top of page

Top 10 songs and albums of 2021: Contributors and partner lists

The top 10 songs and album lists from Blinded by the Floodlights contributors and partners.

With our main best albums and songs of 2021 lists published earlier in the month, I thought it'd be fun to compare favourites with other Blinded by the Floodlights contributors and partners.

I asked two of our occasional writers Josh Robinson and Neil Renton, as well as Andrew Lambert and Kiley Larsen of partner websites Either/Or Reviews and Check This Out! to provide their top 10s of the year. Are there any similarities or do our yearly favourites differ greatly? Lets find out!


Neil Renton, Blinded by the Floodlights contributor

10. The Staves - Good Woman

9. Royal Blood - Typhoons

8. The Killers - Pressure Machine

7. Dave - We’re All Alone In This Together

6. Jungle - Loving In Stereo

5. Girl In Red - if I could make it go quiet

4. Django Django - Glowing In The Dark

3. Shame - Drunk Tank Pink

2. James Blake - Friends That Break Your Heart

1. Arlo Parks - Collapsed In Sunbeams

Neil told us why Collapsed In Sunbeams was his number 1 choice:

"Arlo Parks album came out at the start of the year and was never bettered. Her honesty about mental health and the optimism that things can and will get better is perfect for these uncertain times. Her stunning vocals flor through the flawless pop, funk and soul production, justifying the hype around her. One of the finest debuts in ages."

Josh Robinson, Blinded by the Floodlights contributor

10. Abba – Voyage

9. Sault - Nine

8. The War On Drugs – I Don’t Live Here Anymore

7. The Lathums – How Beautiful Life Can Be

6. Laura Mvula – Pink Noise

5. Olivia Rodrigo – SOUR

4. BLACKSTARKIDS – Puppies Forever

3. Arlo Parks – Collapsed in Sunbeams

2. Easylife – life’s a beach

1. Sam Fender – Seventeen Going Under

Josh revealed why Sam Fender's second album was his favourite:

"I’m not sure what else needs to be said about this album that hasn’t already been said by everyone else, as well as us at Blinded, but this is the clear winner of Album of the Year from where I’m sitting. Brutal honesty and teenage reflection serve as a comforting concoction for a mid-pandemic listen. It will stand the test of time, but will also be one the best time capsules for right now."

Kiley Larsen, Check This Out! founder and writer

10. Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders featuring the London Symphony Orchestra - Promises

9. Ol' Burger Beats & Vuyo - Dialogue.

8. Genesis Owusu - Smiling with no Teeth

7. Here Lies Man - Ritual Divination


5. Turnstile - GLOW ON

4. Telethon - Swim Out Past the Breakers

3. Helado Negro - Far In

2. Lake Haze - Sun Rising on Concrete Landscapes

1. Flamingosis - Daymaker

Kiley told us why Flamingosis was his favourite of the year:

Flamingosis' Daymaker is an exercise in positivity that allows us to bask in the glow of life's celebratory moments. It's a meditative breath that presents itself in the form of poolside-ready melodies and an indispensable pick-me-up. Meanwhile, Lake Haze creates moody soundscapes that bring beauty to the fatigue of existing in the modern world. Sun Rising on Concrete Landscapes is a melancholic acid house album that flirts with nostalgia but forges its own 21st-century path.

You can read more and listen to Kiley's top ten artists on his Check This Out! favourite albums of the year blog post.


Andrew Lambert, Either/Or founder and writer

10. Cassandra Jenkins - An Overview On Phenomenonal Nature

9. slowthai - TYRON

8. Weezer - OK Human

7. The Weather Station - Ignorance

6. Black Country, New Road - For the first time

5. St. Vincent - Daddy's Home

4. Tyler, The Creator - CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST

3. Lana Del Rey - Chemtrails Over The Country Club

2. Japanese Breakfast - Jubilee

1. For Those I Love - For Those I Love

Andrew expanded on why For Those I Love was his favourite record of the year.

"A songwriter so capable of capturing the human state is a powerful and lasting one, so expect Balfe to be celebrated by North Dublin, Ireland and (if there is any justice) the rest of the wider music world for years to come. If you had asked me on January 1st what the best album of the year would be, I might have had a hundred potential answers but I never would have imagined that the frontrunner was living within a five minute radius of where I'm writing to you from. This is no sentimental favourite though - if you haven't heard it yet wherever you are, you are doing yourself a disservice."

To read more, Andrew has published his top 25 albums on his Either/Or Reviews website.


Matthew McLister, Blinded by the Floodlights founder and writer

10. Afflecks Palace - What Do You Mean Its Not Raining

9. The Institutes – Colosseums

8. Maximo Park – Nature Always Wins

7. Arlo Parks – Collapsed In Sunbeams

6. The Snuts – W.L.

5. The War on Drugs – I Don’t Live Here Anymore

4. The Vaccines – Back In Love City

3. Wolf Alice – Blue Weekend

2. The Lathums – How Beautiful Life Can Be

1. Sam Fender – Seventeen Going Under

Seventeen Going Under recently took home our best album of 2021 title. Here's a flavour of why.

