2021 in Music (Last.FM and Spotify Listening Trends)

Elisa media player playing MxPx music

This year I was able to attend the Paul and Storm / JoCo concert that COVID stole from me last year. While there I bought the entire Paul and Storm discography, but I think because I listened to it so much on Spotify in the past, I didn’t listen to it as much as I thought I would. 

This was not one of those years where I came out ahead by not paying for Spotify. I bought a lot of albums, including starting on my quest to get the entire MxPx back catalog from the time I stopped listening in high school until now. (This is reflected in this year’s numbers)

New albums

  • Dj Cutman – Free to Stream
  • Five Iron Frenzy – Until this Shakes Apart (Kickstarter)
  • Icon For Hire – Amorphous (Kickstarter)
  • Hamilton Soundtrack
  • I Fight Dragons – Side Quest: B-Sides and Rarities (Patreon)
  • Nikki Lynette – Roses N’ Guns, Roses N’ Guns 2
  • DJ Format – Stealin’ James Brown, Holy Shit
  • MxPx – Let it Ride, Before Everything & After, MxPx, Panic, Secret Weapon, On the Cover II, Punk Rawk Christmas
  • Entire discography of My Sister’s Fugazi Sweater
  • Entire discography of Ponies at Dawn
  • Entire Discography of Paul and Storm
  • Spindash 3
  • Dicey Dungeons Soundtrack
  • Packy Lundholm – Track Sabbath Vol 2
  • Slay the Spire Soundtrack
  • Janelle Monae – The Archandroid (gift)
  • Slick Shoes – frequency and rotation (gift)
  • Cimafunk – El Alimento (gift)
  • Dizzy Gillespie – 12 albums (gift)
  • Lana Del Rey – Chemtrails Over the Country Club

Of all the albums I bought this year, I think my favorite was Track Sabbath Volume 2 by Packy Lundholm. This isn’t really reflected in the numbers as I got it near the end of the year. That said, I really enjoyed the Hamilton Soundtrack, especially now that I could listen to it without Spotify ads. I also had a lot of fun listening to Nikki Lynette’s albums and Amorphous by Icon for Hire.

I wasn’t particularly attached to Ponies at Dawn (which turns out – in what perhaps shouldn’t be surprising – to be a collective of My Little Pony fan bands), one of the albums was recommended to me by Bandcamp and the entire discography was just a couple bucks. Same situation as with My Sister’s Fugazi Sweater. Of course, now they’re each pretty likely to come up on a purely random listen of my library since they constitute such a large chunk of it.

A few other things to note before we look at the stats:

  • The kids wanted to listen to the Audio Adrenaline cover of The Hairbrush Song and The PDX Broadsides’ Tiny Little Octopus every night during tooth brushing for a few months.
  • My use of the “recently favorited” feature on Ffunkwhale has definitely led to a lot of repeated listens of songs that I’ve marked as favorite. A lot of them are pretty energizing and great to put on in the morning at work. Eg: RVA All Day by the No BS Brass Band, I Am Jack’s Smirking Revenge by Five Iron Frenzy, and Freestyle by Bassnectar
  • I also created more artist-centric “radios” on Funkwhale, once again leading to artist concentration over a purely random mix.
  • I continued to use Spotify to preview artists and albums I would then put on my to-buy list
  • Throughout December I listened to lots of Christmas music on repeat. In fact I almost exclusively listened to Christmas music.

Onto the 2021 last.fm music stats:

Top Artists for 2021

1. MxPx (2139) – As I said above, I got pretty obsessed with MxPx and then with collecting the entire back catalog. I also spent a lot of time listening to a Funkwhale radio station with MxPx, Anberlin, and Five Iron Frenzy. They earned the top spot this year!

2. Bee Gees (873) – The Bee Gees jumped up quite a bit compared to last year. I listened to them 4 times as much as I did last year. I don’t remember listening to them so much this year, but I’m not surprised given what I’ve said about them in the past – they remind me of my childhood with my mom putting on the records as well as the fact that they wrote some absolute bangers. 

