Wednesday, December 14, 2022

100 Songs for 2022



It feels like you have to pick a side, but you don’t. That’s it. That’s the whole essay. I mean, it’s obviously not the whole essay. I still want to talk about the sides, and why you don’t have to pick one, and we’re going to talk about poetry and college football and soccer journalism and really polite mosh pits before this is over. I can’t promise that this year’s essay will be any shorter than those that came before, but I can promise that it will be easier to summarize.

Every year, around this time, I stare at a blank Google Doc and try to come up with a way to summarize the year in music. And every year, I think: “It was a pretty good year for music and a pretty bad year for everything else.” And … that’s true. It might not be especially original, but it’s true. 

So then I think, well, given that, isn’t it sort of childish to spend this much time on the “music” part and not the “everything else” part? Knowing what we know about the world, even just a cursory scroll through the news, how is it morally defensible for me to devote this much of my mental energy to ranking songs?

Even if we admit that we can’t account for the totality of human suffering in this space, if we allow that a music blog should be allowed to focus on music, well … things are pretty bad there, too. Once-beloved icons are embracing fascism and anti-semitism, ranting about vaccines, sympathizing with white supremacists, and sending waves of online stans to destroy anyone who questions them. A truly demoralizing percentage of the male artists you once admired turned out to be sexual predators.

Meanwhile, it is getting more difficult for artists at all levels to make even the smallest amount of money. Streaming services pay nothing, no one buys physical media, established artists are canceling tours while smaller artists are either operating at a loss or giving up entirely. It’s a good time to be Ticketmaster, and that’s about it.

So when I say, it was a pretty good year for music, I just mean that there were a lot of songs I liked. And when I say it was a pretty bad year for everything else, I really do mean everything else. How are we supposed to live with that contradiction?

Well, there are two sides. 

The first one is denial. Toxic positivity as a guiding principle. It’s amazing how much you can ignore when you really set your mind to it. Maybe your favorite artist didn’t mean those things he said about women. And gay people. And Muslims. And … you know what? Music is fun, let’s focus on that. It was a pretty good year for music!

The second one is surrender. Build an entire personality out of knowing the most bad news. Everything is burning. That new band you think you love is going to disappoint you in the most crushing way possible. Music is a distraction, grow up. It was a pretty bad year for everything else!

Those are the sides. They will both make you feel hollow inside. It’s a good thing we don’t have to pick one.


In February, while on holiday in Mexico, I read a book called Horizontal Vertigo, a series of loosely connected vignettes about Mexico City. In it, while meditating on the chaotic and fragmented nature of the city, how he loves it despite the fact that it is horribly broken in so many fundamental ways, shaped by decades of corruption and violence, author Juan Villoro quotes one stray line from a poem: “Try to praise the mutilated world.” That line stuck with me, and when I couldn’t get it out of my head, I finally tracked down the source. 

It’s a poem by a man named Adam Zagajewski, born at the tail end of World War II in a town that had been occupied, in quick succession, by the Soviets, then the Germans, then the Soviets again. When he was born it was part of Poland. Now it’s part of Ukraine. Soon after his birth, his family was caught up in a wave of forced migrations and deposited in an industrial village on the other side of the country. He grew up listening to people struggling to keep alive the memory of the beauty of other places and other times. He made his way to Krakow, where he taught philosophy and joined the Generation of ‘68 literary movement, dedicated to "standing up against the falsifications of reality.” 

“Try To Praise The Mutilated World” is best appreciated in light of that mission statement, creating an honest reality …

Try to praise the mutilated world.

Remember June's long days,

and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.

The nettles that methodically overgrow

the abandoned homesteads of exiles.

You must praise the mutilated world.

even when the contradictions of that reality are almost too much to bear …

You watched the stylish yachts and ships;

one of them had a long trip ahead of it,

while salty oblivion awaited others.

You've seen the refugees going nowhere,

you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.

You should praise the mutilated world.

… and always returning to the central thesis that there is no path forward except to praise the mutilated world, that joy and darkness must always exist in uncomfortably close proximity to each other and attempting to deny either is doomed to fail. The poem lights a path between denial and surrender. 

Still, it’s an abstraction. It’s a command but not an instruction. What if I want to praise the mutilated world but I don’t know how?


