Music Lists

The Best Songs of 2021 (so far)

July 27, 2021

WYEP’s DJs give us their 5 favorite songs of the first half of the year, in no particular order. Plus Liz Felix shares her 5 favorite tracks from Pittsburgh artists so far this year.

Morning Mix Host Joey Spehar
My top 5 songs of 2021 so far:
1. Durand Jones & The Indications – “Witchoo”
2. Lucy Dacus – “Hot and Heavy”
3. Christone “Kingfish” Ingram – “662”
4. Dave McMurray feat. Bettye LaVette & Bob Weir – “Loser”
5. Ryan Haynes + Garrett Hunter – “1988”

Pittsburgh natives Ryan Haynes and Garrett Hunter have pretty impressive resumes when it comes to helping other musicians find their sound. Their new collaborative single “1988” finds the pair waxing nostalgic on a perfectly smooth song for the summer. Be sure to check in with Haynes’ alter ego “Uncle Ronnie” on the clever, VHS-inspired music video.
Midday Mix Host Kyle Smith
My top 5 songs of 2021 so far:
1. LUMP – “We Cannot Resist”
2. Yola – “Diamond Studded Shoes”
3. Durand Jones & The Indications – “Witchoo”
4. Israel Nash – “Down in the Country”
5. Strand of Oaks – “Galacticana”

Leading us out of the pandemic musically, Timothy Showalter has delivered a memorable track that includes a slow build, lyrics we can all relate to, and a reason to celebrate and reconnect musically. This is one that’ll end up in your subconscious, if you let it.
Afternoon Mix Host Rosemary Welsh
My top 5 songs of 2021 so far:
1. Yola – “Diamond Studded Shoes”
2. Deep Sea Diver – “Impossible Weight”
3. Lord Huron featuring Allison Ponthier – “I Lied”
4. Jon Batiste – “We Are”
5. Liz Phair – “Hey Lou”

Liz Phair imagines the relationship between ornery Lou Reed and his patient, supportive wife, experimental artist Laurie Anderson, as she attempts to navigate his mood swings and bad manners.
The Grooves Host Brian Siewiorek
My top 5 songs so of 2021 so far:
1. Dry Cleaning – “Scratchcard Lanyard”
2. serpentwithfeet – “Same Size Shoe”
3. Yves Tumor – “Kerosene!”
4. black midi – “John L”
5. Silk Sonic – “Leave the Door Open”

Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak team up for a track so steeped in 70’s nostalgia that it will send you into a deep-dive of classic R&B. Channeling sounds from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Teddy Pendergrass and The Chi-Lites, this song comes off as reverent to the era while still sounding current.
Evening Mix and Pittsburgh Music Hour Host Liz Felix
My top 5 songs of 2021 so far:
1. Durand Jones & The Indications – “Witchoo”
2. Allison Russell – “Nightflyer”
3. The Felice Brothers – “Jazz on the Autobahn”
4. Genesis Owusu – “Gold Chains”
5. Amythyst Kiah – “Black Myself”

WYEP listeners were first introduced to this song when Our Native Daughters included it on their debut in 2019. Here, Kiah presents a louder and bolder version of the song she penned, offering a powerful message about standing tall in the face of racism and stereotypes in America.
Plus:
Liz Felix’s top 5 songs by Pittsburgh artists
1. The Real Sea – “Paper Machete”
2. Sierra Sellers – “Lonely Feels”
3. Bill Toms & Hard Rain – “Everybody’s Talking”
4. Manu Gajanan – “Sway With Me”
5. Paul Luc “Just Sing”

Pittsburgh songwriter Paul Luc captures the pandemic’s effect on live music from a musician’s perspective. Hear more great songs made by artists in Western PA every Monday night at 9 on the Pittsburgh Music Hour.

Listen to all the songs: