As a tribute to Spinal Tap, this Top 10 “goes all the way to 11.”.
Proving rock music is not only “better in the old days”.
Best rock songs of 2021
“These go to 11” Special Mention.
11. “Hunter’s Moon” - Ghost
I hate this band. Cause every time they release one of their new catchy and haunting rock anthems, I spend days and nights figuring out what band it reminds me of. Is it Blue Oyster Cult, The Goblins, Black Sabbath, Kiss, or Type O Negative? Well done Papa Emeritus and friends, well done. You did it again! With “Hunter’s Moon,” the band once more borrowed all-over sound and imagery from goth metal, horror movies and theatrical rock bands. Love it!
10. “End of Me” - Billy Talent
Get ready for a wink to the ‘90s alt-rock sound. They even invited Rivers Cuomo (from Weezer) to sing on the track. An era when a lot of music, even when dark, could be a light at the end of the tunnel for the twisted teenagers or young adults we were. “End of Me” is just that, a feel-good tune flipping the bird to his tragic lyrics and putting a smile on our faces.
9. “Waiting on a War” - Foo Fighters
Maybe they released too many songs in the last few years or had too much pressure trying to be the guardians of rock. But after a suite of “just ok” songs, it’s good to hear one Foo Fighter gem that sticks around for more than a few weeks.
8. “The Writing on the Wall” - Iron Maiden
Everything in music goes in circles. And the lack of new heroes created the perfect opening in the rock matrix for Iron Maiden to come back and make all of us realize how good they are. Welcome back Eddie, fantasy art imagery, powerful vocals, and legendary riffs. You were missed.
7 ex aequo. “White Buffalo” - Crown Lands
Thanks to Canadian rock band for keeping rock alive in the last 10 years. After Sheepdogs, Monster Truck, Glorious Sons, Crown Lands took the crown back in 2021 with achieved and effective rock hymns like this one.
7 ex aequo. “Don’t Back Down” - Mammoth WVH
With this song, Wolfgang Van Halen’s one-man band avoided falling into the traps and coming out sounding like a pale copy of his legendary father's band. “Don’t Back Down” is pure and solid hard rock, niched halfway between classic Queens of the Stone Age and newer Volbeat. Still the family talent is felt, and ‘80s’ guitar hero riffs are all over the track.
6. “California Dreamin’” - Dirty Honey
Dirty Honey topped my “Time to Ride” playlist last summer along classic Deep Purple, Motley Crue and GnR tracks. Sometime rock just needs to be fun grooves and good vocals. And why did guitar solos disappear again? They are so much fun!
5. “My Lucky Card” – Billy Gibbons
Fully eclipsed (with reason) by the shocking death of ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill, Billy Gibbons’ new grimy blues-rock album stayed in the dark. Too bad, since “My Lucky Card” is a direct road trip back to the band’s late ‘70s’ albums. It’s the best music Billy G released in years.
4. "Built by Nations” - Greta Van Fleet
Rock and roll imposters or Rock and roll saviors, every Rock fan has is opinion on the UK quartet but they are definitely now a fixture of the Nostalgia Rock sound lining up radio anthems. Heat Above slowly rose from the shadow of sister hit Heat Above and is definitely born for a longer life…
3. "The Bandit” - Kings of Leon
Did When You See Yourself bring us the best Kings of Leon music since Only by the Night? Probably. And “The Bandit” leads that strong, overlooked, great opus. Hopefully, the return of live music festivals in 2022 will give “The Bandit” and other perfectly crafted alt-rock gems on this album, a well-deserved second life.
2. “Crawling Kingsnake” - The Black Keys
Some said this Delta blues classic rendition album just showed how The Black Keys may have become an uninspired record label pleaser. But most fans digged it and rock radio played the hello out this song. And their name is back on the top row of many festival headliners. So maybe blues-influenced garage rock is just what the band does best.
1. “I Don’t Live Here Anymore” - The War on Drugs
Rising above the trendy nostalgia rock bands and newest work from established rock gods, emerged my favorite song of 2021. It’s a simple but epic masterpiece rooted in Americana, ‘80s and indie rock. “I Don’t Live Here Anymore” will make you want to wander on a country road or in a pile of old vinyls. The song features waves of vintage guitars backing inspiring lyrics that could come straight out of Springsteen’s Nebraska or U2’s Rattle and Hum.
The best of rock music on Stingray Music
And there you have it! Listen to these songs and other great rock legends on our Stingray Music mobile app. We have more than 2,000 music channels, all curated by music experts. So, what are you waiting for?