eoy_2021: The List of Lists

Looks like we’re gonna keep making lists until they tell us to stop. Here’s a sprawling set from the inaugural squad of No Bells writers and friends of the blog. Got kinda bored of seeing the same albums and songs on these, so I told the crew they could make lists about pretty much anything they wanted. This is how it turned out. – Mano Sundaresan

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Srikar Poruri’s 3 Favorite Movies of the Year

Titane (Julia Ducournau)

  • Truly original in its scope, tenderly probing gender identity and love with a neon-drenched needle and stick shift. 

Red Rocket (Sean Baker)

Shang-Chi [in 4dx + belligerently high] (Destin Daniel Cretton)

  • The best amusement park ride I’ve ever been on. Fuck you Scorsese. 

Srikar’s least favorite movie of the year: Inside (Bo Burnham) 

Allison Harris’ Hottest Music/Fashion Moments of the Year

“Microdosing” by UNIIQU3 for the Fendi / Balanciaga Swap

One of the most addictive (pun intended) songs of the year is “Microdosing” by Jersey Club producer UNIIQU3, which is why I was delighted to see it used in the collection film for the Versace Fendi swap collection. “Microdosing” combines a pulsing club beat with bodacious lyrics, and it’s perfect for the runway, so it just feels correct to see the legendary Naomi Campbell strut down the catwalk to it, long tresses swinging behind her. 

Virgil Abloh’s final LV show

Shygirl beat Kendall Jenner at her own game for Burberry 

You might remember this photo of Kendall Jenner from a Burberry accessories photoshoot in May. Specifically, you’ll probably remember people making fun of her lackluster model face. We’re happy to report that raunchy UK pop sensation Shygirl didn’t receive the same treatment. In fact, several people took to Twitter to say that she “ate her up” which is a pretty astute observation if you compare the two photos.


Arca for Vogue México y Latinoamérica 


The music from Mugler’s Fall/Winter 2021 Runway Film 

The digital runway film’s  stacked setlist includes “Link Up” by Tinashe,“SAD GIRLZ LUV MONEY (ft. Moliy)”, and a FRNGE remix of “Debut” by COBRAH. The sexed-up and futuristic vibe of the collection is perfectly accompanied by equally sexy electronic music. (Read more at my column, Hautepop!) 

The pop girls’ obsession with Versace satin platform Mary Janes 

It’s all about the chunky heel- just ask the TikTok girls. Pictured on Beyoncé and Ariana Grande, what more advertising could you possibly need? Buy them from Versace for $1,500 or get the knock-off from Steve Madden for a slightly more manageable $140 (they have Afterpay). 

This Vogue Russia video containing the best song about car sex you’ve ever heard 

Jude Noel’s Top 15 Footwork/Juke Trax of 2021

  1. Khadija Al Hanafi – “&ilovemyloot
  2. EQ Why – “Computed Damage
  3. DJ FLP – “Out of Body
  4. Jana Rush – “Suicidal Ideation
  5. RP Boo – “Finally Here
  6. Foodman – “Hoshikuzu Tenboudai”
  7. Kush Jones – “Rugrats
  8. DJ Orange Julius – “DOWNWIDDAPRO
  9. DJ Manny – “Never Was Ah Hoe
  10. Ripatti – “Videophonekitty
  11. DJ Earl – “GodBreathedOnThis RMX
  12. DJ Chad Nulegendz – “By My Side
  13. Hiroki Yamamura – “Ocean Waves
  14. Seanni B – “Back Down, Damn It!
  15. DJ Swisha & Kush Jones – “Torcida

Andrew Matson’s Top Producers of the Year

fish narc

A living link from SoundCloud rap circa Gothboiclique/Lil Peep to the present (check “Goth Angel Sinner”), fish narc branched into digicore this year with tracks by osquinn & blackwinterwells and 8485, which ranked among the best work from those half-generation removed artists. He also put out a producer album called Foraging Wild Mushrooms where he brought together Black Kray & Bootychaaain and Cold Hart & ppgcasper on songs, creating more of the same connective tissue.


