My Music in 2021, A Glance


Dec 25, 2021 • spotify wrapped stalker matt • ~ 25 minute read • 4569 words

What a year. I need to get back to writing more. Let’s talk some music.

(a continuation of My Music in 2020, A Glance and My Music in 2019, A Glance)

Table of Contents

Albums of the Year (5)

Here are my 5 favourite albums released this year. I will be generous with the definition of “released” - primarily so I can include Faces on the list.

cinema album cover

Cinema by The Marías

The Marías weave together a psychedelic, lush, and intimate atmosphere in a stellar debut album.

a few more thoughts…

The Marías are a unique find for me. Above all, their songs have an unmistakable groove, while maintaining a diverse set of instruments and soundscapes. On CINEMA, they continue to push the envelope. Their sound is more electronic than the Superclean EPs, filling out songs like Calling U Back and Hush. However, they don't lose the amazing synergy that María's voice has with the instrumentation - particularly exemplified by the effortless bilingual switching on Little by Little. As it stands, I see them as genre-definers.

Faves: Calling U Back, Hush, All I Really Want is You, Little by Little, Un Millón

faces album cover

Faces by Mac Miller (commercial re-release)

Mac Miller's magnum opus balances a dark psyche with killer bars and vibrant, jazzy, psychedelic production.

a few more thoughts…

I listened to Faces on DatPiff around when it first came out, but I don't think I truly understood the acclaim of this album until this year. Mac both raps and produces his ass off. The album sports faces of psychedelia and jazz with a tinge of lo-fi, creating an atmosphere that is as relaxing as it is melancholic. Mac's sample choices are top-notch; the Duke Ellington piano on Diablo is etched into my brain. Behind the pristine production is Mac at his most vulnerable. Listening to Mac fighting the demons of drug addiction and death is haunting. Mac hits the nail on the head with his fears, failures, and foresight - all of which unfortunately ring true. Faces is ultimately a tragedy, but it immortalizes Mac's legacy and showcases him at his best.

Faves: Here We Go, Therapy, Wedding, Diablo, Rain



The BH boys give us another energetic but mature project.

a few more thoughts…

Erring on the side of caution, I'm not sure if BROCKHAMPTON is capable of making bad music. ROADRUNNER is another take on their core formula. Noisy bangers in BUZZCUT, BANKROLL, and DON'T SHOOT UP THE PARTY; a blend of melodic rap on COUNT ON ME, I'LL TAKE YOU ON, and OLD NEWS, laid-back lyrics on CHAIN ON and WHEN I BALL; and some mature introspection on both parts of THE LIGHT and DEAR LORD. I don't think this album will make you a BROCKHAMPTON fan, but it's another great step for their existing fanbase - which includes me.


sometimes i might be introvert album cover

Sometimes I Might Be Introvert by Little Simz

Little Simz pushes the envelope of rap with a concept album of theatrical and epic proportions.

a few more thoughts…

SIMBI is the rap AOTY, no doubt. Simz puts on the performance of a lifetime. Her flows are just as immaculate as they were on GREY Area, but this time they're backed by the physical manifestation of elegance. Producer Inflo effortlessly juggles a wide net of sounds, beyond the heavy soul and jazz influence: Standing Ovation has the backdrop of an epic orchestra, Point and Kill is modern afrobeat at its finest, and Rollin Stone sees Simz on another ruthless, spacey beat that puts her front and center. Throughout this soundscape, Simz tells a story of her introvertedness, weaving together stories of her time in the industry with familial relationships, idols, romance, and trauma. At the end of the day, Simz has created an absolute masterpiece.

Faves: Woman, Two Worlds Apart, I Love You, I Hate You, Standing Ovation, Miss Understood

The Melodic Blue album cover

The Melodic Blue by Baby Keem

Keem breathes new life into trap with the most diverse and innovative production in the mainstream.

a few more thoughts…

The Melodic Blue was my most listened-to album this year, and it came out half way through the year. I have to credit this to Keem's left-field production and energy. For a genre that is often saturated with lifeless beats, Keem manages to bring something innovative to every single track. While not every idea sticks, he hits much more than he misses. The shining examples for me are the serpentwithfeet sample on scapegoats, the devastating hook on south africa, the rush of energy on cocoa, and the confidence of booman. Kendrick's involvement is a positive, if a bit reserved. Keem's unique flow and singing is good, if a bit underdeveloped. Still - this project is absolutely stellar debut album and one I would highly recommend to any rap fan.

Faves: scapegoats, south africa, cocoa, family ties, durag activity

Other Albums I That I Liked

There were quite a few albums that I enjoyed listening to this year, even if they weren’t my favourites. Here are some other good releases in 2021, and other albums that I listened to for the first time this year.

