The Most Popular Music Of 2021 - iHeartRadio, Apple Music, Billboard
The Most Popular Music Of 2021 - iHeartRadio, Apple Music, Billboard

We are celebrating the year’s end despite all the difficulties and hardship. This year has met with the best works of famous songwriters, producers, and singers that made their best pieces of music or albums. Lil Nas X broke the internet with his debut record, Billie Eilish dropped her highly-anticipated second album, and a ton of celebs gave us collabs that we never even knew we needed. Let’s take a look at the most popular music of 2021, according to Forbes List.

Most Popular Music On Apple Music

BTS’ “Dynamite” was the most-played song on the streaming service of Apple Music between October 16, 2020, and October 15, 2021, followed by Olivia Rodrigo’s “drivers license,” Ariana Grande’s “positions,” Pop Smoke, Lil Baby and DaBaby’s “For The Night” and The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights”; the most Shazamed song—when users ask Siri to identify a song that’s playing—was Masked Wolf’s “Astronaut in the Ocean,” which was requested 11.7 million times.

Most Popular Music On iHeartRadio

Dua Lipa’s “Levitating” was the most-played song on the country’s largest radio network, garnering 1.2 billion listens, followed by The Weeknd’s “Save Your Tears,” Ariana Grande’s “34+35,” Doja Cat, and Sza’s “Kiss Me More” and Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”; Ariana Grande was the network’s most-played artist, getting 2.6 billion listens, followed by Lipa, The Weeknd, Olivia Rodrigo, and Pop Smoke on iHeartRadio.

Most Popular Music On Billboard

Though Billboard hasn’t released its official end-of-year numbers yet, Adele’s new album 30 sold over 500,000 copies in its first three days and is the best-selling album of 2021 so far.

Billboard’s Hot 100 Songs of the Year chart, which is based on sales, streams, and radio plays, was topped by familiar names: The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” ranks first, followed by Post Malone’s “Circles,” Roddy Ricch’s “The Box,” Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now” and DaBaby and Roddy Ricch’s “Rockstar.” The most popular album of the year, according to Billboard, was Post Malone’s “Hollywood Is Bleeding.” “Blinding Lights” was also the most-streamed song on Spotify last year.

What Are The Most Popular Music Of 2021?

1. BTS’ “Dynamite” – Apple Music

"Dynamite" is a song recorded by South Korean boy band BTS, released on August 21, 2020, through Big Hit Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment. It is the band's first song fully recorded in English. The song, written by David Stewart and Jessica Agombar and produced by Stewart, is an upbeat disco-pop song with elements of funk, soul, and bubblegum pop, and takes influence from 1970s music—it features snapping handclaps, echoing synths, and celebratory horns.

Intended to soothe listeners during the COVID-19 pandemic, the song talks about joy and appreciation for the little things that make life valuable. Upon release, "Dynamite" received positive reviews from music critics, with praise towards its catchiness and broadly appealing retro sound. It garnered the band their first Grammy nomination, for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, making them the first Korean pop act to be nominated for one.

2. Olivia Rodrigo’s “drivers license” – Apple Music

"Drivers License" (stylized in all lowercase) is the debut single by American singer-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo. It was released on January 8, 2021, through Geffen and Interscope Records, as the lead single from her debut studio album, Sour (2021). She co-wrote the song with its producer Dan Nigro. Containing poignant lyrics detailing heartache, "Drivers License" is an atmospheric power ballad blending bedroom pop, indie pop, and power pop styles. It is characterized by a minimalist, piano-led production, incorporating kick drums, harmonies, syncopated hand-claps, and a dreamy bridge.

The song documents the "multifaceted" emotions Rodrigo endured after a heartbreak. She teased the song on her social media for many months in 2020, before announcing it on January 4, 2021. The official music video was posted to YouTube alongside the song's release, in which Rodrigo drives around a suburban area after receiving her driver's license and reminisces about her memories of the song's subject, who encouraged her to obtain the license. "Drivers License" was met with widespread critical acclaim; praise centered on Rodrigo's cathartic songwriting, emotional vocals, and the song's stirring production, with many underscoring its Taylor Swift and Lorde influences. The song received nominations for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance at the 2022 Grammy Awards.

3. The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” – Apple Music

"Blinding Lights" is a song by Canadian singer The Weeknd, released on November 29, 2019, through XO and Republic Records, as the second single from his fourth studio album, After Hours (2020). It was written and produced by The Weeknd, Max Martin, and Oscar Holter, with Ahmad Balshe and Jason Quenneville receiving additional credits.

"Blinding Lights" peaked at number one on the Canadian Hot 100, giving The Weeknd his fifth number-one hit on the chart. In the United States, the song topped the Hot 100 for four weeks and went to become the song with most weeks spent in the top 5, top 10, top 20, top 40, and top 100 on the chart, as well as the first song to hold a spot in the top 10 on the chart for an entire year. It is also the longest-charting song on the Hot 100 of all time at 90 weeks, ending the week of September 11, 2021. The song finished 2020 as the year's top Billboard Hot 100 song. It has also topped the record charts in the United Kingdom and 31 other countries. On November 23, 2021, it was ranked as the #1 Greatest Hot 100 Hit of All Time by Billboard.

