From number 50 to number 1, here are the songs we loved most this year.
50. While She Sleeps, Nervous
49. Doll Skin, Control Freak
48. Creeper, Midnight
47. The Summer Set, Back Together
46. One Step Closer, Chrysanthemum
45. Mayday Parade, Bad At Love
44. underscores, Spoiled little brat
43. Stand Atlantic w/ nothing,nowhere., deathwish
42. AS IT IS, I LIE TO ME
41. Maneskin, ZITTI E BUONI
40. VUKOVI, KILL IT
39. Boston Manor, Carbon Mono
38. Avril Lavigne, Bite Me
37. Coldplay w/ BTS, My Universe
36. Trash Boat, He’s So Good
35. Palaye Royale, Paranoid
34. Dude Trips, Polola
33. Trophy Eyes, 27 Club
32. Self Esteem, I Do This All The Time
31. Studio Killers w/ Kim Petras, Jenny
30. Billie Eilish, Happier Than Ever
29. Delilah Bon, I Don’t Listen To You
28. Charli XCX, Good Ones
27. phem, silly putty
26. chloe moriondo, Favorite Game
25. Magnolia Park w/ LiL Lotus, Tonight
24. Zoe Wees, Girls Like Us
23. Alec Benjamin, Older
22. Bring Me The Horizon, DiE4u
21. nothing,nowhere., Pieces Of You
20. Hot Milk, I JUST WANNA KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I’M DEAD
19. Maggie Lindemann, She Knows It
18. Stephany Joanna, boyshit
17. Mustafa, Ali
16. girlfriends, Tattoo
15. Ava Max, EveryTime I Cry
14. Dashboard Confessional, Here’s To Moving On
13. For Those I Love, To Have You
12. Kim Petras, Future Starts Now
11. girl in red, Serotonin
10. To Kill Achilles, There’s No Right Way To Say This…
9. GIRLI, More Than A Friend
8. Our Hollow, Our Home, Seven Years (Shine A Light On Me)
7. ElyOtto w/ Kim Petras & Curtis Waters, SugarCrash!
6. LiL Lotus w/ Chrissy Costanza, Romantic Disaster
5. YONAKA, Seize The Power
4. Taylor Swift, Mr. Perfectly Fine
3. Against The Current, weapon
2. Olivia Rodrigo, good 4 u
1. Holding Absence, Celebration Song
Then if, like us, you want to spend as much time as possible with the best songs of the year, have a look at our selection of short reviews below. Then, complete the activities – all of which will support your GCSE/A-Level English study.
Each of the reviews will offer you:
- A suggestion as to how you might build your ideas/paragraphs/essays on a firm contextual foundation. See how we’ve started each time with a concisely expressed insight into a significant contextual factor which will then help us to to understand why the writer’s language choices make such an impact.
- The opportunity to analyse 3 or 4 layers of a quote. Aim to articulate your ideas concisely and in a way that helps to define how the techniques work in relation to each other, and how the effect of each technique is intensified when explored in the light of the other techniques used.
Ultimately, you’ll be able to create a series of paragraphs by linking each pink section to each blue section and then to the work you’ve done in response to the purple section. (Note, though, that in YONAKA’s case, there’s no blue section because the quote is already embedded in the pink section).
Having lived through such a long period of Covid-induced craziness, Holding Absence’s reminder that we’re still breathing felt SO important and SO inspiring.
Just look at that “I’m alive” refrain…
TASK 1 : Now dig into the layers of the “I’m Alive!” quote. Examine the pronoun, the connotations of the word “alive”, the exclamatory nature of the sentence, the positioning of this line as the opening statement and its ensuing repetition – explain how these techniques have all the more impact when explored in light of each other.
‘good 4 u’ was a smash in more ways than one. A HUGE hit, it took a hammer to the idea that love is all roses and romance.
Linger on that line: “Remember when you said that you wanted to give me the world?”
Now dig into the layers of the “Remember when you said that you wanted to give me the world?” quote. Examine the imperative, the metaphor and the rhetorical question – explain how these techniques have all the more impact when explored in light of each other.
The unsettling ‘weapon’ is as much a wrestling match as a song. In the ring are Chrissy Costanza and her anxieties – anxieties that, as people living in 2021, we TOTALLY relate to.
The conflict’s absolutely embedded in the lines: “No, I won’t go under / No, I won’t back down / Bittersweet surrender / It’s better now.”
Now dig into the layers of the “No, I won’t go under / No, I won’t back down / Bittersweet surrender / It’s better now.” quote. Examine the repetition, the oxymoron, the prepositions and the connotations of “surrender” – explain how these techniques have all the more impact when explored in light of each other.
In 2021, maybe it’s true that some men still feel entitled to their own happy endings. Mr Perfectly Fine, though, paints a picture of a world in which – ultimately – women are taking control of their own destinies.
Look at the juxtaposition of these two lines: “I never got past what you put me through,” and: “I was Miss Here To Stay” / Now I’m Miss Gonna Be Alright Someday.”
Now dig into the layers of the “I never got past what you put me through,” and: “I was Miss Here To Stay” / Now I’m Miss Gonna Be Alright Someday” quotes. Examine the pronouns, adverb, alliteration and rhyme – explain how these techniques have all the more impact when explored in light of each other.
YONAKA’s ‘Seize The Power’ is a STATEMENT. Play the song loud, pay particular attention to Theresa Jarvis’ assertion that: “I don’t need lessons / I do what I want, it’s refreshing,” and you might just start feeling that bit more optimistic about life beyond 2021.
Now dig into the layers of the “I don’t need lessons / I do what I want, it’s refreshing” quote. Examine the repeated pronoun, the relationship between “don’t” and “do”, the relationship between ”want” and “need”, the connotations of that word “lessons” – explain how these techniques have all the more impact when explored in light of each other.
Beguilingly short and bewitchingly sweet, the structure of ‘Romantic Disaster’ mimics the explosive nature of relationships in 2021. That its chorus proves as addictive as the kind of romance it’s detailing is quite an achievement.
The song’s success is compounded by that key line: “This is a romantic disaster / The nightmare comes after.”
Now dig into the layers of the “This is a romantic disaster / The nightmare comes after” quote. Examine the oxymoron, hyperbole and metaphor – explain how these techniques have all the more impact when explored in light of each other.
Once you’re done, you might want to take a look at our Taylor Swift lesson and write your own poem!