The Best Music Of 2021: NPR Staff Picks

Robin Hilton


Gareth Cattermole, Getty Images


As the poet Louise Erdrich said, "life will break you" and "nobody can protect you from that." But, really, that's okay. At the end of the day, grief, pain, loneliness and yearning are all an inextricable part of the seemingly endless and mysterious human experience. We are here to love and lose and love again. And, as Erdrich writes, when you are hurting, "Let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could."

Top 10 Albums of 2021


• Ada Lea, one hand on the steering wheel another sewing a garden
• Arlo Parks, Collapsed In Sunbeams
• Dodie, Build A Problem
• Joell Ortiz, Autograph
• Little Simz, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
• Low, Hey What
• Noga Erez, KIDS
• Pom Pom Squad, Death of a Cheerleader
• Remi Wolf, Juno
• Solemn Brigham, South Sinner Street

Top 10 Songs of 2021


Support comes from

• Amy Shark, "Amy Shark"
• Baby Queen, "You Shaped Hole"
• Dodie, "Hate Myself"
• Deb Never, "Stupid"
• Elizabeth and the Catapult, "Together, Alone"
• Girl In Red, "Serotonin"
• Joell Ortiz, "Uncle Chris Car"
• Joy Crookes, "Poison"
• Meet Me @ The Altar, "Feel A Thing"
• Torres, "Are You Sleepwalking?"

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