Massive year from digicore producer/vocalist quinn, including the sensational single “And Most Importantly, Have Fun,” where she sampled “Funky Worm” and “Award Tour” and made it blast tf OFF. Then there was the very sick dnb-ish album as cat mother (gave new life to Miguel’s “Girl With the Tattoo”) and of course her proper album “Drive-By Lullabies,” which featured several peaks and styles, from confessional singer-songwriter, to rap, to IDM.


Three titanic releases by digicore artist dltzk this year: the game-changing “Teen Week,” the even-better “Frailty,” and the euphoria-inducing Frailty-companion Jersey Club mix, which singlehandedly made me fuck with Taylor Swift. All that on top of inventing “dariacore,” a producer genre that is all about throwing the kitchen sink at your DAW and sprinkling Vyvanse on top, which spawned a whole-ass discord and enough copycat producers to host a music festival on said discord.

Tony Seltzer

It’s all in the drums for Tony Seltzer, whose impossible-to-pin-down beats have been a cheat code for the rap underground for more than a few years now—especially the east coast. This year he laced Papo2oo4, Baby Sosa, made a masterpiece psychedelic album with KEY!, “The Alpha Jerk,” and put out a crazy producer album called “Hey Tony” where he soundtracked everyone from Hook to Mavi. 

A Lau

A lot of people were sampling other records in their drill songs this year but here’s the thing: A Lau started that shit and did it better than everyone else. His secret is he’s not subtle. Bizzy Banks’ “Bandemic” was probably his biggest hit with its giant “One Blood” sample, and the bangers kept coming all year, lately hitting again with Humble Gz’s “Umbrella” which chops the Rihanna sample at Jersey Club speed. My favorite though was “Grateful” for Rocko Ballin with its godly Duranice Pace vocals.

Jay Som

Melina Duterte (Jay Som) casually bodied 2021 with her album with Ellen Kempner as the group Bachelor, and produced two spin-offs of Chastity Belt, one album with Julia Shapiro and one with Annie Truscott as Routine. Taken together this is the only indie rock you needed to listen to this year, beautiful and deadpan and super smart, while comfortable dumbing it down.. 

Navy Blue 

Producing whole albums for noted swordsmen Wiki, Akai Solo and Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon wasn’t enough apparently: Navy Blue also had to drop his own heatrock, the “Navy’s Reprise” album, to really hammer home the point that he’s not just a pretty face on a throwback rap tip: he’s a fking beast from the east who can flip pianos and guitars all day and brings a meditative calm to everything he does. 

H.D. Angel’s Favorite Overlooked SoundCloud Music of 2021

  1. Ame – “Cha Cha” (Elijahdior) / “Boom” (Elijahdior)
  2. deth coni – “brick wall” (dazegxd & optic::core)
  3. holyrain – “go stupid!” (CJ808 & keyblade)
  4. lerdnay – “OUT OF MY MIND”
  5. quannnic & d0llywood1 – “come down from above” (quannnic)
  6. w1tchlxrd – “CRXXK3D PVTH” (shimaelok)
  7. exodus1900 – “w0rk-w0rk_remix*FREESTYLE
  8. flatroom – “flatroom @ dariafest 2021”
  9. midwxst – “hate me” (blackwinterwells)
  10. cr3stfallen – #CF21

Harley Geffner and Kate Buckwald’s Favorite Afrobeats (+ Other African Music) of 2021

