Today, we’re going to be celebrating the rest of the Top 50 songs in Part 2 of the 50 best songs released in 2021 so far by EJ Scanlan
#25 – “Hustle” by Sons of Kemet feat. Kojey Radical (from Black To The Future)
It’s fair to say that Shabaka Hutchings is my favourite ever jazz musician, and Sons Of Kemet is my favourite of his projects. “Hustle” is a genre-bending progression of their previous work with Kojey Radical’s addition an incredibly welcomed one.
#24 – “Kid Stuff” by Sinead O Brien
After surprising everyone by coming sixth in this year’s Prospect Music Award, Irish spoken-word artist, Sinead O Brien returned with a song that completely changed up the spoken-word genre. “Kid Stuff” is lyrically sublime, performed impeccably and put together very well, making it probably the most overlooked song of the year for me.
#23 – “For Violet” by Arlo Parks (from Collapsed In Sunbeams)
My favourite ballad from 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.
#22 – “Ordinary” by YONAKA (from Seize The Power)
The second track to be released from their upcoming mixtape, “Seize The Power”, YONAKA have created their best song yet. All about living in the moment, “Ordinary” creates a song that leaves you on the edge of your seat wanting more, while also making you want to mosh and headbang when we’re allowed to do it again. One thing is for certain, once we get out of this pandemic, we won’t be taking anything for granted ever again, and “Ordinary” reinforces that very fact.
#21 – “Voilà” by Barbara Pravi
Finishing second in this year’s Eurovision, Barbara Pravi showed us what makes a ballad in “Voilà”. A simplistic 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.
#20 – “Your Power” by Billie Eilish (from Happier Than Ever)
Billie Eilish is a pop star of a generation. After the success of her debut album “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?”, everyone was excited to see what she had lined up for her sophomore record, and that comes in the form of “Your Power”. A simplistic ballad, Eilish’s lyrics are the most prominent here, and it makes her sound even more versatile, which no one can really argue with.
#19 – “Lipstick On The Glass” by Wolf Alice (from Blue Weekend)
Wolf Alice have done it again with “Lipstick On The Glass”. The track, about restarting or rejoining a relationship, despite the betrayal that has taken it apart, is frontwoman Ellie Rowsell’s vocally strongest performance out of all three of their albums, and the entire song gives you goosebumps every single time.
#18 – “Everything I’ve Ever Learned” by BLOXX
BLOXX are a band I fell in love with when I first discovered them in 2017 and it’s fair to say they’ve had a large amount of growth. The first track to be released since their debut album “Lie Out Loud” was released last year, “Everything I’ve Ever Learned” is a fun indie-pop song that will get everyone moshing when they tour later this year. I can also see a big confetti cannon going off in the last bit of that song (BLOXX, if you’re reading, get on it!).
#17 – “Through The Eye” by Rachel Chinouriri (from Four° In Winter)
Since being nominated for the Prospect Music Award in 2021, Rachel Chinouriri has been growing from strength to strength. “Through The Eye”, the lead single from her EP, “Four° In Winter” is remarkable in its craft. It’s a natural progression for Chinouriri and remarkably shows off her artistry.
#16 – “Hope” by Arlo Parks (from Collapsed In Sunbeams)
“Hope” is a song that is needed more so in our humanity now than ever before. Parks’ storytelling is on top form as usual and the song stands out so much on its own. With Arlo’s performance at the 2021 BRIT Awards, the song was given a new lease of life and a whole new meaning, resulting in the denotation that this song can be interpreted in so many ways, which is what makes this song so fresh and Arlo Parks an artist of a generation.
#15 – “Lo Vas A Olvidar” by Billie Eilish and ROSALÍA
Made for the TV series, Euphoria, “Lo Vas A Olvidar” is a dark yet beautiful song where you can feel the raw emotion coming from both Eilish and ROSALÍA, even without understanding the Spanish language. Everything about it is sensational and does the best thing that any collaboration can do: show off brand new sides to both artists which they can develop on in the future.
#14 – “John L” by black midi (from Cavalcade)
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 their 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 unique and genius.
#13 – “Everybody’s Gonna Love Somebody” by Alfie Templeman (from Forever Isn’t Long Enough)
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.
#12 – “The Beach” by Wolf Alice (from Blue Weekend)
The opening to North London band Wolf Alice’s third album “Blue Weekend” is “The Beach”, and it is textbook on how to pull off an album opening. From a gorgeous guitar ballad to the gradual build-up with a finale of brass and a provoking mystery, wanting to know much more about what’s to come through the record. The perfect start to a perfect album.
