Although we’re only five months in, 2021 has already been such a strong year for music. Waiting till December to do a roundup wouldn’t be fair on anyone, so instead, we’re treating you to a (very) early present. Carefully selected by each member of the Upbeat Geek team, here are our favourite tunes of 2021… so far.
- Peaches, Justin Bieber
- It’s Time To Go, Taylor Swift
- Beautiful Mistakes, Maroon 5 and Megan Thee Stallion
- Up, Cardi B
- The Bandit, Kings of Leon
- Beautiful Mistakes, Maroon 5 and Megan Thee Stallion
- Kiss Me More, Doja Cat ft. SZA
- Tweety, Raveena
- Drivers License, Olivia Rodrigo
- Calling My Phone, Lil Tjay ft. 6lack
- Bruuuh, JID and Denzel Curry
- Interlude, J.Cole
Kelvin’s Top Picks
While the English weather is yet to provide us with nonstop sunshine, I’ve been on the hunt for songs that make you want to head to the beach. My top three picks do exactly that, bringing some much-needed summer vibes and a sense of hope for what’s to come.
1. Peaches, Justin Bieber
Even if you haven’t been a fan of Justin Bieber in the past, Peaches is undoubtedly a tune that you’ll never get out of your head. The music video was released on the same day of Bieber’s album Justice, hinting that he knew it would be a hit right from day one.
This song features an upbeat rhythm and catchy vocals, giving off a carefree vibe that we all desperately need this summer. I’m immediately transported to somewhere warm and sunny whenever I listen to this song, and hopefully soon, that’ll be a reality. Don’t knock this song until you try it; I promise Bieber will surprise you.
2. It’s Time To Go, Taylor Swift
It’s Time To Go is one of the bonus tracks on Swift’s latest album release Evermore. This tune takes me back to Taylor Swift’s Fearless era; it’s a song all about finding the strength in moving on.
Although technically a classic romantic love song, It’s Time To Go is another for those warm summer nights. I particularly love the mellow beats that play in the background while Swift’s calm voice takes all the power. If you liked Love Story, then you’ll adore this new creation.
3. Beautiful Mistakes, Maroon 5 and Megan Thee Stallion
I’ll admit I was a bit sceptical when I first saw the release of Beautiful Mistakes. Maroon 5 and Megan Thee Stallion isn’t a collaboration I’ve been expecting, but to my surprise, it’s definitely paid off. Forget about old Maroon 5 and focus on their new image when listening to this song; it’ll help to get rid of any judgement.
I think my favourite part about this release is the music video. It is bright and fun, making a nice change from the melodramatic videos we see so often these days.
Ally’s Top Picks
My music taste is incredibly diverse, making it very tricky to pick just a few of my favourite songs from the year. However, the following three tunes are ones I’ve had on repeat since the very first day they were released. Although these songs are very different from one another, they all motivate me when I need an energy boost.
1. Up, Cardi B
As soon as I saw Cardi B had released another song, I just knew that it was going to be a bop. Up follows all the same trends as her other top hits, combining an incredibly catchy chorus with a danceable beat. This is a song that makes me wish clubs were opening sooner, as the buzz on the dancefloor is going to be amazing when this comes on. I can’t wait.
2. The Bandit, Kings of Leon
Kings of Leon are back again, this time with their eighth studio album When You See Yourself. The Bandit was one of the singles released before the album dropped, and once you listen to it, you’ll know why. This song takes Kings of Leon back to their roots, combining dark riffs with warming lyrics. This is the perfect type of festival song, and with summer just around the corner, there has never been a better time to listen to it.
3. Limbo, Royal Blood
Royal Blood recently released their third number one album, Typhoons. To be honest with you, choosing just one song from this album was difficult. With bangers like Oblivion and Trouble’s Coming deserving just as much limelight, I strongly suggest you give the whole album a listen.
Limbo was released as a single before the album release, and it’s been one I’ve had on repeat ever since. Even Royal Blood have classed this as their “wildest” song to date, but that’s what I love about it so much. The chorus is catchy and the heaviness of the track is headbang-worthy.
Mel’s Top Picks
There seems to be a common theme with a lot of 2021’s releases so far – 80’s disco vibes. More and more artists are experimenting with funky riffs and hip-hop beats, creating a sense of nostalgia that we all can’t get enough of. While some of my top picks don’t follow the 80’s trend, nostalgia is definitely a running theme throughout.
1. Kiss Me More, Doja Cat ft. SZA
After Doja Cat’s success of Say So last year, I had been eagerly anticipating the release of Kiss Me More. Doja Cat had a lot of expectations to live up to, but this song proves she wasn’t a one hit wonder.
Doja Cat and SZA create the perfect team, delivering a groovy beat with fun lyrics. Both singers get their time to shine throughout the song, showing off their powerful feminine energy more than ever before. This is the song of the summer, and I’m not mad about it!
2. Tweety, Raveena
On a completely different note, I can’t get enough of the song Tweety by Raveena. This song fills me with so much nostalgia – it feels like a late 90’s/early 00’s R&B track. It’s the perfect tune to put on when lounging around, taking you into a trance that only a few artists can do. The song has been described as “airy”, and in my personal opinion, I’d say that hits the nail on the head.
3. Drivers License, Olivia Rodrigo
Another song that’s perfect for listening too while lounging around is Drivers License. Since her success on High School Musical: The Musical, Olivia Rodrigo has made a name for herself in the world of music. Admittedly I first heard of this song on TikTok, but it’s now a tune that’s taken over the world. Once you hit play, you’ll realise why this ballad has broken multiple streaming records. Just prepare yourself for tears.
Ryan’s Top Picks
Hip-hop has shaped a huge part of my year so far; I’ve really enjoyed exploring new types of music and finding new rappers along the way. Although hard to pick just three, my top tracks of the year (so far) feature similar vibes that sound awesome through headphones.
1. Calling My Phone, Lil Tjay ft. 6lack
Just like many other 2021 hits, Calling My Phone first rose to fame through TikTok. However, as soon as I saw that this was a collaboration between Lil Tjay and 6black, I couldn’t hit play quick enough. This song combines an irresistibly catchy chorus with a melancholic beat, delivering a tune that deserves to sit in all the top spots. I won’t be getting bored of this one anytime soon.
2. Bruuuh, JID and Denzel Curry
JID has released a few songs here and there over the past year, but the latest release of Bruuuh is by far my favourite. This revamped version of the song features one of my favourite artists, Denzel Curry, who successfully takes the tune to new heights. The signature rhythm in this song is unmissable, and it’s something that’s made me a big fan of JID. Here’s hoping this duo release more tracks together in the future.
3. Interlude, J.Cole
If you’re a fan of J.Cole like me, chances are you’ve been anticipating this release for a very long time. J.Cole certainly kept us in suspense with the release of Interlude, but after listening to it, it’s safe to say we’ll all forgive him.
This song shows J.Cole in all his amazing glory, combining perfect rhythms with a catchy melody. Although a short song, it’s a sweet taste of what to expect from his new album. Something tells me that J.Cole is only just getting started.
Want to discover more tunes as soon they get released? Never miss a beat again with our monthly music roundups! We’ve got you covered.