2021 has already been a great year for new music, but it has also been a monumental year in terms of music certifications and achievements.
YUNGBLUD continues to take over as his second full-length album weird! was certified silver in the UK. The album, which was released in December, also debuted at No. 1 in the U.K. and No. 6 in Australia. YUNGBLUD has been keeping busy this year as he celebrated the anniversary of his first pandemic-friendly online show The YUNGBLUD Show with a second edition featuring Avril Lavigne, Machine Gun Kelly, LILHUDDY, KSI, Tommy Lee, Dave Navarro and renforshort.
5 Seconds Of Summer
Named one of the best albums of 2018, 5 Seconds Of Summer’s Youngblood has now been certified gold in the U.K. As the third album from the Australian band, Youngblood also saw its title track “Youngblood” ranked No. 37 in the ARIA’s list of the most popular songs of the decade. While trying out Twitter’s new Spaces feature this week, the band teased they are hard at work on their fifth studio album and follow up to 2020’s CALM.
The 1975’s single “TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME” from their 2018 album A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships was certified gold in the U.K. The song spent eight weeks on Billboard’s Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart and peaked at No. 17 in November 2018. The band released their follow-up album Notes On A Conditional Form in 2020, and more recently, were featured on “Spinning” with No Rome and Charli XCX.
Nirvana’s single “Lithium” from their 1991 sophomore album Nevermind has surpassed 200 million views on YouTube. After being pushed as a single in 1992, the song peaked at No. 11 on the U.K. singles chart and No. 64 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Nevermind is certified diamond and peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Drummer Dave Grohl has also recently opened up about his time in the band and how he still jams out with Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic and touring guitarist Pat Smear.
Miley Cyrus is no stranger to covering iconic songs by powerful women with recent renditions of “Heart Of Glass” by Blondie and “Zombie” by the Cranberries. But Cyrus’ 2012 Backyard Sessions cover of “Jolene” by Dolly Parton is currently the most noteworthy as this week it surpassed 300 million views on YouTube. Cyrus and Parton have collaborated many times over the years, including in 2006 with the Disney channel show Hannah Montana where Parton played Hannah’s Aunt Dolly. Cyrus and Parton have also teamed up on stage on The Voice and for the Hallmark Channel’s Independence Day event. Since the “Jolene” cover was posted in 2012, Cyrus has released four albums including her 2020 rock album “Plastic Hearts.” More recently, she released a Jax Jones remix of her Dua Lipa collab “Prisoner.”
evermore, the second surprise album in 2020 from Taylor Swift, has now been certified gold in the U.K. Released less than five months after self-described sister record folklore, Swift announced the album mere hours before its release. Not only did evermore sell one million copies in its first week, but it also won a Guinness World Record for the shortest gap between new No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 for a woman. The previous record was set by Olivia Newton-John in 1975. evermore also debuted at No. 1 on the Alternative Albums chart and the Billboard 200. Since releasing the record-setting album, Swift also released “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” last February and will be performing at the Grammy Awards Sunday.
Billie Eilish’s chart-topping 2019 album WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? has surpassed 7 billion streams on Spotify, making it the eighth most-streamed album on the platform. The first album from the singer debuted at No. 1 on both Billboard’s 200 Chart and Alternative Albums Chart and won Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2020 Grammys. Every track on the album, minus the intro, has over 100 million streams, with “bad guy” and “when the party’s over” racking up over 1 billion streams each. 2021 saw Eilish release The World’s A Little Blurry, a documentary offering an inside look into the singer’s life and rise to fame. Though her next album doesn’t have a release date yet, fans have been speculating about what is to come. Eilish has been teasing a new era by releasing songs such as “my future,” “Therefore I Am,” and a ROSALÍA collab “Los Vas A Olvidar.”
Lil Uzi Vert
Lil Uzi Vert’s sophomore album Eternal Atake has gone double-platinum in the U.S., selling over 2 million units since its release last March. It has also spent a full year on the Billboard 200 charts after debuting at No. 1. Eternal Atake followed the rapper’s 2017 debut album Luv Is Rage 2. Lil Uzi Vert released a collaborative album Pluto x Baby Pluto with Future in 2020 and, more recently, teased his upcoming collab with Travis Scott.
The iconic 2013 song “Do I Wanna Know?” by Arctic Monkeys has surpassed 1 billion streams on Spotify. Off the band’s fifth album AM, “Do I Wanna Know?” is also certified multi-platinum in the U.K. and platinum in the U.S. The song has been on multiple charts, including No. 1 on both Billboard’s U.S. Alternative Songs and U.S. Rock Airplay. Since AM, the band released a sixth album Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino in 2018 as well as a live album Live At The Royal Albert Hall in 2020 with all the proceeds going to War Child UK.
Cardi B has made history by becoming the first female rapper to earn a diamond-certified single for her 2017 hit “Bodak Yellow”. This isn’t the first time the rapper has made history. In 2018, she became the first female artist in history to have every song on one album certified by the RIAA for Invasion Of Privacy. Since that album, Cardi B has collaborated with artists such as Megan Thee Stallion on “WAP,” and Camilla Cabello and Ed Sheeran on “South Of The Border.”
Despite having not released music in five years, Rihanna’s songs are still making an impact. The music video for her 2008 chart-topping song “Disturbia” just surpassed 200 million views on YouTube. The song was initially released as part of a reissue of her third album Good Girl Gone Bad and stayed at the top of multiple charts. The song is also certified multi-platinum in the U.S. and platinum in the U.K. Since the release of her last album ANTI in 2016, Rihanna went on to start cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty and lingerie line Savage X Fenty. Fans have also recently speculated that Rihanna will soon launch Fenty Hair after reports of a trademark application surfaced.
Even though Katy Perry’s latest album Smile was released in August, the pop star and Warped Tour alum has had an eventful 2021 already. Her 2012 hit single “Part Of Me” was certified platinum in the U.K., and she surpassed 10 billion streams overall on Spotify. When “Part Of Me” was originally released it charted for 22 weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100 and peaked at No. 1. Perry is no stranger to releasing hit songs, with tracks like “Dark Horse,” “Roar,” “Firework” and more boasting over half a billion streams each on Spotify. In 2020, the singer revealed she was pregnant in her “Never Worn White” and dedicated her song “Daisies” to her newborn Daisy.