Lil Nas X, Kacey Musgraves, Lil Huddy, Elle Baez

Best of 2021: EUPHORIA.’s Favorite Songs

It’s been a great year for music, and the EUPHORIA. staff has been listening to everything all year long. With live music slowly coming back into rotation, artists are bringing out more and more new releases to prepare, which has been such a treat for music fans everywhere! Ahead, check out some of our favorite songs that have been released this year. These are the songs that powered our days, relaxed our nights, and fueled our best memories.

“Montero” by Lil Nas X

An absolute bop! Unapologetically queer and filled with brilliant allusions to Biblical lore as well as very relatable lines for anyone queer or otherwise who finds themselves attracted to another individual. — Amanda Lang

“Happier Than Ever” by Billie Eilish

Perhaps Billie Eilish’s best track ever, even though I remain a huge fan of her first EP. “Happier Than Ever” shows immense musicality and growth, lyrically and emotionally. The way the song transitions into a full on heavy rock song is so powerful, and makes this an absolute perfect banger. Moreover, the message is so important — leave toxic people behind, and don’t let them take good memories from you. Significant others should only ever be a happy bonus to you being happy by yourself. – Saskia Postema

“Silk Chiffon” by MUNA (ft. Phoebe Bridgers)

MUNA joining Phoebe Bridgers’s Saddest Factory Records has already been such a treat for fans. This song that brought all of them together is sexy, dreamy, and so delicious that it’s been in steady rotation ever since it was released. Literally every bit of this song and video is perfection. — Hedy Phillips

“Good Wife” by Kacey Musgraves

This song, which walks listeners through Kacey Musgraves’s personal views of what she believed what it meant to be a good wife for her husband, is a perfect example of her ability to craft a compelling narrative through her lyrics. There are layers of emotion packed into each lyric that vividly paint her personal struggle to be the “good wife” when she knows her marriage is falling apart. The song production is also experimental without straying too far from her roots. — Athena Sobhan

“To Begin Again” by Ingrid Michaelson and Zayn

This song was released at the perfect time with the world slowly opening back up. It’s a raw, stunning ballad that encapsulated what we were all feeling. The music video was a love letter to the city I adore most: New York City. — Danielle Taylor

“Are You With That?” by Vince Staples

Between Vince Staples’s storytelling in this entire album and the production by Kenny Beats, it’s hard to not have this song/album in my top five. Staples could voice a children’s audiobook, and I’d be tuned in. — Noella Williams


TXT absolutely killing it in their pop-punk/rock era was one of the best things to come out of this year. An angsty anthem about heartbreak and the emotions that come with it, this song is the perfect example of what makes TXT so special. — Alana Myers

“Street Lightning” by The Summer Set

“Street Lightning” is a track that feels like summer despite being released at the end of the season. Upbeat and positive and hopeful, its soaring, heart-pounding adrenaline brought me back to the moment I first heard The Summer Set’s soothing tones, many years ago. “Street Lightning” is calming and open to some interpretation, but for me it just makes me feel free. — Luke Wells

“Questions” by Nebu Kiniza (ft. Future)

The song is an easy listen, blending together hip-hop and pop. Nebu Kiniza and Future showcase their unique styles, combining rhythmic bars and melodic vocals. — Hayley Tharp

“Loco” by ITZY

What a classic! I think this song is so fresh and fun, and matches ITZY’s style to a T. This track definitely makes my mood 10 times better after listening to it. — Sophia Myers

“Family Ties” by Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar

Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar’s collaboration on this triumphant track made some of the biggest waves in music this year. From the exhilarating production to the sharp lyrics, “Family Ties” is arguably the best song of 2021. Although Keem shares the track with Lamar, one of rap’s most deft and accomplished heavyweights, the 21-year-old holds his own, shining as bright as the stars that he’s reaching for on his tippy toes. And when Lamar joins in, he delivers knockout bars with a magnitude of bravado that only he could back up with his prowess. These two cousins have proven that virtuosity runs deep in their family. — Brea Cubit

“Cold Heart (PNAU Remix)” by Elton John and Dua Lipa

“Cold Heart (PNAU Remix)” is a perfect example of piecing together music and lyrics from an icon’s (Elton John) vast body of work, and pairing it with the voice of a new generation (Dua Lipa) to create magic and deliver something unexpected and fresh. “Cold Heart” not only samples John’s widely known “Rocket Man,” which has a spot on Rolling Stone‘s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time,” it also pulls from adult contemporary track “Sacrifice” (1989), along with snippets of lyrics and melody from deep cuts “Kiss the Bride” (1983) and “Where’s the Shoorah?” (1976). The remix, by Australian trio Pnau, wipes away traces of the Elton John your parents listened to, and with a heavy assist from Dua Lipa, elevates it into a dance pop jam, bursting with energy. I haven’t been this excited since Lipa sampled White Town’s “Your Woman” (1997) on her song “Love Again.” — Leslie Richin

“All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version)” by Taylor Swift

“All Too Well” is a song already regarded as one of the best songs in Taylor Swift’s expansive discography. The 10-minute version not only expands on the heartbreak and suffering she went through during that relationship, it cements Swift as the defining songwriter of a generation. — Athena Sobhan

“Girl Go” by Chrissy Metz

A solid country bop that encourages one to go after their dreams. — Danielle Taylor

“Don’t Freak Out” by LILHUDDY (ft. iann dior, Travis Barker, and Tyson Ritter)

It’s been really fun seeing a resurgence of pop-punk recently, and LILHUDDY has absolutely been a part of that. In “Don’t Freak Out,” he collaborated with a couple of the kings of pop punk, and the result is a song that feels like it could have slotted in seamlessly with early-2000s pop punk, which is one of my favorite slices of music of yesteryear. — Hedy Phillips

“Better With You” by Elle Baez

Elle Baez channels a disco vibe highlighting her sultry vocals on “Better With You.” Equipped with vibrant floral prints and go-go boots, Baez serves vintage looks with a modern sound. — Hayley Tharp

“Jayu (자유)” by SE SO NEON

This song was the band’s first release since their 2020 EP Nonadaptation, and whew, what a moment it was when they finally released this song. It’s so touching, and every time I listen to it, I feel like all my worries melt away. — Alana Myers

“Move Like This” by Ric Wilson and Terrace Martin

It doesn’t get much groovier than this song, but the disco revival that’s been occurring in music lately truly wouldn’t be the same without Ric Wilson. — Noella Williams