The end of 2021 is fast approaching. And that means one thing — the return of Team Wiwi’s annual Top Tracks countdown.
As usual, the team from wiwibloggs have voted for their favourite new songs released in 2021 by Eurovision stars. After reviewing more than 1,000 songs over the course of the year, we finally settled on our top 50 – it wasn’t easy. And now we’re ready to share it with y’all. We’ll publish ten tracks daily through to New Year’s Eve as we wrap up the year.
Songs that were selected for Eurovision or competed in national finals were excluded (they’ve been analysed to death in our jury reviews). However, the other new songs VICTORIA released as potential Eurovision entries were made eligible for voting since it wasn’t a formal national final (and they were not included in our top national final songs countdown).
At least one singer of the song must have competed at Eurovision as part of the main act to be eligible. Acts who had been chosen for Eurovision 2020 but were not reselected for the 2021 contest were still included in the voting.
Which song will enter our Hall of Fame?
Let the countdown continue!
Team Wiwi’s top songs by Eurovision artists in 2021: 20 to 11
20. Barbara Pravi – “L’homme et l’oiseau”
What we said: Barbara Pravi has released “L’homme et l’oiseau”, a hymn to freedom and a bird that can never be captured. The title translates to “The man and the bird” and nods to the animal, both mystical and free, that Barbara regularly refers to in her songs and stage productions. Following her Eurovision song “Voila” and its follow-up “Le jour se lève”, “L’homme et l’oiseau” completes a three-part triptych, whose music videos comprise a short film. Designed to complement each other and work together, the three songs in the triptych are about a mental and spiritual journey. From darkness to light comes liberation and rebirth. This is what the whole short film will imply to the viewers. (Oranie)
19. Barbara Pravi – “Prière pour chanter”
In March of this year, Eurovision 2021 runner-up Barbara Pravi released Les prières, six musical prayers to celebrate International Women’s Day. Then in November, volume two arrived. Titled Les prières – racines (Prayers – roots), this second EP features another six songs to act as musical devotions for parts of our lives. “Prière pour chanter” (“Prayer to sing”) closes the EP with a beautiful nod to the fact that singing can help bring joy into people’s lives: “I sing, this is how I am human / This is how I feel beautiful / And may my body find its place in this world / I sing so that the joy devours the pain”. (Jonathan)
18. Duncan Laurence – “Stars”
What we said: Eurovision 2019 champion Duncan Laurence finally has a successor following the grand final of this year’s contest. Although the Dutch star couldn’t attend in person due to a positive Covid-19 test, Duncan still performed during the interval act remotely. He sung his winning entry “Arcade” and also the new single “Stars”. The latter of these appears on Duncan’s new album reissue Small Town Boy (Deluxe), which was released just ahead of the Eurovision 2021 grand final. (Jonathan)
17. The Roop – “Ohmygodable”
What we said: With their latest single “Ohmygodable”, The Roop have done it again. The song is built partly around a hook of deep grunts and groans — it sounds something like a deep whoa — and the idea that we are all amazing. A lot in life is uncertain, but the band wants you to know you are ohmygodable — or worthy of an OMG! In the official press release, the band stresses the importance of having a slight change of perspective to unlock the beauty and power of life. They write: “With their new work the band invites everyone not to stop playing, discovering, and at the same time to glance differently at life, art, and yourself.” (William)
16. Philipp Kirkorov & MARUV – “Komilfo”
What we said: Russia’s Eurovision 1995 act Philipp Kirkorov celebrated his 54th birthday by releasing the new single “Komilfo”. For the song, he teamed up with MARUV (who should have been Ukraine’s Eurovision 2019 representative, but couldn’t agree a contract with the nation’s broadcaster). “Komilfo” is a Russian adverb that stems from the French phrase “comme il faut”, which translates to “as it should be” in English. Kirkorov and MARUV use the term to warn someone that the love they think is there between themselves and someone else is in fact not real: “It’s not comme il faut with him, oh oh / This is not love / And I just wanna tell you / But…”. The music video is described as a “Psychological fashion thriller about female revenge” and sees MARUV as a nurse who’s taking care of Kirkorov in a psychiatric hospital. (Jonathan)