3. Five Iron Frenzy (830) – This shouldn’t be a surprise since their kickstarter album finally came out this year. It took me a few listens, but it grew on me to the point where I think Wildcat is about the only song I don’t like on the album.

4. I Fight Dragons (804) – Another crowd-funded album that released this year. This time it was b-sides and rarities. I actually had a fair chunk of these already, but the ones they cleaned up and/or re-recorded sound really nice.

5. Relient K (517) – I have not yet caught up with their latest album. I think I’ve mentioned in the past that I fell off of enjoyment of the band when they got a bit more serious. I still enjoy the old stuff, though. I remember spending one weekend playing their older stuff and reminiscing with the wife and sharing with the kids.

6. Anberlin (417) – A perennial group on this list, during COVID they started doing virtual concerts and I think it awoke something in them because they recently had a new single that appeared on my Spotify New Releases playlist. I hope they’re working on a new album.

7. Icon for Hire (404) – I had a few singles from their time on Tooth and Nail, but somehow I found out about their Kickstarter in 2020. The album finally released in 2021 and I really enjoyed the music. Sure, it’s a little emo for me in the sense that emo is mostly a young person’s genre (I think we either grow out of the sadness or “graduate” into depression), but the group writes catchy songs with fun and/or piercing lyrics. 

8. The Beatles (371) – As usual, I had a couple times in 2021 where I decided to just listen to all their albums. 

9. Lana Del Rey (352) – Chemtrails finally came out. I have to say that, as of the beginning of 2022, it’s not my favorite LDR album. I keep wanting her to put together another trip hop album. Sometimes I go back and revisit albums or songs I didn’t like and form new opinions, so we’ll see. Mostly I listened to her discography a few times as well as a Female Singer radio I have on Funkwhale.

10. YUNG BAE (328) – I don’t remember listening to this much YUNG BAE, but it’s always fun for something I can slip on in the background and just enjoy.

11. The PDX Broadsides (302) – As I mentioned above, the kids got addicted to Tiny Little Octopus for a while. I used to play it 3 times a night for a few months.

12. Marketplace (271) – As I mentioned last year, the scrobbler on Android was changed so that it also scrobbles podcasts. I guess I listened to a lot of Marketplace this year.

13. Paul and Storm (269) – I went through the entire discography once after buying it. After that I revisited my favorites a few times.

14. Dj CUTMAN (239) – There were a few times at work where I REALLY needed to concentrate on my work without worrying about lyrics distracting me at all. There are lots of artists I can put on, but Dj CUTMAN usually is the first to come to mind when I need to do that.

15. Run the Jewels (238) – I have continued to enjoy the RTJ songs I have, but a LOT of these came from listening to my Favorites list on Funkwhale, where I had a few RTJ songs.

16. The Indicator from Planet Money (233) – Another podcast. They have a LOT of episodes, so I’m not surprised they appeared on here.

17. The Doubleclicks (213) – They had a free day where all their albums were available for free on Bandcamp so I went and grabbed the albums I didn’t already have. Most of these listens come from going over the discography.

18. Nikki Lynette (176) – I first got introduced to Nikki Lynette via the songs she did with I Fight Dragons. When I discovered her two mixtapes, I listened to them almost literally on repeat for a month or two. I’d probably listen more often if Danielle didn’t hate them.

19. Anamanaguchi (161) – I don’t remember listening to this much Anamanaguchi this year, but they’re another great band for music without lyrics. 

20. Elaine Li (153) – I have one album of video game music that she did, but I had no idea I listened to it this much in 2021.

Top Albums of 2021

As usual, the albums can mix things up a bit compared to the artists because I might listen to lots of music from an artist, but over many albums or I might listen to one artist by listening to the same album over and over – particularly if I just got the album. 

1. Bee Gees – The Ultimate Bee Gees (873) – No real surprise here as it’s almost my only source of Bee Gees music, so if they appeared as high as they did above, it would have to be from this album.

2. Icon for Hire – Amorphous (399) – As with the Bee Gees, this is almost the only album I have for Icon For Hire, so no surprise here. 

