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A bumper playlist of the best tracks from 2021


The year is almost over and rather than focus on some of the more dystopian elements that it has had to offer, we’ve decided to take on the old ‘it wasn’t all bad approach’ – we apologise in advance for any offence that move may cause.

The effects of the pandemic and political unrest have unfurled in a welter of music in a range of guises. Post-punk has boomed, introspective folk has also been at the forefront and even jazz found itself reinvigorated with modern twists on the classic genre in the form of Sons of Kemet and other bands pushing the boundaries of modern sound while also making a point.

In a musical sense, the future looks very bright indeed, particularly from a British point of view with Dry Cleaning, Yard Act and the likes offering up scintillating debut records this year and some of the freshest music of recent times. The world is changing in an unprecedented way, or so we’ve been told a thousand times this year, and it would seem that these bands are moving with it but in such a way that they have never gotten ahead of themselves and lost sight of the music.

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Earlier this month, we offered up our 50 best albums list and our 50 best songs list, however, a slew of other cracking tracks, unfortunately, missed out on the selection. Thus, we have decided to bulk up our best songs list with a bumper slew of all the best tracks from the year, including a few of the best remastered and remixed tracks to boot.

Alas, with 2022 fast approaching there is already a lot to look forward to. Big names like the Arctic Monkeys are set to release a record and if other artists like Orlando Weeks continue their run of brilliant singles with an equally good album to house them then we should be graced with some amazing music moving forward.

In the playlist below we have restricted ourselves to one song per artist, but nevertheless, this sample of superb songs should hopefully give you one last look at the best that 2021 has had to offer and cause for optimism moving forward.

The best alternative music of 2021: