The Music of 2021 : A Year to Remember – But What’s Next?


Victoria Parent

It cannot be denied that 2021 was a hectic year. Between the ongoing pandemic, a tumultuous political climate, and global unrest, many turned to music to ground themselves and provide comfort and enjoyment. Last year, new artists surfaced, veteran musicians extended their legacies, and fresh sounds emerged. All of these amazing pieces will snowball into the music 2022 will put out into the world.

According to the Billboard Year-End Charts, top songs of the year include “Levitating” by Dua Lipa along with “Save Your Tears” and “Blinding Lights” by The Weekend, the former also featuring Ariana Grande. The top albums include Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour and Morgan Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album. According to both Billboard and Spotify’s Streaming Statistics for 2021, the prevailing artists for the year were Drake, Taylor Swift, and Olivia Rodrigo, amongst many others.

Similar to  years before, the music industry achieved new milestones in 2021. Bo Burnham’s Inside (The Songs) soundtrack explored universal experiences and feelings quarantine brought about in society and became the first comedy album to reach the Billboard 200’s top ten since 2015. 2021 also saw a trend of interesting duos that spanned generations. These pairings recorded duets such as Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett’s “Love For Sale” and Dua Lipa and Elton John’s “Cold Heart.”

Although 2021 was a great year musically, this year has a good shot at topping last year’s music if what we have already seen indicates what is to come. According to recent Billboard Hot 100 lists, songs released towards the end of 2021 are still making waves and setting a high standard for this year of music. Examples of these pieces include Adele’s “Easy On Me,” which has spent 10 weeks at #1, “Shivers” by Ed Sheeran and “Ghost” by Justin Bieber, all of these being a part of albums released in 2021 that still retain traction.

Something else to be expected this year is that social media will play a significant role in 2022’s upcoming music. Trending sounds on apps such as Tik Tok often have a direct correlation to hit songs. Some big songs this year impacted by this chain reaction include “Heat Waves” by Glass Animals and “Stay” by Kid LAROI and Justin Bieber. Additionally, social media circulates pop culture beyond mainstream tracks. The internet buzz around the Disney film Encanto may have lent a hand to the success the movie’s soundtrack has been receiving in the new year. 

If last year was any indication of what is to come, we can expect new sounds, interesting collaborations, rising, young artists and plenty of amazing, unique music.



Wrap It Up (2021 Spotify Streaming Statistics) 

Billboard Year-End Charts 

The History Made on Billboard’s Charts In 2021: The Weekend’s ‘Blinding Lights’ and More

The Hot 100 – Week of January 29, 2022