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Chad Whitehead's top songs of 2021

Bec Parsons / provided
Genesis Owusu

Chad Whitehead, co-host of About What You’d Expect, breaks down his favorite songs of 2021.

2021 has been a weird year, we don’t have to talk about it. One thing that helped me stay sane in 2021 was good music. I eschew ranking music, so here are some of the songs that I enjoyed this year, in no certain order. This list isn’t complete, these are just some songs I enjoyed this year, in no certain order.

Neal Francis - Problems

Give me the boogie woogie rock piano all day. Neal Francis had a ferocious 2021 which included a new album released a few weeks ago.

Hiatus Kaiote, Arthur Verocai - Get Sun

Everyone loves Hiatus Kaiote, I don’t get extra credit here, but damn it’s good to have them back. They’ll tour the US in 2022, can’t wait to see them live.

Sufjan Stevens, Angelo De Augustine - Back to Oz

I’m as surprised as anyone, but the king has returned with a proper, Illinois-esque banger.


I’m a sucker for Danny Brown and love when the full force of BROCKHAMPTON is unleashed like it is in BUZZCUT.

Big Red Machine, Fleet Foxes, Anaïs Mitchell - Phoenix

I don’t usually hear a song and put it on repeat, but when I heard Phoenix this year, I did and haven’t stopped.

Birdtalker - Old Sob Story

Zack and Dani sent me the new Birdtalker album deep in the winter while they were still setting the song order, so I was able to spend some real time with their newest album. Any of the songs off it would make my list, but Old Sob Story is the one that lifted my mood the most.

Lex - One Kiss

Just wait for the build. Very curious to see where the Tulsa-based Lex goes in 2022.

Villager - The First Day

Weird good song.

Genesis Owusu - The Other Black Dog

Credit to Mikah Young for discovering the British-based rapper, Genesis Owusu.

Hiss Golden Messenger - Sanctuary

I’m not a lyrics person, but Sanctuary by Hiss Golden Messenger really connected with me in the worst parts of winter and made me feel a little better each time I heard this one.

Wilderado - Head Right

Go Tulsa. Anything on the new Wilderado album makes my list, Head Right sure does the trick though.

Jason Scott - In The Offing

There’s a big year in store for OKC’s Jason Scott, it’s not hard to hear why with tracks like In The Offing.

Heartless Bastards - How Low

Front-woman Erika Wennerstrom can do no wrong, I loved this album.

Listen to the About What You'd Expect, every Saturday night at 9 p.m. on The Spy on KOSU.

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