Here are my favourite songs that got me through 2021, another challenging year. Various genres and vibes, but mostly happy, upbeat, pop songs - except for my favourite "sad girl" musicians.

Leigh Chantelles favourite songs of 2021

Also, see my Favourite Albums of the year.

Allday: Fast Ride

I love you like I know you and I know you so well.

Ayra Starr: Sare

Been listening to a heap of Nigerian music this year. Ayra is my favourite. This song brings me so much joy and is from her EP.

Ayra also released a full-length album, 19 & Dangerous. Here are my fave songs from that.

Ayra Starr: Bridgerton

Ayra Starr: Karma

Baby Queen: Raw Thoughts

Baby Queen: Dover Beach

The Backstreet Lovers: Kilby Girl

This is not a new song (it's from 2019), but I've only just discovered it this year.

And the live version:

beabadoobee: Last Day on Earth

beabadoobee: Cologne

Both songs from the Our Extended EP with Matty and George of The 1975.

Big Red Machine featuring Taylor Swift: Renegade

Billy Nomates: Petrol Fumes

Bleachers: Stop Making This Hurt

Bleachers: Chinatown featuring Bruce Springsteen

BTS (방탄소년단): Butter

2021 was definitely the year for K-Pop (Korean-Pop). If you want to hear some other K-Pop songs from this year, check out Matthew Perpetua's 2021: The Year K-Pop Broke playlist.

Caroline Polachek: Bunny Is A Rider

Charli XCX: Good Ones

Charli XCX: New Shapes featuring Christine and the Queens and Caroline Polachek

Yes, the same Caroline from Bunny is a Rider above.

Can't wait for the album in 2022!

Charlie Collins: F**k It

Australian "country" artist.

Charlie Collins: Honey Can We Run Away

Chvrches: How Not to Drown featuring Robert Smith from The Cure!

Great album - one of my faves of the year!

Chvrches: Good Girls

Chvrches: He Siad She Said

Claud: Pepsi

Claud: Guard Down

One of Phoebe Bridgers' signings on Saddest Factory Records.

dreamer boy and BENEE: Are you Letting Go?

Eliza & The Delusionals: Save Me

Gus Dapperton: Flatline

Re-issue of (one of my favourite albums of 2020) Orca with a couple of new tracks including Flatline

Gus Dapperton: Steady

Hatchie: This Enchanted

Great Brisbane (Australia) band. Hope there's a new album in 2022.

Hiatus Kaiyote: Get Sun (feat. Arthur Verocai)

John Mayer: Last Train Home

And another live, longer (more guitar) "ballad version"

Julien Baker: Hardline

From one of my favourite albums of the year.

Julien Baker: Relative Fiction

Kerser: Winner

This is one of my swimming songs. Interesting to see that I'm listening to music I would not usually, based on what I'm doing (e.g., different songs for yoga/Pilates than for swimming or running).

The Kid Laroi & Justin Bieber: Stay

Great pop ditty!

The Kid Laroi & Miley Cyrus: Without You

LANY: care less

Songs from one of my fave albums for the year.

LANY: never mind, let's break up

LANY: up to me

LAUREL: You're The One

Such an awesome song.

Lindsey Buckingham: Power Down

Still not over all the Fleetwood Mac issues, but love to see my fave guitarist of all time releasing new material.

Lindsey Buckingham: On The Wrong Side

Lil Nas X featuring Doja Cat: Scoop

Love to see Montero using social media and mass marketing in new ways.

Lucy Dacus: Brando

Songs from one of my favourite albums of the year!

Lucy Dacus: First Time

Middle Kids: Summer Hill

From one of my favourite albums of the year.

Middle Kids: Some People Stay in Our Hearts Forever

MUNA: Silk Chiffon featuring Phoebe Bridgers

What a great pop ditty and a fun music video! One of the artists on Phoebe's Saddest Factory Records.

Nick Jonas: This is Heaven

No new album this year from Ninajirachi & Kota Banks, so here's a couple of my favourite tracks they added to their Deluxe version of (one of my favourite albums from 2020), True North

Ninajirachi & Kota Banks: Kissing You

Ninajirachi & Kota Banks: Secretive

Magdalena Bay: Secrets (Your Fire)

For all your indie-synth music needs.

Olivia Rodrigo: Driver's Licence

What a year for Olivia! This is a perfect song. I knew it was big when I was staying in an apartment and a group of teen girls were scream-singing this song one morning.

Pinegrove: Alaska

Last month in Alaska

With the pattern of my life laid out

And I asked what I'd been asking you

Like trees repeat, like numerals do
Like a ladder to the atmosphere

The rungs each come again and again

And I let it

Land me down and tether me 'til I get it.
Can't wait for the new album out February 2022!!

And another...

Pinegrove: Orange

"a waltz about the climate crisis was written on the day in 2020 that the photos of Oregon's eery, bloodshot sky circulated the Internet"

They're trying to ignore it

We always knew they’d try

Today the sky is orangе

And you and I know why.

Here's the live acoustic version:

They released Amperland, NY, a "reimagined studio recordings of classic Pinegrove songs, recorded at the band’s mythical Amperland, NY home studio" which is obviously one of my favourite albums of 2021.

Peking Duk: Chemicals featuring Michaela Baranov

Regard, Troye Sivan, & Tate McRae: You

I am (still) totally obsessed with this song. Here's a great live performance too on Jimmy Fallon (Troye moves so well!)

Remi Wolf - Photo ID featuring Dominic Fike

SAINt JHN, SZA: Just For Me

Song from the Space Jam: A New Legacy movie.

Sam Fender - Seventeen Going Under

Heartbreaking lyrics.

See, I spent my teens enraged, spirallin' in silence
And I armed myself with a grin
'Cause I was always the fuckin' joker
Buried in their humour amongst the white noise and boys' boys
Locker room talkin' lads' lads
Drenched in cheap drink and snide fags
A mirrored picture of my old man
Oh God, the kid's a dab hand
Canny chanter, but he looks sad
God, the kid looks so sad

Spill Tab: Velco featuring Gus Dapperton

Surfaces with Tai Verdes (Live Performance Video): Sheesh!

Such a joyful song. Particularly love it when this song comes after or before Silk Chiffon!

Syd - Fast Car

Hope Syd (from The Internet) has an album out next year.

Taylor Swift: All Too Well (10-Minute Version)

Taylor Swift's masterclass in lyricism and recall of a past love that still reverberates after the passing of time.

It was rare, I was there. I remember it all too well

Tove Styrke: Start Walking

Turnstile: Blackout

TXT (투모로우바이투게더): LO$ER=LO♡ER

Valley: Like 1999

Valley: Society

The Veronicas featuring Allday: The Life of the Party

Tom raps on this song more than on his whole album!

What have YOU been listening to?

See my Favourite Albums for 2021.



Leigh-Chantelle is an International Speaker & Consultant; Author, Singer/Songwriter and Blogger.

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