3. MxPx – MxPx (384) – The album that kicked off my MxPx buying spree, it’s a great album that showcases their growth (in age) while still showing how there’s room for punk rock when you’re older.

4. Five Iron Frenzy – Until This Shakes Apart (361) – no surprise since it just came out this year

5. I Fight Dragons – Canon Eyes (339) – I’m slightly surprised I listened to this much of this album specifically. I remember listening to a lot of IFD, but not this particular one.

6. Marketplace – Marketplace (271) – podcast

7. MxPx – Let It Happen (236) – This B-side compilation of MxPx music has a LOT of tracks so I don’t have to listen to it too often for it to appear high on the list.

8. The Indicator from Planet Money – NPR (232) – podcast

9. MxPx – Before Everything & After (197) – I liked this one a lot and also needed to listen for the review I wrote this year, so I’m not surprised.

10. MxPx – At the Show (171) – an oldie, but a goodie

11. MxPx – Punk Rawk Christmas (157) – I’m pretty surprised this one made the list as I bought it at the end of November to be able to listen to during the Christmas season. Despite that it was able to do better than a lot of other albums that I had all year. 

12. Elaine Li – Geshi Matsuri (153) – As I said in the previous section, I’m surprised I listened to this album this much.

13. MxPx – Secret Weapon (150) – another new album

14. Lin-Manuel Miranda – Hamilton: An American Musical (149) – I’m slightly surprised that I listened to this album this much in 2021, but it’s such a great album.

15. MxPx – The Ever Passing Moment (148) – one of my older MxPx albums – surprised that it’s on here.

16. Jeremih & Chance the Rapper – Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama Re-Wrapped (146) – on here because of my Christmas music spree.

17. MxPx – Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo (139) – yet another old MxPx album

18. Danny Elfman – Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (137) – also on here because of my Christmas music

19. Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 3 (130) – In the end, I prefer more songs from RTJ3 than RTJ4

20. I Fight Dragons – Side Quest: B-Sides And Rarities (129) – I think the fact that I already had a bunch of these songs kept it lower on the list this year.

Top Songs of 2021

Not too many surprises here given what we’ve seen so far. I’ll just comment on anything that’s odd or surprising.

1. I Fight Dragons – Artifact (266)

2. Elaine Li – Beginners (Ragnarok Online II) (152) – Well, here we go. This song must have gotten stuck on repeat or something without me noticing. There’s no way I listened to this song on purpose so much. It also explains the appearances above.

3. Ape School – Cocaine & Guns ASAP (87)

4. Idina Menzel, AURORA – Into the Unknown (65)

5. The PDX Broadsides – Tiny Little Octopus (58)

6. The Beach Boys – Do You Wanna Dance? (Mono) (1999 Digital Remaster) (54) – A surprise appearance since The Beach Boys don’t appear anywhere else on the list. Also, I usually listen to Pet Sounds over the older stuff I used to listen to on the oldies station when I was a kid.

7. Audio Adrenaline – the hairbrush song (live at the gardens) (48)

8. I Fight Dragons – Talking (35)

9. Bee Gees – How Deep Is Your Love (34)

10. Bee Gees – To Love Somebody (33)

11. Five Iron Frenzy – Lonesome For Her Heroes (33)

12. Five Iron Frenzy – So We Sing (33)

13. Icon for Hire – Curse Or Cure (33)

14. MxPx – Let’s Ride (33)

15. Bee Gees – How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (32)

16. NUTRISYSTEM – NS62367 It’sTime DDTV YT 169 30 YoYo (32) – an ad from Spotify

17. Bee Gees – For Whom The Bell Tolls (31)

18. Bee Gees – Guilty (live) (31)

19. Bee Gees – Heartbreaker (live) (31)

20. Icon for Hire – Brittle (Prelude) (31)

Top All-Time Artists

1. Five Iron Frenzy (4807) (no change) – Almost a thousand more listens keeps Five Iron Frenzy securely in the lead. 

2. Anberlin (3797) (up from ) – As I predicted last year, it has jumped up past Fantastic Plastic Machine. 

3. Fantastic Plastic Machine (3777) (drop from ) – And in danger of being overtaken by The Beatles this year or next year.

