Top 100 Songs, Music News, EJ Scanlan, TotalNtertainment, Playlist, 2021

Top 100 songs of the year pt1

To celebrate the beauty of music, we begin with the first of five parts of 100 favourite songs of 2021.

Here is our top 100 songs pt1 by EJ Scanlan

Here we are, we’re finally at the end of the year! With live events opening up once more and the whole world in shambles, it’s been a chaotic year, but music has got us all the way through. So to celebrate the beauty of music, we begin with the first of five parts of 100 favourite songs of 2021.

The only rule of entry onto this list is that songs must have been released between 14th December 2020 (when I wrote my Songs of 2020 list) and 10th December 2021 (when the list was finalised). They can include any genre, any artist of any sort of fame, I just have to have liked/loved the songs.

Before we crack on with the list, here’s this year’s Honourable Mentions, songs that didn’t make the list but are too good not to include:

  • “1013” by Miso Extra
  • “Back to Basics” by Fredo
  • “Crazy Now” by Frances Baker
  • “Emergence In Nature” by Hannah Peel
  • “Free My People” by Greentea Peng feat. Simmy & Kid Cruise
  • “Happier Than Ever” by Billie Eilish
  • “la di die” by Nessa Barrett feat. jxdn
  • “Moment In The Sun” by Sunflower Bean
  • “Pamphlets” by Squid
  • “Stand For Myself” by Yola
  • “Welcome To The Internet” by Bo Burnham

Here we go then, my Top 100 Songs of 2021:

100 – “Trouble” by Eli Brown feat. Talk Show

I know why we’re talking cause we’re talking for free, I know why we’re living cause we’re loving with ease”

To start the list, we have a massive bop featuring two new names on the music scene, both are polar opposites to one and other. EDM producer, Eli Brown and post-punk band, Talk Show. This is a track that showcases the best of both artists, with Harrison Swann’s haunting vocals leaving a lasting impression, and combined with Brown’s remarkable production, the track will leave you dancing and wanting more. Talk Show’s version of the track is just as good too, so be sure to check that one out as well.

99 – “Wet Dream” by Wet Leg (from Wet Leg)

I was in your wet dream, driving in my car. What makes you think you’re good enough to think about me when you’re touching yourself…?”

Wet Leg are an incredibly exciting prodigy for the entire music scene, and their sophomore single “Wet Dream” proves it. This is a tongue-in-cheek feminist indie anthem that works in every single way imaginable. Its lyrics are provocative, its production is funky and it will stick in your head for a very long time. After the success of “Chaise Longue” (which may or may not be coming up later) and with how amazing “Wet Dream” is, these guys are going places.

98 – “The Darkness That You Fear” by The Chemical Brothers

Let your heart see the colours all around you”

The incredible electronica prodigies made a remarkable return this summer in the form of “The Darkness That You Fear”, a six-minute-long dance track that has this real energy from start to finish. Its gorgeous production is some of the best of the year and provokes instant serotonin to anyone who listens to it.

97 – “FAKE” by Lola Young

But I swam down the river, I met the fish and the gods. And I met my sister, right here in my heart.”

The newest BRIT Award nominee released her formidable song “FAKE” back in September, and it’s fantastic. Young’s soring vocals dominate the track despite its dramatic score, in a song that works in so many ways. The line “leave your fake shit at home” will be going through your head for hours after listening, guaranteed.

96 – “Haunted House” by Holly Humberstone (from The Walls Are Way Too Thin)

And one day I’ll drive past you, if I recognise you. I’ll try not to stay too long, see the soil I grew upon”

Prospect Music Award finalist and BRITs Rising Star winner, Holly Humberstone came back on top form after the release of her debut EP, “Falling Asleep At The Wheel” with a gorgeous ballad called “Haunted House”, which as the title suggests, will certainly leave you haunted. It’s a gorgeous ghostly song with Humberstone’s beautiful vocals and production shining through, with what sounds like to be inspired from Sarah McLachlan’s 1999 track “When She Loved Me”, famously used in Disney Pixar’s Toy Story 2, but it isn’t a direct copy either. It’s beautiful in every single way.

95 – “The Way We Used To Be” by Journey

Can we ever get back? To the way we were doing it, to the way we were livin’ it, back to the way we used to be?”

Iconic San Francisco rock band Journey returned with their first original track in ten years, in the form of “The Way We Used To Be”, which I believe is their best song in many years. How I interpret it, it’s written about two people in love who were separated by lockdown, with Arnel Pineda doing a fantastic job at telling that story remarkably well, putting him on par with founding member and original vocalist Steve Perry for the first time I think. I’m excited to see what else these guys do.

94 – “Black Hole” by Griff (from One Foot In Front Of The Other)

There’s a big black hole where my heart used to be, and I tried my best to fill it up with things I don’t need”

BRIT Award winner and 2022 Prospect Music Award nominee, Griff achieved pop perfection with “Black Hole”. Griff’s sensational vocals stand out alongside the impeccable production, proving that she deserves to be one of the biggest artists in the world.

93 – “Slowly” by NewDad (from Waves)

And when I see you out you want to know me but when I see you around you just ignore me”

Irish band NewDad I believe are one of the most exciting things to come of the indie music genre. Their magical and transcendent sound transports you to another world, and “Slowly” from their debut EP, “Waves”, is all the proof you need. Their sound is unlike anything out there in the music scene right now, making them a force to be reckoned with in the industry.

92 – “Timing” by Zuzu (from Queensway Tunnel)

And I’m not afraid of dying in my dreams, cos I always seem to wake up in one piece. I’m at peace.”

