Our Favorite Songs of 2021
Kultur Ekstensif Editors’ Picks
2021 was definitely a tougher year than the last one. We’ve shut down, opened up, shared conversations in public spaces then got back to sitting alone in our rooms. There were songs that kept us accompanied throughout the year: some of them gave us warm hugs when we needed them most, some of them brightened up our bleak mornings. So here are the soundtracks that perfectly capture what the year meant to us. Check our picks below:
Aku suka “Somethinggreater” dari segi lirik dan musik yang menurutku saling mendukung dan menjadikan lagu ini salah satu lagu terbaikku di 2021. Enak buat didengerin dalam perjalanan jauh juga. Gak tau kenapa Parcels salah satu grup band yang cocok banget dengan situasi hidup sekarang.
Hiatus Kaiyote: “Get Sun”
I’m not really catching the wave, but I think this one hits me quite hard. If anything go south, this song pulls me up with a funk-jazzy mood. The lyrics is kinda pathetic, but who cares, lagunya oke sih.
Shiro Sagisu: “VOYAGER”
In the first 10 months of 2021, I was in desperate need of affirmation because of the critics and low emotional support from my creative environment. The lonesome vibe gets worse by the time I watch ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’ and ‘The End of Evangelion’ in July, each episode making me realize there’s no one supporting me mentally which makes me have low confidence in creating art and design. 3 months after, I started watching ‘Rebuild of Evangelion’ a tetralogy adaptation from the previous series where I discovered ‘Voyager’ by Shiro Sagisu.
When I first listened to the song it gives me a peaceful feeling although I don’t know the meaning yet. I went to youtube and type “Voyager romanji lyrics” on the search box and learned that the song is about someone who misses their significant other. This person wanted to tell them that they’re loved, they’re wanted in this world, that he/she appreciates and is proud of everything they do and will wait for them to come back (to whatever they’re working on).
‘Voyager’ gives me (who have been portraying myself as Shinji Ikari) a glimpse of hope that someone somewhere is appreciating me and will always greet me by the time I come back from a stressful voyage (art block). The song gives me a spirit to come back from the trying times I have back then, to create more without worrying about all the bad things that would happen to me because I got this special person who will always be proud of me.
The Panturas: “All I Want”
Lagu yang nemenin aku berpikir kalo di embong karena aku orangnya selalu mikir kalau di embong.
Adele: “I Drink Wine”
Drinking this song instead of drinking the wine.
Little Simz: “Introvert”
To answer the question: what is the best song of 2021? Well, I was torn between many great choices as I had at least 50 contenders on my list. To name a few: Black Country, New Road’s “Sunglasses” had helped me rediscover myself this year, Squid’s “Narrator” made me want to go back to playing music (which I eventually did), Lucy Dacus’ “Hot & Heavy” had given me some arms to hug and shoulders to lean on, while LOW’s “Days Like These” and Injury Reserve’s “Outside” made me rethink the possibilities of music.
But for this list, I ended up choosing a song for a pretty straightforward reason: “Introvert” by Little Simz was the song in 2021 that got me choked up upon listening to it. I’ve been listening to every teaser for Simz’s fourth album and memorized the words to those songs since as far back as April. I was then having a rough month in August, but for some reason, things started to pick up again in the last 2 days of that month (thank God.) The date was August 31st, pretty late at night, I was tuned in to Simz’s NPR Tiny Desk Performance on Youtube. As every word was unfolding through Simz’s mic, I found myself — that very moment — weeping and feeling deeply moved and elevated by Simbi's song, words, and performance that it actually got me choked and stunned first before shedding the water. Though I’m easily moved by songs and do cry to songs pretty often, I had never really got choked up. That night was different, it was one of the most emotional moments of my 2021.
The track itself embodies many great things I love about music, the beats are just crazy — Inflo is definitely one of the best producers working today. From the epic orchestrated instrumentals, the marching drum lines, the dramatic horns, the boom-bap beat + minor-key guitar arpeggios — which kinda reminds me of Portishead, Radiohead and Jay-Z at the same time, the soothing Cleo Sol feature, the princess Diana actress’ spoken monologue, the Amy Winehouse reference, and obviously, to Simbi’s masterclass rapping, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to call this theatrical masterpiece a classic already!
Not to mention the lyrics to this thing where Simz’s (probably) at her most ambitious. Reflecting on her introversion, finding the power from within to grow amidst all the chaos in the world. And it’s crazy how she is able to pull off such a wide range of subjects within the span of 6 minutes from human psychology, to abortion, gang violence, racism, stardom, friendship, diseases and death, artistry, oppression, divorce, poverty, political corruption, gentrification, activism, and unity (written in that order), collating them all into one cohesive, well-flowing composition.
Sonically powerful and lyrically empowering, this has to be my song of the year.
Mitski: “Working for the Knife”
In this song, I hear some fuckers running into my sleep. Still, I’ll knock you down.
Tyler, the Creator: “WUSYANAME” ft. NBA YoungBoy and Ty Dolla $ign
2021 feels like the night you realized that you’ve done one too many attempts to mask a heartbreak with fake confidence, and decided to stand up differently this time — like an RnB cut in the middle of a rap album.
Taylor Swift: “Nothing New” ft. Phoebe Bridgers (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)
Suka bangett hasil dari duet Taylor Swift feat Phoebe Bridgers inii! Liriknya yang “How can a person know everything at 18 but nothing at 22?” tuh lagi cocok ajaa sama kondisi sekarang hahah
White Shoes & The Couples Company: “Folklor”
Secara musikalitas dan liriknya kaya banget jadi enak masuk ke telinga, sering jadi “companion” pas lagi bengong nikmatin waktu kosong.
The Melting Minds: “II / VII”
Ini lagu rasanya relate aja sama kehidupan kita sekarang hehehe, terutama aku
Diskoria, Laleilmanino, Eva Celia: “C.H.R.I.S.Y.E.”
Gatau kenapa ini lagu enak banget didengerin, apalagi pagi-pagi. Mood jadi bagus banget deh kalo abis dengerin lagu ini 😄