4. The Beatles (3467) (no change)

5. Relient K (3045) (no change) – But funnily enough another year of about 500 listens. Very consistent with them, I am.

6. MxPx (2986) (not previously on the list) – jumping from out of nowhere is MxPx! They weren’t even on my list of potential additions to the list. 

7. I Fight Dragons (2955) (drop from ) – while it lost a spot due to MxPx’s surge, it’s very, very close to overtaking Relient K. I predict that both MxPx and IFD will overtake them next year. We’ll have to see what my listening trends do in 2021.

8. “Weird Al” Yankovic (1920) (drop from ) – It’s a long way to . I think “Weird Al” may continue to fall unless a new album is released or my kids get into him.

9. The PDX Broadsides (1733) (up from #10) – they continue to rise and would have been even higher had it not been for MxPx. Tough to say if they’ll pass “Weird Al” this year, but if they finally release the naughty album from their last kickstarter, that could be the boost they need. 

10. Fall Out Boy (1658) (drop from #8) – I really didn’t have them front of mind in 2021. If I add them to my rock out in the morning list, they may make a comeback.

11. Jonathan Coulton (1615) (drop from #9) – I think without a new album he may continue to fall.

12. Lana Del Rey (1393) (up from #14) – new to the list last year and up 2 spots in a year where everyone was dropping in the face of MxPx. LDR’s got some potential staying power. It’s going to depend on her next album and whether I find it any good.

13. Gnarls Barkley (1214) (drop from #11) – they’re stubbornly holding on for a group I rarely listen to. 

14. Chance the Rapper (1203) (drop from ) – if I end up with the next album(s) this year, he may rise or remain on the list. We’ll see. 

15. Bee Gees (1174) (new to list) – They were not on my predicted list for this year either. So perhaps my predictions don’t mean much? 

Off the list this year:

  • Tom Lehrer (from to ) – slightly surprising after last year’s rally. But he’s RIGHT there. Just like “Weird Al” – if I decided to share the songs with my kids, he could maybe eke back onto
  • LostProphets (from to )

Potentials for next year:

  • Anamanaguchi (currently #17) – Tricky because they’re only 100 scrobbles short of the Bee Gees, but I also don’t listen to them too much nowadays
  • YUNG BAE (current #19) – I almost feel more likely to select one of his songs over Anamanaguchi if I’m in the mood for something without lyrics
  • Childish Gambino (currently #21) – tough to know how realistic this is. I don’t listen to it as often as I did years ago, but I do have a couple songs I like to listen to on Spotify if I’m looking for something a little different
  • Dj CUTMAN (current #23) – is probably the most likely to jump into the top 15. I’m more likely to select his music on purpose compared to Gwen Stefani (#20) or DCTalk (#22)

All-Time Top Songs

After many years reflecting the scrobbles I made with a smaller collection of music, the all-time songs are slowly starting to better reflect the artists I listen to a lot. Of course, we’re talking about individual songs, so there will be some anomalies compared to the stats above. I’m surprised I don’t see any RTJ on here or some of the other songs I listened to a lot via the Favorites radio on Funkwhale.

1. I Fight Dragons – Artifact (309) (not previously on the list) – Jumps out of nowhere with double the scrobbles to take the top spot.

2. Elaine Li – Beginners (Ragnarok Online II) (156) – (not previously on list) – so this is where all the listens for the album came from!

3. Jonathan Coulton – The Princess Who Saved Herself (124) (dropped from ) – first position change in a couple years

4. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood (123) – (dropped from ) – Just like FPM, a relic from back when I first started using last.fm

5. Fantastic Plastic Machine – Steppin’ Out (110) (dropped from

6. The PDX Broadsides – Tiny Little Octopus (106) (not previously on the list) – completely expected as I noted at the beginning of the blog post. The kids’ obsession brought it to the list. We’ll see if they can rise a few more spots in 2022.