Liverpool based musician, Zuzu I have a love/hate relationship with. When she puts out a good song, it’s a brilliant track, and when she doesn’t, it isn’t good. But her debut album “Queensway Tunnel” is fantastic. The album’s lead single, “Timing” has some beautiful sounds and really nice band chemistry, but Zuzu’s remarkable and distinctive vocals are the real highlight here. It’s fantastic all the way through.

91 – “Grand National” by Courting (from Grand National)

And if I bet my 401k, what’s the harm? Got to tuck my kid in in my new 5 bedroom home. Don’t wanna hear you complain about your loans, you’re just not qualified.”

Courting are one of my favourite bands to come out of 2021, with their phenomenal EP, “Grand National” being one of the strongest of the year I believe. Its lead single of the same name is sensationally written and performed and the song alone shows that the band are going to do incredible things in the future.

90 – “I Want” by ENNY (from Under 25)

We’re Black and we’re British and African, too, but so far removed. I’d like to go back to my mother’s land, I’d like mental peace and a hundred grand and a peng-ass babes and we’ll do up raves”

ENNY is an act I’m incredibly excited about. Since seeing her at All Points East festival in August and hearing her remarkable EP, “Under 25”, she has really captured my attention and is, in my opinion, the greatest new rapper out there right now. “I Want” has impeccable bars with a nu-nostalgic sound that pays tribute to the masters of hip-hop, while paving the way for something new. It’s excellent and I’m so excited to see what else this girl can do.

89 – “19th Floor” by Joy Crookes (from Skin)

Nothing same but nothing different, hear the people cry concrete lullabies”

“19th Floor” is certainly the best deep cut from Joy Crookes’ debut album, “Skin”. A simple song discussing Crookes growing up in London, her sensational vocals lead a gorgeously produced ballad that provides real angst and empowerment. It’s fantastic.

88 – “Delicious Things” by Wolf Alice (from Blue Weekend)

I’m socially anxious and a long way from home, I’ve only just learnt my margarita from my mojito, so could I belong here? The vibes are kinda strong here, ask me if I’m from here and I won’t say no”

The first (and certainly not the last) track to come from my favourite album of 2021, and maybe one of my favourite albums of all time. A gorgeous rock ballad, “Delicious Things” provides some incredible lyrics, some of the best production of the year and shows us why Wolf Alice are probably the greatest band in the world.

87 – “6/1” by shame (from Drunk Tank Pink)

I devote all this time to a world that’s not mine”

South London band, shame’s sophomore album, “Drunk Tank Pink” was snubbed of a Mercury Prize nomination, and “6/1” is proof of that. The song is a provocative post-punk track that showcases the band’s remarkable musicality, as well as their astonishing knowledge of sound and their provocative and insightful lyrics. It’s a track that is hard not to like.

86 – “Keep Moving” by Jungle (from Loving In Stereo)

So you think you’ll find the truth? If you change, when you’re livin’ like that, you could spin around town, you know. In a new house, in the UK, if you change. Keep moving”

London based duo Jungle revolutionised the electronic music scene in 2014 with the release of their self-titled Mercury Prize nominated debut album, with their sophomore record “For Ever” showcasing the band’s continuous growth. “Keep Moving”, the lead single from the duo’s sensational third album “Loving In Stereo” is a testament to their distinctive sound and made themselves, once again, a force to be reckoned with.

85 – “Voila” by Barbara Pravi

[Translated] Look at me, or at least what’s left. Look at me, before I hate myself.”

Finishing second in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Barbara Pravi showed us what makes a ballad in “Voilà”. A simplistic but sophisticated French song, its sentiment is incredibly loud and clear, without even understanding the French language, its production is gorgeous, making this one of the most beautiful songs to come from Eurovision in many years.

84 – “Ideal Woman” by Celeste (from Not Your Muse)

May not be your ideal woman, the freedom that you’d get. Please don’t mistake me for a woman who cares”

Celeste has taken the meaning of “rising star” to a whole new level over the last couple of years, from winning BRIT Awards to topping the BBC Sound Of 2020 poll, and her music and live performances have shown that she deserves everything she’s accomplished. Although I’m incredibly critical of her Mercury Prize nominated debut album, “Not Your Muse”, its opener, “Ideal Woman” is a beautiful ballad that I believe is one of the best songs of her entire career thus far.

83 – “For Violet” by Arlo Parks (from Collapsed In Sunbeams)

I could picture terror swirling in your iris. You would say, “I cannot bear this, get me out of here””

My favourite ballad from Arlo Parks’ debut album, “For Violet” is a song that relies very heavily on its powerful lyrics, which are some of my favourite of the year so far. Parks’ stunning vocals and the production also create a beautiful song with a remarkable soundscape.

82 – “John L” by black midi (from Cavalcade)

Crowds of every age, creed and gender are abound. Signor Kitsch sings skits detailing each attendees sins.”

Nominated for the 2019 Mercury Prize for their bat-shit crazy debut album, Schlagenheim, one of my favourite albums of that year, black midi return with “Cavalcade”, and the album’s lead single “John L” is their craziest song yet. It’s eloquently messy, which I never knew could be possible until I heard this band for the first time two years ago. There’s nothing like this out there in the world, which is what makes it so unique and genius.

81 – “Where The Bodies Are Buried” by Liz Lawrence (from The Avalanche)

Enough is not enough, the people want blood, whеn enough is not enough it’s not enough.”

Liz Lawrence first caught my eye at the end of 2019 when I saw her perform alongside Bombay Bicycle Club, and after checking out her previous records, I was certainly a fan. “When The Bodies Are Buried”, the lead single from Lawrence’s third record, “The Avalanche” is the start of a new and exciting direction for her, with its rocky chorus’ and its distinctive sophistic sound being its highlight.