Here is our top 100 songs pt2 nos. 80-61 by EJ Scanlan
80 – “fleabag” by YUNGBLUD
“I’m just a fleabag, nobody loves me. Send me to rehab, somebody touch me.”
Most people who know me will know that I’m not a YUNGBLUD fan; however, I can always credit an artist if they do a great song, and “fleabag” is no exception. The nostalgic Nirvana meets My Chemical Romance sounding track works perfectly with modern-emo sounding production and vocals. Is it perfect? Far from it, but it’s a fun track that everyone should be rocking out to.
79 – “Lifetime” by Swedish House Mafia feat. Ty Dolla $ign and 070 Shake (from Paradise Again)
“Once in a lifetime, watching the skyline, don’t change your mind while under the white light”
Swedish House Mafia are back, and after nine years away, they had A LOT to live up to, and “Lifetime” is exactly what was needed. It creates a new fresh sound for the trio with their production sounding as unique as ever while giving their material a new modern sound. They’re evolving, but not selling out. It works incredibly well, and with Ty Dolla $ign’s fantastic bars and 070 Shake’s chorus delivered expertly, what’s not to love about this song?
78 – “Spinning” by No Rome feat. Charli XCX & The 1975
“Maybe you’re suffering, I must be causing your pain. I bet you feel the same but you never regret a thing ’cause the game feels so good to win, darling”
No Rome has never really impressed me until the release of “Spinning”. Its stunning production mixed in with Charli XCX’s and The 1975’s distinctive sounds make for a standout collaboration. It’s fun, current and just a delight.
77 – “Skin” by Joy Crookes (from Skin)
“Don’t you know the skin that you’re given was made to be lived in? You’ve got a life… worth living.”
The title track from Joy Crookes’ debut album had a lot to prove, and my god it delivered. Crookes’ distinctive vocal style is ever-present alongside some gorgeous production, making this one of my favourite ballads of the year, and I want to continue to hear it for a long time.
76 – “Lonely Hours” by Jake Bugg (from Saturday Night, Sunday Morning)
“Find me in the darkness and everybody talk less now no one’s really listening”
When I reviewed Jake Bugg’s fifth studio album, “Saturday Night, Sunday Morning” back in the summer, I said this about the deep cut, “Lonely Hours”: ‘[the] track is utter perfection. From its instrumentation to its production to Bugg’s sensational vocals, this is the track I’ve waited a very long time for. By far, this is the highlight of the record. Get me to a gig so I can mosh to this, immediately.’ I couldn’t agree with this anymore if I tried. It’s fantastic.
75 – “Hall Of Mirrors” by Let’s Eat Grandma (from Two Ribbons)
“And now and then I’ll be running round the bend signed “Live this fucking life, shut your eyes”. Then I’ll dig myself a trench, thorns at my bedside writing letters that are riddled with regret.”
Let’s Eat Grandma are one of my favourite artists and were from the second they completely overshadowed CHVRCHES’ performance at Nottingham’s Rock City in 2019, and next year brings us their third album, “Two Ribbons”, which I’m beyond excited for. Its lead single, “Hall Of Mirrors” is a very different sounding song to what they’ve made before, giving a gorgeous sophisticated dance-pop sound that works on all levels. It’s fantastic.
74 – “verbal warnings” by Cody Frost (from IT’S NOT REAL)
“And I can’t sit still, I feel like sweat like I’ve swallowed a pill, but I’m caught in your net.”
The first time I heard Cody Frost’s track “verbal warnings”, to say I was blown away is an understatement. I was incredibly impressed with its formidable production and this sense of nu-nostalgia throughout it. Cody Frost is a name you’re gonna hear in the future, and this track, as well as her newest song “BERLIN”, is proof of that.
73 – “Can I Get It” by Adele (from 30)
“Throw me to the water, I don’t care how deep or shallow, because my heart can pound like thunder and your love … can set me free.”
Despite me being a massive Adele fan, I can’t help feeling that “30” is her weakest album, despite having some of her strongest ever tracks, with “Can I Get It” is one of those. With Adele’s quirky vocals present throughout with a beautifully produced pop backing track, the song is perfectly made for the radio (in the best possible way), I’m incredibly impressed and this track proves why Adele is certainly one of the best in the industry.
72 – “Where’d You Go?” by Zuzu (from Queensway Tunnel)
“I’m only by your side when you’re down. Why do you only come alive when you leave the house?”
Zuzu’s second appearance on the list is with the deep cut, “Where’d You Go”, which is a quirky indie-pop gem that showcases exactly why Zuzu is one of my favourite artists right now. Its stellar production is a highlight and makes me want to dance around my living room and get a bunch of my friends together and start a mosh pit. (Side note: Zuzu, if you’re reading this, PUT THIS SONG IN YOUR LIVE SETS! You’ll get an incredible reception to it! Trust me.)
71 – “Talking” by London Grammar (from Californian Soil)
“All of these changes keep on following me, visions that wake me relentless, leaders mean nothing to me.”
London Grammar returned in 2021 with their third album, “Californian Soil”, and the first track from this record I’m covering is the deep cut, “Talking”, which is a sensationally produced ballad. From Dot Major’s gorgeous piano to Hannah Reid’s stunning vocals, the overall track leaves you speechless with goosebumps on the back of your neck every single time you hear it.
