The Top 100 Played Songs of 2021

I’m not going to bore you with another (probably somewhat-depressing) “retrospective” of 2021. I’ve had better years… and I’ve had worse (mostly better, I’ll admit). So what… it’s now past and it’s time to look forward.

EXCEPT… after looking at all the leading “AAA” (Adult Album Alternative) radio stations Top 90, Top 89, and Top 105 songs of the year, I figured I had to get into the groove (BTW, every station seems to count the exact same number of songs as their FM frequencies — too bad AM stations don’t play music anymore. We could have had the “Top 1610 Songs of the Year”). Since we’re Internet-only and the about the only numbers we might have made use of are our audio bitstream rates, I settled for the Top 100 instead of the Top 128 or Top 256. My “other” career came in handy. I’m figuring the legacy radio stations took about a week to get their list together with, at best, Excel. Gathering this list took me about 20 minutes… 15 minutes to re-familiarize myself with a data extract tool that I haven’t touched in six months and 5 minutes to generate the list.

My favorite takeaway from looking at this is how it really represents what The Other Side does. You’ll find everything from Alternative to World to Electronic Dance to Americana to Hip Hop to Bluegrass… and more. This is a great look at some incredible music from the past year and a hint of the year to come (and, it damned well better be a better year!).

Here are the Top 100 Songs played in 2021:
1 Yola, Stand For Myself – Stand for Myself
2 José González, El Invento – Single
3 bird3, By Law – Single
4 Rozzma, Sayeb – Khatar Sayeb EP
5 Julien Baker, Favor – Little Oblivions
6 Dry Cleaning, Strong Feelings – New Long Leg
7 Lake Street Dive, Hypotheticals – Obviously
8 Joanna Connor, Destination (feat. Jimmy Hall) – 4801 South Indiana Avenue
9 Minor Moon, Under an Ocean of Holes – Tethers
10 Jon Batiste, I NEED YOU – WE ARE
11 Fred again, Julia (Deep Diving) – Single
12 The War on Drugs, Living Proof – I Don’t Live Here Anymore
13 Hot Chip, Straight to the Morning (feat. Jarvis Cocker) – Single
14 Deep Sea Diver, Impossible Weight (feat. Sharon Van Etten) – Impossible Weight
15 RÜFÜS DU SOL, Alive – Single
17 Sarah Walk, the key – Simply (EP)
18 Tycho & Benjamin Gibbard, Only Love – Single
19 Michael Franti & Spearhead, Good Day For A Good Day – Single
20 Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Can’t Let Go – Raise The Roof
21 Magdalena Bay, Secrets (Your Fire) – Mercurial World
22 AURORA, Cure For Me – Single
23 Wet Leg, Chaise Longue – Single
24 Natalie Hemby, Heroes – Pins And Needles
25 Lord Huron, Mine Forever – Long Lost
26 Black River Delta, Burning and Burning – Shakin’
27 Andrea von Kampen, Water Flowing Downward – That Spell
28 Ambar Lucid, Get Lost In The Music – Get Lost In The Music (EP)
29 The Teskey Brothers, Never Tear Us Apart – Single
30 JB Graham, Ready To Fly – Follow the Light
31 Hammer In the Morning, Syllables – Syllables (Single)
32 Dylan Cartlidge, Anything Could Happen – Single
33 My Morning Jacket, Regularly Scheduled Programming – My Morning Jacket
34 Kacey Musgraves, star-crossed – star-crossed
35 Nathaniel Rateliff, Redemption – Apple Original Film “Palmer”
36 Alice Merton, Vertigo – Single
37 Manchester Orchestra, Bed Head – The Million Masks Of God
38 The Cold Stares, In The Night Time – Heavy Shoes
