Top 50 songs of 2022
The Top 50 songs of 2022! My Spotify Wrapped most played songs came out and… I don’t know if it was accurate? It feels a lot like it’s going based on the songs I listened to more at home (I play Spotify on my PC at work) than the ones I listen to on my phone. Maybe I just think I listened to certain songs more but I really feel like it didn’t represent which songs I heard and felt were the best of the year.
So as I do every December, the Sweatdown for December will be the best of 2022. One song per artist. Most of the songs were released in 2022 or at the end of 2021.
On the cover you can see a (poor) photo from the Blue Stones release party I attended. You can listen to my Spotify Playlist here.
1. Phantoms – This Can’t Be Everything
Sometimes a song comes around and shakes you to your core. The lyrics hit you in a way nothing has in quite some time. I cried the first time I heard This Can’t Be Everything because it was something I was feeling at the time and still do. I used to say to myself I would never be content and now it’s not just about being content. It’s about living your life the way you originally wanted to before it might be too late. “I’m running endlessly” is a feeling that seeps into my being. I’m constantly moving in a direction I don’t want to be in. The moment I have time to move in a different direction? I’m too exhausted to do it. I’ve given so much of myself to the rest of the world I forgot there’s more to it than paying bills and figuring out what’s for dinner. This song is deeply personal for me, but it’s also a great chorus and a great beat. Thank you Phantoms.
2. Girls Who Care – Out Here
Out Here came out in 2017 and has no place on a best of 2022 list but Out Here is also one of my most played songs of 2022. Last year I found out about the artist “Hot Dad” who does a lot of comedy songs but released a song called, “I Never Wanted You” which is a beautiful lo fi song with great lyrics. His real act is Girls Who Care and it’s an absolutely brilliant band. Out Here isn’t just one of the best songs I heard in 2022. It’s one of the best songs period.
3. Immortal Girlfriend – Seeker
While the song was released in early 2021, the music video didn’t come out until March 25, 2022. It instantly became my favourite Immortal Girlfriend song. The past two years has had Immortal Girlfriend very high on my favourite artist list. I’ll have to see them in Chicago sometime but would love it if they came closer to my backyard (my backyard is Detroit.)
4. Jenn Champion, OYSTER KIDS – Love Nobody
Love Nobody is one of those songs that creeps into your soul. There’s nothing like fearing a new love coming in, especially a new love that you know is doomed. Or at least, you convince yourself it will be doomed. “Don’t want a love like you but you got me so tongue tied” is a feeling a lot of us have felt, the thing lonely people whine about when they say two people together that don’t belong. Sometimes you can’t explain how someone bad for you makes you feel so good. They just hit that nerve. Don’t wanna love, don’t wanna, don’t wanna love nobody…
5. The Blue Stones – Don’t Miss
I’m pretty sure I saw Blue Stones way back in the day. A Windsor, Ontario band, they’ve been doing great in the streaming era. As a two man band they fit perfectly on a playlist with Royal Blood. Don’t Miss is the cockiness rock and roll has been sorely missing, a cockiness without a wink. There’s nothing ironic about the chorus. This is about walking into a room with bravado and a solid chin. I miss that kind of rock and I’m glad a local band brought it to the world.
6. Battle Tapes – In Too Deep
Battle Tapes being back makes me very happy. One of my favourite bands of the 2010s and a band on my shortlist of have to see live, Battle Tapes drops an absolute banger reminiscent of their work on Polygon. One of the catchiest choruses of the year. Electro rock is alive and ready to murder you.
7. The Midnight – Brooklyn. Friday. Love.
It’s sometimes forgotten that when you’re a new retrowave band you don’t just have to make synthwave bops. The Midnight is ahead of the pack in popularity and they figured this out, making a song that sounds like a Cars tune I would like. With a stuttering chrous and a clap track, it’s one of the best dance party songs of the year. We already got Whigfield for Saturday. It’s nice to have a Friday anthem.
8. Hotel Mira – Fever Pitch
Fever Pitch is Hotel Mira proving they bring hits with soul stinging lyrics any time they want to. “She lit up a cigarette, she said listen bitch we’ll get into it” is one of my favourite lines I heard this year. Same goes for, “You wear your cowardice like you’re proud of it, I’m too old for this” it’s that kind of stuff that paints a vivid picture and reminds you of your own doomed relationships and how often you needed to be told like it is. Sometimes you don’t need love. You need to be told off.
