Do you feel it? There’s a shift taking place in music right now. For nearly a year and a half, many artists patiently held back and waited for the world to open back up again before releasing their most high-energy songs. And in their absence, artists who made calming and introspective headphone music reigned. But now, finally, the return of party music is upon us.
As COVID restrictions lift, club-friendly acts like Migos are re-emerging with songs to soundtrack the summer. Concert venues are reopening, festival lineups are being announced, and people are outside again. Naturally, many of the songs that are resonating most with us right now reflect this energy. But of course, there are exceptions. Artists are still releasing music that they created over the past year, and some of it is (appropriately) very somber.
As you scroll through this list, you’ll find a mix of both moods, but you’ll probably notice the majority of these songs are full of energy and waiting to be played at high volumes in large groups of people. Finally! Without further ado, these are Complex’s picks for the 50 best songs of 2021 (so far). [Note: To qualify for this list, a song needs to have been released sometime between January 1 and June 15, 2021.]