NPR Music 2021 Staff Picks: Mitra I. Arthur : The Best Music Of 2021: NPR Staff Picks The Jazz Night In America producer shares her favorite albums and songs of 2021.

Mitra I. Arthur

Jacob Banks. Valery Hache/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Valery Hache/AFP via Getty Images

Jacob Banks.

Valery Hache/AFP via Getty Images

This is more of a "Best for Mi" list. Represented here are my belief that strings make everything better; my tendency to listen to music that gives me '70s, '80s & '90s sounds; the fact that I'll play on repeat anything from Lake Street Dive, We are KING and Alice Smith; and that sometimes, I just need to feel all the feelings. There's other biographical bits, but I've already shared enough of my business. I'm also going to cheat and give love to a song that came out last year. Thanks to my mom playing (and singing) it constantly on my long-awaited pandemic visit with her, it became a balm during 2021: Bri Babineaux's "He's My Rock."

Top 10 Albums of 2021


• Joy Oladokun, in defense of my own happiness
• Luke James & Nu Deco Ensemble, A Live Sensation
• Emma-Jean Thackray, Yellow
• Brandee Younger, Somewhere Different
• Theo Croker, BLK2LIFE // A FUTURE PAST
• Hiatus Kaiyote, Mood Valiant
• Jared Schonig, Two Takes, Vol. 1: Quintet
• Sons of Kemet, Black to the Future
• Dr. Lonnie Smith, Breathe
• Cautious Clay, Deadpan Love

Top 10 Songs of 2021


• Jacob Banks, "Found"
• Lake Street Dive, "Same Ole News"
• Silk Sonic, "Leave the Door Open"
• Nicolas Godin (feat. We are KING), "Another Side"
• Rogê (feat. João Donato & Alice Smith), "Vai Viver Curumim "
• Scary Pockets (feat. Astyn Turr), "Drivers License"
• Ari Lennox, "Pressure"
• Butcher Brown (feat. Alex Isley), "Remind Me"
• Raquel Rodriguez, "Sweet Side"
• VanJess, "Come Over"