9. DEVORA – Wild West
DEVORA loves me
— DEVORA (@devoramusicxo) November 30, 2022
I never knew how much soul needed a bridge between, “outlaw country and dark pop” but it works. It fucking works. Whether it’s “God Is Dead” or “Outlaw” or Fist Fight” DEVORA delivers in every facet. Wild West is DEVORA at her full powers. Excited to see what she can do for a full length album.
10. flor – Every Night
flor wrote one of my favourite songs in 2020 with lmho. This song actually pairs well with Phantom’s This Can’t Be Everything in the lyrics as I felt, “Every night’s a blur, every night’s a war, Every night I lose myself wanting more and more” in my insides. Great chorus, great energy in the song. The concept of control in my life is something that resonated well with me and flor hit the nerve.
11. Fickle Friends – Love You to Death
I liked “Love You To Death” in October and the album Are We Gonna Be Alright? came out in January but I’ve honestly only “got it” in the past week. And it didn’t take much time for the song to earworm its way into repeated listens. I also listened to the whole record and it’s one of my favourite of the year, behind only Alexisonfire and Blue Stones. Love You to Death is like the fun pop version of Sarah McLachlan’s “Possession” which is a strange way to convince you to listen to the song but I promise you it’s a FUCKING BANGER.
12. Coastal, Oblique – Kyoto
Kyoto is such a beautiful synthpop song. Released in late 2021, the common verse of, “You’re all I ever wanted” draped in a dreamscape of 80s synthpop familiarities made it one of the best retrowaves songs I heard in the year.
13. DON BROCO – One True Prince
Another late 2021 entry, DON BROCO brought a hard rock song with a Deftones flavour and lyrics that caught me off guard. After This Can’t Be Everything by Phantoms and Every Night by flor, it’s a song about how content I can appreciate. “It’s okay we’re not enough, spinning round a dying sun just like anyone” helps brings you back down to earth and realize you’re not different from many others who want more. I interpreted the song to say it’s okay if you’re not making it to where you want to, but as the bridge and verses say, we’re about to do amazing things. It’s okay things are not how you want them now. Keep working.
14. The Beaches – Grow Up Tomorrow
The Beaches had so many great songs this year. It’s nice to see a Canadian band fill in The Donnas void I’ve had since high school. I love the debauchery of The Beaches. Similar to The Blue Stones they are bringing a swagger that’s been missing from a lot of bands. “Tell myself I’m an artist but I’m really just a piece of shit” is a great anthem. This is the song for the losers, the dirtbags, the lowlifes you wonder when they will ever grow up. We’ll grow up tomorrow.
15. Alexisonfire – World Stops Turning
Alexisonfire got back together way back in 2019 with “Familiar Drugs” and “Complicit” and would later release “Season of the Flood” which I also loved. And then they were like, fuck it, we’re sharp. We can do this. And they released Otherness, an album proving not only did they have zero rust from their break since 2009’s Old Crows Young Cardinals but they are better than ever. Better as musicians and better as songwriters. Otherness doesn’t have a single bad track. World Stops Turning clocks in at 8:16 as the final track but it’s also my favourite. You can’t go wrong on this album.
16. Me Not You – consolation prize
What a heartbreaker. Great acoustic guitar in the backgrounds and beautiful vocals, me not you hits right in the gut with the chorus of, “You said I won’t stick around to be your consolation prize.” That’s all you need to hear to feel crushed. Many of us have been there, watching someone chase love from someone wrong for them only to have you in their back pocket in case it doesn’t work. Sometimes it feels good to be the last man standing, and other times? You realize you’re all that’s left.
17. The Chain Gang of 1974 – Wanting This
It’s too bad that The Chain Gang of 1974 will likely not tour ever again but I’m glad to have seen them tour when I got the chance. Wanting This feels right from the album I saw them live from, FELT, a defiant song with a whispering synth throughout. Chain Gang’s most recent work delved a lot into heartbreak (and let me tell you, they were great breakup songs) but it’s nice to hear a love song from them this time.
