My Favourite Songs of 2022

Favourite Songs of 2022

For many of us, 2022 has been an interesting year. On a personal level, it’s been a mix of highs and lows yet throughout there have been several songs that I’ve repeatedly returned to. So as the title states, here are my favourite songs of 2022.

Caracara – ‘Colorglut’ (feat. Anthony Green) / ‘Hyacinth’

The second album from Caracara, ‘New Preoccupations’, is one I discovered through word-of-Twitter-mouth. It quickly became a #1 contender for my album of the year. Wrapped in a dynamic indie rock skin, album highlights ‘Colorglut’ and ‘Hyacinth’ exemplify the Philadephia-based group’s colourful musical palette.

The latter darts in with anxiety-ridden lyrics and grandiose execution, especially Sean Gill’s drums. Whereas vocalist/guitarist Will Lindsay reflects on his relationship with alcohol, with the repeated line “But I don’t feel like myself anymore”. Its towering build and conclusion set the benchmark for the remainder of ‘New Preoccupations’.

Thankfully, ‘Colorglut’ soon arrives to match with a noticeable change in sound. Backed by a drum machine beat, Lindsey’s diaristic words of “listening to Dirty Projectors, In a Volvo by the freeway funeral pyre” paint a compelling narrative. Anthony Green of Circa Survive and L.S. Dunes makes a swirling, harmonious guest spot in the middle.

Although ‘Colorglut’ and ‘Hyacinth’ are the two standout tracks, ‘New Preoccupations’ maintains its quality through a dynamic set of songs. ‘¬’ haunts before ‘Ohio’, and later ‘Monoculture,’ allows the quartet to comfortably return to their emo skin with warmth.’Harsh Light’ combines electronic drums, a hypnotic piano melody, and flashes of a fuzzy guitar, to again exemplify Caracara’s ongoing willingness to experiment.

Taylor Swift – Anti-Hero

Throughout her (recent) career, Taylor Swift has examined herself, and her flaws. Admittedly, my consumption of Swift’s music is selective (‘Everything Has Changed’ and ‘Exile’). Nevertheless, it’s easy to see why ‘Anti-Hero’ became such a big hit for Swift. The blend of 80’s-esque instrumentation and self-depricating lyricism struck a chord with many, myself included.

I’ve had my fair share of mental health issues, especially in recent months. So the simple line “I’m the problem, it’s me” certainly resonated with me, questioning my self-worth. On my low days, I questioned, “Am I the problem or is it something out of my control?”. Regardless, I’ve worked to lift myself out of a hole of self-doubt.

Paramore – This Is Why

Paramore’s comeback track has deservedly been praised, and in my case, on repeat since its release in September. Taken from the upcoming album of the same name, ‘This Is Why’ saw the trio embrace the off-kilter indie disco of Talking Heads, and combine it with anxiety-ridden, and confrontational lyrics.

Thriving with a funk-filled chorus, ‘This Is Why’ is a statement of intent from a band that continues to break new ground. Hayley Willams and company have found confidence in themselves, using their platform to write about issues that matter and that have substance.

Coheed & Cambria – The Liars Club

I’ve always had an appreciation for Coheed & Cambria. The fictional sci-fi world frontman Claudio Sanchez has created is certainly admirable, albeit confusing. The latest instalment of ‘The Armory Wars’ came in the summer in the form of ‘Vaxis – Act II: A Window of the Waking Mind’.

‘The Liars Club’ showcased Coheed’s ability to write massive arena-made rock songs. Its chorus is an adrenaline-fuelled rush, while its synth-y middle pulls things back momentarily before delivering one final satisfying dose of sprawling, head-banging musical brilliance.

Polyphia – ABC (featuring Sophia Black)

As someone who’s kinda dropped out of what’s trending (or on the rise) in niché rock/metal circles, it passed me by that Polyphia has somewhat exploded in popularity. In hindsight, it’s understandable as the progressive rock instrumentalists embrace other genres and influences, evolving their intricate style, beyond attracting the usual guitar nerds.

‘ABC’ sees the Texan group team up with trilingual pop and R&B singer Sophia Black to create a unique blend of prog rock, trap, and J-pop. Sure, it’s a polarising combination that has been described as “cutesy”, yet it is unbelievably catchy.

The Wonder Years – Wyatt’s Song (Your Name)

If you know me personally, then you’ll know The Wonder Years are one of my favourite bands. Unsurprisingly, ‘The Hum Goes On Forever’ appears high on my list of albums of the year. TWY’s seventh album continues their maturity, both musically and lyrically.

Alongside sentimental cuts such as ‘Summer Clothes’ and ‘Lost it in the Lights’, they continue to write “bangers”. ‘Wyatt’s Song (Your Name)’ brilliantly blends the task of fatherhood with a celebratory hook. Yet as always, there’s a hint of trepidation in Dan Campbell’s words, which merely adds to the track’s emotional weight.

I wrote about ‘The Hum Goes On Forever’ for Punktastic’s ‘Top 25 Albums of the Year’ feature.

A Short 2022 Pop-Punk Roundup

Smrtdeath / 408 / Magnolia Park

I continue to be a sucker for crap-but-good pop-punk, and 2022 saw the genre continue to thrive. The trend of emo rappers embracing pop-punk continued with Smrtdeath. ‘Misfit’ lent on the tropé of the awkward tormented boy yearning for “the girl”. Likewise ‘sober’ is a celebration of alcohol-fuelled youthfulness and regrets.

Orlando’s 408 roped in Sleeping With Sirens’ Kellin Quinn and Josh Roberts of Magnolia Park to pay tribute to blink-182’s Mark Hoppus. Blending trap beats with soaring pop-punk proved to be a short, sharp and fun number, with the odd blink reference scattered throughout.

