Whether it was the retro-soul romance of Silk Sonic, the heartbreaking teenage spirit of Olivia Rodrigo, or the big divorce drama of single mom Adele, there was a little something for every musical mood in it. 2021.
Here, 10 songs that have provided the soundtrack to our lives – and our feelings.
1. Silk Sonic, “Leave the Door Open”
Is there something Bruno Mars cannot do? As if bored with all the 24karat magic he let us down as a solo star, he teamed up with alt-R & B artist Anderson .Paak to form Silk Sonic. The superduo’s debut single, which ranked No. 1 on the R&B and pop charts, is a sumptuous throwback to the Phillysian soul of Stylistics and Delfonics. It just hasn’t gotten smoother – or sexier – in 2021.
2. Lil Nas X, “Montero (Call me by your name)”
After the runaway success of “Old Town Road” in 2019, Lil Nas X seemed destined to be one of those successful wonders that one day found themselves in “Dancing with the Stars”. But the 22-year-old singer-songwriter (real name Montero Hill) left no doubt he was here to stay – and kill – with that lumpy bop that brought black queer culture from the underground to the masses and gave us all stripper goals.
3. Adèle, “My little love”
While “Easy on Me” was the hit that heralded Adele’s return to the pop world, the highlight of “30” is this heart-to-heart the singer has with her son Angelo about the changes she is taking. ‘she subjected him to it with her. divorce from Simon Konecki. In addition to six minutes of hushed, unhurried conversation that actually includes snippets of a private exchange between mother and son, she admits that “Mum has had a lot of strong feelings lately.” Strong feelings, indeed.
4. Olivia Rodrigo, “Good 4 U”
After the crazy success of his first single “Drivers License” at the beginning of the year, Rodrigo knocked him down with his second No. 1 hit of 2021. The 18-year-old divette was unleashed in a punk-pop frenzy that has shook both Avril’s attitude and Billie’s bravery. Good for her.
5. Jazmine Sullivan, “Get Your Feelings Back”
With a voice that blew Eric Church off the field during their national anthem duet at the Super Bowl, this soulful singer delivered the R&B album of the year in “Heaux Tales.” And the emotions she displays on this fierce teardown evoke the vintage vibes of Mary J. Blige.
6. DMX with Bono, “Skyscrapers”
A collaboration between rapper Ruff Ryders and rock god U2 has nothing to do with it, but damn it if this rising star from the aptly titled DMX posthumous album “Exodus” isn’t the pop hit it deserves to have during his lifetime.
7. Common with Black Thought and Seun Kuti, “When we move”
This propulsive afro-funky jazzercise sets your body, soul, and spirit in motion, making a touching statement about the force of dark power culture change.
8. Billie Eilish, “happier than ever”
From a sultry strummer to a wild rocker, the title track from Eilish’s second set is about as daringly different from “Bad Guy” as a song could be.
9. Kanye West with The Weeknd & Lil Baby, “Hurricane”
A reminder of the greatness that Ye is apparently still capable of, this is a perfect storm of hip-hop, gospel and soul emo.
10. SHE, “Too bad”
Any song that covers the silent storm classic “Making Love in the Rain” – a 1987 R&B hit from Herb Alpert starring Janet Jackson and Lisa Keith – wins the slow jam of the year.