In 2011, writer Spencer Hall published an essay called “God’s Away On Business.” It’s about college football in roughly the same way that this essay is about music. Hall finds himself attempting to unravel the same knot. He loves college football. He loves it. But he knows that, as an institution, it is rotten to the core. 

It’s a lot like music in that way. It’s a system designed to extract profits from uniquely talented individuals performing brief moments of incredible beauty. It is designed to funnel those profits to faceless rent-seeking entities who exist only to benefit from the work of others. It may not have been designed to destroy the very people who make it possible, but no one in power seems especially concerned when that keeps happening. And yet …

And yet I could spend the rest of the day just listing moments of pure, exhilarating joy that I have experienced watching college football, and I’m sure Spencer Hall’s list is longer than mine. And if we’re talking about moments of joy from music, well, we’re about to get to a hundred of them, and I have thousands more if you’re interested.

To make his point, Hall focuses on a single play from the 1993 Sugar Bowl, an incredible display of determination and athleticism by an Alabama defensive back named George Teague. The play was negated by a penalty. So even if you accept the morality of amateur athletics (you shouldn’t), even if you accept the authority of the NCAA as a governing body (you shouldn’t) … the play didn’t count. Officially, it never happened.

But Hall remembers it. And I remember it, too. It was awesome. There are people who would judge us for this, pointing out that we are dupes, suckers, unserious people willing to ignore mountains of corruption stacked on top of exploitation stacked on top of greed just so we could see a guy do something cool.

Hall, to his credit, admits that nothing about that characterization is demonstrably false. This allows him to take the next step, to what is honestly one of my favorite paragraphs ever written:

There is another edit. The one between naivete and cynicism. It is a delicate one. You will first have to accept that this breaks your heart. You will have to accept that this is in some part a scam. You will have to accept that you are bad firewood walking: wooden, a puppet guided by strings pulling you in directions you can't always understand or accept. You'll have to accept, in one form or another, that God's away on business, and you will have to take care of this yourself no matter how long you have to run. You have to accept that the only redemption for the large, cheap machinations of life is the redemption of experience, the only thing you can control.

Naivete and cynicism. Denial and surrender. The two sides. I want to love music the way Spencer Hall loves college football, in spite of everything I know about the world surrounding it. I want to see that there is another edit. I want to accept that it breaks my heart. I want to try to praise the mutilated world.

But that isn’t enough.


Last week, the American soccer journalist Grant Wahl died tragically while covering the World Cup in Qatar. In the days that followed, the tributes to Wahl from around the globe were overwhelming, in number and in substance. They all had one thing in common, which was the recognition that Grant Wahl absolutely refused to pick a side. He loved soccer. He praised its mutilated world. But he never stopped there.

From Lauren Theisen: “To truly love something — a sport, a country, a person — is to do everything in your power to help it become the best possible version of itself. I didn't know Grant Wahl, but I know that he loved soccer.”

From Brian Phillips: “I want to say that Grant had a rare ability to make you believe in goodness — your own and other peoples’ — which made his reporting on the human tragedy in Qatar doubly valuable. Because he wasn’t a suspicious or cynical person by nature. He simply saw something wrong and felt he had to stand up to it. So he went — on his own, without institutional support — to talk to migrant workers. He showed up for LGBTQ rights. He took risks most of us didn’t and I admired, still admire, him so much for that.”

From Mike Duncan: “And, of course, he showed that it is not just possible but vital to love the sport with all your heart, while also relentlessly holding hot flame to the feet of the bastards who run it. This is the central dilemma for all sports fans: the love of the game paired with the toxic cultures that control it. How to face this apparent contradiction and not let either side of the dilemma swamp out the other. To hold both in our heads and our heart at once. Grant did it.”

For Grant Wahl, there was no contradiction between being soccer’s biggest champion and its biggest critic. Quite the opposite, in fact. Love demands activism. It demands shining a light in the darkness and yelling for anyone who will listen. And maybe, sometimes, it demands guitars, and drums, and a PA system cranked up as loud as it will go.


My Song of the Year is “Baby, Does Your Heart Sink?” by Martha, in a photo finish with “Matilda” by PUP. Neither song, on its own, really fits the theme of this essay. “Baby, Does Your Heart Sink?” is a breakup song that maybe gestures at the mutilated world. “Matilda” is literally a song written from the perspective of an old guitar. In both cases their placement at the top of this list goes far beyond the songs themselves. This is about the bands, their fans, and the beautiful little temporary worlds they are building.

