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A comprehensive review of Billboard Hot 100’s number one songs of 2021

A comprehensive review of Billboard Hot 100’s number one songs of 2021

A comprehensive review of Billboard Hot 100’s number one songs of 2021
June 04
14:00 2021
By Grant Tittle

Recently, I’ve made it a long-term goal of mine to review every song that has made it to the number one spot of the Billboard Hot 100 since its start on Aug. 4, 1958. In the meantime, I thought there would be no better place to start than to review the songs that have made it to the top spot this year. Without further ado, the following are my opinions on the 11 songs that have reached number one so far in 2021.

“All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey: 

First of all, this is one of the few Christmas songs I can listen to outside of the Christmas season. This is the second holiday season in a row that the song has reached the number one spot at the beginning and end of the year. Everything about this song has stood the test of time from the bouncy and energetic production that makes Christmas something worth looking forward to, the lyrics that bring out the absolute joy and happiness one would likely feel during the season and Mariah’s amazing voice on the track. While Mariah hasn’t always had the Midas touch on everything she’d worked on (the existence of “Glitter” is proof), Mariah has one of her all-time best vocal performances on here, and any time this song comes on, I know I’ll always enjoy it. 5/5

“Mood” by 24kGoldn featuring Iann Dior:

With a beat that’s bouncy and fun, two performers who have vocal chemistry together and a track that’s overall a joy to hear whenever I find it, I’ll admit I’m glad to be listening to it again. With that said, it could be much better lyrically. While it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea or coffee, I enjoy the song despite its minor flaws. 4/5

“Driver’s License” by Olivia Rodrigo: 

There are plenty of excellent tracks that came from Olivia’s recent album, “Sour,” but one of my absolute favorites has to be “Driver’s License.” I’ll be honest and admit, when I first heard it, I found it to be what sounded like the melodramatic ramblings of a teenager making too big of a deal out of the falling apart of a relationship that they were in, but after giving the song more time, pondering over it and the sentiment behind it and especially remembering the fact that I was never exactly popular when it came to dating, it impacted me immensely. Overall, the song’s gotten much better, I’m glad it’s done as well as it has and if I were to make a best-hit songs list for 2021, I could see this song being on there as either an honorable mention or maybe even a legit entry. 4/5

“What’s Next” by Drake: 

Before listening to this track for the first time recently, I had not heard it at all and had avoided it until now. When it comes to my thoughts on Drake in general, they’ve been mixed for a while. Like his fellow Young Money pals Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj, I’ve always felt that they have talent as performers, but they’ve unfortunately had a tendency to be inconsistent with the quality of their tracks. As for this song, it’s a fine enough track. The production on the song sounds great, Drake’s got passion in his performance and the lyrics are well thought out. I’ll admit I’m glad I had a chance to check this song out. I’m not sure if I’d call it a favorite among Drake’s hits or songs, but if I was to hear it any time moving forward, I’d be fine with it. 4/5

“Up” by Cardi B: 

When it comes to the increase of female rappers that’s been occurring during the last few years, Cardi B is one of the many who I’ve enjoyed the work of. While some might say that she’s a one-trick pony with her subject matter, at least she’s got the energy and charisma to make it engaging and lots of fun. While she’s had some tracks that were decent like “Bartier Cardi,” “Press” and “Money” turned out to be at times blasé, for the most part, her songs are bangers with “Up” being among them. Everything about the song works, from Cardi’s presence as an emcee to the beat and coming across as a confident woman who’s in charge and won’t let others tear her down. 5/5

“Peaches” by Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar and Giveon: 

This summer jam is loads of fun with the smooth production, the charismatic performance from Justin Bieber, who’s definitely been improving as an artist, and even has some background vocals/verses from Daniel Caesar and Giveon, who do serve more as hype men, but do still provide to the overall excellent product that’s on display here. 5/5

“Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” by Lil Nas X: 

Lil Nas X, as a performer, is someone that I’ve had a unique process when it comes to how I’ve felt about his music. When Old Town Road was first released, I wasn’t sure what the big fuss was about it, but over time, he proved to be a bonafide hit-maker with a knack for catchy hooks, excellent production and just being himself without caring what others or society thinks of him and this song is definitely no exception. With the assistance of production that’s Spanish guitar-led with hints of electro-pop and hip hop, he discusses someone that he’s been in a relationship and the joys that he’s felt while in it. Whether it lasts for long or not, he’ll enjoy it as long as he can. 4/5

“Leave The Door Open” by Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak): 

I’ve missed hearing music from Bruno Mars, and I know Anderson .Paak as the performer music critics love to earn hipster points by claiming they were fans of before he was mainstream, so this is a pretty good introduction to the new musical duo, Silk Sonic, a project that’d been in development for a while before making their debut.

This song has lots of things going for it, from the smooth crooning of Bruno Mars and .Paak, the lyrics that promise a fun time for the gal of their dreams and the excellent production that perfectly suits this song. It helps that I heard loads of music from the ‘70s and ‘80s growing up, and if this song had been made years ago, it would’ve likely been something that Isaac Hayes, Marvin Gaye or Barry White would’ve swiftly worked on like it was easy to do.

But, as much as I enjoy this song, there are some elements to this song lyrically that are somewhat distracting. Besides .Paak telling the woman he’s trying to seduce to shut her trap, I have a bigger question when listening: If you’re trying to impress a gal you like, why would you describe yourself as smooth as a newborn? Maybe it’s just me, but that right there is an absolute mood assassin and is quite literally the last thing anyone wants to think of in any way, shape or form.

There are some other lyrics I could point to as well, but since those would likely take all day. As for the song itself, I do still like it, I’d give it both a 4/5 and a 5/5. The first rating is for the more distracting moments on the song and the second and last one is for the moments that don’t leave one scratching their head, mentally facepalming or bursting out into laughter.

“Rapstar” by Polo G:

 The beat sounds nice, Polo’s vocal delivery is decent and the song overall is OK, but I’m honestly not sure how much I’ll come back to it moving forward. 3/5

“Save Your Tears” by The Weeknd and Ariana Grande: 

As someone who’s been a fan of both performers on this track, I was excited when I heard the rumors about this remix being brought out, and I was especially excited when I first heard it. It’s able to capture the elements of the original that worked, brings in the dynamic between Kimora and Goyte on their song “Somebody I Used To Know” and Ariana, in general, is always a plus. Everything about both the original version of “Save Your Tears” and this remix are both excellent, and I’ll enjoy listening to both of them for years to come. 5/5

“Good 4 U” by Olivia Rodrigo: 

This is the latest song to hit the number one spot on Billboard Hot 100 and is definitely one of my favorites from the record. Sometimes, when one’s dealing with the aftermath of a break-up, one usually should handle it with dignity and be cool, calm and collected, but once in a while, it’s best to scream, shout and roar out your inner wrath and rage and this song excellently show this.

In this song, Olivia calls out her ex for having left her for another woman and showing little to no care about her afterward. When hearing the song, it musically shows its influence and inspiration from rock music from the ‘90s and 2000s which, from what I hear, includes Avril Lavigne, Pink, Hayley Williams, Gwen Stefani and Miley Cyrus among others. The lyrics are well written, Olivia vocally sounds great and the song overall is one of the best. 5/5

Overall, 2021 has been proving to be an excellent year for music, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the year will turn out on the charts.

Featured Illustration by J. Robynn Aviles

About Author

North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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