The Weeknd, Adele and 'Squid Game' Rule the Exclaim Readers Poll 2021

Plus 'Dune,' the Weather Station, Arkells and more

BY Exclaim! StaffPublished Jan 19, 2022

Exclaim! has already looked back on the best of 2021 in our lists of the best albums, best films and more — and now it's time for our readers to have their say. The results of our annual Readers Poll are in, and they celebrate everything from Canadian indie faves such as the Weather Station and Cadence Weapon to worldwide superstars like Adele and Olivia Rodrigo.

We also asked readers about the first concert they attended since the pandemic, something that resonates differently now — as lockdowns have returned to much of the country and many live shows are once again cancelled — than it did when we asked it a couple of months ago. We've shared some of our favourite answers to that question at the bottom, as a reminder of the good times that await us on the other side of this wave of the pandemic.

Below, read the results of the Exclaim! Readers Poll 2022.

Which Canadian act had the best 2021?

1. The Weeknd
2. Arkells
3. The Weather Station
4. Cadence Weapon
5. Mustafa

What was your favourite album of 2021?

1. Adele30
2. Tyler, the CreatorCALL ME IF YOU GET LOST
3. Olivia RodrigoSOUR
4. TurnstileGLOW ON
5. DrakeCertified Lover Boy

Who was the most overrated artist of 2021?

1. Drake
2. Kanye West
3. Justin Bieber
4. Taylor Swift
5. Adele

What concert are you most excited for in 2022?

1. Elton John
2. Rage Against the Machine
3. Pavement
4. Foo Fighters
5. Pearl Jam

What was your favourite film of 2021?

1. Dune
2. No Time to Die
3. Spider-Man: No Way Home
4. Free Guy
5. Don't Look Up

What was your favourite TV show of 2021?

1. Squid Game
2. Succession
3. Yellowstone
4. Ted Lasso
5. Curb Your Enthusiasm

What was the first concert you saw since the pandemic began, and how was it?

"Osheaga. They did all they could to deliver something with all the COVID rules and regulations. They delivered on the operation aspect of a COVIDian festival. The machine is well trained. Artist lineup was okay. Best of all: seeing our music fest family and friends again. This will be remembered as the Osheaga festival where we didn't quite listen to the show because there was sooooo many stories to exchange with good friends. Shout out to the outdoors heaters: October evenings are cold in Montreal!"

"Dizzy in Ottawa… incredible! Such a fine-tuned act already."

"Jeremy Dutcher. SummerWorks outdoors. Transcendent."

"The New Pornographers doing Twin Cinema at the Danforth. Fantastic. Though the public health warning after wasn't so fantastic..."

"Fake Shark. Amazing as always. It was an outdoor concert in front of Side Hustle Sandwiches, and the Goh Ballet company next door started dancing along to the concert. It was super cool!"

"Astral Swans in a backyard concert, and it was transcendent."

"The Brooks at the Montreal Jazz Festival last summer. Felt like an involuntarily suffocated mummy being unleashed from a lifetime sentence of confinement. Band was on fire too. Damn... will we get there again?"

"Islands @ the Horseshoe… Strange and nerve-wracking, but it was so great to be in a venue and have that live experience again! Love Nick Thorburn! Probably too soon for me though."

"Yoo Doo Right. It was sooo loud but sooo good."

"Century Egg, Bus People and CUERPOS at Lawnya Vawnya. It was so fucking good. Century Egg opened with a ring of a bell and I was filled with joy."

"Sheepdogs at the Calgary Stampede 2021. It was thrilling listening to some good ol' Canadian rock on a beautiful night with the stunning skyline as the background to a great set by the boys."

"Stephen Hamm the Theremin Man. It was at the Lido, which take restrictions very seriously so we felt very safe and had a great night! Steve Hamm is a very nice man!"

"Belvedere at Dickens Pub in Calgary. Turned out fun, but everyone was confused on whether we were allowed to mosh or not."

"Danko Jones at Gage Park in Hamilton, ON. It was so surreal being among that many people again. Danko, of course, put in a fantastic shows, as always, but you could tell the band were thrilled to be in front of a live audience again. JC [bassist John Calabrese] couldn't wipe the smile off his face for the entire set."

"Sloan at the Phoenix. It was incredible to get to be ushered back into live music by one of the best acts this country has ever produced. Plus, the venue was very accommodating, with paired seating and reduced capacity, which helped things even more."

"METZ. Great as always, and extra special this time because it was the first show I had seen. The band was tight and made a great melodic racket. They sound louder and heavier than three guys. A true power trio. Plus it was nice to be able to buy merch directly from the band and support them that way, considering how their tour started."

"Chad VanGaalen as Black Mold. It was incredible! he performed a live score to Charlie Chaplin's The Kid. Extremely unique experience that I am grateful to have had."

"Caribou @ the Bronson Centre in Ottawa. Amazing! the crowd danced and cheered like they hadn't been to a concert in two years."

"In October, my community (Tuxedo Park) put on a pop up with food trucks and bands. Amy Nelson was amazing. It was great to have a bit of 'normal' back. Poutine and live music? Yes, please!"

"Titus Andronicus at Lee's Palace for The Monitor 10th anniversary tour. It was great — 80% of the crowd knew every word, they played for nearly three hours, and came back for an impromptu encore of 'Rockin' in the Free World.' Great contrast to their previous show at the Mod Club, where they didn't even finish the set."

"Arlo Parks at Queen Elizabeth Theatre on September 28, 2021. It was emotional, cathartic, beautiful. I was left grateful for what I survived and with a new appreciation for many things I once took for granted."

"I saw Bahamas in Wolfville, NS, this past summer as my first official show since the pandemic. It was a magical night. He played a fully acoustic set at the sun was setting overlooking a beautiful vineyard. Such a treat!"

"B.A. Johnston. It was awesome seeing all the same jokes from the past decade — brought a tear to my eye. Or maybe it was the beer he made me chug."

"I watched a buddy play a patio and ate some fries. The fries were good."

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