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VVMPYRE Presents… The Top 50 Tracks of 2021

2021 in music was weird, especially within this community. I mostly resorted to checking music in this community, and while I am sure something from the Bruno Mars & Anderson Paak record or JPEGMafia would be worthy of this list, none of those were my primary listen. Instead, the world of synths and the world of gothic darkness led me to the path that defines what you will hear on this list. That said, there were two different stories in each half of the year.

In the first half, 2021 was a decent year with some cool releases, but the highlights were very obvious standouts that would top all the rest by a country mile. In the second half, 2021 was a phenomenal year for music that truly saw many artists releasing some of their best years and new artists fully coming into their own. The end result of both set the world of music ablaze and put forward talents that could easily define the new decade like Night Leather and ELYXIR, reinventing others like CZARINA, and spelling out the new chapters of talents like Thought Beings and Male Tears.

My cutoff for this list was December 3rd, 2021. Anything released after that did not make it onto this list, and will be considered for 2022. Even with this, there are some incredibly tough cuts I had to make, some songs I expected to be in my top 10 in the first half just barely made it onto the list. Some tracks I also waited on if there are albums due for each of them, which is why you won’t see Draven’s “Cauchemar Noir” or CZARINA’s “Medusa” here among others. What a year it has been, let’s begin its summary with:

50. Vara Sky - Aggressive

This year, I challenged myself to be daring in exploring my music taste. I had dived somewhat into Industrial and EBM, but discovering Industrial Techno was a big moment for me. That said, while most artists stood out in singular tracks, Vara Sky as an artist stuck with me. If I had to demonstrate with just one track, this brutal mayhem of relentless kicks, fun samples, and a barrage of bass is the way I would do it. There is almost something melodic about the execution of this, in spite of the lack of a distinct melody in the same way one would traditionally recognize a melody. It oddly sticks with you, and Vara’s ability to consistently do this is what separates her from the pack.

49. Jonny Fallout - Magic Love (Flux)

2021 offered many interesting sounds and unlikely combinations of sounds, but perhaps one of the least predictable came in Jonny Fallout’s seamless blend of Synthwave and early to mid 2010’s Electro Trance. The track evolves through many different progressions from a euphoric breakdown that begins the track, to a dance break that would have its place in a Robots with Rayguns track, straight into the verses with the Electro wubs clashing with the synth grooves and retro drum machines playing a progression not far from Andy Moor or Ferry Corsten. The vocals match this, with an airy male vocal filling an occasional hook, and the main vocalist channeling her inner Aruna with the vocal fx further complimenting this vibe. It’s fun, it’s irresistible, it’s sexy, it’s a good time.

48. Fluid Ghost - Bedroom Smoke

When the main goal of your track is a “dance” track meant to get people on the dancefloor, there is seldom need for much more to be of a solid quality, but this “Dark Dance” track from Fluid Ghost has a lot to its groove. While it focuses mostly on a simple 3-note synth melody, it constantly builds atmosphere and tension throughout to intensify the groove, to make it even more captivating, and even more haunting. It doesn’t feel like there is one constant progression, it is always moving.

47. Draven - Silver Coffin

While this year saw past Darksynth kings GoST, Carpenter Brut, and Pertubator pursue directions outside of their main music course, I would say this year established three new Darksynth kings in the meantime. Meet the first of them, the Greek king of horror himself, Draven. With a logo inspired by the Evil Dead franchise and a knack for larger-than-life productions with a brutal bass assault, there is no stopping the mayhem that Draven’s tracks have created. This track with its haunting pianos, massive progressions, and barrage of buildups is only the beginning of what is the path of an artist I expect to be a favorite in 2022. This track only has grown on me since I initially reviewed it, and there is bound to be more to come.

46. CONNÖR - Cybernetic Satan

I had such a hard time deciding between this track and Draven, but what is clear about this one is that CONNÖR is another addition to the list of Darksynth kings. Where Silver Coffin excelled in its horror and tension, Cybernetic Satan delivers in riff after riff with a constant shift in synths and sections to further emphasize the heavy beats. This all peaks into a collapse that leads into a breakdown at the end. This Drumstep-esque finale with the giant choir demonstrates CONNÖR’s ability to balance melody with brutal, heavy climaxes that keep the energy regardless of tempo. Alongside another solid single after this one, it proves for a bright future for the German Darksynth talent.