Best Music of 2021


Several of my longtime favorite artists released good-to-great albums this year. TMBG, Devin Townsend, Steven Wilson, Said the Whale, Heifervescent, and Juliana Hatfield come to mind. But there were more than a few excellent collections by bands I just discovered or had flown under the radar in previous years: Liily, Nate Smith, Quivers, and Lord Huron I had on repeat quite a lot. Everybody’s COVID projects that didn’t make it out the previous year bore fruit this year, it seems.

  • Album of the year: Low – HEY WHAT
  • Most tracks in the list: They Might Be Giants – BOOK
  • Honorable Mention to check out: Quicksand – Distant Populations

139 songs, 9 hrs. 39 mins. Total Time

1Glowing in the DarkDjango DjangoGlowing in the Dark2:59
2Challenge The GodsMatthew SweetCatspaw3:56
3Best Of MeMatthew SweetCatspaw2:48
4Mountains in the MistPage McConnell & Trey AnastasioDecember5:44
8HurricaneAnneke van GiersbergenThe Darkest Skies Are the Brightest3:57
9Holding PoisonFoo FightersMedicine at Midnight4:24
10The BalconyFruit BatsThe Pet Parade4:09
11PleuraKing Gizzard & The Lizard WizardL.W.4:11
12See MeKing Gizzard & The Lizard WizardL.W.4:04
13Let It Roll (Acoustic – Live in Leeds 2019)Devin TownsendDevolution Series #1 – Acoustically Inclined, Live in Leeds3:48
14Half a HumanReal EstateHalf a Human5:58
15Miracle MythGary VGary’z Place II3:29
16Something StrongerGary VGary’z Place II3:17
17Fade AwayThe Death of PopSeconds2:54
18Once GoodThe Death of PopSeconds2:52
19Le Point ZéroFreedom FryL’Invitation4:11
20Corde SensibleFreedom FryCorde Sensible – Single4:34
21formwela 1Esperanza SpaldingSONGWRIGHTS APOTHECARY LAB3:35
22Formwela 5 (feat. Corey King)Esperanza SpaldingSONGWRIGHTS APOTHECARY LAB3:32
23Not When You’re in LoveField MusicFlat White Moon3:41
24In This CityField MusicFlat White Moon3:27
25Had a DreamJuliana HatfieldBlood2:57
26Suck It UpJuliana HatfieldBlood3:11
27Everybody’s Talkin’ (French)Freedom FryReprises – EP2:40
28Can’t Carry OnGruff RhysSeeking New Gods3:38
29The KeepGruff RhysSeeking New Gods4:23
30Mine ForeverLord HuronLong Lost4:48
31Long LostLord HuronLong Lost4:45
32TetrominoProtoplanetsTetromino – Single3:20
33Level 30 Kill ScreenProtoplanetsTetromino – Single4:16
34Lipstick on the GlassWolf AliceBlue Weekend4:08
35How Can I Make It OK?Wolf AliceBlue Weekend4:47
36GunsmokeSelectLost in Noise3:39
37Dawn PretendDamien JuradoThe Monster Who Hated Pennsylvania3:15
38DownSt. VincentDaddy’s Home3:26
39Dream DustWaterstriderSublimate – EP3:45
40Interior PeopleKing Gizzard & The Lizard WizardButterfly 30005:15
41Butterfly 3000King Gizzard & The Lizard WizardButterfly 30002:51
42You Should Be DancingDee GeesDee Gees / Hail Satin – Foo Fighters / Live3:53
43You’re Not Always On My MindQuiversGolden Doubt3:44
44When It BreaksQuiversGolden Doubt3:49
45Rise and ShineHeifervescentThe Long Lost Property of Life3:54
46The Last Safe HavenHeifervescentThe Long Lost Property of Life3:21
47Lizard SuitThe Mountain GoatsDark in Here4:16
48The Slow Parts on Death Metal AlbumsThe Mountain GoatsDark in Here5:26
49The Cruise RoomJohn GrantBoy From Michigan4:15
50Rhetorical FigureJohn GrantBoy From Michigan3:59
51my futureBillie EilishHappier Than Ever3:30
52GOLDWINGBillie EilishHappier Than Ever2:32
53StrutterElectric SixStreets of Gold3:13
54Welcome 2 AmericaPrinceWelcome 2 America5:24
55DisarmFruit BatsSiamese Dream3:00
56MayonaiseFruit BatsSiamese Dream3:53
57ChiffonSnail’s HousePâtisserie Snail – EP4:03
58Christopher RobbinsPaul JacobsPink Dogs on the Green Grass3:45
59Open up the HeavensJade BirdDifferent Kinds of Light2:41
60CandidateJade BirdDifferent Kinds of Light2:30
61So NaiveTom WilliamsFollow the Leader3:52
62Follow the LeaderTom WilliamsFollow the Leader3:10
63Heads DownTom WilliamsFollow the Leader3:45
64Catcher of My DreamsAnette OlzonStrong5:04
