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Vocalo’s Top 10 Songs Of 2021

Written by on December 9, 2021

The end of the year calls for reflection. We took some time to bring you a list of our favorite songs from 2021.

It wasn’t easy to narrow down, but these tracks really stuck with us …

Silk Sonic – “Leave the Door Open”

Silk Sonic’s “Leave The Door Open” sounds more like polyester satin, the loftiest compliment I can imagine. Anderson .Paak shared with Rolling Stone, “We both make feel-good music … because we’ve been through pain and tragedy.” Evoking the real, dusty rose McCoy: it’s well-worn music to soothe the weary soul.

– Ayana Contreras for NPR Music

Read our coverage of “Leave The Door Open” from the day of its release.

Little Simz – “Introvert”

Rapper, singer and actor Little Simz has has exploded on the scene with multiple critically-acclaimed albums — and shows no signs of letting up. The triumphant beat of “Introvert” makes the song feel massive as Simz’ introspective lyrics. The track’s fresh flows show why she deserves all the praise she’s garnered.

– Erik Anderson

Leon Bridges – “Motorbike”

This gentle beat with the tenderness of Leon Bridges’ voice came at the perfect time for summer. The “Bonnie & Clyde” inspired music video gave me even higher hopes of getting on a motorbike last summer. There’s always next year, right?

– Milo Keranen

Stream “20 In 20” with Leon Bridges.

H.E.R. – “We Made It”

H.E.R. is one of the best vocalists of our time, I really believe that. “We Made It” is a reflection on her career so far, the “long ride” she’s been on until this point. She looks back on the people who doubted her, singing “revenge taste just like candy” with references to winning multiple GRAMMY Awards and playing shows internationally. Whoever didn’t believe in H.E.R. must be eating their words right about now…

– Morgan Ciocca

Noname – “Rainforest”

This song is important. Noname raps about living in a world formed by colonialism and capitalism and how this culture strips the world of its resources. But it’s okay to want to dance sometimes. She shines on this single; we all can learn something from Noname.

– Milo Keranen

Read our coverage of Noname’s “Rainforest.”

Saba – “Ziplock”

Chicago’s own Saba raps about facing inner demons over a tricky beat with a catchy chorus. His music video features him on a rooftop with colorful blocks, followed immediately by his other March 17 track “Rich Don’t Stop.” The best way to hear the two singles!

– Milo Keranen

Read our coverage of Saba’s “Ziplock” and “Richdontstop.”

Stream Jill Hopkins’ 2017 interview with Saba.

Justin Bieber – “Peaches” (feat. Daniel Caesar & Giveon)

This song sounds like my summer. Even if you aren’t a big fan of “the Biebs,” as my dad calls him, you can’t deny this song is super catchy and fun. Imagine driving down Lake Shore, 75 and sunny on the way to the beach with this playing … even though it’s actually below 30 with ice on the ground. But we can pretend!

– Morgan Ciocca

Tyler, the Creator – “WUSYANAME” (feat. YoungBoy Never Broke Again & Ty Dolla $ign)

Tyler raps about falling in love at first sight and running away to France together. Sounds like a plan!

– Milo Keranen

Read our coverage of Call Me If You Get Lost by Tyler, the Creator.

Oliv Blu – “Say It” (Kenny Keys Remix)

Chicago singer Oliv Blu’s harmonies are otherworldly. “Say It” truly showcases all of Blu’s vocal talent and reminds us how she got so far on “The Voice.” The addition of Kenny Keys’ lively drums and, of course, his keys, gives the track a whole new feel and allows the remix to take a life of its own as an upbeat jam. 

– Erik Anderson

Read & stream our interview with Oliv Blu from June 2019.

Amber Mark – “Foreign Things”

I first heard this song when Jill played it on Vocalo … and I’m obsessed with it and this music video. BRB, pretending I’m having an extravagant party with all my friends dancing in a European villa.

– Morgan Ciocca

Stream Vocalo’s Top 10 Songs of 2021 now on Spotify …

Introduction written by Milo Keranen

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