Albums Released in 2021

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  • An Evening With Silk Sonic by Silk Sonic
  • CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST by Tyler, The Creator
  • Collapsed in Sunbeams by Arlo Parks
  • Donda by Kanye West
  • Happier Than Ever by Billie Eilish
  • Jubilee by Japanese Breakfast
  • MONTERO by Lil Nas X
  • Nurture by Porter Robinson
  • Sling by Clairo
  • SOUR by Olivia Rodrigo
  • The Color Blu(e) by Blu
  • The House Is Burning by Isaiah Rashad
  • The Off-Season by J. Cole
  • Typhoons by Royal Blood
  • TYRON by slowthai
  • VINCE STAPLES by Vince Staples
  • Where Have All the Flowers Gone? by Deb Never

A few quick highlights & notes:

EPs Released in 2021

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  • Blame Game by Beach Bunny
  • Bonnie by spill tab
  • bound by expectations by jenny nuo
  • Last Year Was Weird, Vol 3 by Tkay Maidza
  • shut the fuck up talking to me by Zack Fox
  • to hell with it by Pink Pantheress
  • true colors by mxmtoon
  • Typical of Me by Laufey

There were so many EPs, I wanted to give them some space. My favourites:

I’ve discounted EPs that have become major parts of albums, like Peggy’s EP2!.

Albums Released Before 2021

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  • Black Pumas by Black Pumas
  • Fetch The Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple
  • Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2 by Tkay Maidza
  • Lianne La Havas by Lianne La Havas
  • Nectar by Joji

Intentionally a much shorter list, but I have something to say for each of these albums/EPs:

Albums I Will Get Around To Soon

A new section I’m making mostly to keep myself accountable!

Songs of the Year

Splitting this section up a bit more this time!

Top 42

My music rotation involves listening to 42 songs on repeat (in a playlist called amperes). Fittingly, here’s an (alphabetical, but otherwise unordered) list of my favourite 42 songs from 2021; I’ll restrict this to one song per album.

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  • ARE YOU WITH THAT? by Vince Staples
  • Best Friend by Laufey
  • Big Boss Rabbit by Freddie Gibbs
  • Blue Gatorade by Dark Dazey
  • Break It Off by Pink Pantheress
  • CALONE by Tiffany Day
  • Close To You by Dayglow
  • Diablo by Mac Miller
  • Don’t Need You by Genesis Owusu
  • edamame by bbno$, Rich Brian
  • Eugene by Arlo Parks
  • Every Summertime by NIKI
  • Far Away by EASHA
  • family ties by Baby Keem, Kendrick Lamar
  • FOOL’S GOLD by Aries
  • good 4 u by Olivia Rodrigo
  • Grade A by spill tab, JAWNY
  • Happier Than Ever by Billie Eilish
  • HEAVY METAL by Paris, Texas
  • Hypotheticals by Lake Street Dive
  • INDUSTRY BABY by Lil Nas X, Jack Harlow
  • JUGGERNAUT by Tyler, The Creator, Lil Uzi Vert, Pharrell Williams
  • Kim by Tkay Maidza, Baby Tate
  • Little By Little by The Marías
  • MAZZA by slowthai, A$AP Rocky
  • m y . l i f e by J. Cole, 21 Savage, Morray
  • Off The Grid by Kanye West, Playboi Carti, Fivio Foreign
  • Paprika by Japanese Breakfast
  • Renegade by Kavinsky
  • Say What You Will by James Blake
  • Skegee by JID
  • Smokin Out The Window by Silk Sonic
  • Someone Else by Deb Never
  • Thot Shit by Megan Thee Stallion
  • Typhoons by Royal Blood
  • Whats Next by Drake
  • Wii Date by City Girl, Highvyn, tiffi
  • Woman by Little Simz
  • You Don’t Do Laundry by Dev Lemons
  • Your Life Your Time by Christian Leave

Some shoutouts:

Other Songs Released in 2021 (favourite albums non-inclusive)

Otherwise, most of my songs of the year are already covered in the albums that I’ve mentioned, but there are a few others that are either standalone singles or come from albums that I didn’t love front-to-back.

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  • A Piper For Janet by Cosmo Pyke
  • All My Favorite Songs by Weezer
  • Ballads by JID, Conway The Machine
  • Can I by Sanjana
  • Charmander by Aminé
  • creep (Cover) by mxmtoon
  • Faster Please by seeyousoon
  • Feet Don’t Fail Me Now by Joy Crookes
  • Gasoline by HAIM, Taylor Swift
  • Gang Signs by Freddie Gibbs, Schoolboy Q
  • Gravity by Brent Faiyaz, DJ Dahi, Tyler, The Creator
  • Happy Right Now by Ethan Tasch
  • idk shit but colors by Keni Can Fly
  • Kiss Me More by Doja Cat, SZA
  • Louie Bag by Yebba, Smino
  • lush by boylife
  • PRETEND by Tiffany Day
  • Price Tags by Jazmine Sullivan, Anderson .Paak
  • Rocky by Still Woozy
  • SHOOT MY SHOT by IDK, Offset
  • So.Incredible.pkg [Robert Glasper Version] by Denzel Curry, Kenny Beats, Smino, Robert Glasper
  • Split by NIKI
  • strawberry cheeks by Ula
  • Yours by maye

Songs Released Before 2021

For a song to qualify here, I listened to it (and added it to a playlist) for the first time this year.

