My Top 100 Songs Of 2021

Prince, Elvis Costello, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Kool & the Gang. It must be my list of favorite songs of 198-, uh, 2021. The aforementioned veterans rub elbows with Dua Lipa, Megan Thee Stallion, Cardi B, Wet Leg, serpentwithfeet, Lil Nas X, Billie Eilish, The Weeknd, The Avalanches, Adele and Little Simz.

Here are my top 100 songs of 2021:

  1. Same Size Shoe – serpentwithfeet        
  2. Love Again – Dua Lipa                                
  3. Body – Megan Thee Stallion                    
  4. Black Like Me – Mickey Guyton             
  5. Easy On Me – Adele                                   
  6. Thot Shit – Megan Thee Stallion            
  7. Up – Cardi B                                                   
  8. Save Your Tears – The Weeknd             
  9. Good Days – SZA                                          
  10. Under the Table – Fiona Apple              
  11. Wet Dream – Wet Leg                               
  12. Rumors – Lizzo & Cardi B                           
  13. Find My Way – Paul McCartney             
  14. Levitating – Dua Lipa feat. DaBaby        
  15. Chaise Longue – Wet Leg                         
  16. I Love You, I Hate You – Little Simz       
  17. Best Friend – Saweetie feat. Doja Cat 
  18. Brando – Lucy Dacus                                   
  19. So I Lie – Miguel                                           
  20. We Go On – the Avalanches feat. Cola Boyyy & Mick Jones                                
  21. Twerkulator – City Girls                             
  22. MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) – Lil Nas X                                                          
  23. Butter – BTS                                                   
  24. Cold Heart – Elton John & Dua Lipa       
  25. Therefore I Am – Billie Eilish                    
  26. Your Power – Billie Eilish                           
  27. INDUSTRY BABY – Lil Nas X feat. Jack Harlow                                                             
  28. Point and Kill – Little Simz feat. Obongjayar                                                                
  29. Scratchcard Lanyard – Dry Cleaning      
  30. Security – Amyl and the Sniffers           
  31. Puppy and a Truck – Jenny Lewis          
  32. Don’t Judge Me – FKA twigs, Headie One, Fred again…                                        
  33. Pursuit of Happiness – Kool & the Gang                                                                       
  34. Savage Good Boy – Japanese Breakfast                                                                       
  35. Pay Your Way in Pain – St. Vincent       
  36. ARE YOU WITH THAT? – Vince Staples
  37. Hot Summer – Prince                                 
  38. Diamond Studded Shoes – Yola             
  39. Solar Power – Lorde                                   
  40. chinatown – Bleachers feat. Bruce Springsteen                                                        
  41. The Divine Chord – the Avalanches feat. MGMT & Johnny Marr                       
  42. Don’t Go Yet – Camila Cabello                
  43. Strong Feelings – Dry Cleaning               
  44. Rainforest – Noname                                 
  45. Working for the Knife – Mitski               
  46. Take My Breath – The Weeknd             
  47. Boomerang – Yebba                                   
  48. ooh la la – Run the Jewels feat. Santa Fe Klan & Mexican Institute of Sound                                       
  49. Candypaint – Joey Purp                            
  50. Free from Gravity – Django Django      
  51. Spanish Doors – Liz Phair                          
  52. Roaring 20s – Flo Milli                                 
  53. Rhetorical Figure – John Grant               
  54. THAT’S WHAT I WANT – Lil Nas X           
  55. The Doll – Audiobooks                               
  56. Strange – Celeste                                        
  57. WUSYANAME – Tyler, the Creator feat. YoungBoy Never Broke Again & Ty Dolla $ign                    
  58. White Dress – Lana Del Rey                     
  59. family ties – Baby Keem & Kendrick Lamar                                                                 
  60. Starlight – Yola                                              
  61. The Melting of the Sun – St. Vincent   
  62. Pick up Your Feelings – Jazmine Sullivan                                                                      
  63. I am not a woman, I’m a god – Halsey 
  64. Hertz – Amyl and the Sniffers                 
  65. Please – Jessie Ware                                  
  66. The Adults Are Talking – the Strokes   
  67. Got Me – Laura Mvula                               
  68. We’re Good – Dua Lipa                             
  69. Kiss Me More – Doja Cat feat. SZA       
  70. I Don’t Live Here Anymore – The War on Drugs feat. Lucius                                
  71. Magnificent Hurt – Elvis Costello & The Imposters                                                  
  72. 34+35 – Ariana Grande feat. Doja Cat & Megan Thee Stallion                             
  73. Just One Sec – the Antlers                       
  74. Love Is Back – Celeste                                
  75. Let Me Love You Like a Woman – Lana Del Rey                                                         
  76. Down – St. Vincent                                     
  77. Amoeba – Clairo                                           
  78. Don’t Forget Your Neighborhood – Cola Boyy feat. The Avalanches                
  79. All My Favorite Songs – Weezer            
  80. Sober & Skinny – Brittney Spencer       
  81. Unblu – Jenny Lewis/Serengeti             
  82. Living Proof – The War on Drugs            
  83. Prisoner – Miley Cyrus feat. Dua Lipa  
  84. NDA – Billie Eilish                                          
  85. In His Arms – Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall                                     
  86. Walking at a Downtown Pace – Parquet Courts                                                        
  87. Lost Cause – Billie Eilish                             
  88. Dancing with the Devil – Demi Lovato 
  89. Hope – Arlo Parks                                        
  90. Oh My God – Adele                                    
  91. My Path – Raphael Saadiq                        
  92. Unsmart Lady – Dry Cleaning                  
  93. t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l – Willow feat. Travis Barker                                                
  94. Reason to Believe – Vagabon feat. Courtney Barnett                                            
  95. Paprika – Japanese Breakfast                 
  96. Thumbs – Lucy Dacus                                 
  97. Happier Than Ever – Billie Eilish              
  98. Be Sweet – Japanese Breakfast             
  99. Hurt – Arlo Parks                                          
  100. More Life – Cordae feat. Q-Tip

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A Pharrell Williams Playlist

In 2001 HBO aired a Britney Spears concert around the time Jive Records released the singer’s album Britney. A few days before the first promo for the concert was to run on HBO, Jive’s head of publicity had the idea that Britney’s then-brand new single “I’m a Slave 4 U” should be used in the promo spots. The song was written (and produced) by the team of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo. I was running the licensing department at Jive at that time. I went to Pharrell and Chad’s publishers, EMI, to secure the necessary permissions. It was on a Wednesday. The spot was scheduled to premier the coming Saturday. The person at EMI with whom I spoke told me the song is so new that it is not yet in their system, and therefore she couldn’t license it. “Can’t you just add it to your system? You know they’re signed to your company.” “No. You won’t be able to use the song.”

Oh, really? A song cannot be licensed simply because someone at that company can’t think outside the box and figure out a way to effect the deal before the usual ingestion process is complete? That explanation doesn’t work for me. EMI will forego a license fee if the song isn’t used, which is fine, as their employee is the one not allowing it. Also, standing to forego revenue? Pharrell and Chad, who rely on EMI to make the deals for their music so they can get paid.

I called the Jive executive who paired Pharrell and Chad with Britney and told him EMI’s stance. He called Pharrell and/or Chad. Pharrell and/or Chad called EMI. On Thursday I got EMI’s approval to proceed. Don’t tell me something can’t be done.

Producer/Songwriter/NERD Pharrell Williams turns 47 today. In his honor I present to you this playlist of thirty songs Pharrell, often with Chad Hugo, had a hand in writing and/or producing and/or performing. You may be surprised at how many of these you know.

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