  1. Ayra Starr – “Bloody Samaritan
  2. Adekunle Gold & DaVido – “High
  3. Olamide – “Rock
  4. Matata & Meija – “Chini Chini
  5. Nasty C – “Best I Ever Had
  6. Tiwa Savage feat. Nas & Rich King – “Work Fada
  7. Naira Marley, Busiswa – “Coming
  8. Omah Lay – “Understand
  9. Berri-Tiga – “Fire
  10. Karole Kasita & DJ Maker Breaker – “Mbeelamu
  11. Rema – “Soundgasm
  12. Musa Keys feat. Sir Trill & Nobantu Vilakazi – “Vula Mlomo
  13. Gyakie & Omah Lay – “Forever (Remix)
  14. Khaligraph Jones – “CHAMPEZ
  15. Alewya – “Zuggy
  16. Simi feat. Joeboy – “So Bad
  17. SPINALL feat. Fireboy DML & 6lack – “Sere (Remix)
  18. Breeder LW feat. Ssaru – “Bei Imepanda

Jesse Taconelli’s Favorite Albums of 2021 (excluding dltzk & quinn)


black midi – Cavalcade

Pink Siifu – GUMBO’!

Lil Ugly Mane – Volcanic Bird Enemy and the Voiced Concern


Squid – Bright Green Field

Lingua Ignota – Sinner Get Ready

Sufjan Stevens & Angelo De Augestine – A Beginner’s Mind

Pharoah Sanders, The London Symphony Orchestra & Floating Points – Promises

Injury Reserve – By The Time I Get to Phoenix

Genesis Owusu – Smiling With No Teeth

L’rain – Fatigue

Black Country, New Road – For the First Time

Richard Dawson & Circle – Henki

SPELLLING – Turning Wheel

Porter Robinson – Nurture

파란노을 [Parannoul] / Asian Glow / sonhos tomam conta – Downfall of the Neon Youth


Akash Pandey’s Best Interviews of 2021

Music. Film. Writing. All sorts of work moved me this year. What stuck with me most, though, were interviews. It felt nice to peek inside the minds of creative people while tugging on my dog’s leash in the morning, airpod in ear. Questions arose that I didn’t even know I had. How, for example, does a journalist keep at it after being exiled by a government trying to hide a genocide? How does a film editor use montage and archival cuts to elevate a music story into Black folklore? How does a curiosity rising in the mind of a 12-year old girl lead to a reassessment of a founding father’s legacy? Combine these with moments of connection and levity and you have my list of the best interviews with creative people I came across in 2021:




Vivian Medithi’s 2021 Songs + Scents

Numéro 9” by Serane feat. FLEE / Trente-Quatre by Diptyque

RADIO LOVE RAGE INTERLUDE” by Moh Barretta / Lartigue by Goest Perfumes

nonchalant” by d0llywood1 / Archives 69 by Etat Libre D’Orange

GET OFF MY SWAG” by Babyxsosa / Absinthe by Nasomatto Parfum

Passion” by PinkPantheress / Wedding in Oaxaca by Kismet Olfactive

4U” by Pi’erre Bourne / Room Service by Vilhelm Parfumerie

Mano’s Favorite MA Rap Songs of 2021

BIA – “Whole Lotta Money” (London Jae & Tee Romano)

Van Buren Records feat. Jazz Cartier – “CULT” (AzizTheShake)

Trottie Y Gizzle – “My City” (???)

Surge – “Basic” (codylemont, benjicold & idontkry)

Cincinnati Rose – “All Alone” (drellonthetrack)

CAEV – “Fuck How They Feel” (Super Smash Broz & Kevin Kofo)

Devstacks – “Money Dance” (Cxdy, Rio & Pipes)

Starker & Divino feat. Estee Nack & The Hidden Character – “Curbcandy” (Al.Divino)

OG Swaggerdick – Freestyle on CWTFB Radio (Eugene Wilde)

Avenue – “Bob The Chefs” (DUMP)

Cousin Stizz – “Lethal Weapon” (Snapz, Mike Hector & SuperDuperBrick)

Connis – “Lost Touch” (Versus)

DJ Lucas – “Fake the Funk” (NoTrust)

Uncle Spvnkk – “Kirby” (???)

Chavo feat. Pi’erre Bourne – “Ryuk” (Pi’erre Bourne)

Jack Riedy’s Favorite Chicago Indie Rap Projects of 2021

RIP Squeak.