"Title track ‘Seventeen Going Under’ blew everyone away upon release in July, with extremely high expectations gathered for the Geordie singer's second album. Preview singles 'Spit Of You' and 'Gets You Down' raised the bar higher, whetting our appetites even further and soon we wouldn't be disappointed. In October, Seventeen Going Under finally arrived, Sam Fender surpassing the early promise shown on his debut Hypersonic Missiles. Inspired by lockdown therapy sessions, his second record is an honest account of growing up in a North East working-class town."
"Seventeen Going Under has created an everyman pop star out of Sam Fender. The anger, sadness and confusion really hit home with so many and it’s really little surprise at the acclaim it’s been met with. I really didn’t need to give my album of the year for 2021 a second thought. An instant classic."

To read the full top 30 list, visit my Blinded by the Floodlight's best albums of 2021 blog post.



Josh Robinson, Blinded by the Floodlights contributor


9. No Rome – When She Comes Around

8. Foals – Wake Me Up

7. Laura Mvula – Got Me

6. Sault – Alcohol

5. DMAs – 1 Way

4. Sam Fender – Howdon Aldi Death Queue

3. Easylife – music to walk home to


1. Sam Fender – Get You Down

Josh revealed why 'Get You Down' was his number 1 song of the year.

"Sam Fender’s second album Seventeen Going Under has been lauded both critically and by fans. He graduated from breakthrough talent to one of British music’s current stars with this record full of alternative hits that were brutally honest and galvanising. Despite the title track blowing up in the Charts recently, peaking impressively at #8 in the official UK top 40, and several other amazing songs on the album, it is “Get You Down” that is my clear favourite."
"I have to say it may be Sam’s best song to date. It has absolutely everything: heartbreaking lyricism, grand production, and a trademark sax solo. He talks about feeling like he is having a negative impact on those around him due to his own poor mental health and decision-making. It is a punch to the stomach and a stroke of the head at the same time. Be careful that when you do press play, it’ll invoke some emotions in you that you thought weren’t even there. For me, it is the outstanding piece of songwriting from 2021."


Andrew Lambert, Either/Or founder and writer

10. Japanese Breakfast - Paprika

9. Black Country, New Road - Sunglasses

8. St. Vincent - Down

7. Wolf Alice - Last Man On Earth

6. Cassandra Jenkins - Hard Drive

5. Lana Del Rey - White Dress

4. For Those I love - Birthday/The Pain

3. Phoebe Bridgers - That Funny Feeling

2. Olivia Rodrigo - drivers licence

1. Lucy Dacus - Thumbs

Andrew expanded on why Lucy Dacus's 'Thumbs' was his best of 2021.

"Just when it seems as though Lucy Dacus can't go on any longer and 'Thumbs' threatens to collapse in on itself (as Dacus' admits it did multiple times onstage) our songwriter delivers the most beautiful monologue to her partner with a lyrical passage that is equal parts comforting, life-affirming and intoxicatingly romantic. Thumbs' must be heard to be felt and absorbed completely, although I imagine that anyone privileged enough to have heard this masterpiece in person with Dacus will tell me I haven't truly experienced it yet."

Neil Renton, Blinded by the Floodlights contributor

10. H.E.R - Fight For You

9. Fredo (featuring Dave) - Money Talks

8. Foals - Wake Me Up

7. Sam Fender - Seventeen Going Under

6. Brogeal - Little Ditty

5. Olivia Rodrigo - Drivers License

4. AmyElle - Animal Kingdom

3. Lorde - Solar Power

2. Foo Fighters - Waiting On A War

1. Wolf Alice - The Last Man On Earth

Neil explained why Wolf Alice was his top pick.

"The comeback song from Wolf Alice is pretty much perfect for all occasions. It sounds great falling in love to, it could be over the end credits of a film as the hero saves the day or would inspire a mass hugathon at the main stage of any festival. Triggers a lump in the throat and goosebumps on arms in equal measures."


Kiley Larsen, Check This Out! founder and writer

10. Pearl Charles - Sweet Sunshine Wine

9. Nightlands - Hymn To Me


7. Colleen Green - I Wanna Be a Dog

6. Real Estate - D+

5. Ricky Razu - The Power of Love

4. Rostam - 4Runner

3. Barry Can't Swim - Lone Raver

2. Farmer Dave & The Wizards of the West - Cave Walls

1. Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen - Like I Used To

You can read more about Kiley's favourite music on his Check This Out! website.


Matthew McLister, Blinded by the Floodlights founder and writer

10. The Rah's - The Time Is Now

9. Inhaler - Totally

8. beabadoobee - Last Day On Earth

7. IDLES - Progress

6. The Snuts - Glasgow

5. Wolf Alice - How Do I Make It OK?

4. Wet Leg - Chaise Longue

3. Self Esteem - I Do This All The Time

2. Sam Fender - Seventeen Going Under

1. The War On Drugs - I Don't Live Here Anymore

Here's why The War On Drugs 'I Don't Live Here Anymore' was our favourite of the year.

"Back in October, The War On Drugs continued their heartland rock brilliance with their fifth album I Don't Live Here Anymore, an album that finished fifth in my best albums of 2021. The highlight of the Philadelphia band's latest was easily the title track. Sitting six tracks in, it felt like the album’s centre point in more ways than one. That heartfelt, 80s groove will touch your soul and have you reaching for that repeat button so you can savour that feeling of desire and regret all over again. An instant and nostalgic number that blew us away on first listen...and continues to do!"

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page