Ready to make another playlist? It is that time of the year when I provide my “expert” musical commentary and select my top songs from the past 12 months. Truth be told, there probably isn’t anything more comical than yours truly trying to pose as a musical authority but I can’t help myself. You see, this will be my 9th time doing this and how can I stop now with my milestone decade list just a year away?
I imagine it is more of my aging cynical self than the actual degradation of music, but for the second consecutive year I would categorize the state of mainstream top 40 hits as rather poor. That couldn’t stop me from compiling a handful of songs that I believe represent the best of the best in 2022. So sit back, fire up the following songs on YouTube, and dig deep into the chambers of my very non-musical mind.
5. Sia – “Unstoppable”
To be honest, I wasn’t too thrilled with this song when it came out. Although a fan of some of Sia’s other songs, this didn’t click with me right away. That all changed when I needed a song to go with Sloan’s first day of kindergarten TikTok. As I watched her march into that initial day of school with confidence and sassiness, I needed a song to match her fearless attitude. There wasn’t a better choice than “Unstoppable.”
From that moment, the song grew on me. We have declared “Unstoppable” as Sloan’s theme song of the year and if she is in the car with me we never pass it over when it comes on Sirius. If Sloan needs just a little bit of energy to power through the day, we remind her that she is so powerful and doesn’t need batteries to play. This track with the usual powerful vocals from Sia is #5 on this year’s list.
4. Taylor Swift – “Anti Hero”
I have had a complicated history with Taylor Swift, one that I chronicled a half decade ago. In that post, I mentioned that she hit her peak with me in 2014. During that year she came out with numerous hits, including my all-time favorite Swift ballad, “Blank Space.” Fast forward to 2022 and her intriguing song “Anti Hero” reminds me of that same track that takes me all the way back to Thanksgiving 2014. So, I guess it goes without saying that Taylor is back on my top songs of the year list after last making it with “Ready For It” in 2017.
I think “Anti Hero” touches on the genius of Swift because it packs her storytelling skills, haunting vocals, and one-of-kind personality into a single track. It is the same formula that has helped her pump out hit after hit over the years. No lyric is wasted with “Anti Hero”—it seems like everything is emphasized for optimal effect. I am a fan.
3. Mae Muller, Neiked, and Polo G – “Better Days”
This song is my dish washing track of 2022. I would be cleaning the kitchen after dinner and I would ask Alexa to play it for me. I was drawn to the easygoing and smooth melody mixed with lyrics that describe the daily grind of life and the optimism for “better days.”
I like the contrast of the female vocal chorus of Muller with the rap verses of Polo G. It is a true collaboration with nothing seeming out of place…it just gels.
2. Halsey – “So Good”
“So Good” by Halsey was one of those songs that I liked from the very first time I heard it. Additionally, it holds the distinction of a song that I can listen to multiple times in a row. It is a track where I really don’t take any stock in what it is actually about but am just captivated by the three minutes of escape and listening delight that it brings.
I appreciate how “So Good” can be underestimated at first. It starts rather unremarkably with a non-distinctive intro that doesn’t seem to fit the rest of the song. But once she begins with I’m here, standing in the same dress the ride really begins. From that point it is a pleasant and energizing musical trip. When it builds up to the chorus and her crystal clear belting of the words When you left, I bet you held her body closer you can’t help but tap your hands rhythmically on the steering wheel. This is my all-time favorite Halsey song.
1. Harry Styles – “As It Was”
How do you go from not caring for an artist to suddenly declaring one of his songs your favorite of the year? Well, I think it just comes down to uniqueness. Earning top billing in my top 5 songs of 2022 is “As It Was” by Harry Styles. When it comes down to it, until this year, I had never heard a song quite like it. And in this case, that’s a good thing.
“As It Was” is a good vibes song with a laid back and quirky melody. It dominated the airwaves in spring and summer—providing the perfect track for laying by the pool. This song is simply fresh, unique, and easy on the ears. Whereas I would get annoyed by Styles’ previous work, “Watermelon Sugar” being a great example, this song hits the spot. So Harry, please answer the phone, because it is me telling you that you are plenty good alone at #1 on my 2022 list of top songs.
So there you have it, my five favorite songs of the year…and I didn’t even need Spotify to tell me what they were. If you have a favorite song of the year that matches any of the five on my list, please let me know! Let’s hope for better music in 2023. Don’t Blink.
Brent’s Top 5 Best Songs of 2021
Brent’s Top 5 Best Songs of 2020
Brent’s Top 5 Best Songs of 2019
Brent’s Top 5 Best Songs of 2018
Brent’s Top 5 Best Songs of 2017
Brent’s Top 5 Best Songs of 2016
Brent’s Top 5 Best Songs of 2015
Brent’s Top 5 Best Songs of 2012