Yet when it comes to my “breakthrough band of the year”, it has to be the aforementioned Magnolia Park. Songs such as ‘Feel Something’ hone in on what modern pop-punk is about, at least stylistically. The six-piece collective is an example of pop-punk’s growing diversity representation, writing relatable, socially conscious songs.

Read my review of Magnolia Park’s latest album, ‘Baku’s Revenge’, on Punktastic.

Ithaca – ‘They Fear Us’ / ‘Hold, Be Held’

It’s no surprise that ‘They Fear Us’, the second album from UK metallic hardcore group Ithaca, has been appearing on many publications end of year lists. Carried by a ravenous hunger for revenge and inner strength, ‘They Fear Us’ saw a band with confidence and purpose, something that poured out of Djamila Boden Azzouz’s venomous voice on the title track. Confrontation and unapologetic in her words, it’s a monolithic blast complemented by a stirring guitar solo from Sam Chetan-Walsh and shotgun drum work courtesy of James Lewis.

The album closes with the gorgeous ‘Hold, Be Held’. Here, Boden Azzouz’s sultry clean vocals are allowed to control the balladic tone with stunning results. Lyrically, she lets her guard down with guest vocalist Yansé Cooper questioning “when will I heal?” Rounded out by a ticking rhythm, it’s a fitting, triumphant finale.

Counterparts – A Eulogy for Those Still Here

Canadian metal/hardcore mob Counterparts are a band I hadn’t been following much since 2015’s superb ‘Tragedy Will Find Us’ LP. Yet they certainly grabbed my attention with ‘A Eulogy for Those Still Here’, their seventh album.

Crafting an emotionally dense record with brilliantly executed metalcore tropes made for a successful combination. On the title track, Brendan Murphy’s blistering roar is backed by Kyle Brownlee’s frantic drum work and soaring riffery thanks to Alex Re and Jesse Doreen. Threaded together by catharsis and the dread of losing someone/something close to you, ‘A Eulogy…’ is a blistering, impassioned slice of melodic metalcore.

Nick Ward – Adam’s Song (Ft. E^ST) (blink-182 cover)

Before I came across this Triple J “Like A Version” session performance, I had never heard of Nick Ward (or E^ST) yet this cover of blink-182’s ‘Adam’s Song’ is simply stunning.

Ward and E^ST embrace the sombre nature of the track, stripping it back to an acoustic setting with a mournful cello, soft string synths, and grand piano keys. The arrangement allows Mark Hoppus’ lyrics to be amplified beyond its original pop-punk skin.

Rolo Tomassi – Closer

Rolo Tomassi has evolved from the scrappy “Nintendocore” of their early days to a layered, ethereal outfit.

This year saw the release of ‘Where Myth Becomes Memory’, picking up where 2018’s ‘Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It’. Sandwiched in between the heavy onslaught of ‘Labyrinthine’ and pummeling drums of ‘Drip’ is ‘Closer.

When this song was released as a single in January, I must have listened to it on repeat for an hour. It’s simply a gorgeous song that highlights Eva Korman’s vulnerable, delicate voice, and complements it with an enchanting build that is thoroughly compelling. By the time you reach the harmonious end with James Spence’s keys dwindling away, you’ll want to hit repeat instantly.

Honourable Mentions

Sigrid & Bring Me The Horizon – Bad Life

Admittedly this is probably the worst song on this list. Structurally simple, it’s here because it has been a “comfort song” for me because of the basic sentiment of “life isn’t all bad, you’re just having a bad day”.

Alexisonfire – Sans Soleil

I didn’t give ‘Otherness’, Alexisonfire’s first album in 13 years enough attention than I probably should’ve. Nevertheless, ‘Sans Soleil’ still deserves to be on this list. Dallas Green’s aching vocals melt as the track embraces themes such as self-love, healing, and hope.

Camp Cope – Jealous

With their third album, ‘Running with the Hurricane’, Aussie trio Camp Cope took a softer, more reflective approach. Embracing the comforting country-pop that vocalist Georgia Maq found solace in during the pandemic, ‘Running with the Hurricane’ proved to a deeply emotional record, both for the band and listeners.

‘Jealous’ captures Maq’s strong, soulful voice with a hint of vulnerability, reflecting on a former love interest, wishing she could be on the receiving end of the affection her former lover gives their dog.

Anxious – You When You’re Gone

Emerging as one of the emo/pop-punk’s sleeper hits of the year with ‘Little Green House’, Anxious nicely embrace influential bands such as Death Cab For Cutie and Jimmy Eat World.

However, away from the hooks on ‘In April’, ‘Growing Up Song’, and ‘Call From You’, there is the harmonious balladic finale – ‘You When You’re Gone’. It sees  Grady Allen take a back seat as the Connecticut group welcome Stella Branstool to become guest lead vocalist. The end result is a plucky, midwestern emo delight with a soft, comforting hook that radiates with every playback.

My Albums of the Year 2022:

1. Caracara – ‘New Preoccupations’
2. The Wonder Years – ‘The Hum Goes on Forever’
3. Counterparts – ‘A Eulogy For Those Still Here’
4. Camp Cope – ‘Running with the Hurricane’
5. Rolo Tomassi – ‘Where Myth Becomes Memory’
6. Alexisonfire – ‘Otherness’
7. Spanish Love Songs – ‘Brave Faces Etc.’
8. Anxious – ‘Little Green House’
9. Coheed & Cambria – ‘Act II: A Window of the Waking Mind’
10. Tree River – ‘Time Being’