• Rawiri James

RāViewz: Music | Best of 2021



Determining the best of 2021's music contributions is no easy task. After all, a lot of songs get released every calendar year, how do you decide a song you love is better or worse than another song you love?


A mathematical formula is the best solution, and after careful number crunching (streaming play count + RāView rating + mood, or whatever) we present the Top 30 of 2021.


30. Happi - For Me

29. SZA - Good Days

28. Summer Walker ft. JT - Ex For A Reason

27. Silk Sonic - Smokin' Out The Window

26. Busta Rhymes ft. Mariah Carey - Where I Belong

25. Mac Ayres - Where U Goin' Tonight?

24. CHIKA - Cinderella, Pt. 2

23. Doja Cat ft. SZA - Kiss Me More

22. R.A.E. ft. King Combs - Not Your Love (Remix)

21. Glass Animals - Heat Waves


Independent artists Happi, R.A.E., Mac Ayres and Russ feature alongside prominent mainstream artists like Doja Cat, Lil Nas X and The Weeknd in last year's chart. Multi-lingual efforts were far more common in 2021 with the top 20 alone featuring Yoruba (Tiwa Savage, Tems), Māori (Stan Walker), German (Moe Phoenix) and Swedish (Simeon).


20. Simeon - 8

19. Tiwa Savage ft. Brandy - Somebody's Son

18. Sons of Zion - He Aroha Hinemoa

17. Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar & Giveon - Peaches

16. Pink Sweat$ ft. Kehlani - At My Worst (Remix)

15. JoJo - Worst (I Assume)

14. The Weeknd ft. Ariana Grande - Save Your Tears (Remix)

13. WizKid ft. Tems - Essence

12. Moe Phoenix - Stimme

11. Brent Faiyaz - Eden


While early entries in the Top 30 feature several up-tempos, the upper reaches of the chart are decidedly downtempo. Reflective of the global pandemic and the social fallout of lockdowns, it's not surprising that ballads like Brent Faiyaz's Eden, TEEKS's Younger or SZA's Good Days have been more impactful.


Even relationship break up songs by Jazmine Sullivan, Russ, JoJo and H.E.R. felt heavier in light of the subdued and often depressing news headlines of 2021.


10. Silk Sonic - Skate

9. H.E.R. - Damage

8. Giveon - For Tonight

7. Russ - Misunderstood

6. Jazmine Sullivan - Tragic


Some light breaks through towards the pinnacle, with Silk Sonic's breezy Skate opening the Top 10, Stan Walker's life-affirming Tua reaching the Top 3, and Lil Nas X's queer culture theme song Industry Baby rounding out the Top 5.


5. Teeks - Younger

4. Lil Nas X ft. Jack Harlow - Industry Baby

3. Stan Walker - Tua

2. Doja Cat ft. The Weeknd - You Right

1. Dvsn ft. Ty Dolla $ign - Memories


In 2nd place is the hypnotically seductive You Right by Doja Cat ft. The Weeknd that was played on repeat. She had bigger hits on the pop charts this year but the ease of which we surrendered to this hook made it an obvious contender for our winner.


Ultimately though, only one song can come out on top and in 2021, we're giving that honour to grammatically chaotic dvsn & Ty Dolla $ign, and their extremely underrated hit Memories. Perfectly balancing old school R&B styling with a contemporary trap edge, it features the lyricism, vocal embellishments, autotune love and rap verse to make it the BLACKstreet smash of the '20s.



Thanks readers and streamers for checking out our monthly RāViewz last year. Keep reading, and sharing and streaming the playlist in 2022!


 

Check out every track that we RāViewed in 2021 on our Spotify playlist!



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