The Best Music Of 2021: NPR Staff Picks

Reanna Cruz


Azealia Banks.
Frazer Harrison, Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows

Azealia Banks.

I hate to admit it, but aside from the club tracks, my 2021 favorites were often aligned as "Problematic Fave-core" – fun yet stupid music that included RXKNephew yelling in a Death Grips-like cadence to "do some more drugs!", a Limp Bizkit revival, and, to put it bluntly, Iggy Azalea. To me this makes sense; in a chaotic year packed with change I found the most joy in songs that made me smile. Goofballs of rap like Babytron and Zack Fox, queer chaos like the "Sine From Above" remix, and the endearingly annoying cadences of SEBii and MC Boing were all highlights. These 20 songs may not be time-stopping all-timers, but they're all speaker-knocking earworms that, at the very least, will put a smile on your face too.

Top 20 Songs of 2021


• Azealia Banks, "Fuck Him All Night"
• Lana Del Rey, "White Dress"
• Nathy Peluso, "MAFIOSA"
• Zack Fox, "fafo"
• SEBii, "GUApp"
• RXKNephew, "Beam On Ya Toes"
• Stray Beast, "In Motion"
• Limp Bizkit, "Snacky Poo"
• Lady Gaga (feat. Elton John), "Sine From Above (Chester Lockhart, Mood Killer, Lil Texas Remix)"
• BabyTron, "Euro-Stepper"
• Yves Tumor, "Jackie"

Support comes from

• Lime, Jacques Greene, "Babe, We're Gonna Love Tonight (Jacques Greene Remix)"
• Tammy Lakkis, "Notice"
• Danny L Harle, MC Boing, "Boing Beat"
• Elton John, Dua Lipa, "Cold Heart (PNAU Remix)"
• Ross From Friends, "Life In A Mind"
• DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ, "Being Alone"
• Majesto Mixer, Mario Judah, "I Miss The Rage (Majesto Remix)"
• Iggy Azalea, "Iam The Stripclub"
• Cardi B, "Up"

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