As we leave the most vibrant visuals of 2022 behind us, it’s now time to dive right in to the best music to grace our ears this past year. The songs that soundtracked our ups and downs; that we belted out at the top of our lungs, that we took comfort and refuge in while they played on repeat, that took pride of place in our playlists and became an almost constant companion. Here are the songs that best capture this past year for us:
10. Cristina Hart – Never Be Her
This Belwood favourite returned this year with her finest track yet; an infectious pop punk anthem full of venom, zeal and relatable lyricism. Doubling as both an envious snipe at an ex’s new partner, and a critique of our own foolish tendency to put complete strangers on pedestals, ‘Never Be Her’ takes the crown for 2022’s most cathartic bop.
9. Bartees Strange – Heavy Heart
Prone to bending so many contrasting styles and sounds to his will and fusing them together, it’s hard to sum up Bartees Strange in one song. To my mind though, ‘Heavy Heart’ is your best bet to date. A quiet self-reflective intro leads into a backbone of emphatic indie riffs and raw propulsive drums, weaving its way through hip-hop influenced breakdowns and anthemic brass at its climax.
8. The Dear Hunter – Ring 7: Industry
The band’s new foray into funk this summer was a mixed bag overall, but goddamn on this particular offering everything just fell gloriously into place. With an irresistible groove, immaculate production, melodies that stuck in my head for weeks on end, and a bass solo that slaps as hard as a rocket propelled open palm, it’s a track that feels worthy of joining the pantheon of their best work.
7. Bear’s Den – Shadows
The gorgeous piano and gossamer strings lend such elegance to this song. Lyrically it’s such a touching statement of solidarity and unconditional love for a loved one struggling with mental illness. An uplifting and triumphant track that proved to be a real comfort to me on difficult days.
6. Sam Ryder – Space Man
A life-changing song for Sam Ryder, and a song that never seemed far away in 2022, as he seemingly performed it on every stage in the country, putting a smile on every face wherever he went. It feels like its become the song of the year in as much as it feels intrinsically linked to 2022. We’ll hear it in years to come, and immediately our thoughts will return to this summer.
5. Griff & Sigrid – Head on Fire
A collaboration I never knew I needed, but feel immensely grateful for all the same. Two of the best pop acts on the planet, both at the height of their powers, creating one of the biggest bops of the year together. Their vocals compliment each other so well, it boasts such a fun and memorable hook, and that moment of hesitation in the chorus before the pay-off gets me hyped every single time.
4. Maisie Peters – Cate’s Brother
A few places shy of keeping her “song of the year” crown, but Maisie can certainly take the title of “song of the summer” as a consolation prize. I loved following along with her little teased snippets online leading up to the big release, and ‘Cate’s Brother’ really lived up to the hype. Just such heaps of fun, like a whole feel-good 80s movie distilled into a single song.
3. Soccer Mommy – Still
If best songs were determined by opening lines alone, then “I don’t know how to feel things small, It’s a tidal wave or nothing at all” would make this a clear winner. The raw and sombre closer from Sometimes, Forever grabs you by the heart right from the very start and never lets go. Oppressively bleak and indescribably beautiful in equal measure, ‘Still’ is the most raw and affecting song I’ve heard all year.
2. Maggie Rogers – Shatter
This is the closest a studio recording has come to capturing the euphoric reckless abandon of Maggie’s live performances. Exhilarating, electricity in your veins, take on the the whole damn world on your own kind of energy. If you’re not singing along with that glorious whirlwind chorus loud enough to strain your vocal chords then you’re not doing it right. Raw, untamed, undeniable – pure feral joy!
1. Gang of Youths – In The Wake of Your Leave
I don’t think I was ever happier in 2022 than that moment of singing the lead riff of ‘In The Wake of Your Leave’ back at the band at the top of my lungs with an equally enthusiastic sold-out crowd at my back. One of those moments that lives in your heart long after the gig is over. The magic of hearing everyone still singing along as they file out the venue and head home, the melody echoing through the city streets as the crowd disperses into the night. And it’s a joy I get to relive every time I press play.