Defcee + Messiah Musik – Trapdoor

Mother Nature – SZNZ

Semiratruth – I Got Bandz for the MoonLandin’

D2x – The Color Blue

SG Ali – Bet Against Me

MFnMelo + squeakPIVOT – En Route (Deluxe)

NombreKari – Children Play With Fire

BAHA BANK$ – Big Bank

Greensllime – monk.

swoozydolphin’s 2021 Third Space Selects

Ziggy Waters – “COLD IN THE D

454 – “HEAVEN

Frazier Trill feat. Pi’erre Bourne – “Bout Nun

Mica Levi feat. jonathan leandoer96 – “Sticks & Stones

CFCF – “Life is Perfecto

Blackdown – “This Journey VIP

FLEE – “Blessings!

Damedot – “Balacananas

Los and Nutty – “Finished Vibes

Shaudy Kash – “Actual Factuals 2

Erika de Casier – “Busy

Dazegxd – “424am (u dont kno me)

Haru Nemuri – “bang

Grouper – “Unclean mind

Yasmin Williams – “Juvenescence

BoofPaxkMooky – “Really Nice Days

staysie atoms – “FATAL ATTRACTION

Psych feat. d0llywood1 – “i need you forever

Bear1Boss feat. Mercury & Niontay – “MySpace!

Spotify playlist

Josh Svetz’s Most Memorable Song Moments of 2021

Playboi Carti’s mental breakdown on “Sky

“In love with my bitch/I think she my bitch/I know she suck dick/I know she not shit.”

Brent Faiyaz’ crushing take on it’s not you, it’s me on “Gravity

 “It’s not that I’m over you/But I got things to do.”

Young Dolph clapping cheeks on “Case Closed

Dolph meets a “boss bitch” and works his magic on her, with all the sound effects included: “You just need a real n**** to smash it (hold up, ha-ha)/I just turned a bad bitch to a ratchet.” To cap it off, he lets out a celebratory “wooo” to underscore his accomplishment. Long live Dolph.

Kanye West’s cringe love of Taco Bell and KFC on “Lord I Need You

Who knew $2 beefy 5-layer burritos and a $5 fill-up box was Kanye’s love language?

Kendrick Lamar flaunting how much he doesn’t give a fuck on “range brothers

Let’s Get This Shit, Let’s Get This Shit.

PinkPantheress’ honest desire for reciprocated feelings on “break it off

“One day, I just wanna hear to say, ‘I like you’ / What’s stopping you?”

Maxo Kream recounting his brother’s final moments in excruciating detail on “Trips

Juice WRLD ascending on “Matt Hardy 999

RXK Nephew questioning everything on “American tterroristt

The most entertaining 10 minutes of rap this year.

Anytime RX Papi rapped in 2021

Millan Verma’s Five Things He Didn’t Expect to Love This Year

1. Taylor Swift

I listened to Taylor Swift and realized that I, too, have emotions. 

2. Pears

Asian pears, Bosc pears, Bartlett pears and more. I fell in love with the texture, and now it’s pears that I adore. 

3. The Hayde Bluegrass Orchestra

This Norwegian nymph and her backing band listened to a bunch of old dixieland tunes and said, “Hmpf, we can do it better.” And sure ’nuff, they did. The Hayde Bluegrass Orchestra performs ancient American Bluegrass in the Scandinavian mountains – universal sounds re-embellished by the rarest crop of musicians I heard all year. 

4. Mescal

So it’s got the adrenaline of tequila but the smokiness of scotch. Couple shots of this and I’m out the wazoo. 

5. Fear

Long story short: I went solo camping, miles away from any person or town –> my fire is out, it’s pitch black, and I’m about to head into my tent –> all I hear are deafening coyote howls; I am paranoid and scared –> right after fear sinks in, two slobbering creatures come sprinting and barking at me from the abyss; I let out an instinctive shriek from the bottom of my belly –> turns out they were two very friendly (and lost) hunting hounds who then slept with me in my tent.

I was terrified, and it felt wonderful.

Thoughts? Let us know