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  • Ambrosia by AOBeats, Kiana V, SATICA
  • aqui yo mando by Kali Uchis, Rico Nasty
  • astrid by glaive
  • blood on the pavement by chemical club
  • Cocaine Parties by Freddie Gibbs, Madlib
  • Cooler Than Me (Cover) by Ethan Fields
  • Fairy Tale by Seori
  • Freeze Tag by Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder, Kamasi Washington, Phoelix
  • Futon by Ula
  • Here’s to Coming Out by Chloe Ho
  • Jam & Butterfly by DPR Live, Crush, Eaj
  • Lucy by Yenkee
  • mango by yung cxreal, Grant Landis, Annelisa Franklin
  • muscles by dvr
  • Name by spill tab
  • Neon Guts by Lil Uzi Vert, Pharrell Williams
  • Nerves by DPR IAN
  • Numbers On The Boards by Pusha T
  • Punching Bag by Wallice
  • Rain by Lucy Park
  • Second Wind by Healy
  • see me on the outside! by mmmonika
  • Six Speed by Current Blue
  • So Long by Fleece
  • Sorbet by Galdive
  • Story 2 by clipping.
  • Super Rich Kids by Frank Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt
  • Table for Two by edbl, Tilly Valentine, Bran Mazz
  • the sky is pink by jenny nuo
  • Too Late by The Happy Fits
  • Toronto by Jamws
  • Walking Away by Nightshifts
  • We’re All Gonna Be Killed by Terrell Hines
  • Zenith by Denzel Curry, Joey Bada$$

Some quick tidbits:

Stats et al

Spotify Wrapped

2021 wrapped

This time, Monsune is only at 4/5 of my top songs (rather than 5 last year). Glaive takes the fifth spot with the hyperpop earworm astrid.

This year, there’s no overlap with top artists and songs - which is a fancy way of saying that Monsune didn’t make the top 5. I’m a bit surprised with Freddie’s #1, though Pinata, Bandana, and Alfredo have all been in rotation throughout the year for me. BH is the only artist that released a new album this year; Kendrick and Frank are only there through the strength of their discographies, and I’d wager that 21 is being carried by Without Warning and a lot (one of my favourite rap songs period).

The number of minutes listened seems to go down every year. One correlation is that I worked two internships this quarter, and I don’t tend to actively listen to music while coding.

This is year three of You can visit my page to do a deep-dive of stalking, but some interesting tidbits. Anecdotally, suffered more service outages, so I have an inkling that these numbers are all undercounts.

On artists:

On songs:

On albums:

Other Thoughts on 2021 In Music

Last year, I think I felt like a bit of an old grandpa - particularly in criticising rap. To end off on a more positive note, there are a ton of artists that I’m really excited for!

Wishlists and Predictions

Something I’ve liked seeing on the internet is predictions and wishlists for genres. I’m relatively deep in pop and rap, so I’ll do some predictions for both.

For rap:

And for pop:


While this was a big year for music, I also felt that there were quite a few disappointments. Without delving too deep:

  1. Certified Lover Boy by Drake. Just … come on. I want Drake to start trying again; if The Big Day was a giant implosion, Drake’s career is a slow death.
  2. i like when you shine!/tape 001/tape 002 by BETWEEN FRIENDS. I’m not entirely sure what governed their change in sound (and I appreciate them taking risks!) but I just don’t think this worked. Still would like to see more from them soon!
  3. UNLOCKED 1.5 by Denzel Curry, Kenny Beats. Seems like a bit of a cash grab?
  4. Bobby Tarantino III by Logic. I don’t think this even counts in his discography.

Honourable Mentions

Artists/albums that did not technically release a new project this year, but deserve a shoutout:

Closing (and random) Thoughts

It’s always fun writing these.

I think my big next steps for music next year are to:

  1. Set aside more time to listen to new music. The album backlog is piling up, and I think the way I discover new music is a bit mindless at times.
  2. Spend a bit more time exploring the Fleet Foxes/Alabama Shakes/Black Pumas side of me; I’m sure there’s quite a bit of music that I’m missing.
  3. Time permitting, listen to a bit more classical music - it’s not too late to start, isn’t it?

Adding on to last year’s list, I have a few more people to thank for adding to my music taste this year: Austin, Christian, Emmy, Muthu, Nhi, Param, Sriram, and Zian. We got some fire blends!

I’ve had quite a bit of fun making playlists this year: from narrowing down a variety of different rap genres, to playlists for certain people, to playlists about extremely particular elements of songs (great producer tag placement or Pharrell’s 4-count). It’s especially fun when people ask me confused questions about my playlists.

Here’s my top songs of 2021 (Matt’s version) - i.e., mostly a summary of this blog post in playlist form.

Until next time!

Thank you for reading My Music in 2021, A Glance. It was written on Dec 25, 2021 by spotify wrapped stalker matt. It was 4569 words long, and should be a ~ 25 minute read. It was categorized under entertainment.