39 The Strumbellas, Greatest Enemy – Single
40 New Order, Be A Rebel – Single
41 Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, Stubborn Love – Hunter and the Dog Star
42 Cautious Clay, Roots – Single
43 Macedo, Can’t Imagine (Without You) – Single
44 Elle Wolf, Let’s Find Out – Single
45 Lord Huron, Not Dead Yet – Single
46 serpentwiithfeet, Same Size Shoe – DEACON
47 Harmless, Nacho’s – Single
48 Shura, obsession (feat. Rosie Lowe) – Single
49 Helena Deland, Truth Nugget – Someone New
50 HAIM, Gasoline (feat. Taylor Swift) – Women In Music Pt. III
51 London Grammar, Baby It’s You – Californian Soil
52 The Black Keys, Crawling Kingsnake – Delta Kream
53 Billie Eilish, Your Power – Happier Than Ever
54 Sean Della Croce, Catharine Street – Illuminations
55 Dispatch, May We All – Phase 1
56 Taylor Swift, coney island (feat. The National) – evermore
57 Taylor Swift, no body, no crime (feat. HAIM) – evermore
58 Goat Girl, Sad Cowboy – On All Fours
59 FKA twigs, Don’t Judge Me (feat. Headie One, Fred again..) – Single
60 Indigo Sparke, Golden Age – Echo
61 Arlo Parks, Hurt – Single
62 Indigo Sparke, Colourblind – Echo
63 Lauren Auder, Heathen – 5 Songs For The Dysphoric (EP)
64 LORE, Surrender – LORE
65 Dry Cleaning, Scratchcard Lanyard – New Long Leg
66 Daniel Lanois, (Under The) Heavy Sun – Heavy Sun
67 Noah Kahan feat. mxmtoon, Pride – Single
68 Jeff Tweedy, Love Is The King – Love Is The King
69 Joe Bonamassa, Why Does It Take So Long To Say Goodbye – Royal Tea
70 Van Morrison, Only A Song – Latest Record Project, Vol. 1
71 Mike Edel, Good About Everything – En Masse
72 Ane Brun, After the Great Storm – After the Great Storm
73 Black Pumas, Sugar Man – Spotify Singles
74 Midnight Oil, First Nation (feat. Jessica Mauboy & Tasman Keith) – The Makarrata Project
75 Sturgill Simpson, Oh Sarah – Cuttin’ Grass Vol. 2 (The Cowboy Arms Sessions)
76 Shemekia Copeland & Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Hit ‘Em Back (featuring Robert Randolph and Tony C – Single
77 Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Perennial Bloom (Back To You) – A Few Stars Apart
78 Laura Mvula, Got Me – Pink Noise
79 Brye, I’d Rather Be Alone – Single
80 Tierra Whack, Dora – Dora (Single)
81 The Weather Station, Robber – Single
82 Paris Jackson, Let Down – Single
83 Moby, Natural Blues (feat. Gregory Porter and Amythyst K – Reprise
84 The Black Keys, Come on and Go with Me – Delta Kream
85 Sturgill Simpson, Paradise – Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows Vol. 2
86 Burna Boy, Kilometre – Kilometre (Single)
87 Sleaford Mods, Mork n Mindy feat. Billy Nomates – Spare Ribs
88 Los Lobos, Love Special Delivery – Native Sons
89 TONG, Pan Jella Bana – Single
90 Chris Roberts, Get Down – Feather EP
91 Tommee Profitt, In The End – Mellen Gi Remix (feat. Fleurie & Ju – Covers (Vol. 1)
92 The Black Keys, Going Down South – Delta Kream
93 Common, What Do You Say (Move It Baby) feat. PJ – A Beautiful Revolution (Pt 1)
94 Almost Monday, Live Forever – Single
95 This Is The Kit, This is What You Did – Off Off On
96 Sigrid, Mirror – Mirror (Single)
97 Black Pumas, Strangers (feat. Lucius) – Life in a Day 2020
98 Keep Shelly In Athens, (Don’t Fear) The Reaper – (Don’t Fear) The Reaper (Single)
99 Gasoline Lollipops, Gypsy – All The Misery Money Can Buy
100 Lucero, Back In Ohio – When You Found Me