Somehow, this year outdid 2020 for crazier shit, but at least we had music? I can't speak for everyone, but this was the year I felt like I gave much more time to detaching from real world stresses through music than anything else. Below you'll find a collection of the songs that helped me to work through this crazy thing called life. Follow us for more content at @thedeathofthemixtape on Instagram, Facebook and Spotify. Thanks for reading.
It's taken me too long to understand the excellence of Frances Gojira, but this year it finally made sense to me. Fortitude is full of future metal classics, but "Grind," which comes at the end of the record, has all the ingredients hardcore metal fans love. It has a bounce of energy circulating through it, and the voice of Joe Duplantier growls through the chorus like the best of the best. Gojira has steadily risen in the metal world for the last five or so years, and songs like "Grind" are a good reason for that success.
9.) SILK SONIC (BRUNO MARS & ANDERSON.PAAK)
"LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN," AN EVENING WITH SILK SONIC
I wasn't born or even conceived in the 70s, but goddamn does this song make me wish I was conceived to its glorious melodies and vibes. I've never been huge into either of these artists, but there's something so cool, confident, and dare I say sexy about these two modern crooners making an album that's as authentic and nostalgic as this one. It perfectly captures the romanticized idea we like to have of that decade, yet it never feels stale or redundant.
8.) NICK CAVE & WARREN ELLIS
Dammit, Nick Cave, why are you always making me cry? Anyway, if you're a fan of Cave and longtime collaborator Warren Ellis, you probably know the last several years has seen the duo make compelling, deeply unsettling music. On this track, from their recent duet album, the pair continue to make somber, thought- provoking music that can make a grown man bend and break with the best of them. "Albuquerque" is unique in its instrumental approach, while Cave's deep, smoldering voice does everything it always has to extraordinary success.
7.) MEGAN THEE STALLION
"THOT SHIT," SOMETHING FOR THEE HOTTIES
At this point there's very little the public needs to know about Megan that we don't already know. She's fine as f**k, intelligent in a way much of hip hop can't seem to understand, not to mention her verses and word play are insane. Sure most of her tracks are about unadulterated feminism, the love of sex, and being free in your own skin, but with those tracks come a woman who is storming the industry, striking while the iron is hot, and flaunting her insane lyrical skills as well as her excellent visual performance skills.
6.) GIRL IN RED
"SEROTONIN," IF I COULD MAKE IT GO QUIET
Marie, otherwise known as Girl in Red, leaped into the indie pop pool this year, and while many hours I gave towards her music, "Serotonin" and its unflinching honesty certainly latched itself to my household. My wife and I loved this song, and while there's plenty to enjoy from this album, there's no song better than this one, which is why it lands at number six on the Top 10 songs of the year.
5.) LUCY DACUS
"BRANDO," HOME VIDEO
In the recent, more than welcome trend of heartfelt indie female performers, Dacus has become the next in the line of Mitski, Bridgers, and etc. in crafting thoughtful pop-ish rock that strikes the heart strings of many people, including myself. "Brando," clocking in right at three minutes, exemplifies the burn of early love, naivety in the face of that love, and the knowledge of being a certain way for certain people, and how easy it is to get wrapped up in those emotions. Lucy's voice is reserved but to the point, which makes the song all the better and emotional.
4.) PINK SWEAT$
"17," PINK PLANET
It's only been in the last several years that I've gotten more into R&B, but Daniel Bowden, aka Pink Sweat$ can write a song that's equal part love and loss, and "17" is a perfect example of the type of swooning and seduction you get throughout the album. Borden's voice is easy to get lost in, and the gentle instrumentals lifting up the song are easy going while still being emotionally impactful. I listened to this song and album many times this year, and I hope this type of output continues, because Pink Sweat$ might be the future of classic R&B making a big comeback.
3.) BILLIE EILLISH
"HAPPIER THAN EVER," HAPPIER THAN EVER
This album mostly missed the mark for me, but our number three track of the year, "Happier Than Ever," somehow makes up for the rest of the record. It starts slow and solemn, with Billie's voice cracking and desperate as she tries to escape the bullshit of her current scenarios. It's a gentle ball upfront, but as the emotions explode so does the musical energy from the song. The closing section is not quite arena rock, but it has everything that an emotional record finale needs to stick its landing, which it does brilliantly.
"EASIER THAN LYING," IF I CAN'T HAVE LOVE, I WANT POWER
It's amazing what the addition of two excellent producers can do for a pop star looking for a sharp change in musical tone. With this record, Halsey, along with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, created a classic collection of songs that play on her strengths. "Easier than Lying," with its underlying tension and complicated relationships, brims with intense anxiety, uncertainty, and a killer instrumental section to boot. On an album consistently great and genre pushing, "Easier than Lying" stands out even among the best moments of the record.
1.) JAPANESE BREAKFAST
"BE SWEET," JUBILEE
As 2021 events began to become clearer and more organized, the release of Michelle Zauner's second major Japanese Breakfast album was one of the things I was most excited about. The album is good, not amazing though, but "Be Sweet" is a masterpiece and a truly triumphant song. The guitar and synth parts are perfectly shaded under the strength of Michelle's voice, but the positivity and optimism of her voice is enough to make this the Top Song of 2021.
TOP ALBUMS COMING SOON!