We are living through striving times, but we must keep our bodies, spirits, and minds engaged. And throughout 2020, podcasts served us do just that. The beauty of the podcast is that it can be heard while working, showering, cooking, or cleaning. In addition, to entertain you, most shows end up teaching us a thing or two about life, politics, science, art, and more. These Top 10 Best Podcasts of 2021 will help you cope with difficult times like these.
From popular picks that you might not have had time to listen to until now to exciting new shows worthy of all of our attention, here are the Top 10 Best Podcasts of 2021 to tune into right now.
1. Start with This
You know a podcast is earning you cleverer when it involves homework. Each episode of ‘Start with This’ (the secondary brainchild of the creators of ‘Welcome to Night Vale’, a creepy podcast set in an imaginary US town) gives audiences something to consume, and something to create: usually a book or TV show in the first instance, and a writing task in the second. The object is to help increase your creativity. Also, the subjects of the episodes are satisfyingly varied, from ‘Present Tense’ to ‘Non-Lovecraftian Horror’. That is why, it comes at the top of the list of Top 10 Best Podcast of 2021.
2. Philosophy Bites
Sure, your Platos and your Nietzsches are still popular long after their deaths, but most philosophies remain pretty rare. Had any chats about the importance of metaphysics to our knowledge of the world? Know what verificationism is? If you listened to this Best Podcast of 2021. ‘Philosophy Bites’ managers Nigel Warburton and David Edmonds invite guests for great intros to the debates, thinkers, and thoughts that have shaped our world.
Although lots of folks listened to other shows before Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder co-created this investigative journalism podcast, ‘Serial’ seized the attention of the world like none before it.
The anthology features three distinct seasons, each one focused on a different true story. If you have not listened to it yet, this is a fabulous (and binge-worthy) introduction to the medium.
4. Decoder Ring
This is a recurrent monthly podcast hosted by Willa Paskin, the television critic at Slate. She is an excellent journalist who examines a single object, habit, or cultural question in each episode. Here are some of the questions ‘Decoder Ring’ has explored in the past: why do gay personalities love Judy Garland so much? Who is afraid of Bart Simpson? How do you start a conspiracy theory?
This is truly among the best podcasts of 2021.
At the end of 2019, attempting to shed light on the 400th anniversary of the first slave ship landing on American shores, the New York Times started the 1619 Project. The effort was a multimedia one, grabbing the topic in print, online, television, and audio. The latter lead took the form of a podcast, ‘1619’. The five episodes (the last one is split into two parts) are hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones, who interrogates the paper’s writers and critics to try and dissect the legacy of slavery in the country.
6. Why Won’t You Date Me?
We’ve all asked personally that, haven’t we? Hilarious host Nicole Byer spends each episode of ‘Why Won’t You Date Me’ talking about modern dating, including discussions about apps, open relationships, matchmakers, and more. Yes, it is raunchy.
This is truly among the best podcasts of 2021. Nicole Byer takes this podcast to one level up with her conversing styles.
7 .This American Life
‘This American Life’ started as a public radio show (which it still is) in the 1990s and ultimately took on the podcast format as well. Hosted by the instantly recognizable Ira Glass, each episode of this weekly show has a theme that is examined, usually through first-person narratives, by folks from all walks of life in the US and beyond. Think ‘stories about being little’, the pros and cons of treatment, and the tale of a flute player who steals a million dollars worth of dead birds.
Given its long history, the podcast boasts a huge library. You can browse through 25 years of episodes right now.
8. The New Yorker Fiction Podcast
Merely glancing at a copy of the New Yorker can make you up to 15 percent cleverer, and the same goes for hearing to its flagship fiction podcast. A current staffer presents a short story by a former New Yorker writer – often several decades former – and discusses it with the magazine’s fiction editor Deborah Treisman. It’s interesting, sure, but it’s the delving into the thought processes of a succession of extremely smart Americans – think ZZ Packer, Bryan Washington, Jhumpa Lahiri – that gives it its zing. It is therefore among the Best Podcasts of 2021, if you like fiction.
9. How to Do Everything
NPR’s popular podcast covered up about four years ago without literally telling us how to do everything. But, there is still a treasure trove of knowledge stored in its archive. The two hosts Mike Danforth and Ian Chillag solve problems that you had not previously realized were difficulties: from mounting an impassioned defense of weasels to tips on bluffing your way through a discussion about golf. Its 265 episodes are all reaching by to help enhance your brainy parts.
10. 10 Things That Scare Me
This one’s pretty obvious. During each episode, a new character will sit in a room alone and talk about his or her biggest fears. From cockroaches to death, flying, large crowds, and even boredom, the talks on ‘10 Things That Scare Me’ run from funny to deep and everything in-between.
Whatever you are looking for from your listening exposure, these Best Podcasts of 2021 are sure to provide you with some helpful insights, advice, and information, and hopefully a few laughs. You never know, maybe the gem of knowledge that you have been waiting for is just a click away.