7. Gnarls Barkley – Who Cares (105) (dropped from )

8. Fantastic Plastic Machine – Take Me To The Disco [Malibu Mix] (104) (dropped from )

9. Gnarls Barkley – Just a Thought (103) (dropped from )

10. Anberlin – Audrey, Start The Revolution! (99) (dropped from ) – A slight surprise. I listened to a lot of Anberlin. On the other hand, I have a LOT of Anberlin songs so the chance of any one particular song playing is slim. 

11. Five Iron Frenzy – Handbook For The Sellout (96) (up from ) – First song that previously appeared that rose in position.

12. Five Iron Frenzy – Blue Comb ’78 (94) (dropped from #11)

13. Ape School – Cocaine & Guns ASAP (93) (new to list)

14. 4minute – Cut it Out (92) (dropped from #8)

15. Anberlin – The Undeveloped Story (92) (new to list)

A few stats from my last.fm year in review email:

  • An average of 73 daily scrobbles vs 59 in 2020
  • 139 days, 20 hours of listening time vs 81 days, 20 hours in 2020
  • 365 day streak vs 131 streak in 2020
  • 28% artists new to my scrobbles vs 12% in 2020
  • 48% new albums compared to 18% in 2020 (no surprise if you look back to the top of my post)
  • 44% new tracks vs 22% in 2020
  • Top tags
    • Rock
    • Pop
    • Pop punk
    • Electronic
    • Punk Rock
  • Most active hour was 1100 and I was most active during the work day (a reversal from early in my scrobbling times when we couldn’t scrobble from work)
  • Most active day of the week is Thursday
  • Most active day in the whole year was 8 July: 854 scrobbles
  • Total Scrobbles EOY: 184,819
  • 26,557 for year


As I mentioned above, Spotify was mostly for listening to songs or albums I was thinking about buying. I did also occasionally use it to listen to something a little different. 

I didn’t get an email from Spotify this yaer. Maybe they only do that for paying customers? But I was able to search and find my Top Songs 2021 Playlist. Below the embedded playlist you’ll find a text version for accessibility and as a preservation step in case Spotify deletes my 2021 playlist and the embed stops working. (and – a year later -the embed has stopped working). Here’s a link to the playlist.


