Top twenty tracks of a magnificent musical year
COUNTDOWN OF HITS THAT SHOWED ARTISTRY AND MADE AN IMPACT IN 2021
AN INTERESTING musical year has delivered diverse commercial tracks in different genres. While some quickly broke new ground, others stayed in playlists and entertained music fans.
Eastern Eye looked back across the last 12 months to find the top 20 songs of 2021.
20. FLEXXX (Gulli Maro) by Nish: Urban Bangla music is thriving and it is a matter of great pride that one of the artists leading the way is British singer Nish. He continued his impressive run of commercial Bangla songs that have crossover appeal with this catchy number, which combined contemporary beats with a lovely lyrical flow.
19. Pyaar…Ek Tarfaa by Amaal Mallik and Shreya Ghoshal: This great duet is loaded with love from beginning to end. The musically rich song is made to fly by two singers who bring to life the special sentiments and feelings in the lyrics. The song has an epic feel that soars to great heights.
18. Mohabbat by B Praak: When Filhall released in 2020, it clocked up over a billion YouTube views, so a follow-up was inevitable. The brilliant B Praak is on composing and singing duties on a song that contains raw emotion. He brings the sentiment of unrequited love to life with a voice that reaches deep into the listener’s hearts.
17. Khuda Aur Mohabbat by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Nish Asher: One of this year’s best songs popped up in one of the most unlikely places. This delightful duet filled with deep meaning and emotion appeared in the third season of Pakistani drama serial Khuda Aur Mohabbat. It has since clocked up over 164 million YouTube views and become one of Pakistan’s most popular songs of 2021.
16. Balaghal Ula Bi Kamaalihi by Ali Zafar: The Pakistani pop icon had a hugely interesting year that included a stunning Pashto number (Larsha Pekhawar) featuring new talent and the heartfelt tribute track Paharon Ki Qasam. His best was this nearly nine-minute spiritual song, which combined deep meaning with stunning singing and music rooted in history.
15. Baarish Ban Jaana by Payal Dev and Stebin Ben: This was one of many songs that featured top TV stars, but it collectively clocked up more than 400 million YouTube views because it is a wonderful song loaded with love. Payal Dev, who composed the song, teamed up with hot-right-now singer Stebin Ben and the result was just magical.
14. Habit by Shreya Ghoshal and Arko: This song got a lot of attention because it would be the final project featuring Shehnaaz Gill and late actor Sidharth Shukla. Beyond that, it is a stunning romantic duet that immediately gets under the skin of a listener and stays there. It starts off with a heartfelt dialogue before becoming an incredible duet powerful enough to connect two people in love.
13. Chale To Kat Hi Jayega by Atif Aslam: The Pakistani singing sensation didn’t let a ban in India stop him. He delivered some really great songs in 2021 like Ajnabi and Rafta Rafta, but his most interesting work was bringing classic songs back to life. The best was this stunning contemporary interpretation of a Musarrat Nazeer classic, which ticked every box.
12. Baarish Ki Jaaye by B Praak: It has now become impossible to compile a list of the year’s greatest songs without B Praak. His unique power-packed vocals lit up some great songs in 2021 and this feel-good love song was arguably the best. The free-flowing music combines well with his unmistakable voice, which exudes so much passion.
11. Tu Yaheen Hai by Shehnaaz Gill: It is impossible to listen to this emotional song without feeling deep sadness. Shehnaaz Gill pours all her heart into a song that remembers Sidharth Shukla in the most beautiful way. Her beautiful vocals wrap themselves around lyrics that strongly connected with those who have lost someone or miss the late actor.
10. Bheeg Jaunga by Stebin Ben: Rising music star Stebin Ben had a star-making year filled with fabulous music. A standout moment was the beautiful love song, dripping with raw passion. The music and lyrics are strong, but this track is all about the power-packed vocals of a singer who has been compared to Atif Aslam and Arijit Singh.
9. Jo Tera Howega by Debattama Saha and Karanvir Sharma: The magical musical moment saw the two popular television stars team up for a terrific romantic track. The song mixed up the mesmerising singing of Debattama with the emotion-filled poetry recited by Karanvir and beautifully flowing music that made an instant impact.
8. Good Ones by Charli XCX: The British singer-songwriter had another dynamite musical year, and this explosive club banger was the most incendiary moment. The catchy song taken from her hotly anticipated fifth album combined a catchy beat, with great vocals and strong lyrics. Like many of her songs, it gets better with each spin.
7. Saranga Dariya by Mangli: The standout musical moment from Telugu cinema is this high-energy track from the film Love Story, which is so good that you can enjoy it even if you don’t understand the language. The music and especially the fiery voice of Mangli gives you an instant feeling of joy. It is no surprise the mega-hit song has been collectively viewed over 380 million times on YouTube.
6. Echo by Armaan Malik, Eric Nam with KSHMR: Massively popular singer Armaan Malik has delivered great tracks in multiple languages, including the heartfelt Barsaat. This English language song is special on multiple levels. Apart from being a great pop number loaded with meaning, catchy beats, and world class vocals, it is also a wonderful collaboration between artists from three different parts of the world.
5. Vibe by Diljit Dosanjh: The Punjabi singing superstar delivered more monster hits this year. The standout number from his hugely inventive album MoonChild Era is a catchy romantic number millions had on repeat and is one that will likely stay in playlists for years to come. It also found its way into clubs, parties, and weddings.
4. Raatan Lambiyan by Jubin Nautiyal and Asees Kaur: Army drama Shershaah had two standout songs. One was Ranjha and the other was this stunning love duet that oozed romance from beginning to end. Tanishk Bagchi delivered the music and lyrics that captivated the hearts of music lovers around the world. It was no surprise that it clocked up over half a billion YouTube views.
3. Lut Gaye by Jubin Nautiyal: The popular singer had a great year that included a wide array of hits, but by far the biggest highlight was this stunning love song. The emotion-filled romantic number formed a strong connection with listeners and in just eight months the track crossed a billion views on YouTube.
2. Manike Mage Hithe by Yohani and Satheeshan: The sensational sleeper hit took the world by storm and turned lead singer Yohani into a big star. The catchy number, which has been viewed more than 190 million times on YouTube, is the first Sri Lankan song to blow up around the world, in such a big way. It resulted in multiple cover versions in different languages.
1. Param Sundari by Shreya Ghoshal: Bollywood singing queen Shreya Ghoshal had an incredible year loaded with huge hits and the pick was this dynamite dance number. The AR Rahman composed song appeared in critically acclaimed film Mimi and was the upbeat shot of musical adrenaline we all needed. It clocked up well over 400 million collective views on YouTube and made it onto the Billboard Global Excl US charts. It will be a dance anthem for years to come and so gets the 2021 song of the year title.