Press Pause And Hit Play: The Best New Songs You Missed In 2021

Jan 21, 2021
Originally published on March 25, 2021 10:00 am

Updated March 25, 2021 at 11:00 AM ET

It can be hard to keep pace with life's restless forward motion – chores and news, friends and family, work and play. At the very least, let us help you find some new music via Press Pause, a regularly updated playlist keeping track of new songs deemed absolutely essential by the NPR Music staff.

Just like the 2020 edition, you'll find R&B, reggaeton, rock, country, Americana, punk, pop, hip-hop and whatever else helps frame the days ahead, or simply helps you to take a breather.

Stream this playlist via Spotify or Apple Music.


Press Pause Tracklist

Added March 25

  • Mannequin Pussy, "Control"
  • Meet Me @ The Altar, "Hit Like A Girl"
  • Les Filles de Illighadad, "Surbajo"
  • JID, "Skegee"
  • Lucy Dacus, "Thumbs"
  • Quivers, "Gutters of Love"
  • Andy Stott, "The beginning"
  • Crumb, "Trophy"
  • Shamir, "DsharpG (Sharon Van Etten cover)"

Added March 2

  • Japanese Breakfast, "Be Sweet"
  • Noname, "Rainforest"
  • Freddie Gibbs, "Winter in America"
  • Toumani Diabaté & London Symphony Orchestra, "Haïnamady Town"
  • Black Country, New Road, "Science Fair"
  • Aaron Lee Tasjan, "Computer of Love"
  • McKinley Dixon, "make a poet Black"
  • BABii, "SHADOW"
  • Will Liverman, Margaret Bonds: "Three Dream Portraits: No. 2, Dream Variation"

Added Feb. 16

  • Dawn Richard, "Bussifame"
    • Syd, "Missing Out"
    • Elephant Micah, "Glacier Advisors"

    Added Feb. 11

    • H.E.R., "Fight For You"
    • Katy Kirby, "Portals"
    • Matt Sweeney & Bonnie "Prince" Billy, "Hall of Death"
    • AMOR & LEMUR, "Unravel"
    • Arm's Length, "Garamond"

    Added Feb. 8

    • Devin The Dude, "Soulful Distance"
    • VanJess, "Come Over"
    • Daniel Hope & Alexy Botvinov, Schnittke: "Suite in the Old Style: V. Pantomime"
    • Raveena, "Tweety"

    Added Feb. 4

    • Flock of Dimes, "Two"
    • The Armed, "ALL FUTURES"

    Added Feb. 2

    • Robyn & Röyksopp, "Monument (Olof Dreijer Remix)"
    • Bomba Estéreo, "Agua"
    • Lil Durk, "Kanye Crazy"
    • Goat Girl, "Sad Cowboy"
    • underscores, "Second hand embarrassment"
    • William Parker, "A Great Day to Be Dead"
    • Nina Tech, "Hocus Pocus"

    Added Jan. 27

    • FKA twigs (feat. Headie One, Fred again..), "Don't Judge Me"
    • Esther Rose, "Keeps Me Running"
    • DijahSB, "Throw That Back"
    • IAN SWEET, "Drink the Lake"
    • Jensen McRae, "Immune"
    • FKAjazz (feat. Noah MacNeil, Philippe Lemm), "YLEM"
    • Rat Tally, "Shrug"
    • Half Waif, "Orange Blossoms"

    Added Jan. 22

    • Valerine June (feat. Carla Thomas), "Call Me a Fool"
    • Michael Franks, "Coming Home to You"
    • Palberta, "Big Bad Want"
    • Tomaga, "Intimate Immensity"
    • Rowdy Rebel (feat. Funkmaster Flex), "Re Route"
    • Devin The Dude, "To Each His Own"

    Added Jan. 21

    • Olivia Rodrigo, "drivers license"
    • Jazmine Sullivan (feat. Anderson .Paak), "Price Tags"
    • Jhay Cortez & Myke Towers, "Los Bo"
    • Vagabon (feat. Courtney Barnett), "Reason to Believe"
    • The Weather Station, "Atlantic"
    • Anna B Savage, "Baby Grand"
    • Joy Oladokun (feat. Jensen McRae), "wish you the best"
    • Wild Pink, "Oversharers Anonymous"
    • C. Tangana & Toquinho, "Comerte Entera"
    • Willie Jones, "American Dream"
    • Noga Erez, "End of the Road"
    • Sun June, "Everything I Had"
    • Hailey Whitters (feat. Little Big Town), "Fillin' My Cup"
    • Pale Waves, "Easy"
    • Ebhoni, "Hit This"
    • AceMo, "Aquarium Date"
    • Run The Jewels (feat. Mexican Institute Of Sound & Santa Fe Klan), "Ooh La La (Mexican Institute Of Sound Remix)"
    • Th1rt3eN, "Cult 45"
    • Dj Jahmar (feat. Josh David Barrett), "This Feeling (Love Original)"
    • Matthew E. White & Lonnie Holley, "This Here Jungle of Moderness/Composition 14"
    • Flo Milli, "Roaring 20s"
    • Alfa Mist, "Run Outs"
    • Julien Baker, "Hardline"
    • Adult Mom, "Sober"
    • Hand Habits, "4th of July"
    • Jillette Johnson, "Forgive Her"
    • Pom Poko, "Andrew"
    • Middle Kids, "Questions"
    • Renée Reed, "Fast One"
    • A Winged Victory for the Sullen, "So That the City Can Begin to Exist"
    • Monolord, "I'm Staying Home"
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