  1. Chief Takinawa & GameChops – Just Peachy – Over time I’ve grown a little tired of straightforward video game covers, but this one makes it into its own bit of art and is a joy to listen to. Loved throwing this on whenever I’d start up Spotify
  2. Slick Shoes – Whispers – This, and all the Slick Shoes songs on here were me seeing if I wanted to buy the latest album.
  3. Slick Shoes – Waiting
  4. Slick Shoes – Carry This
  5. MxPx & Rivals – Say Yes – A fun single that MxPx promoted in their newsletter. Will it end up on a future album? I’m not sure! I’m also not sure how much that is a thing bands are thinking about in the streaming era
  6. Childish Gambino – Sober 
  7. Rivals – Heathens – I started checking out Rivals after enjoying their collaboration with MxPx
  8. Slick Shoes – The Worlds Were Mine
  9. MxPx – Rolling Strong
  10. Ra Ra Riot – Too Dramatic
  11. Childish Gambino – 3005
  12. Jokabi & GameChops – Dire Dire Docks
  13. MxPx – Let’s Ride
  14. Chief Takinawa, Sage, & The 64th Wonder – Bounty Hunter – Beboppin’ On Heaven’s Door
  15. Slick Shoes – Keep It Secret, Keep It Safe
  16. Jokabi & Gamechops – Lost Woods
  17. MxPx – Uptown Streets
  18. Renee Elise Goldsberry & Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton – Satisfied
  19. Ra Ra Riot – Foolish
  20. Curly, GameChops, & GlitchxCity – Bubblegum K.K.
  21. MxPx – Friday Tonight
  22. Rivals – Moonlit
  23. Jonathan Groff, Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton – You’ll Be Back – I think this continues to be one of my favorite songs from the soundtrack
  24. Jakobi & Gamechops – Song of Storms
  25. MxPx – All of It
  26. Slick Shoes – Always Have (Enough is More)
  27. Renee Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo, Jasmine Cephas-Jones, Leslie Odom Jr., & The Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton – The Schuyler Sisters
  28. Jokabi & GameChops – Professor Sycamore’s Theme
  29. MxPx – The Way We Do
  30. Ninjoi. – Misty
  31. Slick Shoes – Candy
  32. Jokabi & Gamechops – Ordon Village
  33. MxPx – Life Goals
  34. Chief Takinawa – Nogarap II
  35. Slick Shoes – Angel
  36. Jokabi & GameChops – Newbark Town
  37. MxPx – 20-20 Hindsight
  38. Jonathan Groff – I know Him
  39. Prince – I Wanna Be Your Lover
  40. Jokabi, GameChops, & Mikel – Smash Bros.
  41. Rx Bandits – In Her Drawer
  42. No BS! Brass Band – 3am Bounce
  43. Phillipa Soo & Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton – Helpless
  44. Jokabi & GameChops – Refugee Camp
  45. Rx Bandits – Ruby Cumulous
  46. Prince and The Revolution – Raspberry Beret
  47. Daveed Diggs, Leslie Odom Jr, Okieriete Onaodowan, & Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton – What’d I Miss
  48. Jokabi & GameChops – Kaepora Gaebora
  49. Rx Bandits – Only For the Night
  50. Ra Ra Riot – The Orchard
  51. Christopher Jackson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, & Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton – One Last TIme
  52. Jokabi & Gamechops – Agniratha
  53. Rivals – Lavenders
  54. Ra Ra Riot – Boy
  55. Prince – Little Red Corvette
  56. Jokabi & Gamechops – Kakariko Is Saved
  57. Leslie Odom Jr, Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, & Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton – Washington On Your Side
  58. Chief Takinawa – Astral Delusions
  59. MxPx – Pipe Dreams
  60. Coffee Date & Game Chops – Aria of the Soul
  61. Rx Bandits – Stargazer
  62. Chief Takinawa – Baeo
  63. MxPx – Disaster
  64. Coffee Date & GameChops – National Park
  65. Rx Bandits – Wide Open
  66. Slick Shoes – Held by Hope
  67. BKNAPP – Lake
  68. Jokabi & GameChops – Surf
  69. Chief Takinawa – REPAIRS [Bump] – Instrumental
  70. Slick Shoes – For Better For Worse
  71. Prince – Nothing Compares 2 U
  72. The Icarus Kid, 88bit, & GameChops – Gusty Garden Galaxy
  73. MxPx – Friday Tonight
  74. Face to Face – Farewell Song
  75. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Seats – What If I
  76. Mikel & GameChops – Zelda’s Meledy
  77. Strawberry Girls, Ben Rosett, & Zachary Garren – COMMANDER
  78. Sincere Engineer – Coming In Last
  79. Louser & Reel Big Fish – No Hope
  80. Curly & GameChop – 7 PM
  81. Crowcover – Alleycat (From Persona 5)
  82. Chief Takinawa – Hannya the 2nd: Blossoms – Megamix
  83. Leslie Odom Jr, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Rnee Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo, Christopher Jackson, & Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton – Non-Stop
  84. Coffee Date & GameChops – Ocarina of Time
  85. Wizard of Loneliness – Cookin’ in Hateno Village
  86. Ra Ra Riot – Dying is Fine (Live at Pianos)
  87. Childish Gambino – All the Shine
  88. Coffee Date & GameChops – Lost Girl
  89. No BS! Brass Band – Hoodie
  90. Ra Ra Riot – Oh, La
  91. Marcus D & Emancipator – Kindred Spirit
  92. Coffee Date & GameChops – Yoshi’s Obstacle Course
  93. Childish Gambino – Redbone
  94. Prince – Welcome 2 America
  95. Mana – Ironia
  96. Juanes – Y Nos Dieron Las Diez
  97. Chief Takinawa – ShinobiWAV
  98. Doni – Try Hard (Donkey Kong Country 2 – Stickerbrush Symphony)
  99. Ra Ra Riot – Flowers
  100. Juanes – Todo Hombre Es Una Historia