Top 10 Year End songs of 2021

2021 has been such a crazy year. In certain aspects, it seems like the longest year of our lives, while in others, it seems like just yesterday that we entered the new year hoping for one better than 2020. Over the course of the last 12 months, we have seen the return of big artists, such as Adele, Lil Nas X and Doja Cat. However, we have seen new artists emerge into pop culture, such as Olivia Rodrigo and Silk Sonic. At the end of every year, Billboard puts together 100 of the biggest songs of the year and puts them into a “Year-End list.” In this article, I will be covering the top 10 on this list, as they were the biggest and most influential songs that hit streaming services and radio waves this year. While there are some big artists on this chart, such as Cardi B and BTS, they unfortunately didn’t make the top 10, so they will not be covered. However, it’s important to recognize that there were so many popular songs and artists this year that not everyone is going to make the top 10.


1: Levitating- Pk. 2

Artist: Dua Lipa

Peak Date: May 22, 2021

Weeks on Chart: 56

Weeks in the Top 50: 55

Weeks in the Top 40: 53

Weeks in the Top 10: 41

“Levitating,” by Dua Lipa is the fourth single off of her most recent album, “Future Nostalgia.” Dua Lipa is no stranger to tremendous success, since her previous hit “Don’t Start Now,” was the 4th biggest song of 2020. However, “Levitating” has become her biggest hit to date, and it is the official number one song of 2021. “Levitating” is unique because it’s one of two songs on this top 10 to not reach number one. It was very close to reaching the number one spot, but Silk Sonic’s “Leave The Door Open” reached number one instead of “Levitating” due to a small margin. Fortunately for “Levitating,” it’s longevity in the top 10 made up for the fact that it never reached number one. The song ended up staying in the top 10 for 41 weeks this year, which indicates its popularity. Other songs may have charted higher than “Levitating,” but they lacked popularity over time and quickly fell off the charts. “Levitating” on the other hand, managed to stay relevant for a long period of time. It completely deserves this number one spot. “Levitating” will appeal to those who enjoy electro-disco music.


2: Save Your Tears- Pk. 1 (2 Weeks)

Artist: The Weeknd & Ariana Grande

Peak Date: May 8, 2021

Weeks on Chart: 47

Weeks in the Top 50: 45

Weeks in the Top 40: 43

Weeks in the Top 10: 27

“Save Your Tears,” by The Weeknd and Ariana Grande, is the fourth single off of The Weeknd’s most recent album, “After Hours.” When the song was released it suffered the fate of living in the shadow of The Weeknd’s more successful hit, “Blinding Lights.” For about six months, the song stayed virtually unknown to the public and was only listened to by The Weeknd’s fans. However, the songs started to gain traction as “Blinding Lights” was finally losing its popularity. This finally gave “Save Your Tears” the chance to shine. “Save Your Tears” as a solo single managed to reach the top 5, but it couldn’t gain that edge needed to reach number one. Fortunately, the remixed version with Ariana Grande was released. Grande is another huge figure in the music industry and has a huge following, which is what The Weeknd needed to make the song more popular. His plan worked because the song attracted both The Weeknd and Ariana fans. The song then reached number one for a couple of weeks and remained in the top 10 for another few months before being shifted into the background. Despite the song losing popularity, its success in the spring cannot be ignored. This is why it’s at number 2 on this list. “Save Your Tears” will appeal to those who enjoy synth-pop music.


3: Blinding Lights- Pk. 1 (4 Weeks)

Artist: The Weeknd

Peak Date: Apr. 11, 2020

Weeks on Chart: 90

Billboard Year-End 2020: #1

Weeks in the Top 50: 86

Weeks in the Top 40: 86

Weeks in the Top 10: 57

“Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd is the second single off of his most recent album, “After Hours.” “Blinding Lights” can be considered a legendary song at this point since it shattered records left and right. A couple of weeks ago, it surpassed “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons for the record of the longest-charting song on the Hot 100 (the previous record was 88 weeks). It also holds the record for the longest time a song has spent in the top 5, which is 43 weeks, and has the pleasure of being the official biggest hit of 2020. It is astonishing how it is still heavily popular almost two years after its release. TikTok, of course, definitely helped the song gain popularity. A song being relevant for two whole years is almost unheard of. The Weeknd has had a couple of songs crack the year-end top 10 back in 2015, but this tremendous success is currently a career high for him and it doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. “Blinding Lights” truly marked The Weeknd’s return to the music industry and he is a force not to be reckoned with. “Blinding Lights” will appeal to those who enjoy electropop music. 