65ParasiteAnette OlzonStrong3:59
66Non Binary SlutsDick ValentineComa Watching3:08
67Toledo PoliceDick ValentineComa Watching3:17
68Yellow FeverReally FromReally From3:28
69In the SpacesReally FromReally From5:05
70ClickC418Cookie Clicker – EP8:32
71Bio18RostamChangephobia (Expanded Edition)4:01
72StarlightRostamChangephobia (Expanded Edition)4:06
73On The Wrong SideLindsey BuckinghamLindsey Buckingham3:37
74Blue LightLindsey BuckinghamLindsey Buckingham3:25
75Power DownLindsey BuckinghamLindsey Buckingham3:55
76Altitude (feat. Joel Ross & Michael Mayo)Nate SmithKinfolk 2: See the Birds5:15
77Square Wheel (feat. Kokayi & Michael Mayo)Nate SmithKinfolk 2: See the Birds5:01
78Two MomentsYagyaAlways Maybe Tomorrow – EP6:52
79The Way We Feel (feat. Alain Johannes)Lost SatelliteEither Way3:51
80Lizzie (feat. Alissa White-Gluz)Charlotte WesselsTales From Six Feet Under4:07
81Cry Little SisterCharlotte WesselsTales From Six Feet Under5:05
82I Ran AwayDinosaur Jr.Sweep It Into Space3:30
83Solar PowerLordeSolar Power3:13
84Stoned at the Nail SalonLordeSolar Power4:26
85if this was a movie..Kacey Musgravesstar-crossed3:15
86Kick Snare CatMahealane & PRNDLKick Snare Cat – Single3:48
87People (feat. Kaya Thomas-Dyke)Alfa MistBring Backs2:59
88All NightLowHEY WHAT5:15
89DisappearingLowHEY WHAT3:32
90Days Like TheseLowHEY WHAT5:21
91SuperperfectionFilm SchoolWe Weren’t Here3:55
92Take What You NeedFilm SchoolWe Weren’t Here4:45
93It’s Time to Come HomeKenny GarrettSounds from the Ancestors9:49
94HargroveKenny GarrettSounds from the Ancestors5:14
95Soldiers of the Fields / Soldats des ChampsKenny GarrettSounds from the Ancestors10:55
96ImpetuGraham CostelloSecond Lives5:16
97Future StrideEmmet CohenFuture Stride5:54
98SuperBlue (feat. Charlie Hunter)Kurt EllingSuperBlue (feat. Charlie Hunter)4:45
99SweetheartSaid The WhaleDandelion3:43
10099 to the MoonSaid The WhaleDandelion4:39
101DandelionSaid The WhaleDandelion3:45
102Under the Linden TreeNada SurfCycle Through5:08
103So Much Love (Acoustic)Nada SurfCycle Through3:41
104The CruxMastodonHushed and Grim5:00
105Pushing the TidesMastodonHushed and Grim3:30
106And Strike Each Tuneful StringMarc JohnsonOverpass7:20
107NardisMarc JohnsonOverpass5:18
108The Unfamiliar WordField MusicAnother Shot – EP3:53
109Harmonia’s DreamThe War on DrugsI Don’t Live Here Anymore6:26
110I Don’t Live Here AnymoreThe War on DrugsI Don’t Live Here Anymore5:28
111It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World (feat. Brittney Spencer)Jason Isbell and the 400 UnitGeorgia Blue4:31
112Easy On MeAdele303:45
113To Be LovedAdele306:44
114Love U MoreACTORSActs of Worship4:01
115I Am Who I Think You Think I AmLiilyTV or Not TV3:38
116Early BopperLiilyTV or Not TV2:58
117TV or Not TVLiilyTV or Not TV3:40
119UndantagDina ÖgonDina Ögon3:58
120Mmmoooaaaaayayailluminati hottiesLet Me Do One More3:05
121Kneadilluminati hottiesLet Me Do One More3:27
122Kickflipilluminati hottiesLet Me Do One More2:25
12361Denise Chaila061 – Single3:14
124Mars Curiosity AdventureProtoplanetsLeave Mars – Single2:45
125SunsetMakaya McCravenDeciphering The Message3:48
126InversionQuicksandDistant Populations2:38
127Missile CommandQuicksandDistant Populations3:24
128BrushedQuicksandDistant Populations3:36
129Before the World Was BornFreedom FryBroken Down on Planet 909 – EP4:08
130You Do, Don’t You?Traffik IslandA Shrug of the Shoulders2:56
131Lights OutTraffik IslandA Shrug of the Shoulders4:17
132Synopsis for LatecomersThey Might Be GiantsBOOK2:25
133Moonbeam RaysThey Might Be GiantsBOOK2:51
134I Broke My Own RuleThey Might Be GiantsBOOK3:22
135Super CoolThey Might Be GiantsBOOK2:12
136Walk Like MeRobert DeLongWalk Like Me2:56
137I Still Have Faith In YouABBAVoyage5:09
138Don’t Shut Me DownABBAVoyage3:56
139Monuments of GlitchDevin TownsendThe Puzzle7:23