2021 in Music

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Day 2 of #100DaysToOffload

Everyone who knows me well knows that I love music. I've been tracking my music listening stats through Last.fm for over 10 years now. I recently transitioned to ListenBrainz, a more open source alternative,  but I'd rather keep that account under wraps for now. Both accounts should have the same data but ListenBrainz is a tad more accurate.

The end of a year means the inevitable: going through last year's music stats.

Let's get to it!

Top Songs of 2021

2021 AKA the year of K-Pop. I somehow got hooked back into K-Pop. I blame MAMAMOO. I wouldn't necessarily say my top three songs are "easy-going" listens but I find K-Pop to be easier on the ears and a tad lighthearted. Sometimes you need that during a global pandemic.

  1. Wish You Were Here by CLThis song was released after CL's mother passed away early on in the year. I find it incredibly genuine, heartfelt, and all around a quality song.
  2. My Taste ft. ZICO by dress & sogummAdmittedly, I stopped listening to this song around halfway through the year. But it's still a very good song that I was surprised by. A good semi-indie-K-Pop track.
  3. Criminal by TAEMIN2021 AKA the year of TAEMIN. I got into his discography and never let it go. Criminal is probably one of TAEMIN's greatest songs. It has a very American feel to it, as far as K-Pop goes.
  4. One Last Kiss by Utada HikaruThere are very few artists I love more than Utada Hikaru. One Last Kiss is a bop from start to beginning. Seriously a perfect song.
  5. IDEA by TAEMINAdmittedly, I wasn't sure about this song until I saw a dance cover of it from a dance crew in Australia and then I was convinced. It's a very intriguing song. I relate to it a lot. Looking up to someone as your ideal, you want to become them but you also want to be with them.
  6. No Sun - toe remix by KID FRESINOI'm normally not a huge rap person but I found this track to be incredibly addictive. toe, a Japanese math rock band, provided a remix for the original song. I find the remix version to be leagues better than the original. The bare bone razor sharp precision of the instrumentals makes the song feel simple but it really makes you focus on KID FRESINO's flow.
  7. 砂上、燃ユ。残像 by downyAdmittedly, I'm surprised and a bit disappointed at how far down my first rock song is. I had downy's latest Untitled album on spin a lot during 2021. Something about their music feels like they are grabbing onto my sorrows, the sorrows of humanity, and then translating it into a sound that can resonate in your heart. Melodramatic description, but I quite love downy's tracks.
  8. 角砂糖 by downyAnother track from downy's latest Untitled album. This song makes me feel like I'm trapped or even, like I'm in a neverending loop. I really cannot applaud downy enough for the emotions they manage to evoke through their music.
  9. UNREAL by Seiho: This is a really short song but I feel like it really conveys a lot in such a short span. Slow, sexy, nostalgic feeling, just a lot of interesting vibes.
  10. A-L-I-E-N by MAXIMUM THE HORMONE: God, I love this song. There is so much going on in it. The only thing is that the ending is so anti-climactic. From the beginning it goes really hard and then it goes funky and then super hard again. I need more songs like this.

Top Albums of 2021

There is a bit of overlap with the top songs. Will only provide commentary on the new things not mentioned yet.

  1. Ibn El Leil by Mashrou' Leila: This album has been on rotation for a long time for me, ever since it came out, basically. It's a wonderful album that I have a lot of fondness for.
  2. 無題 by downy
  3. Lush by Snail Mail: This album is the perfect breakup album and although there were no breakups in 2021, it's still a great album to listen to. Lush feels incredibly vulnerable.
  4. KISS by L'Arc~en~Ciel: This one surprised me. I really love L'Arc~en~Ciel. I remember when this first came out, I was skeptical of it but it really grew on me. Now, it feels like nostalgia.
  5. Wish You Were Here by CL
  6. Roentgen by HYDE: This is my go-to writing music. There is so much imagery in this album. Easily one of my top five albums. Every time I listen to it, I feel like I'm listening to it with fresh ears.
  7. My Taste by dress & sogumm
  8. Have One on Me by Joanna Newsom: Joanna Newsom is an artist to that I can keep coming back to. I love this album and many of her albums, really. This one is a long one but there are many great songs on them. Dare I even say all the songs are amazing on it.
  9. Never Gonna Dance Again: Act I by TAEMIN
  10. One Last Kiss by Utada Hikaru

Top Artists of 2021

Even more overlap. Once again, will commentate on the ones that I have not been mentioned before.

  1. L'Arc~en~Ciel
  2. Mashrou' Leila
  3. CL
  4. Coheed and Cambria: This band is one of my all time favourites. They've been in my yearly top 10 almost every year since 2012 (2017 being the only exception, I don't know what went wrong with me in 2017). 
  5. downy
  6. MAMAMOO: Lots of good MAMAMOO tracks. Even watched their online concert this year (yes, I paid for it). They're probably my favourite K-Pop group after 2NE1.
  7. DIR EN GREY: Surprised they made it onto the list! I think I somewhat dove deep back into their discography after not listening to them for a while.
  8. TAEMIN
  9. Joanna Newsom
  10. Alexisonfire: Another surprise. I think I just have a lot of Alexisonfire songs. While I do love them a lot, I don't recall listening to them that much.

Honorable Mentions

Stella Donelly's triple J Like a Version of Love Is In the Air: Dear god, I am in love with this cover. I immediately fell in love with Donelly's performance. Her voice is so clear and bright. Her dancing is infectious and the instrumentals are so dreamy. They did a splendid job with this cover.

Weekend by TAEYEONThis is cute, catchy, and fun. I ended up liking this a lot more than I thought I would. TAEYEON isn't the strongest singer but she still ends up making great songs.

Breathe In by Low Roar: In one of the Discord servers I'm in, we've been conducting a bi-weekly music club. A handful of us bring three of four albums to listen to each session. I've been exposed to a lot of cool music I wouldn't otherwise listen to. There has been a lot of good albums but this song in particular is one of my favourites. It has a minimalist melancholy vibe which is very much my kind of song.

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