2021: Songs that Shaped a Year
I hate the weird, nebulous time between Christmas and New Year. I’m very much a Christmas-is-over-so-take-the-damned-tree-down person, and by the time it’s back in the box, I dust the year off my hands and I’m ready to take on a new one. To my disdain, I woke up today and it was still 2021.
Hurry up. I have plans.
This is the week I usually do a bit of a check in with myself and think about the year just gone, starting with my annual playlist. This year’s was fairly low-key. Like 2020, it didn’t take me long to put it together – a lot of standouts that I played on repeat.
Having said that, there were a few surprises – including the only Eurovision song I could listen to after the competition finished (I wear that tape pretty thin by May); Roxen’s Amnesia – and it became an anthem (watch the clip here) – and ironically song #1 on both mine and Laura’s 2021 lists. Placebo, Washington and Anita Lester took their usual places. A lot of comfort-repeats – mostly Taylor Swift and Rumer (particularly her B-Sides and Rarities album). London Grammar’s Lord it’s a Feeling was my most played Spotify and Last.FM track in 2021 and was a whole. mood. (Also, it bears an uncanny resemblance to Michael Jackson’s Give in to Me from his 1992 Dangerous album. I ran them back to back, a lot, then made a playlist comparing other songs. You’re shocked, I know).
Ironically, Paris Jackson found her way into this list – adagio had me from its first bass piano notes, and its sparse (almost Julia Stone-esque) feel, before building into something more cinematic. I’m not usually a fan but (although I am of Manchester Orchestra so that’s probably why) but it held me captive in a carpark on my first listen and I’ve been in love with it ever since.
This year showed me the beauty in isolation and darkness, and I think this is reflected in many ways. Also, Lior and Domini Forster released the most magnificent EP, with Gloria taking my breath away.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. x
1. Amnesia – Roxen
Staring down demons, and learning to love them. Therapy. Self-compassion.
2. Black Hole Sun – Brandi Carlisle
I love this song, but Brandi Carlisle makes me feel heard.
3. Protège-moi – Placebo
Protect me from what I want.
4. Lord it’s a Feeling – London Grammar
Unceasing. Unforgiving. Lord, it’s a feeling.
5. Violent Delights – CHVRCHES
Pre-haunting. My father’s death. Dreams within dreams.
6. Robot Soft Exorcism – Thrice
There’s another way / To face the unforseen
7. lovely (with Khalid) – Billie Eilish
Returning to darkness. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva’s short program on repeat.
8. Isolation – Lera Lynn
No place like home.
9. You and Me – Neil Young
Open up and let the light back in.
10. Monogamy – Leith Ross
Writing as freedom. Drafting, redrafting. Memoir as third space.
11. Lazarus Drug (live) – Washington
The steep walk to the top of Lauren Drive and meeting the moon.
12. Sun and Moon and Stars – Anita Lester
On the other side of the forest lies freedom.
13. Sailing – Rumer
14. willow – Taylor Swift
15. Gloria – Lior & Domini Forster
Harmony and ecstasy in equal measure.
16. adagio (feat. Manchester Orchestra) – Paris Jackson
17. On the Turning Away – 2019 remix – Pink Floyd
A deep bow to a transformative year.