Yes, it’s December once more, and that means everyone gets to sit down and compile a list of their favourites, then argue it out with all the other staff and somehow come up with a consensus that’s got nothing to do with the person doing the writing fiddling about as they see fit. Ahem. Anyway, luckily this year there was only ever going to be one choice for top song, so the office party stereo isn’t going to be a war zone. We present to you, our top tracks of 2022.
Fifteen: Neverland by Kyla La Grange
Quite a bit of this list mentions issues relevant in the confused world of 2022, but Neverland uses an age old emotion – not wanting the party to stop as the night ends – to reflect on another age old emotion: aging old. Kyla took a break from the spotlight, and her ’22 comeback album had a number of quality songs, but this was the best.
Fourteen: Forgive Me by Sofi Tukker and Mahmut Orhan
The heroes of lockdown, Sofi Tukker, released an album cheekily called Wet Tennis and there were a few obvious up numbers we could have picked (Original Sin anyone?), but it was this slower, emotive tale of support and dysfunction with Mahmut Orhan which lasted with us longest.
Thirteen: Engravings by Ethan Bortnick
Engravings begins like a great composer from the past woke in 2023 after a very long sleep and started making bangers, and then becomes a relentlessly ‘up’ song musically despite dealing with issues of domestic abuse lyrically. Which is to say it’s a really great say we didn’t get tired of, but which is a lot darker than you first realise.
Twelve: I Do This All The Time by Self Esteem
I Do This All The Time contains both spoken word honesty about modern life and a choral chorus which urges you to just keep going. She understands, she does this, you do this, it’s okay, just keep going. For all the hype Self Esteem got it was her tender, accurate eye being cast over normal life that affected us most. This is poetry.
Eleven: Zero by Dead Pony
Dead Pony’s War Boys EP had a number of contenders for this ranking, as the whole thing is buzzing with chaotic energy. Zero burns like fuel, and the band admitted they vibed with the whole thing so well the lyrics were nailed in just ten minutes. Enjoy a song that positions itself and you as at war with pretty much everything. And why not.
Ten: Wet Dream by Wet Leg
Now, we know Wet Leg released Chaise Lounge and Wet Dream originally in 2021, but the album came out this year, the songs came back this year, they had a triumphant Glastonbury performance: they managed to make 22 better than the year of their lightning fast rise in 21. And this is our list so we’re putting Wet Dream on it. A band who know when to rock, and a band who know when to step back, they were everywhere and we loved it.
Nine: Point Me Towards The Real by Ezra Furman
Okay, look, we know Ezra’s vocals in this are utter marmite. You’re either going to hate this and dismiss it as a whine, or it will reach deep into your soul and make you feel yes, I truly understand. A song about being let out of a psych ward after an unspecified incident, it’s a song of feeling lost and alone and not knowing what’s going on, of wanting to be pointed to a future, and so many of us have experienced that over the last few years.
Eight: Hayloft II by Mother Mother
Hayloft was released many years ago, and Hayloft II revisits the aftermath, when the female survivor of a murder takes her revenge on her father. It might not sound stunning like that, but the music, the way it’s structured and sung and layered, is so purely addictive. We’ve all rinsed this during the year and it still hits. We sing along in supermarkets and people look scared at us. It’s the way.
Seven: Dysphoria! At the Psych Ward by Girlcrush
Trans rights and trans lives are under naked and constant attack, from the bleating right wing media using it as a tool to slide back progress on the rights of everyone who isn’t a white male, to the useful idiots who think they’re doing right but are actually just tools spouting hate speech like a certain author whose entire career rests on Neil Gaiman being a nice guy. Dysphoria! At the Psych Ward is the heart rending and bleedingly honest account of someone in the trenches of this conflict, when all they want is to be who they are. It also has one of the best choruses of all time.
Six: Violet’s Tale by Ren
Ren’s tale is darker and more fascinating than Violet’s, a man of great talent laid low by illness, fighting his way back. The video for Violet’s Tale is a live performance of Ren and his guitar as he moves through careful choreography, and it’s a visceral and affecting song from a man who can both conjure it with words and has actually lived through it. He’s a massive talent, his livestreams are great, we hope he gets a big future.
Five: Free by Florence and the Machine
Florence has said that Free is influenced by episodes of mass panic and manic dancing which have occurred in the past, which is nice take but for everyone else it’s also a perfect summary of living with mental health. Given how much of a battering everyone’s taken on that, given that mental illness is more of a dangerous pandemic than Covid, partly thanks to Covid but also thanks to social media evolving social intercourse, it becomes a song of much stronger meaning.
Four: Vault of Heaven by The Pixies
The Pixies have been an ever present part of our musical lives for decades now, and they’re still releasing great albums. Vault of Heaven was our favourite from the 22 release, a great match of imagery and addiction that shows time has never weakened them.
Three: Everything is Fine by The Damn Quails
The Damn Quails don’t release music too often, but when they do it’s great. We’d love nothing more than to see them on a festival stage, in the hot summer, singing along to Me and the Whiskey and this. Everything is Fine is, of course, about the exact opposite. It’s a song about it all going wrong, about feeling doomed, and it’s pure catharsis for us to listen to in a year when we didn’t think the state of Britain could get any worse and were proved terribly wrong.
Two: The Foundations of Decay by My Chemical Romance
When My Chemical Romance announced a new song and a new tour, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was just the nostalgia power hour. But Foundations of Decay is a song about aging, about it being years after they were famous, about they and their fans facing a different set of circumstances and future. They had grown along with us, and it turned an already brilliant song into a powerful comeback. Jarvis Cocker achieved the same a few years ago. When you’re an older listener, there’s something impressive about people who can articulate change.
One: Doomscroller by Metric
The Supajam staff had different reactions to Doomscroller which were all the same. Your scribe wrote a review calling it Metric’s Bohemian Rhapsody, someone else listened to it five time in a row, hard to achieve when it’s a ten minute song. But everyone loved it. And yes, we stick by the modern Bohemian Rhapsody. Over the course of a swelling, twisting ten minutes Metric nail perfectly the chaos and confusion of the last few years. Doomscrolling is, of course, the practice of being trapped, endlessly scrolling down your phone at the horrors social media has served you for clicks. The insistent urge not to give up yet is what truly makes the song.