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.
I’ve only just started using TIDAL (as my SONY earphones are 360 Reality Audio compliant) (SO GOOD), but not every song is there yet. Here’s the list on TIDAL minus CHVRCHES: https://tidal.com/browse/playlist/d5016395-5b71-49e5-afb4-44a673918baa