4: Mood- Pk. 1 (8 Weeks)

Artist: 24kGoldn (Featuring Iann Dior)

Peak Date: Oct. 24, 2020

Weeks on Chart: 51

Billboard Year-End 2020: #47

Weeks in the Top 50: 50

Weeks in the Top 40: 46

Weeks in the Top 10: 31

“Mood,” by 24kGoldn and Iann Dior, is the lead single off of 24kGoldn’s album, “El Dorado.” “Mood” was truly the one song that nobody saw coming. Once starting out as a minor hit on the Hot 100, it quickly morphed into the song that everyone was listening to within a couple of weeks. Throughout the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, “Mood” was on everyone’s streaming platforms and on every radio station. There was nothing we could do to escape it. Although peaking at number one in 2020, it still held a considerable impact over the first few months of 2021. Therefore, it deserves this high spot on the year-end chart. “Mood” is also crucial for 24kGoldn because it launched his career and created a platform for himself. Neither artist had a big hit, but “Mood” made both artists recognizable worldwide. “Mood” is also a significant song because it eclipsed the popularity of other veteran music artists, such as Ariana Grande and Cardi B. Although “Mood” hasn’t been big in a while, we can’t forget how popular it once was. It truly deserves full recognition in this top 10. “Mood” will appeal to those who listen to pop-rap music.


5: Good 4 U- Pk. 1 (1 Week)

Artist: Olivia Rodrigo

Peak Date: May 29, 2021

Weeks on Chart: 25

Weeks in the Top 50: 25

Weeks in the Top 40: 25

Weeks in the Top 10: 24

“Good 4 U” by Olivia Rodrigo is the third single off of Rodrigo’s album, “Sour.” It’s safe to say that Rodrigo has become the breakout star of this year. Before 2021 arrived, she found success on Disney Channel and “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” Before 2021, she didn’t have nearly as many fans as she does now. However, the start of 2021 changed that. Now she is a global superstar and is serving as a positive role model and inspirational figure to teenagers worldwide. While she did release 3 singles that made it into the top 10, “Good 4 U” is the most popular; it debuted at number one and remained in the top 10 for another 6 months! “Good 4 U” is a breakup song about trying to get over someone she once loved. A lot of people related to it and fell in love with the song, which caused it to increase tremendously in streaming. The radio also fell in love with the song and more people would listen to their stations if they played it. All in all, Rodrigo has had a pretty successful year, but it’s unknown whether she can retain that success in the future or fade into the background as she gets older. “Good 4 U” will appeal to those who enjoy pop rock or grunge music.


6: Kiss Me More- Pk. 3

Artist: Doja Cat (Featuring SZA)

Peak Date: Jul. 10, 2021

Weeks on Chart: 30

Weeks in the Top 50: 30

Weeks in the Top 40: 30

Weeks in the Top 10: 27

“Kiss Me More” by Doja Cat and SZA is the debut single off of Doja Cat’s album, “Planet Her.” Before the release of “Kiss Me More,” Doja Cat and SZA both gathered huge fan bases that made them household names in the U.S. It’s not surprising that a collaboration between the two would turn out to be a megahit. “Kiss Me More” started out well on the charts and it slowly crept up to number 3 before slowly falling out of the top 10. “Kiss Me More,” as well as “Levitating,” are both songs that didn’t reach number one but still held a considerable impact on the music industry. It managed to stay in the top 10 for 7 months and only left the top 10 due to Doja Cat’s newer song, “Need To Know,” becoming more popular in the present day. The release of “Kiss Me More” was a big accomplishment for her, since she’s an artist that became famous through social media and wasn’t recognizable until a couple of years ago. Doja Cat was able to release another global hit, despite how alternative her style is. I hope that she doesn’t lose that fame because she has truly made contemporary music a lot more interesting. “Kiss Me More” will appeal to those who like dance-pop or pop-rap music.


7: Leave The Door Open- Pk. 1 (2 Weeks)

Artist: Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars & Anderson Paak)

