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Independent Clauses Best of 2021 Playlist

Last updated on December 9, 2021

Part two of our end-of-year lists is a Spotify playlist of standout songs from 2021! Lisa Whealy and I compiled the list based on which tunes stuck out to us most. This is by no means a comprehensive list of songs or artists covered in IC this year; we heard so much good music that it was hard even to cut it down to this (long) list. 

The diversity of what we’ve covered this year is evident, as the list moves from peaceful piano (Ben Seretan) and ambient (Nashville Ambient Ensemble) work through upbeat indie pop (Havana Swim Club) and electro-pop (Alivenique) to rap (Jody Bigfoot and Tandaro), trip-hop (Pinhdar), and rock (Flowers 15). Unclassifiable work (Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp, Voka Gentle, Sunjacket) leads up to the conclusion back at folk (Oliver Wood).

The playlist’s cover art began with a photograph by Dolo Iglesias at Unsplash. (We tried to identify the pianist, but we were unable to do so.) Lisa designed the cover from there. 

We also put out two previous Spotify lists this year! You can listen to Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 at Spotify.

We’ll be back tomorrow with Lisa’s best-ofs! –Stephen Carradini

This year, Stephen Carradini and I explored a global array of musical styles,  touching on the seemingly never-ending quest for normalcy in the face of  chaos. Launching this collection with  a taste of chaotic piano (Jacob Faurholt), when will confusion erupt into terror as the world tries to breathe? Music’s power is its flow, harnessing each beat to viscerally connect emotions. It’s the glue that brings us together. Like gritty heartbeats, the sound of our souls still feels heavy in the sonic paradise in my head (Sunjacket). The story of 2021 is filled with contrasting rhythms and voices in a discordant noise in rock (Matt C. White), Americana Charles Elsworth), and folk (Typhoon). 

Navigating our present includes coming to terms with the past. Lyrical narratives define us, painting shared experiences into the pages of our memories like the scent of wildflowers (Courtney Marie Andrews) on a winter afternoon or the scent of warm bread from our corner bakery (Oliver Wood). Together, we can be ten feet tall in the face of whatever 2022 throws at us (Marcus King, Eric Krasno). —Lisa Whealy