Explore Issue 01 of LOOP Magazine

Featuring Sam Tompkins and Victor Ray as our cover stars, as well as internal spreads from Girli, Jords, Mysie, Finn Askew, Kara Marni and Master Peace

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Top 10 Singles Of 2021

Despite the poor run of negativity we’ve had in the last two years, if there’s one thing that’s connected the world with positivity, it’s music. Whether 2021 saw you revisiting your favourite gig venues or just enjoying your evenings alone with Spotify, there was at least one song on your playlist that helped to define your year. And here’s to hoping it features on our top ten tracks of 2021.

10. Lil Nas X – “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)”

After the colossal success of preceding hit single “Old Town Road”, there was a lot riding on Lil Nas X and the emerging new single from his debut album “MONTERO”. Evidently, the eager anticipation didn’t cause the star to crumble, moving swiftly from country rap, “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” headed towards a flamenco twist. Sweltering guitar riffs, strong pulses of bass and evocative vocals, the track leaves an iconic legacy in 2021.

9. Blossoms – “Care For”

If there’s anyone who can produce indie banger after banger, it’s Blossoms. The last we’d heard from the quintet after the release of their third album, “Foolish Loving Spaces”, was the gift of their two original christmas tracks in December 2020, and a rule of thumb is not to expect any new music so soon after that. How wrong were we? August bought us the bouncy ABBA-inspired “Care For”, which hit at a number 10 on the feel-good scale. Ringing with ripe piano plucks and a driving slap bass, the track hummed with seventies nostalgia which left many tip-toeing into our wardrobe to dig out the most outlandish flares ever.

8. Little Simz – “Introvert”

With 2021 issuing her with her first ever MOBO award as ‘best female act’, Little Simz’ sixth album “Sometimes I Might Be Introvert” is arguably her most remarkable work to date. The 19 track album is cinematically gorgeous, flickering with neo-soul energy, fierce rap and compelling subject matters. There’s a reason “Introvert” was the debut single, with a proud orchestra lying throughout, Simz’ vocals are omnipotent as she battles with her own-self worth, declaring “I’m a black woman and I’m a proud one”. An unstoppable force as one of Britain’s finest rappers.

7. The Weeknd – “Take My Breath”

An unbreakable power in the world of R&B, The Weeknd has run with funky trap drizzles since his breakthrough onto the music scene in 2011. 2015 album “Beauty Behind The Madness”, saw the triumphs of tracks like, “Can’t Feel My Face”, that moved even the most reluctant of dancers to the dancefloor. Despite his victories, it wasn’t until the 2020 album “After Hours” that really saw The Weeknd come into his own with a new-wave of eighties vitality. And, thank god, he hasn’t stepped away from this brave venture, as the 2021 single “Take My Breath”, is a synth-propelled bass rumbling masterpiece. It’s a track I can almost guarantee everyone would be happy dancing the night away to, something we all definitely needed this year.

6. Billie Eilish – “Happier Than Ever”

Whilst her debut, “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?”, was filled with dark and daring distortions, her second album, “Happier Than Ever” is another step in the industry to diminish the phrase ‘the difficult second album’. The epic title track “Happier Than Ever” incorporates warm vintage guitars shadowed with Eilish’s dreamy vocals which builds to eventually create a rock track roaring with energy as Eilish proclaims “And I don’t talk shit about you on the internet / Never told anyone anything bad / ‘Cause that shit’s embarrassing, you were my everything / And all that you did was make me fucking sad”. A heart wrenchingly exquisite track that once again reveals Billie Eilish’s incredible musical versatility and her ever-growing presence as one of the world’s youngest superstars. 

