Saturday, January 1, 2022

GL.21.10: Ryan Joyce


100 Songs: Aaron Bergstrom

GL.21.01: Ilana Bergstrom

GL.21.02: Curt Trnka

GL.21.03: Remko Van Knippenberg

GL.21.04: Erik Kristjanson

GL.21.05: Marisa Plaice

GL.21.06: Lukas Brooks

GL.21.07: Desa Warner

GL.21.08: Garrett Bukunt

GL.21.09: Dillon North


GL.21.11: Shay Corbett

GL.21.12: Nick Leddy


тне sуггавцs • Songs for 2021

I’m saving the fanfare for an eventual reflection on my pandemic-addled brain’s headlong descent into the world of Scandipop in 2021. For now, though, I can offer fifty songs by non-Nordic artists that left an impression on me this year.

Brief annotations accompany especially notable songs; I’ve also cross-referenced the list with my Spotify Top 100 (with streaming rankings in parentheses).


“Great Divide”  •  Yola

Shocked to learn this wasn’t a cover, as it feels ripped from the pages of the Great American Songbook. Yola reaching into the depths of her range is a revelation; the warm, AM radio production that strains and crackles against the strength of her voice is a nice touch.

“Love Is Back”  •  Celeste

“Inuyasha”  •  Mahmood

“Girl Like Me”  •  Jazmine Sullivan, H.E.R. (38th most played)

The soundtrack for the mental anguish I undergo whenever my thirsty ass posts green circle content to Instagram.

“Altar”  •  Kehlani (50)

“Pandemia”  •  Ir Sais

“Ryde”  •  Niniola

“Woman”  •  Little Simz, Cleo Sol

All the flow of “Girls, Girls, Girls” but with none of the misogyny!

“Pale Blue Light”  •  Jessie Ware (41)

Sounds the way the final couples skate at a half empty roller rink feels; a lush counterpart to last year’s “Remember Where You Are.” Crown Jessie the queen of slow disco already.

“Intimidated”  •  KAYTRANADA, H.E.R.

“Worth It”  •  Amber Mark

“Fuego”  •  Nicole Horts

Worth every cent she had to pay the Knowles for that bridge. 

“Safe Passage”  •  Laura Mvula

“Hypotheticals”  •  Lake Street Dive (49)

“Don’t Lose Sight”  •  Lawrence (36)

“Empathy (MUNA Remix)”  •  Lauren Aquilina, MUNA

“Silk Chiffon”  •  MUNA, Phoebe Bridgers (18)

“Come To My Window” updated for the 2020s, “Silk Chiffon” features the best simile in pop music this year.

“That’s When”  •  Taylor Swift, Keith Urban

“traitor”  •  Olivia Rodrigo (80)

“Mr. Perfectly Fine”  •  Taylor Swift

“Brando”  •  Lucy Dacus

“Zombie!”  •  Orla Gartland (63)

Taking down toxic masculinity has never sounded this fun!

“Crash and Burn”  •  Maggie Lindemann

“New Shapes”  •  Charli XCX, Christine and the Queens, Caroline Polachek

“Bunny Is A Rider”  •  Caroline Polachek (32)

“Spinning”  •  No Rome, Charli XCX, The 1975

“Peur des filles (Montmartre Remix)”  •  L'Impératrice, Montmartre

“River”  •  The Knocks, Parson James

“See You Again”  •  Roosevelt (6)

Not since “Don’t Start Now” has a song compelled me to clear a quarter-acre of dance floor to baby waack like there’s no tomorrow.

“Spell”  •  Satin Jackets, Tailor

“Island”  •  Maddy (26)

The song playing over B-roll of Tom/Seth dancing at Spielraum, alone, at least three hours after everyone else has gone home.

“Talk You Down”  •  Charlotte Lawrence (64)

“More Like You”  •  Orla Gartland

“When The Lights Go Out”  •  Gabrielle Aplin

“Doubt of Revival”  •  Jordana, Ryan Woods

“Boys”  •  Kat Cunning (88)

Reminiscent of MUNA’s “I Know A Place,” from a few years back, in that it also is written from the perspective of the queer “mentor” extending a helping hand to new member of the community. “Boys” feels somehow even more triumphant, though, in its narrator’s urgent, almost forceful rejection of the gender binary—seen best in what is my favorite verse of the year. “Throw away your dresses / Throw away the end of your first name / Give me your confession / Burn the Bible, so you can make a little space / For beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boys” 

“Dover Beach”  •  Baby Queen

“Lonely Cactus”  •  Dami Im

“In My Way (chi sei)”  •  Julia Wolf, Lita

“On The Ground”  •  ROSÉ (58)

“Arms”  •  Jack Newsome (71)

Will never say no to mid-tempo, queer bops built around Kacey-level wordplay.

“When The Time Comes”  •  Chaka Khan

Chaka giving you “I’m Every Woman” level ad libs on a deep cut for a movie musical soundtrack. That’s 2021 for you, baby!

“Please”  •  Jessie Ware (9)

“Recap”  •  Kito, VanJess, Channel Tres (28)

VanJess *will* have their Chloe + Halle moment, if Channel Tres and I have anything to say about it!

“Higher”  •  VINCINT, Alex Newell, Princess Precious

“Can’t Be”  •  Renni Rucci

“Bussifame”  •  Dawn Richard

“HEAT”  •  Paul Woolford, Amber Mark (13)

Elevator pitch: a time machine made of a refurbished 9 train brings me and (the much older) Nick Leddy back to 1993 so we can hear this song how it meant to be heard: at Tunnel, on downers, wedged in the mix between CeCe Peniston and Robin S.

“Remember”  •  Becky Hill, David Guetta (100)

“BED”  •  Joel Corry, RAYE, David Guetta (16)

It was out of crippling embarrassment at how quickly and deeply I fell for this song that I kept it off the monthly playlists I was posting in early 2021. After the world caught up (and I spent a week with Dillon in Mykonos looping it), I shed my shame and proceeded to spend many late summer nights violently lip syncing this into the living room mirror while Matt slept like a rock not 20 feet away.

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