70 – “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now” by Joy Crookes (from Skin)
“Feet, don’t fail me now. I got to stand my ground. And though I’m down for trying, I am better in denial”
The third track from Joy Crookes to land on this list! “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now” is a fun lead single to her debut album, it’s enjoyable in every way that provokes you to sing along to it every time you hear it. It’s a gorgeous listen, with a lot more of a fun sound than her previous two entries.
69 – “INDUSTRY BABY” by Lil Nas X feat. Jack Harlow (from MONTERO)
“I ain’t fall off, I just ain’t release my new shit. I blew up, now everybody tryna sue me”
Of course, Lil Nas X has to get the iconic number 69 spot! Being serious though, I was incredibly impressed the second I heard “INDUSTRY BABY”, with Nas’ great bars and a great feature from Jack Harlow, but the biggest standout for me is the high energy production, it sounds as epic as Lil Nas X and its incredibly camp too, in the best of ways.
68 – “Nothing Else Matters” by Phoebe Bridgers (from The Metallica Blacklist)
“Trust I seek and I find in you, every day, for us, something new. Open mind for a different view, and nothing else matters”
So, for the first time, a cover has ended up in my songs of the year. I’m never usually a big fan of covers unless someone does a great one inside the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge, but when Phoebe Bridgers covered “Nothing Else Matters” for The Metallica Blacklist to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the band’s iconic self-titled record, otherwise known as The Black Album, I knew this was something special. Despite me loving the original, Bridgers delivers some fantastic vocals to the iconic rock ballad, continuing to keep the band’s incredible legacy as well as reinventing the track and making it fantastic, showing, as the band and Phoebe Bridgers state: “every day, for us, something new.”
67 – “Everybody’s Gonna Love Somebody” by Alfie Templeman (from Forever Isn’t Long Enough)
“Sweet nostalgia lost inside you. Is she living? Does she feel blue?”
Fresh from becoming the runner up of the 2021 Prospect Music Award, Alfie Templeman released his first mini-album, “Forever Isn’t Long Enough”, which is fantastic on so many levels. The track, “Everybody’s Gonna Love Somebody” however, is fun, energetic and something everyone in the world needs right now. It makes you want to fall in love, while simultaneously making you lust for Templeman’s incredible work and multi-instrumentalism.
66 – “Talamanca” by BURNS
I remember the very first time I heard this song, Annie Mac played it on one of her last ever shows on BBC Radio 1 while I was doing some admin at work, and I instantly fell in love with it. BURNS is a fantastic producer that I’ve admired for nearly ten years now, but “Talamanca” is a whole new level. The sheer level of production here is through the roof with how impressive and bold it is, while also staying true to some of the greats of electronic dance music. It’s great to see this sort of music being made again, especially if it’s something brand new and relevant.
65 – “MAMMAMIA” by Maneskin
“They wanna arrest me, but I was just having fun. I swear that I’m not drunk and I’m not taking drugs. They ask me why I’m so hot, ’cause I’m Italiano”
Written straight after winning the Eurovision Song Contest with their song. “ZITTI E BUONI” (more on that later…), Måneskin wrote “MAMMAMIA”, a tongue-in-cheek Italian rock song. Its provocative lyrics as well as the track’s wonderful instrumentation makes it a perfect song to rock out to.
64 – “Crass” by Courting (from Grand National)
“Drowning myself in sweat, and I think me and Kanye might still have sex. I swear that building wasn’t there the other day, what’s inside it?”
The second song from Liverpudlian post-punk band Courting to appear on the list, this song is more of a spoken track to showcase its politically charged lyrics, and with the band’s empowering and tense instrumentation, it all works incredibly well. It’s a phenomenal song, and Courting’s 2022 Prospect Music Award nomination is further evidence that they’re gonna do some incredible things in the future.
63 – “doomsday” by Lizzy McAlpine
“I don’t get a choice in the matter… Why would I? It’s only the death of me.”
I first discovered this song and Lizzy McAlpine through ARTV on YouTube (a channel I thoroughly recommend if you’re just as much of a music nerd as I am, or you want some new music to listen to) and I instantly fell in love with the beautiful Americana sound. “doomsday” is a gorgeously produced song with some haunting lyrics very reminiscent of artists such as Phoebe Bridgers or Soccer Mommy. I can’t wait to see what else McAlpine does in the future.
62 – “Vertigo” by Alice Merton
“Gotta get outta my head, do something that I’ll regret. He’s dancing now with someone he met, losing my sanity. Get rid of my vanity.”
Alice Merton has pulled out all the stops with her track “Vertigo”. This is pure power pop perfection (accidental alliteration, nice!) with gorgeous lyrics and some of the best production on a pop song I’ve heard this year. It’s perfect for a Eurovision smash, but also perfect in its own right.
61 – “KILL IT” by VUKOVI
“Don’t wait too long before you go, so close to touch, I’ll make you choke.”
After discovering VUKOVI in November 2019, I was amazed at what I heard, but their first single of 2021, “KILL IT” is just on another level… Its lyrics are empowering, its production is sensational and it’s one of my favourite rock songs of the year. This was solidified after seeing them at Download Pilot in June, where their performance of this song and Animal from their self-titled debut album, where the band responded so well to them. VUKOVI are a very special band and EVERYONE needs to know about them.