Favorite Songs of the Year 2021

And last but not least the favorite international songs of the year. Just quickly doing these songs lists, because I badly need some kind of Christmas break from the blog stuff. So just like the Finnish one, this is mostly a mega long playlist of favorite songs from the year. I’m sure there’s something important missing, because such a long playlist becomes an uncontrollable monster at some point and I have no idea anymore what I already added. So something might be missing solely because I already thought it was there. Most of my favorite songs of the year already have been mentioned on the album list, so I just thought I highlight a few non-album tracks that I loved wholeheartedly and then select a top three.

Kelly Sloan – I Wanna Wake Up / Tangled / Worse Way To Go

Absolutely loved this beautiful run of timeless singles from Canadian songwriter Kelly Sloan. Sorta goes into Carole King, Carly Simon territory and does it ever so beautifully.

Keven Louis Lareau – Not All Songs Have Been Sung

This beauty from Keven Louis Lareau also takes me into the 70s, but more in the west coast folk rock type of surroundings. Thanks to New Commute for the introduction back when this came out.

Anna Tivel – Two Dark Horses (Fluff & Gravy Records)

Anna Tivel is one of my absolute favorite songwriters in the world and I still feel bad for leaving out her wonderful album from the album list. I love all the songs on that record and new piano-driven versions were oh so beautiful but I’ve also heard them before in some shape or form and therefore gave that spot to albums with completely new material. I can make a little bit of amends by adding the only brand new song to this song list.

Katy Kirby – Portals (Keeled Scales)

Another one that could have and maybe should have been on the album list. This Katy Kirby album was one of the last few cuts, but I can also make amends here by putting the song I love the most on this song list. Portals is such a special song.

Jeffrey Martin – I Know What I Know (Fluff & Gravy Records)

A new Jeffrey Martin song is always something to love and cherish and this quietly powerful new song is not an exception to that simple rule.

CARLENE – Time Passes / Looking Out My Window

These two beautiful folk singles from Canadian songwriter Carlene were among the music I loved the most during this strange year. There’s a full album on the way in 2022 and I can’t wait to hear it. Carly’s dog Ruby also delivers my favorite music video performance of the year in that video below. Pure gold.

3. Isaac Vallentin – Diane in the Morning Light / The Ballad of Nunangat

These two masterful folk songs from Canadian songwriter Isaac Vallentin can share the third place here. Beautiful, moving and captivating storytelling.

2. Will Stratton – Infertile Air (Bella Union)

Next Will Stratton’s softly monumental song about state violence, family separation and the people who are interpreting inhuman laws on the field. First you get hooked into a sweet melody and soon you’ll find yourself in a gut-wrenching story. Such a beautiful song about such a heavy subject. A song you won’t easily forget from one of the finest albums of the year.

1. Melissa Carper – I Almost Forgot About You (Mae Music)

And my favorite song of the year is I Almost Forgot About You by Melissa Carper. This comes as no surprise for anyone who is following my social feeds, because I’ve probably mentioned it a few times already that it’s going to be this one. Such a sweet softly swinging old time country beauty and I just fell in love with the first time I heard it and the feeling is the same after listening to it countless amount of times. Simply the song I loved the most during the year and therefore fully worth the song of the year title on this little blog. Below you’ll find the bandcamp link and the Western AF video. Please do visit the the Western AF youtube channel, because it’s probably the best place there is on this internet thing-y.

Tidal Playlist

Apple Music Playlist

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Favorite Finnish Songs of the Year 2021

And finally song of the year lists. First the Finnish ones. I’ll do these rather quickly, because I need a some kind of Christmas break from the blog stuff. These are mostly just a never-ending playlist, but I typed down some big favorites and chose the top 3. I’m sure there’s a ton missing from the playlist, because I didn’t do a great job keeping the ongoing list up to date throughout the year and this list was built using that. That ongoing list will slowly transfer to 2022, so this one will stay for the “history books”.

The playlist is slightly top heavy, but somewhat random after the first 3 and completely random after the first 30 or so. Oh yeah and Haamusoittajat would be easily among the top picks, but it was December 2020 release and ruled the lists already a year ago. However, it didn’t become streamable before January 2021 so I wanted to include it on the playlist.

Here’s 12 big favorites in random order. In some case there are two songs mentioned, because I couldn’t decide between the two. My silly lists, my silly rules.

Arppa – Täällä taas (Johanna Kustannus)
Joakim Daal – Shelter (All That Plazz)
Astrid Swan – Luxuries (Soliti)
Eden Prairie – Birch Street / Josie
Rock Siltanen Group – Pizzaa ja kaljaa / Santanan Kolmonen (Rockia ja sporttia)
Laura Moisio – Kirje (Texicalli)
Kielo Kärkkäinen – Ajattele tulevaa (Texicalli)
Mustat Kalsarit – Puhu Musta (Hiljaiset levyt)
Hulda Huima – Luomet kuin tähdet / Kotimatka (Helmi Levyt)
Joose Keskitalo – Doors (Helmi Levyt)
Amuri – Hattupäinen mies (Helmi Levyt)
Tvärtom – Kadun humina (267 lattajjaa / Jumatsuga)

3. Teini-Pää – Näin sen unessa / Kissat ja koirat / Tähdet, Tähdet (Stupido / Soit Se Silti)

We’ll start the top three with an early peek to my Favorite Finnish albums of the year 2022 list. Everybody knows that Teini-Pää and Tvärtom are the best bands. The latter one took home the album of the year award while Teini-Pää released several fabulous singles. Well maybe Downtown was only good, but Näin sen unessa / Kissat ja koirat and Tähdet, Tähdet are absolutely marvellous.

