Over the next few weeks, heading into the holiday, I will be posting my favorite songs of the year in blocks of 10. We’ll finish up the Friday before Christmas, so you can consider each of these lists my gift to you (ooh a playlist! so personal!!). This second post is the beginning of the middle, which is to say the order is a little interchangeable. I’ve gone over it a few times and I think this feels right, so I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
30. “Mutual Friend” by Jessie Reyez
It’s been years, since Eamon’s “Fuck It (I Don’t Want You Back),” that someone has been so scorned in song. Reyez isn’t looking for an apology, she’s looking for a body bag. The huge orchestral strings give the tune some added heft, but it’s the delivery of Reyez that makes every word believable.
29. “Dum Dum Dum” by Maddy
In 2022 I posted a lot about Danish artists and bands. It’s a thriving music community that deserves a little spotlight. This is one of two songs that made my top 40. The beat and vocal is very reminiscent of Billie Eilish, which makes the fact that this didn’t catch on in the States all the more surprising.
28. “Can’t See Stars” by Erin Rae with Kevin Morby
I’ve been an Erin Rae fan for a few years now. She’s a great songwriter that lets her songs exist with no sense of urgency or haste. They meander at times, and the journey is always one of great benefit for the listener. Here with Kevin Morby, “Can’t See Stars” wanders off into a delightful cosmic country outro that beautifully captures her style.
27. “Please Be Wrong” by Wilco
Apparently 2022 was the year that Wilco decided to take the “Alt-” out of their “Alt-Country” label and went full throttle into the country & western genre. A double album packed to the gills with great storytelling and musicianship. Personally, I didn’t think it all worked, and the album isn’t in my best of 2022. However, there are a handful of great songs on Cruel Country, and this is one of them.
26. “Choir Song” by Charlie Hickey
An artist featured in the first post of this year’s best songs brought Charlie Hickey to my attention. Signed to Phoebe Bridgers’ label and was her opener on tour this summer, so you all might already know him better than I do. This song came on randomly while listening to one of my daily playlists on Spotify, and in that moment it was all I wanted to hear. He also released another version of the song that’s a bit more uptempo.
25. “You’re So Fucking Pretty” by The Regrettes
I originally got into The Regrettes around Feel Your Feelings Fool! The last two albums they’ve made are more pop-oriented, which is fine but not as exciting to me. This song stood out from the others on Further Joy because it feels very vulnerable and genuine. When musicians give you a peek at the real people behind the songs, it makes you appreciate them in a new way.
24. “Love’s Train” by Silk Sonic
Honestly, I’m into whatever these guys are doing. I was never a big Bruno Mars guy, but pair him up with Anderson.Paak and watch the magic unfold. I don’t even care that this is a cover of a song from 1982. Dru Hill tried to cover it in the 90’s and it was trash. Silk Sonic’s style and sound is fantastic and I hope they keep putting out these bangers for years to come (originals, covers, whatever).
23. “I Am Water” by July Talk
The musical coupling of Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay has produced some spectacular results over the years, and “I Am Water” is right near the top of their best work. Their work spans across a bunch of genres, but it comes back to the hard and fast rock and roll more often than not. You can find all the big guitars and drums you’ll ever need right here.
22. “This Is A Life” by Son Lux, Mitski, and David Byrne
A song from the best movie of the year, Everything Everywhere All At Once. Like the film, the song builds throughout, adding layers of intermingling vocals and instruments, giving us moments both big and small. It can be a bit hypnotic, and once it has you in its trance, you can’t stop listening.
21. “Blind As Batsies” by Nina Nastasia
Nastasia’s album Riderless Horse was received with great reviews across the board. As a whole, I didn’t love it. But I really enjoy this song for all it’s deceptive simplicity and jaunty delivery. It accomplishes a lot in two and a half minutes, and I appreciate the brevity. Instead of listening to a five minute song that feels overly long, listen to this twice!