4. Dua Lipa’s “Levitating” – iHeartRadio

"Levitating" is a song by English singer Dua Lipa from her second studio album, Future Nostalgia (2020). The song was written by Lipa, Clarence Coffee Jr., Sarah Hudson, and Stephen Kozmeniuk. The production was handled by Koz and Stuart Price and stemmed from a Roland VP-330 synthesizer sample played by the former. The song is an electro-disco and nu-disco song with several disco tropes. It incorporates elements of dance-pop, pop-funk, power pop, and space rock, as well as the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s pop and R&B styles. The lyrics describe the idea of "levitating" when falling in love, with several outer space references.

A remix of "Levitating" by American DJ the Blessed Madonna featuring Madonna and Missy Elliott was released for digital download and streaming on 13 August 2020 as the lead single from Lipa and the Blessed Madonna's remix album Club Future Nostalgia (2020). It was categorized as an EDM, electro-disco, electro house, future bass, and techno track, with a throwback disco and trance vibe, and an increased tempo from the original. A second remix featuring American rapper DaBaby was released for the same formats on 1 October 2020 in promotion of the bonus edition of Future Nostalgia, as the album's fifth single. The remix impacted contemporary hit radio formats in the United States on 6 October 2020, serving as the album's third single in the country. The remix has the same production used in the original, with DaBaby adding a pop-rap verse and intro.

5. Doja Cat and Sza’s “Kiss Me More” – iHeartRadio

"Kiss Me More" is a song by American singer and rapper Doja Cat, featuring American singer SZA, from the former's third studio album Planet Her (2021). The song was released on April 9, 2021, as the album's lead single, through Kemosabe and RCA Records. It was produced by Rogét Chahayed and Yeti Beats, with additional production from Carter Lang and Tizhimself. The song was co-written by the performers themselves, with Kemosabe's label executive Dr. Luke also earning a songwriting credit. It has been described as a disco-influenced pop-rap song.

As it interpolates the chorus from English-Australian singer Olivia Newton-John's 1981 single "Physical", additional co-writing credits on the track go to Steve Kipner and Terry Shaddick. "Kiss Me More" became a number-one song in New Zealand, Mexico, Malaysia and Singapore, and reached the top five in eighteen countries including Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States. It is the longest-running all-female top 10 hit in the latter's history. The song earned three Grammy nominations for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.

6. Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” – iHeartRadio

"Montero (Call Me by Your Name)" is a song by American rapper and singer Lil Nas X. First previewed in a Super Bowl LV commercial in February 2021, the song was released on March 26, 2021, through Columbia Records. Written by Lil Nas X along with its producers, Take a Daytrip, Omer Fedi, and Roy Lenzo, the song is the lead single and title track from Lil Nas X's debut studio album Montero, which was released on September 17, 2021.

The song is noted for its queer themes, including its sexually explicit homosexual lyrics, taking its name from the 2017 film Call Me by Your Name which centers on a gay romance. The campy, sexually charged music video for the song depicts Lil Nas X in a number of biblically-inspired scenes, including the artist riding a stripper pole to Hell, and giving a lap dance to Satan. The song and video were praised by some commentators for their boldly queer sensibilities but were also the subject of backlash from a number of conservative figures in the United States who deemed the content immoral or harmful to children.

7. 30 (Adele album) – Billboard

30 is the fourth studio album by English singer-songwriter Adele, released on 19 November 2021 by Melted Stone and Columbia Records. It comprises pop, jazz, and soul ballads addressing Adele's divorce, motherhood, and the scrutiny of fame, with themes of heartache, acceptance, and hope.

Adele wrote 30 between 2018 and 2021 with producers including Greg Kurstin, Tobias Jesso Jr., Max Martin, and Shellback, all of whom worked on her previous record, 25 (2015); new collaborators include Ludwig Göransson, and Inflo of the English band Sault. American jazz pianist Erroll Garner is posthumously credited as a featured artist on "All Night Parking", marking the first guest performance on a standard album by Adele.

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Strangers by Nature"
  • Adele Adkins
  • Ludwig Göransson
Göransson 3:02
2. "Easy on Me"
  • Adkins
  • Greg Kurstin
Kurstin 3:44
3. "My Little Love"
  • Adkins
  • Kurstin
Kurstin 6:29
4. "Cry Your Heart Out"
  • Adkins
  • Kurstin
Kurstin 4:15
5. "Oh My God"
  • Adkins
  • Kurstin
Kurstin 3:45
6. "Can I Get It"
  • Adkins
  • Max Martin
  • Shellback
  • Martin
  • Shellback
3:30
7. "I Drink Wine"
  • Adkins
  • Kurstin
Kurstin 6:16
8. "All Night Parking" (with Erroll Garner)
  • Adkins
  • Garner
  • Joey Pecoraro
  • Kurstin
2:41
9. "Woman like Me"
  • Adkins
  • Inflo
Inflo 5:00
10. "Hold On"
  • Adkins
  • Inflo
Inflo 6:06
11. "To Be Loved"
  • Adkins
  • Tobias Jesso Jr.
  • Jesso Jr.
  • Shawn Everett
6:43
12. "Love Is a Game"
  • Adkins
  • Inflo
Inflo 6:43
Total length: 58:14
Target and Japanese limited edition bonus tracks
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
13. "Wild Wild West"
  • Adkins
  • Göransson
Göransson 3:46
14. "Can't Be Together"
  • Adkins
  • Kurstin
Kurstin 4:17
15. "Easy on Me" (with Chris Stapleton)
  • Adkins
  • Kurstin
Kurstin 3:44
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