2. Pekko Käppi & K:H:H:L feat Laura Moisio – Kirsikankukkia (Svart Records)

And on the second place there’s this timeless folk beauty from Pekko Käppi & K:H:H:L. Another big favorite singer-songwriter Laura Moisio adds some vocal magic too. I kept changing the order of the first all the time, so this is basicly just as dear to me as the song of the year.

1. Ty Roxy- True Colours (Fonal Records)

My favorite Finnish song of the year is True Colours by Ty Roxy. What a perfect lofi version of the disco high life. The album 音楽 (music) has several equally great moments, but this started it all for me and therefore remains the dearest song on it. Love love love.

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Apple Music Playlist

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100 Favorite Albums of the Year 2021 – Part Seven

Part Six
Part Five
Part Four
Part Three
Part Two
Part One

And here goes the final ten and the somewhat ranked part. Not that serious though, because I’ve probably changed it several times during the process. At the bottom of this post you’ll find Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music playlists, if you are into such things.

10. Evan Cheadle – Fault Line Serenade (Victory Pool)

Just like the previous chapter, we’ll start this one in Victoria, British Columbia. This time it’s long time favorite Evan Cheadle and his timeless new album Fault Line Serenade. So enchanting, warm and beautiful. Pure magic from first note to last.

9. Flora Hibberd – Hold

A rare visit to Paris, France although folk songwriter Flora Hibberd is originally from the UK. She made my EP of the year in 2020 and now followed it up with a first full-length album. Or well maybe it’s a mini-album with just seven songs and 23 minutes, but all that matters is that those minutes contain some of my favorite music of the year. The lead single Night, Perpetual is fabulous although my own favorite is probably the less catchy Archipelago II.

8. Andrew Bryant – A Meaningful Connection (Sentimental Noises)

Next stop Mississippi and the new Andrew Bryant album A Meaningful Connection. I’ve loved all his solo albums and this new one isn’t an exception to the rule. His songs always resonate with me and somehow I feel a weird connection to this man I only know through his songs. And Reality Winner. Oh my. Now there’s a song.

7. Summer Dean – Bad Romantic

More real country music, this time from Fort Worth, Texas by Summer Dean. This hit an instant home run when the first single came out. That beautiful duet with Colter Wall easily won my heart over and I started counting days to the release of the album. It was the worth the wait, because that single is far from the only gem and songs like Bad Romantic and Dear Caroline were equally awesome. Love the cover art too, because it instantly tells me what to expect.

6. Isaac Vallentin – “​.​.​.​”

A bit more obscure choice here from Pictou, Nova Scotia by folk songwriter Isaac Vallentin. I’ve been following Isaac for a few years, but before this I hadn’t fully understand how good of a songwriter he really is. My big favorites here are Diane in the Morning Light and The Ballad of Nunangat. Both are masterclass of songwriting. Even though I’ve heard these songs more times than I count, they still completely hold me under their spell for the whole long duration each time I push play. Amazing songs and an amazing album.

5. Margo Cilker – Pohorylle (Fluff & Gravy Records / Loose Music)

It’s a kinda hard to crack the top 10 with a late release date, because most albums become dear throughout the long year. Margo Cilker from Enterprise, Oregon shows that it’s possible though, because her debut album Pohorylle came out just a month ago. Of course the fact that I had loved all advance singles at that point might have something to do with how easily this album won my heart over. Such a great country / americana album full of captivating storytelling.

4. Hurry – Fake Ideas (Lame-O Records)

Next we go to Philadelphia for what might be seem like an odd pick, if you look at the list in general. However, my background and the foundation of my music taste is 90s power pop and this Hurry album just recalls all that greatness and add their own twist to it. I love ambitious folk songs about heavy subjects, but I also love when someone sings something like “Oh Whitney / come with me” in perfect harmony. And that title track A Fake Idea. What a perfect TFC-like pop song. I can listen to it on repeat for an hour. Such an entertaining pop album.

3. Joe Bourdet – Meadow Rock (Mountain Sounds Recorders)

Our year end saga continues in Los Angeles, California with Joe Bourdet and Meadow Rock. I loved his double single Seamist / El Capitan few years back and therefore I was thrilled when I saw blogger friend Lara (from the wonderful Petal Motel) tweeting that there’s a Joe Bourdet album on the way. The album that contains new mixes of Seamist and El Capitan along with seven other beauties didn’t disappoint and turned out to be a fantastic 70s folk rock -influenced album.

2. Melissa Carper – Daddy’s Country Gold (Mae Music)

And then we have an album that fully lives up to its name. This is old school country gold with western swing and bluegrass. Melissa Carper from Texas delivers such a fabulous country album. That opening trio for example. I could easily name any of them my favorite of the song of the year and I would be fairly happy with my choice. I Almost Forgot About You is probably still the one that I love the most.

1. Matthew Milia – Keego Harbor (Sitcom Universe)

Our last stop in this year-end story is Detroit, Michigan or perhaps it’s more precisely Keego Harbor, a suburb of Detroit. This of course means that the album of the year is Keego Harbor by Matthew Milia. It maybe starts to become even too obvious that whenever Matthew Milia or Frontier Ruckus releases an album it becomes an album of the year. Eternity of Dimming was my AOTY in 2013, Sitcom Afterlife in 2014, Alone at St. Hugo in 2019 and now Keego Harbor in 2021. Lately only the 2017 Frontier Ruckus album Enter the Kingdom didn’t hit #1 and even that was still in the top 10. But what can I do. I just love Matthew Milia’s literate songwriting and both the folk rock of Frontier Ruckus and the more pop-orientated approach of the solo records appeal to me. This new album contains beautifully sung and arranged melodic folk songs about the everyday life in the suburbs and it’s by far the album I’ve loved the most during this strange year.

Apple Music Playlist

Tidal Playlist (Rose City Band and Mitch Dillon weren’t on Tidal)

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