Shock! I don’t typically write about pop music exterior of Korea and Japan, however I assumed I’d swap issues up for a day and countdown my favourite non-Okay-pop/J-pop tracks of the yr. I’ve had a couple of requests for this and it is perhaps fascinating to achieve some context for my music style exterior of The Bias Listing‘s slim focus (spoiler: it’s a lot of dance music).
With such concentrate on Korea and Japan, I don’t sustain with Western pop as a lot as I used to. However, I made a concerted effort in 2021 to offer it extra consideration. I’m positive I missed a ton of nice tracks, however for now right here’s the soundtrack to my yr (with some transient commentary included).
20. Mabel – Let Them Know
File this underneath: membership anthem trimmed of any extraneous bits. It runs on pure perspective.
19. Alan Walker x Imanbek – Candy Desires
Alan Walker releases an excessive amount of music for me to maintain up with, however this easy banger immediately captured my consideration and caught round all yr lengthy.
18. Jackson Wang – LMLY
I in all probability may have included this in the primary Okay-pop countdown, but it surely feels distinctly separate from that trade (not like, say… BTS’s Butter). Both manner, it’s a knockout rush of moody synthpop.
17. Laura Mvula – Acquired Me
All people regarded again to the 80’s this yr, however few did it as convincingly as Laura Mvula. The synth-fueled refrain is such an excellent, funky match for her brassy vocals.
16. Robin – Sucker For That Love (ft. SAAY)
Robin’s transformation right into a retro pop warrior was flawlessly executed, and Sucker For That Love is a sterling instance. I really feel like a damaged report, however that synth is simply every thing.
15. Jonasu – Black Magic
Yep, one other massive membership observe. I suppose I’ve a kind? This one can be a complete banger and an instance of how successfully a well-constructed drop can be utilized.
14. Lil Nas X – Montero (Name Me By Your Identify)
I used to be by no means a fan of Previous City Street, and ignorantly dismissed Lil Nas X as a novelty. Then, Montero occurred and blew that notion vast open. What a large earworm.
13. Years & Years x Galantis – Candy Talker
Strings and dance music are a match made in heaven, and Candy Talker‘s symphonic drop is my concept of pop nirvana. The observe is relentlessly melodic and sprightly as hell.
12. Robin – Laborious To Love (ft. Alex Mattson)
I’m a longtime Robin fan (his Finnish-language music is glorious), however Laborious To Love brings him into a brand new period with power and panache. It’s such a massive-sounding observe.
11. Rat Metropolis – Slightly Be (ft. Isak Heim)
“Rat Metropolis” is a bizarre identify and truthfully does this superb music a disservice. It’s the type of disco funk I reside for, thriving on an addictive bassline and constructing towards a head rush refrain.
10. Lil Nas X – That’s What I Need
Lil Nas X had greater than confirmed himself by the point his album was launched, however That’s What I Need feels just like the observe and video the place every thing comes collectively to create a celebrity second.
9. Becky Hill x David Guetta – Keep in mind
With regards to dance music my style is stupidly easy. Give me a pumping beat and sky-high refrain and I’m putty in your hand. Keep in mind excels in each regards — notably its mammoth refrain.
8. Dua Lipa – Love Once more
Future Nostalgia already looks like a biggest hits package deal, and I’m so glad Dua was in a position to squeeze out this final single. Love Once more is a fully-realized pop observe, anchored by that impressed “Your Lady” pattern.
7. The Parity Complicated – Transfer On Music
The truth that that is sitting at round 3,500 views on YouTube makes me weep. Transfer On Music is sensible! Its refrain is totally cathartic, underlined by a sticky groove that captures the very best of 80’s freestyle.
6. The Weeknd – Take My Breath
I’m eagerly (and impatiently) awaiting The Weeknd’s new album, particularly if it echoes the model of this observe. Take My Breath fuses so lots of my favourite components collectively, culminating in a easy wisp of a refrain.
5. Little Combine, Galantis & David Guetta – Heartbreak Anthem
I think about Rihanna and Calvin Harris’s We Discovered Love to be one of many best songs of the 2010s, and Heartbreak Anthem jogs my memory of that emotional sound. It simply builds and builds till that massive, shiny beat hits.
4. Kim Petras – Future Begins Now
Although I a lot favor the unique prolonged combine, the video model of Future Begins Now captures most of its allure. This can be a firecracker of a dance observe — a detailed sister to Carly Rae Jepsen’s finest work. I really like when the refrain slams in full-force.
3. The Child Laroi x Justin Bieber – Keep
I definitely wouldn’t have anticipated both of those artists to make my year-end countdown — not to mention prime three. However, Keep is the earworm of all earworms, exhibiting the significance of nice melody. That synth arpeggio feels immediately iconic to 2021. It’s a deserved mega-hit.
2. Dua Lipa – Levitating
Yeah, I do know variations of this have been first promoted in 2020, however 2021 was the yr when (the DaBaby-free model of) Levitating actually made its mark. It’s an ideal disco pop music — the type of observe that feels shaped from the ether by some primordial power. It’s fashionable and timeless… a deadly mixture.
1. Agnes – 24 Hours
I’ve been following Agnes since her days on Swedish Idol over a decade in the past, and when final yr’s glorious Fingers Crossed emerged I sat up and paid renewed consideration. 24 Hours is every thing I may hope for from immediately’s disco-revival: gritty, catchy and excessive by itself pummeling power.