#11 – “Queen Cobra” by Artio
Leeds band Artio has been constantly on my mind since I discovered them a year ago now, but Queen Cobra was a release I fell in love with the very second I pressed play. It’s formidable, it’s exhilarating, and it’s just magnificent, with Hol Brazill’s vocals being the highlight of it all.
#10 – “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l” by WILLOW feat. Travis Barker (from Lately I Feel Everything)
So, it’s fair to say that WILLOW has come a long way from “Whip My Hair”. “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l” is a remarkable pop-rock song with influences from the likes of Paramore, Avril Lavigne and Fall Out Boy. Its success on TikTok has made its users take the song to their hearts and it’s not hard to see why. This is maybe my favourite pop-rock song in recent years.
#9 – “Film Scene Daydream” by Alfie Templeman (from Forever Isn’t Long Enough)
Alfie Templeman’s songs just seem to hit different right? Very similar to “Everybody’s Gonna Love Somebody”, it’s fun and gives off so much serotonin that’s needed now more than ever. Tracks like these deserve all the success in the world.
#8 – “Pick Up Your Burning Cross” by Sons of Kemet feat. Moor Mother and Angel Bat Dawid (from Black To The Future)
My favourite jazz song of the year so far, “Pick Up Your Burning Cross” is a testament to music everywhere, making you want to dance and admire this genre which not a lot of people give enough credit for any more. This is more of an experience than a song, and that is a comment I don’t make very often.
#7 – “Purge The Poison” by MARINA (from Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land)
MARINA’s fifth studio album is by far one of her best, but “Purge The Poison” is one of the greatest songs she’s ever made. MARINA goes in on some of the most poignant, political and honest lyrics we’ve heard from her and in Brechtian fashion, has a very upbeat instrumental, all of which works incredibly well. MARINA is the most overlooked musician out there, “Purge The Poison” proves that.
#6 – “Tout l’univers” by Gjon’s Tears
This year’s Eurovision Song Contest was one of the best in many years, but Gjon’s Tears from Switzerland gave us one of the best entries in Eurovision’s 65-year history in my opinion. “Tout l’univers” is an emotional ballad with a gorgeous yet empowering instrumental which, in terms of the songs themselves, makes this one of the very best of all time…
#5 – “Girls & Boys” by Viagra Boys (from Welfare Jazz)
This track from Swedish rock band Viagra Boys was introduced to me by a mutual friend of mine, and I’m eternally grateful to them for it. “Girls & Boys” has by far the best instrumentation of any song this year, hands down. The chemistry of the band is incredibly strong through this track, and live, it’s even better. This is truly is a remarkable song.
#4 – “ZITTI E BUONI” by Måneskin (from Teatro d’ira – Vol. I)
This song is the perfect rock song. I have no regrets about saying that. There’s a reason “ZITTI E BUONI” won Eurovision, Måneskin created something very special here. They understand this genre so well and yet were able to create something new at the same time. “ZITTI E BUONI” is the start of a brand new rock revolution.
#3 – “Introvert” by Little Simz (from Sometimes I Might Be Introvert)
Little Simz is an artist that has captured my interest for a few years now, but I’ve never truly been impressed with her, until she dropped “Introvert” from her upcoming fourth studio album, “Sometimes I Might Be Introvert”. Simz continues to fight on with her battle to tackle the national government’s corruption and lust for money – no matter if their profits are to the detriment of others – along with the prejudiced calamities a Black woman faces in a time of crisis all around the world. The track’s presentation of this, alongside its instrumentation is remarkable.
#2 – “Narrator” by Squid feat. Martha Skye Murphy (from Bright Green Field)
Since Squid was featured on the BBC Sound Of 2020 list, they immediately captured my interest. After coming seventh in the 2021 Prospect Music Award, they released the lead single from their debut album “Bright Green Field”, called “Narrator”, which features the remarkable Martha Skye Murphy. Squid’s understanding of sound is outstanding, and it shows even more so on this track, as both Squid and Skye Murphy create a sensational soundscape that works all the way through. “Narrator” is a stroke of pure genius.
#1 – “The Last Man On Earth” by Wolf Alice (from Blue Weekend)
“The Last Man On Earth” is an unconventional song to put as your comeback single, but not for Wolf Alice, who knew what they were doing. The lead single from their new album, “Blue Weekend”, the track is a slow piano ballad that oozes with beautiful production, vocals and lyrics. It takes you on a journey that leaves you with goosebumps every time you hear it. I think that it’s fair to say that there’s a reason that “The Last Man On Earth” is my favourite song of 2021 so far.
So what do you think? Which songs are your favourite songs of the year so far? Feel free to let us know by following @ejscanlan Instagram and Twitter and @totalntertainmt on twitter and @totalntertainment on Instagram