My favourite songs of 2021. Check out the gratuitously long Spotify playlist of basically everything I liked this year (with the best first, more or less), or carry on reading for some explanation of why I liked them.
So, maybe I’ll continue to do this regular music post thing, but once a month? And rather than struggling to find something to say about every track I hear that I like, I’ll just write about the tracks I know I’ve got something to say about, and stuff the rest on a Spotify playlist (and my tumblr; my plan is to update them both throughout the month).
The song I’ve been most excited about this past month actually came out at the end of last year, “Back to Me” by Lauren Jauregui (from Fifth Harmony) and indie-ish electronic band Marian Hill. I love songs that are built from a number of exaggeratedly discrete components, like a bunch of machines that have been left running and have fortuitously come together to produce a song. Read more↴
Little Mix, “Power.” On the one hand, Glory Days was a kind of disappointing album, but on the other hand, “Motorbike / motorbike / motorbike / motorbike / bike bike / bike bike / bike bike bike bike / bike bike whoo!”
New Britney! When I first heard “Do You Wanna Come Over?“, I thought “Britney doing Girls Aloud,” although actually the guitars are more “Sweet Dreams my LA Ex”; either way, this has something of the sound of mid-2000s British pop, the golden age of popism, a sound Britney didn’t embrace at the time (though there is the unreleased recording of “Graffiti My Soul” to speculate about). I didn’t like “Private Show” at all (I don’t know if it counts as a single, but if it did it would surely be Britney’s weakest), but the two songs from Glory released since then have been pretty good; obviously the release of a new Britney album is a stressful time, but the quality of “Clumsy” and now “Do You Wanna Come Over?” is making that stress more about anticipation than trepidation. Read more↴
Last two weekends I was in France, which is why I’ve skipped a couple of my regular music posts. While I was there, I read the French edition of Elle, which seemed keen to undermine the stereotype that French people are fashionable, by advocating “urban pirate” as a key look for Autumn; and to undermine stereotypes about French gastronomy with an article on “bread sushi,” which turns out to be a salade nicoise in a bap. The cover story was an interview with Louane, a French pop star I hadn’t previously heard of. The interviewer brought up Taylor Swift on a number of occasions, and Louane’s professionally noncommittal answers to questions about nuit debout made me think she might indeed be a French Taylor Swift. Sadly, her music lacks most of the character that makes Swift so compelling; Louane makes a conventionally bombastic pop-rock that seems to have been fashionable in Europe for as long as I can remember. At her best, she’s pretty good at it, as on the title track of her album Chambre 12; and another track, “Alien,” sounds quite a bit like tATu, so she’s got that going for her. Read more↴