2021 in Music

Taking a quick musical peek back at last year.

2021 brought with it a lot of unwelcome changes, but as the saying goes; everything changes, yet everything stays the same. Like every year, I listened to a lot of music, and here’s a quick summary of what filled my ears according to Last.fm.

In 2021, I listened to 16,217 tracks1, up from 14,403 in 2020 - a 13% increase. The total listening time was 43 days and 13 hours, up from 39 days and 22 hours in 2020. Last year was not my busiest year, but we need to go all the way back to 2014 to find a year I listened to more tracks.

Tracks per month, 2021

It’s probably not entirely correct that I listened to 13% more tracks in 2021 compared to 2020. Some time during last year, I installed Web Scrobbler, which started registering everything I listened to in Firefox, for instance internet radio and stuff on YouTube. So in 2021, more of what I listened to was tracked compared to previous years.

It’s also not correct to say that I alone listened to everything. During the year, I’ve tried to introduce my daughters to different music, and they’ve completely embraced Nothing But Thieves2. It’s also one of my favorite bands, which resulted in the British quintet being the band we listened to the most in 2021. With a whooping 1,083 plays, they got over 3.5 times more airtime than the first runner up, singer-songwriter Frank Turner.

Even though we listened to a hell of a lot more Nothing But Thieves than Frank Turner, Mr. Turner managed to snag the prestigious Most Popular Track of 2021 award. His song Redemption was played 88 times, most of which was during June and July when I listened to it pretty much on repeat.

Top 5 Artists

Here’s are my Top 5 Artists for 2021:

  1. Nothing But Thieves
  2. Frank Turner
  3. Biffy Clyro
  4. hello meteor
  5. Halsey

Frank Turner is new on the list, Biffy Clyro has been on there every year since 2008 or something like that, and Halsey took the 5th spot as she also did in 2020. The other new entry on the list is hello meteor, an electronica artist with a talent spawning lots of sub genres. He (or maybe it’s a she or a non-binary or whatever floats their boat) was mentioned as a notable discovery in my 2020 music summary, and it’s obvious they made a lasting impression.

And while we’re on the subject of musical discoveries, let’s have a look at some of the artists that I discovered back in 2021.

Notable 2021 Discoveries

Some of the text below is shamelessly copied from Wikipedia and Last.fm.

Kurt Vile

Kurt Vile isn’t really a new discovery, but I figured he deserved a mention. He is known for his solo work and as the former lead guitarist of rock band The War on Drugs, which was where I first discovered him. Both in the studio and during live performances, Vile is accompanied by his backing band, The Violators.

Influenced by Pavement, John Prine, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Dinosaur Jr. and John Fahey, Vile began his musical career creating lo-fi home recordings with frequent collaborator Adam Granduciel in Philadelphia, with whom he has participated in early work by The War on Drugs as well as various solo projects. Focusing on his solo career, Vile released two albums, Constant Hitmaker (2008) and God Is Saying This to You… (2009), compiling various home recordings dating back to 2003. Vile signed to Matador Records in 2009, and released his third album, Childish Prodigy, that same year. The album was his first recorded in a studio and with the full participation of The Violators.

Tom Grennan

Thomas Grennan is an English singer-songwriter from Bedford, who is based in London.

His musical beginnings are obscure, but he says he was at a house party where he sang “Seaside” by the Kooks. He did not remember it, but his friends were impressed and pushed him into performing more. He studied acting at St. Mary’s University in Twickenham. Aged 18, he started doing gigs around London with his acoustic guitar, mainly in small pub appearances for almost three years. After a performance at the Finsbury pub, a representative of Insanity Records heard him play and offered a contract. His debut EP, Something in the Water was produced by Charlie Hugall.

He had his big break when he was featured in the Chase & Status 2016 single “All Goes Wrong” that was picked as “Hottest Record” on Annie Mac’s Radio 1 show. After that, he was invited for an appearance on the station’s Live Lounge, and a follow up appearance on BBC Two’s television programme Later… with Jools Holland. The song appeared on the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number 65. It also made some European charts.


Made up of two brothers from Bergen, Norway, KREAM is a project focused on energetic dance music with an emphasis on classical songwriting. Daniel and Markus Slettebakken began producing at a young age, each developing into their own role in the process. The duo has already seen several remixes reach streams in the multi-millions, racking up 40+ million plays on SoundCloud alone. The pair quickly found a home at Big Beat/Atlantic this year, where they’ve been releasing numerous originals including “Love You More,” and recent hit “Taped Up Heart.”

And that’s it for now, folks.

Go give someone you love a hug.

  1. On average more than 85% of all Last.fm users. ↩︎

  2. They’ve listened to the collaborative fan recording of Sorry about a million times, and I can’t blame them - it’s one helluva track. ↩︎


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