion oozing out of her words – both the original lyrics and the new additions, like the heartbreaking “But all I felt was shame and you held my lifeless body” – even more strongly than the first time. It’s an understatement to say I’m obsessed with the new version; ‘even uses it as a time measure, for example “I’m on my way, be here in two and a half years” All-Too-Wells. “
And my least favorite …
“Solar energy” by Lorde
Release date: June 11, 2021
Sub genre: electropop
Track length: 3:12
Spotify stream: 89.9 million
There have been a lot of great releases this year. Lorde’s “Solar Power” was not one of them.
After waiting four years for Lorde’s new music – her 2013 debut album “Pure Heroine” was a breath of fresh air in the pop world, and her 2017 second album “Melodrama” is a masterpiece. absolute work – the first single from her third album “Solar Power” sounded like a slap in the face.
Unlike Bridgers’ subtle plunge into more upbeat territory, Lorde’s single – which mirrored the rest of the album of the same name – felt like a complete departure from its original sound. Every time I listen to it (or worse, watch the clip), I feel like I’m dragged into a church service or New Age retreat. No more heart-wrenching melodies and piano solos; his previously sophisticated words becoming shallow and bland, seemingly catching up to his age.
I understand that artists like to experiment and change brands, but it was just too much, especially after such a long silence. When I turn to you in time of need, Lorde, I want darkness and drama … not rainbows and wreaths of flowers. Please listen to our pleas and give us what we want for the fourth album – and please don’t make us wait four more years.