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NPR Music

Hazel Cills

PinkPantheress
Brent McKeever
/
Courtesy of Elektra Records
PinkPantheress

Much of the music I admired in 2021 came from artists working unapologetically on their own terms. I reached frequently for risk-takers — blown-out pop-punk makeovers from unexpected voices, a New Age composer returning to music after stepping away for decades, a bedroom pop producer reworking UK garage samples into two-minute bites of brilliance. All were a welcome reminder that music has no rules, and that you can't sit around waiting for someone to give you permission to create what you want, how you want to.

Top 10 Albums of 2021

▶ LISTEN ON SPOTIFY

• Illuminati Hotties, Let Me Do One More
• Indigo De Souza, Any Shape You Take
• L'Rain, Fatigue
• Eris Drew, Quivering in Time
• PinkPantheress, to hell with it
• Pauline Anna Strom, Angel Tears in Sunlight
• SPELLLING, The Turning Wheel
• Yu Su, Yellow River Blue
• Circuit des Yeux, -io
• WILLOW, lately I feel EVERYTHING

Top 10 Songs of 2021

▶ LISTEN ON SPOTIFY

• Indigo De Souza, "Way Out"
• Illuminati Hotties, "Pool Hopping"
• Sofia Kourtesis, "La Perla"
• PinkPantheress, "Just for me"
• Caribou, "You Can Do It"
• Cassandra Jenkins, "Hard Drive"
• L'Rain, "Two Face"
• Faye Webster, "Both All the Time"
• WILLOW feat. Avril Lavigne, "G R O W"
• Circuit des Yeux, "Dogma"

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