5. Arlo Parks – “Too Good”

What a year it’s been for Arlo Parks. At the age of just 21, Parks released her debut album “Collapsed In Sunbeams”, which has gained critical acclaim, earned this year’s Mercury Prize and even put her up for two nominations at 2022’s Grammy Awards. Referring to herself as an ’empath’, Parks delves into the importance of mental health, body image and sexual identiy/expression in poetic gorgeousness. Stand out single “Too Good” is heavy with honeyed guitar riffs and a wicked bassline, which is of course the perfect backdrop to Parks’ falsetto harmonies. Sunny rhythms and lofi-beats, Parks sings “Why’d we make the simplest things so hard?”, she may be the voice of a generation, but I think we can all relate to such a universal phrase.

4. Wolf Alice – “The Last Man On the Earth”

Painted as the best band in Britain, Wolf Alice haven’t still haven’t dropped the ball when it comes to releasing new music. After winning the Mercury Prize for their second album “Vision’s Of A Life”, from an outsider’s perspective, the pressure to create something equally as magnificent must be taxing at the very least. However, the band’s maturity shone through with their third album “Blue Weekend”, more specifically their debut single “The Last Man On The Earth”. A band most well known for their glittery indie and roaring mosh-pit-made tunes, “The Last Man On The Earth” was a world away from anything they’d done before, with a delicate piano and the voice of frontwoman Ellie Roswell taking the spotlight. Euphoric synths, a Beatles-esque riff and an enchanting string section, it’s a track that’s all encompassing, showcasing that they really are the best band in Britain. 

3. Sam Fender – “Seventeen Going Under”

The world’s least likely musician to have his track go viral on TikTok is the Geordie legend that is Sam Fender. A back catalouge of Springsteen inspired tracks with themes including male suicide, emotional neglect and the polarity between left and right wing politics, the wordsmith is stronger than ever on his second album “Seventeen Going Under”. And his legendary craft has even inspired a generation to start an open conversation about domestic abuse on the Gen Z social media platform TikTok. Title track and debut single “Seventeen Going Under” went viral on the video platform, with heartbreaking images of users posting pictures of themselves before and after their respective trauma alongside the poignant lyrics “I was far too scared to hit him / But I would hit him in a heartbeat now”. The track has recently gone silver in the UK after its immense success, a defining moment of the year, more than earning it’s right at number three on this list.

2. Olivia Rodrigo – “good 4 u”

“I think she was in that new high school musical series?”, the answer everyone would give when asked about who the hell this Olivia Rodrigo was. After the emergence of heartbreak anthem “drivers license”, which seemed to appear out of nowhere, Olivia Rodrigo quickly became one of the most talked about teens in the world. Spring 2021, her debut album “SOUR” was released, and wow, did it take the world by storm. An ode to teenage angst and heartbreak, the recently turned eighteen-year-old, was catapulted into stardom with the album, more specifically with the modern day version of Misery Business, “good 4 u”. A public ‘fuck you’ to an ex, Rodrigo’s character runs fluidy with; snarls, laughter and screams in an ode to early 2000’s pop punk. For the younger generation who just missed out on the Avril Lavigne and Paramore hype, Olivia Rodrigo has it all covered in “good 4 u”.

  1. Silk Sonic – Smokin Out The Window

Please be upstanding for our soul king’s Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars, with the best supergroup since McBusted, Silk Sonic. A chemistry that is like no other, the pair dropped their debut single “Leave The Door Open” in March earlier this year, leaving fans of both artists with their jaws hitting the floor with unbelievable seventies grooves. The struggle was real for the new alliance of fans, singles were not released thick and fast, the timespan from first single to album release was a mammoth eight months. Ouch. But wasn’t it worth the wait, “An Evening With Silk Sonic” is some of the greatest work to come out of 2021. However, it’s the final single, “Smokin Out The Window”, that ultimately steals the show. Growls from both .Paak and Mars’ declaring “This bitch got me payin’ her rent, payin’ for trips / Diamonds on her neck, diamonds on her wrists”, is cinematically comical but so soulfully good. For a track about heartbreak, it’s delightfully upbeat and has an infectious energy, it rightfully takes first place in the top ten singles of 2021.

Words by Izzy Sigston

Posted On 3 October, 2022