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Mikah Young's best songs of 2021

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WH Moustapha / provided
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Mdou Moctar

Mikah Young, host of About What You’d Expect, breaks down her top songs of 2021:


Dry Cleaning - Scratchcard Lanyard

Within two hours of having heard Dry Cleaning’s newest album for the first time, I knew it would be the first entry on any Best Of list I made for the year. I wish I could think in Florence Shaw’s voice. I have every word of this one memorized and I’m never ever ever ever ever going to stop listening to it.

Husbands - Must Be a Cop

Every track the Huzzboys have put out this year has been fantastic (the b-sides alone are stronger than the average single) but this song in particular also brought me my favorite moment from any live show I saw over the course of 2021. Seeing Must Be a Cop live for the first time at the Don’t Call it a Comeback series at Tower was the moment I realized I’m a Husbands superfan. This was my most-played song of the year, I own so much merch now, and it’s bound to get uncomfortable at some point. Just don’t tell Wil and Danny how far this has gone. Please.

Bartees Strange - Flagey God

I understand that music is subjective, but it feels like Bartees might transcend that. It was extremely difficult to pick one song from the incredible body of work that is Live Forever, but Flagey God is stuck in my head at least three days a week so here we are. Bartees we will love you forever.

Poor Sap - Sendin’ All My Love

This is already basically a local supergroup, and I am so excited to hear more from them. A disclaimer: this song isn’t done with you until it’s done with you, so plan on keeping it on repeat for at least three months.

Paris Texas - RHM

The chorus of this song is simply the line “I want friends that don’t talk about bands” repeated several times. I think anyone who works in live music can resonate with this on some level. I, for one, found it incredibly cathartic. To all of my friends who do talk about bands: I love you. Never change.

Japanese Breakfast - Be Sweet

I’m always thrilled to hear this track. All of Jubilee is excellent, but dropping Be Sweet as the lead single was a gift unto us all.

Mdou Moctar - Afrique Victime

This song has made almost all other guitar playing unimpressive in comparison. It’s a real journey of a song and I hope to see it live someday.

Hiatus Kaiyote - Chivalry is Not Dead

Any song that starts with the line “If I were a leopard slug” is good for me. I’m for it. Mood Valiant is all we listened to during Tower load-outs for about a month, and I’m still not over it.

Genesis Owusu - Same Thing

Genesis Owusu really rocked my world this year. If you haven’t heard his debut full-length (Smiling With No Teeth) yet, start at the beginning and make plenty of room in your heart.

Hana Vu - Keeper

It’s moody, it’s driving, it’s haunting, it’s everything I love. The vocals are incredible. Simply a bop.

Barzo & Pahua - Bahía

If you’ve listened to any episode of About What You’d Expect ever you’ve more than likely heard a Pahua song. If you’ve not, let this be your first.


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

Mikah Young has hosted About What You’d Expect since September 2020.
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