Best Music Of 2021 A collection of lists, essays and features on the best recordings of 2021.

Best Music Of 2021Best Music Of 2021

In 2021, Lil Nas X, whose single "Old Town Road" holds the record for the most weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, delivered his debut album Montero and cemented his ability to bend media platforms to his will. Photo Illustration by Renee Klahr/NPR/Getty Images hide caption

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Photo Illustration by Renee Klahr/NPR/Getty Images

Cassettes released by Znous, Bacon Grease, Wendy Eisenberg, Morbo, Maraudeur, Myriam Gendron, Cara Neir, Felinto, Neo Geodesia and Lucy Liyou appear on this Viking's Choice episode. Photo Illustration by Renee Klahr, Lars Gotrich/NPR hide caption

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Photo Illustration by Renee Klahr, Lars Gotrich/NPR

Viking's Choice 2021: Cassettes rule everything around me

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Lil Nas X, Japanese Breakfast, Vince Staples (pictured above) and more share their favorite music of 2021 with NPR. Photo Illustration by Renee Klahr/NPR; Getty Images; Album art courtesy of Polydor & Wolf Tone Records, Saddle Creek Records, Kemosabe & RCA Records hide caption

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Photo Illustration by Renee Klahr/NPR; Getty Images; Album art courtesy of Polydor & Wolf Tone Records, Saddle Creek Records, Kemosabe & RCA Records

Projects released by Blu DeTiger, girl in red, Normani and Draco Rosa are among the NPR Music staff's favorite songs and albums that didn't make our final best-of lists for 2021. Photo Illustration by Renee Klahr/NPR; Getty Images hide caption

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Photo Illustration by Renee Klahr/NPR; Getty Images

The best songs and albums we missed in 2021

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Projects released by Young Thug, Tyler, the Creator and Little Simz are included in NPR Music's best hip-hop albums of 2021. Photo Illustration by Renee Klahr/NPR; Getty Images hide caption

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Photo Illustration by Renee Klahr/NPR; Getty Images

The composer Julius Eastman died in 1990, but his music is experiencing a renaissance. The Los Angeles-based group Wild Up's jubilant recording of his 1974 work Femenine is one of the most remarkable classical albums of the year. Ron Hammond hide caption

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Ron Hammond

Lil Nas X's "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)" is NPR Music's best song of 2021. Charlotte Rutherford/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Charlotte Rutherford/Courtesy of the artist

Lil Nas X on 'MONTERO,' NPR Music's song of the year

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