The top shelf: 2021

One thing that the last 2 years have needed is stability and comfort, and the one thing that has given us that is music. Always here, to make us cry, laugh, dance and get through all the challenges that come our way. This year in particular has been, well, weird. But thanks to the following amazing artists, it’s been a little less painful.

Below I’m going to shout out some songs, albums, artists that got me through my 2021.

Top Album/Top Song:

Gretta Ray – Begin To Look Around

Unless you’ve never spoken to me, seen my blog or know who I am at all, there’s a chance you’ve heard about my (potentially obsessive) love for Gretta’s debut album ‘Begin To Look Around’ and also, Gretta herself. As each track in Gretta’s duology series dropped throughout the early months of 2021, I had a new favourite song each release, they just got better and better and the anticipation rose and rose. Things were looking on the up, we were out of lockdown, things felt a little bit better. But as time got closer to release, sadly lockdown doomed on us again, personally breaking my heart. But who came along to pick my little heart off the floor? Our lovely Gretta and her stellar debut ‘Begin To Look Around’.

I really struggle to put into words how much I adore this album (I have a draft of my review still pending because I struggle so much to get out the right words) but tracks like ‘Human’, ‘Love Me Right’, ‘Bigger Than Me’ and ‘Happenstance’ just lifted my heart and let a little sunshine into my world in a time that felt very confusing and dark. Her exceptional lyricism is pure poetry filled with raw emotion, honesty and vulnerability. Not only this, but in the following weeks from release Gretta did online live shows, cute q&as and was so deeply (and still is) engaged with her fans, she truly makes everyone feels special.

This album contains my top song of the year, ‘Human’, and is also, by far, my top album of the year.

Honourable Mentions: Albums

The Maine – XOXO: From Love & Anxiety in Real Time

Favourite song: Dirty, Pretty, Beautiful

Favourite lyric: “I wanna put you on like a 45, and watch you spin until the sunrise”

Halsey – If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power

Favourite song: Easier Than Lying

Favourite lyric: “My heart is massive but it’s empty a permanent part of me that innocent artery is gasping for some real attention, some undivided hypertension”

CHVRCHES – Screen Violence

Favourite song: He Said She said

Favourite lyric: “He said “you need to be fed, but keep an eye on your waistline” and “Look good but don’t be obsessed”, keep thinking over, over I try”

Top 20 tracks

This year was a really fun year of music, and my listening crossed over a few different styles and moods. Women of rock dominated my eardrums significantly, from Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers, The Buoys, Softcult, Pale Waves, Halsey and WILLOW, they also showed up in pop like Jaguar Jonze, Doja Cat & SZA, Yorke, Gretta Ray and Billie Eilish. Across the board, it was the year of strong, incredible women (as every year should be) with the majority of my listening being female-identifying artists.

Here’s to 2022 allowing more artists to release their music, travel their music and above all else, be safe and happy.

Below is a playlist of my top 20 tracks in no particular order.

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