Peak Date: Apr. 17, 2021

Weeks on Chart: 35

Weeks in the Top 50: 35

Weeks in the Top 40: 31

Weeks in the Top 10: 18

“Leave The Door Open” is the lead single off of Silk Sonic’s debut album, “An Evening with Silk Sonic.” Silk Sonic is a musical duo that was formed at the beginning of this year and is made up of singers Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak. Both artists had flourishing careers, but Mars was definitely the bigger name. Some of Mars’ previous songs, such as “Grenade” and “That’s What I Like” placed 6 and 3 on the year-end charts respectively. Mars’s biggest record to date is his 2015 song, “Uptown Funk,” which reached number 1 on the 2015 year-end chart. Yet it’s still amazing how Mars can retain such tremendous success, despite his career lasting for over 10 years now. Other artists who became successful around the same time, such as Kesha and Flo Rida, haven’t been so lucky. It’s surprising how Silk Sonic has managed to reach the same level of success as Mars, considering that musical duos formed between successful solo artists typically don’t go well. A prime example of this is Beyonce and Jay Z. Regardless, it can’t be denied that Silk Sonic can easily compete with Olivia Rodrigo for the biggest breakout artist of the year title, as both singers have seen huge amounts of success throughout the year. “Leave The Door Open” will appeal to those who listen to R&B and pop music.


8: Drivers License- Pk. 1 (8 Weeks)

Artist: Olivia Rodrigo

Peak Date: Jan. 23, 2021

Weeks on Chart: 28

Weeks in the Top 50: 28

Weeks in the Top 40: 26

Weeks in the Top 10: 16

“Drivers License” is the lead single off of Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album, “Sour.” Back in January, “Drivers License” was the only song that everyone was talking about. On the day of its release, it broke the record for the most song streams on Spotify in a single day, previously held by Ariana Grande’s 2018 song, “Thank U, Next.” “Drivers License” was also a shock to most because it instantly landed at the number one spot on the Hot 100, an achievement that’s not typically earned by a new artist. “Drivers License” proceeded to spend 8 consecutive weeks at the number one spot before being pushed to the backburner by Rodrigo’s more popular song, “Good 4 U.” Yet “Drivers License is still significant to her career because it established her as a serious musical artist that provides fierce competition to more established artists, such as Justin Bieber and Bruno Mars. The publicity over Rodrigo’s breakup with ex-boyfriend and fellow actor Joshua Bassett also helped the song gain traction, since many speculate that the song is about him. All in all, “Drivers License” definitely deserves its spot in the top 10 of the year because of its huge success in the winter. “Drivers License” can be enjoyed by those who enjoy indie-pop music.


9: Montero (Call Me By Your Name)- Pk. 1 (1 Week)

Artist: Lil Nas X

Peak Date: Apr. 10, 2021

Weeks on Chart: 32

Weeks in the Top 50: 32

Weeks in the Top 40: 32

Weeks in the Top 10: 20

“Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” is the lead single off of Lil Nas X’s album, “Montero.” “Call Me By Your Name” was a very significant song in the music world during the spring, mainly due to its not-so-school-appropriate music video breaking the internet and getting everyone to talk about the new music video. When it was first released, the song generated a lot of controversy. Some praised his representation of the LGBTQ+ community in his song, while others criticized the satanic setting presented throughout the video. This controversy helped the song gain popularity fast, instantly landing at the number one spot. Unlike Rodrigo, Lil Nas X isn’t a rookie artist anymore, since his record-breaking single, “Old Town Road,” was released three years ago. Lil Nas X needed a dramatic return to the music industry, and “Call Me By Your Name” was the perfect song to re-introduce himself with. “Call Me By Your Name” represents his musical and personal growth and his songs that follow also reflect his evolution into a brand new artist. “Call Me By Your Name” will appeal to those who enjoy electropop music.


10: Peaches- Pk. 1 (1 Week)

Artist: Justin Bieber (Featuring: Daniel Caesar & Giveon)

Peak Date: Apr. 3, 2021

Weeks On Chart: 30

Weeks in the Top 50: 30

Weeks in the Top 40: 27

Weeks in the Top 10: 16

“Peaches” is the 5th single off of Justin Bieber’s album, “Justice.” Over the course of Bieber’s career, he has gone through some heavy criticism from the press. From Bieber’s 2010 song, “Baby,” becoming the most disliked video on youtube to Bieber’s 2020 song, “Yummy,” being mocked online for its lyrics, Bieber hasn’t been able to catch a break. His run-ins with the law back in 2013 also didn’t help his career and many of his fans ended up turning on him. However, “Peaches” has shown a new side to Bieber that reflects his positive qualities as an artist rather than his negative ones. While his album hasn’t been able to avoid criticism, “Peaches” is that one song that everyone is fine with and doesn’t complain about. It’s a cool, catchy tune that can be played at any gathering and it represents how Bieber can release solid hits without facing backlash every time. Although its popularity has fallen since the spring and summer, we can all agree that “Peaches” deserves a spot in the top 10 because it shows a different side to Bieber as he explores new musical genres and sounds. His success with the song is well deserved. “Peaches” can be enjoyed by anyone who listens to pop-soul music.