18. The 1975 – About You
I saw a lot of reviews of the new The 1975 album and I can say that my review was, “It’s good.” The best of the songs was About You, which reminds me of INXS mixed with Depeche Mode doing an 80s slow jam. How could it make my Top 20? INXS mixed with Depeche Mode marks very high on my how I want songs to sound like. I also adore songs about missing the love I used to have with someone. Don’t ask why. It’s obvious.
19. Icarus – I Could Threaten with a Good Time
I feel bad for Icarus. They actually had my most played song on Spotify in Machine Heart. Maybe there was a few weeks in the summer I don’t remember playing it more than any other song. Very possible! But a part of why I wanted to do this full list was because I felt my Spotify Wrapped was incorrect. That said, Icarus did release I Could Threaten With a Good Time this year which is a fantastic song. I’ve actually used the line in conversation since it came out so, like, yeah. Great!
20. Dear Rouge – Small Talk
Dear Rouge released a very good album back in the spring in Spirit, and Small Talk was the best of them. I would also highly suggest hearing Life Goes on and I can’t keep up, which is a beautiful little song as well. Small Talk is a great song for the gym or the dance floor. One of the best we got from Canada and a great live act if they are in your area.
21. MisterWives – Where Do We Go From Here?
MisterWives has three songs on Spotify with over 100 million plays and I have never heard anyone talk about them. Today’s music industry is wacky! I first heard them in 2020 with coming up for air which was a song I absolutely loved. Where Do We Go From Here? is pure disco from the bass to the chorus. It has that Florence and the Machine “I need to shout every syllable of this song at my friend while lights flash” vibe.
22. Arkells, Cold War Kids – Past Life
Arkells is one of my favourite bands but I haven’t been too hot on their recent releases. Past Life hit me like their earlier work. I don’t know if that’s the influence of the Cold War Kids on the track or not but the lyrics of trying to escape your past to move on is one I can understand. The song has great energy. The Bob Dylan line sucks but hey they can’t all be winners.
23. Emily Blue – San Junipero
Emily Blue has such a lovely voice. I got into her way back on Falling in Love in 2019. I listened to a lot of Blackberries this year (a much older song from 2017) but San Junipero was released this year and is absolutely wonderful. Anything that reminds me of the San Junipero episode of Black Mirror will get high marks for me.
24. Dream Ceremony – Hearts On Fire
One of the odd songs from a few years ago on this list (2019) from an artist with only two songs on Spotify. The song shares a name with one of my all time favourite songs from Innerpartysystem but it’s a very different song. I’m not sure what happened to Dream Ceremony but this song is beautiful. Great driving song.
25. La Pore – Headphones
This song. I kept thinking about losing it off the list. How can it be in the Top 25 if I was thinking of dropping it? It’s strange. I don’t care for it until I listen to it. Then I listen to it and fall in love with it again. It’s a simple song by La Pore with a great synth throughout. The lyrics don’t mean much to me. It’s just a fun song.
26. Trevor Something – My Soul Burns
I was tempted to add “My Soul Burns” which is an a near 12 minute mindfuck of a song ending in a computer AI orgasming as she tries to resume control of the main character and you know what? Fuck it. That’s the song you get. The best brain fuck song of 2022.
27. Orville Peck – Outta Time
Easily my favourite Orville Peck song. I enjoyed his album but enjoyed this far more than the other songs. Just a beautiful song. Hard to really say much other than if you immediately shrivel into a Gollum when someone says country music you should try listening to it and then grow the fuck up.
28. Ocean Grove, Dune Rats – BORED
Ocean Grove is such a weird band for me to get really into this year. It’s very “my high school days” without me feeling embarrassed or nostalgic listening to it. BORED is a fun track with a fun music video.
29. Bad Suns – Life Was Easier When I Only Cared About Me
This is just a really fun song. It’s also crazy selfish and self centered but sometimes you need that in a song. I like songs that express bad emotions okay?
30. MONOWHALES – StuckintheMiddle
I love the edge that MONOWHALES brings to a lot of their work. Great hard rock tunes with thought put into everything they do. StuckintheMiddle absolutely brings it.
31. Madeon – Love You Back
It was interesting that Madeon’s one released song in 2022 would sound like it came directly off of their 2019 album Good Faith. Not only that, but it would have been one of the best songs off Good Faith right up with All My Friends. If you ever get a chance to see Madeon live? Take the shot.