15. Bilal Hassani – “Merci (Papa Maman)”
“Papa Maman” first featured on Bilal Hassani’s 2020 album Contre soirée. After releasing the music video in early 2021, France’s Eurovision 2019 star later dropped a re-work of the tender song in November. This new version comes packaged as “Merci (Papa Maman)” (“Thank you (Dad Mum)”). Bilal sings to his parents about the struggles he’s going through at the moment. Although he feels his life could all come crashing down at any moment, he wants his parents to know that he doesn’t condemn them in any way: “If only I knew where this path takes me / I want to reach out, I want you to take it / If tomorrow is the end I will say thank you / In the meantime I live / Dad, Mum, I don’t blame you”. (Jonathan)
14. KEiiNO – “VENUS”
What we said: KEiiNO gave their debut performance of “VENUS” as part of Alexandra Rotan’s appearance at the grand final of Stjernekamp 2021. The Norwegian singer leads the vocals, with Tom Hugo and Fred Buljo providing backing vocals and joik respectively. It’s a spirited track that sees the Eurovision 2019 trio adding their usual flair to more of a rock sound. The chorus really packs a punch and the song demonstrates that KEiiNO’s style can work with other genres beyond just electro-pop. Alexandra sings about freeing herself from people who are trying to keep her down and soaring to new heights: “I’m cutting signals off from ground control / I see a goddess floating in the sky / She tells me, ‘All you have to do is fly’ / Venus, I’m burning in the atmosphere / And I don’t care, no, if I shine too bright / I’ve seen the bеauty in the blinding light / Now I can fly”. (Jonathan)
13. KEiiNO (feat. Peder Elias) – “A New Beginning”
What we said: Eurovision 2019 group KEiiNO made “A New Beginning” after a hacker took over their old Instagram account. This also happens to be the title of the Norwegian trio’s new single. This song was funded by PwC Norge as part of their Julekalender, where the company have paid for the production of 12 new songs through the festive period. KEiiNO have collaborated with emerging singer Peder Elias for the song, which develops into a wonderful and dynamic pop track. Fred Buljo adds in some joik for the bridge, but it’s Alexandra Rotan and Peder who take the lead on the rest of the vocals: “Guess I’ve been waiting for tonight / Even though I know it’s all in my head / I’m back in your bed / I can’t travel back in time / But tonight I wanna go somewhere new / A new beginning”. (Jonathan)
12. ABBA – “When You Danced With Me”
What we said: In 1981, world-renowned pop group ABBA released their last album The Visitors. But now, 40 years later, they’ve turned “last” into “penultimate”. The Swedish quartet and Eurovision 1974 champions have reunited and released the brand new LP Voyage, which includes the folk-pop song “When You Danced With Me”. Despite it being 40 years since their last release, Voyage is not meant to be a complete overhaul of ABBA’s sound that attempts to bring them in line with contemporary music. Instead, running throughout all of it is an atmosphere of nostalgia, which harks back to the ABBA so many people loved in the ‘70s and early ‘80s. (Jonathan)
11. Lesley Roy – “I’ll Be Fine”
What we said: Lesley is known for encouraging healthy discussions about mental health — and sometimes that comes through loud and clear in her music. Her bright and happy release “I’ll Be Fine” is all about picking yourself up after you fall. It was born of her sadness in the aftermath of the Eurovision semi-final. Our girl is committed to keep dancing and is moving on to bigger and better things. As she sings: “I’ll be fine / I take the pleasure with the pain / When I dance it off my mind / So I keep dancing on, I keep dancing on / Till I dance it off my mind.” (William)
Our Top Tracks of 2021 ranking is determined by independent votes from a panel of wiwibloggers. They are Jonathan, Renske, Oliver, Robyn, Tom, William, Cinan, Mario, Padraig and Josh.
Which songs do you think should feature on the list? Are you surprised by our choices so far? Let us know in the comments.