By Hayley Withrow ‘23
2021 has already been a huge year for music, with hits from all different types of artists hitting the top charts. Thanks to TikTok and other forms of social media, these songs have had no trouble circulating the globe and getting stuck in heads everywhere. While some songs have remained at the top of the Billboard 100 for weeks, (“Good 4 U” by Olivia Rodrigo, for example) some new songs have skyrocketed to the top. Here are my personal reviews for the top 10 on Billboard as of August 17th, 2021.
Number 10, “Deja Vu” by Olivia Rodrigo. Run time 3:35. Released April 1, 2021. RATING: 8/10
As someone who has TikTok, I have heard this song arguably too many times. However, Olivia’s vocals on this song are absolutely incredible. I love the way she transitions between soft to louder and more intense. I think the background music is very interesting and new. I think that it needed more during the chorus, that the music needed to be louder and perhaps more intense. I think this is a great song and definitely one of Olivia’s best. Definitely better than her merch.
The album cover for Rodrigo's album, "Sour"
Number 9, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” by Lil Nas X. Run time, 2:27. Released March 26, 2021. RATING: 9/10
This is definitely a change from the first Lil Nas X song that went viral, and I for one am perfectly fine with that. I think that the vocals and the music create a wonderful song and the not-so-hidden meaning, while offensive to some, is very powerful and impactful. It is amazing how he depicted his past religious experiences as being a gay man into an upbeat and short song. This was a wonderful way for Nas to express himself more, and I love it and look forward to what else is to come from him.
The cover for Nas' song "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)"
Number 8, “Industry Baby” by Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow. Run time, 3:31. Released July 22, 2021. RATING: 10/10
I truly cannot describe how much I love this song. I hear it literally everywhere; from cars driving by, the radio, and once even the grocery store. The collaboration between Nas and Harlow was something I didn’t know I needed. The background music with the trumpets and drums creates a powerful feeling. The lyrics and tones match it perfectly, making all around just a fantastic song.
Harlow and Nas pose in the "Industry Baby" music video
Number 7, “Butter” by BTS. Run time, 2:45. Release date, May 21, 2021. RATING: 8/10
I think that this song is definitely one of the songs of the summer. It is upbeat, catchy, and certainly all over the place currently. I think the beat and the vocals pair together perfectly, and it’s just a good song! It gives the listener a very happy and warm feeling after just a few seconds into the song.
BTS poses in the "Butter" music video
Number 6, “Take My Breath” by The Weeknd. Run time, 3:36. Release date, August 6, 2021. RATING: 10/10
This is, in my humble opinion, one of The Weeknd’s best songs ever. With the 70’s inspired cover and beats, plus the lyrics and vocals, this song is stuck in my head 24/7 (and it’s a good thing). You can already tell how different this album will be compared to After Hours. I cannot wait.
The cover for Weeknd's song "Take My Breath"
Number 5, “Levitating”, by Dua Lipa featuring DaBaby. Run time, 3:23. Release date, October 1, 2020. RATING: 9/10
This was for sure one of the songs of the summer. It is so upbeat and it has been stuck in my head for months now. I think that Dua Lipa is definitely one of the most impressive artists currently; there is really not a single song that she releases that is not incredible. Also, I adore the way she performs this song on stage and how happy she always seems.
The poster for Dua Lipa's song "Levitating" featuring DaBaby
Number 4, “Kiss Me More”, by Doja Cat featuring SZA. Run time, 3:28. Release date, April 9, 2021. RATING: 10/10
Now this was the song of the summer in my opinion. SZA and Doja Cat together are absolutely perfect and the vocals they both brought were heavenly. This song has been everywhere since it came out, especially on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. I, for one, am not too upset about it. Not only was this song amazing, but Planet Her was definitely Doja’s best album.
Doja Cat and SZA pose together for the song "Kiss Me More"
Number 3, “Bad Habits”, by Ed Sheeran. Run time, 3:51. Release date, June 25, 2021. RATING: 8/10
If you are used to the normal, slower, semi-romantic Ed Sheeran this will surprise you. It is incredibly upbeat, with changes and beat drops all over the place. Sheeran takes on almost a boy band tone in this song. I think the chorus needs more variation in the lyrics, but overall I liked it much more than I thought I would.
The cover for Ed Sheeran's new song, "Bad Habits"
Number 2, “Good 4 U”, by Olivia Rodrigo. Run time, 2:58. Release date, May 14, 2021. RATING: 9.5/10
While I am a bit burned out on this song (thanks, TikTok), I think that it is definitely receiving the credit it deserves. You can feel the anger she had while singing this song. The guitar, the lyrics, the way she sings it, it all combines to create a wonderful song to rage to. I also love the almost 80’s vibe it takes on with the background voices.
The album cover for Olivia Rodrigo's "Sour"
Number 1, “STAY”, by the Kid LAROI featuring Justin Bieber. Run time, 2:21. Release date, July 9, 2021. RATING: 5/10
Personally, I think there really isn’t anything special about this song. It follows a very repetitive pattern with not much differentiation in verses. It needed a stronger and more original beat and different lyrics in some places. However, it is catchy, so that does earn it some points. I think it is very overplayed and quite frankly overrated, but obviously my opinion is not as popular as others.
The cover for LAROI's and Bieber's new song "STAY"
It is worth mentioning how long some of these artists have had songs on the top of the Billboard 100. Olivia Rodrigo has had at least one of her songs on the top 100 through the entirety of the year, and Lil Nas X currently has two songs on the charts. Thanks to the catchy beats and the insane vocals, these songs have definitely earned their spot on the top charts.