32. Chief – old friends
I’ve been a big fan of Chief since I heard better with you, which is one of the most beautiful songs I know. There were a lot of good tracks that came out in 2022 including if i’m being honest and sad enough but old friends lingered with me longer. Probably because the, “shortie like you’re golden” is a lyric I both love and hate at the same time.
33. Foals – 2001
I got into Foals way back in 2013 with their Holy Fire LP and their sound back then was not like their sound today. And that’s okay! I love the way they’ve grown over the years. The Life is Yours album is one of their best. 2001 has one of the best bass guitars of the year.
34. Koethe – Vignette
I’m so glad I found Koethe. I love the work they’ve done with Arbi and the solo work as well. Vignette is a fun song with great guitar work.
35. Black Caviar, Savage – Woke Up Feeling Good
Black Caviar has made a few songs this year that perfectly fit THE SWEATDOWN concept of being great for dancing and great for working out. Woke Up Feeling Good I’ve used as an alarm clock it’s so good to get you up and moving.
36. Let Em Riot – In The Waves
Let Em Riot made one of my favourite synth songs in Traces, and it’s great to see how they’ve matured and evolved as a performer. In The Waves is a great song.
37. The Weeknd – Less Than Zero
The Weeknd’s album he released at the beginning of 2022 was alright. Dawn FM had its moment. One of the strangest was that the album version of Take My Breath is exceptionally better than the single that came out first. The one song I liked from the very start was Less Than Zero, which is The Weeknd going full retrowave synthpop. I feel like he’s going to go all the way with this sound eventually.
38. Michelle Branch – I’m a Man
I ended up finding Michelle’s 2017 “Best You Ever” song late and loved it just as much as I loved her music when I was in high school. Last year she did a 20th anniversary edition of The Spirit Room which was great to hear. This year right around the time of her divorce to a dipshit she released The Trouble With Fever which has very obvious break up songs but also some of her best work. Also check out Zut Alors! from that record. Fun song.
39. Tennis System – Dizzy
Most of my enjoyment of Tennis System has been with harder, more shoegazy songs. Dizzy is the most pop sounding song I’ve heard coming from them and I love it.
40. The New Division – Nosedive
Nosedive is one of the more unique sounding songs I’ve heard this year. Great work by The New Division.
41. Phoxjaw – Teething
One of the older songs I’ve found from 2020, this is a peculiar rock song that just earwormed into me. “Some are born as menacing, some are born as medicine” is such a strange chrous but I absolutely love it. Same with, “He’s racing around LIKE A WACKY RACER!” just oddball lyrics. Love it.
42. nightlife – new low
nightlife have been making some great songs that sound unlike anything else around. A great mix of rock and R&B that nobody else are tapping into.
43. Charming Liars – High
Probably the best song about being high I’ve heard this year.
44. Johnny Dynamite and the Bloodsuckers – The Last Ones
This one was a random recommendation on my Spotify which I fell for. It’s like a synthy 50s slow jam.
45. Nightly – i wish you loved me
Nightly writes semi whiny chill jams that fit my mood when I need them. “I wish you loved me like you love yourself” is a great insult.
46. Sulene – Tell Me a Secret Just to Make Me Feel Better
Sulene did the best cover of Say You’ll Be There and Say My Name I’ve ever heard, but I didn’t get too much into her original work until I heard Tell Me a Secret Just to Make Me Feel Better. The song just has this great doomed feeling throughout a bombastic high emotion ballad.
47. White Lies – Blue Drift
Blue Drift is a solid rock song. I know it seems like I don’t like it that much but I swear I enjoy the song. There’s not much to say about it. It’s solid!
48. July Talk, Spencer Krug – Certain Father
Seeing July Talk live this year was a great experience. I did see them play I Am Water but it sounded much better live than the studio version. The studio version of Certain Father is much better. Kind of an in between song from their harder stuff earlier in their career and their current sound.
49. Black Honey – Charlie Bronson
Black Honey always does a good job. Charlie Bronson is a fun song to rock out to.
50. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – You Made It Feel Like Home
To be honest I just wanted to end the list on this song. It would slot probably 10 spots higher if I was putting it where I felt it deserved to be. But to cap off the playlist it fits at number 50. A beautiful song by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for the Bones and All soundtrack.