You remember the places that make you feel different, better, even if only for a moment. I remember PUP at Melkweg in Amsterdam, in a mosh pit that consumed the entire venue, frontman Stefan Babcock saying, “Look at the person to your left. Look at the person to your right. These are your friends. Take care of them,” and we did. I remember Martha at EartH in London, my first time in a space that instantly felt as warm and inviting as any venue I had ever entered, hundreds of us caught up in the giddy realization that there were so many other people who shared our love of this little queer anarchist band from the middle of nowhere that we thought no one else had ever heard of. In both cases, I remember the entire audience, smiles plastered on their faces, singing along with every word.

That might sound like denial. Shut out the outside world, let’s all forget our problems and have fun. But it wasn’t that at all. These are two bands who never forget. There may not be two other bands in the world more willing to fight the onrushing darkness. That trans flag that PUP keeps draped over a guitar amp isn’t a celebration, it’s a reminder of what’s at stake. (Ilana and I were there in San Francisco in April when someone gave it to them, and to see it still on display six months later in Amsterdam is one of those little reminders of the need for perseverance and dedication that really resonates.) When Martha drummer Nathan Stephens-Griffin talks about the importance of fighting the Tories at the ballot box, he’s quick to add, “... but there are also other ways.” Neither band would ever shy away from expressing negativity, as viscerally as necessary. PUP put out an EP two years ago called This Place Sucks Ass. The loudest moment of audience participation in Martha’s current set is the entire crowd screaming “Fuck this place, I hate it!” These are not bands who will ever look away.

But it’s not surrender, either. It’s not giving in. It’s never giving in. In my mind, this is what unites PUP and Martha, across both the bands and their fans. It's a sense of a greater purpose. There is no posturing. No detachment, no world-weary cynicism, no bitter irony. No attempts to be cool. Neither of these bands is cool. They know that, and their fans know that, and they don’t care. If anything, they like that. No one is here to be seen. No one is here who doesn’t want to be here. No one is here who isn’t invested. And we’re invested in everything, in a fundamental belief that a better world is possible, starting with the little worlds built in rock clubs. 

Martha takes the more direct path, overtly political songs, dreams of a mutilated world made whole. They’re happy to be as earnest as they need to be, to wear their hearts on their sleeves so that everyone else can see them, too. They write brighter, lighter songs made for throwing your arms around a stranger and singing along. They create a feeling of unity that you can’t help but carry with you. 

PUP takes a more oblique route, delving into personal darkness to destroy the fear inherent in those spaces, writing songs about giving in to the demons, sinking into that mutilated world. They write louder, faster songs that demand a physical release, because once you’ve heard Stefan Babcock sing about that darkness while you crowd-surf across an ocean of the nicest people you’ve ever met, how could it possibly scare you after you leave? 

But in the end they get to the same place. Martha and PUP love the little mutilated worlds they have created, with Juan Villoro’s fierce devotion and Adam Zagajewski’s resolute determination, with Spencer Hall’s broken-hearted rejection of cynicism and Grant Wahl’s conviction that to love something means it’s on you to make it better. It’s a love that radiates outward, that will bury its hooks in you if you let it. And you should. Come join us. It feels great. When we’re yelling “Fuck this place, I hate it!,” that’s just a statement about a present tense that’s always in motion. It has nothing to do with the future. We all get a say in what kind of place that will be.


100 Songs for 2022: Notes on the Process

  • Only 2022 releases are eligible.

  • Singles released in 2021 from albums released in 2022 are eligible if they weren’t on my 2021 list (Big Thief’s “No Reason” is eligible, Mitski’s “Working For The Knife” is not).

  • I have imposed a limit of two songs per artist. Almost every artist who hit that limit had more than two deserving songs, but special mention here goes to Martha (“Hope Gets Harder”), PUP (“Relentless”), MUNA (“Home By Now”), and Camp Trash (“Pursuit”). 

  • Even beyond that two song limit, I used artist diversity as a tiebreaker for making tough cuts. There are quite a few artists who deserved a second song, but I think a more diverse list is more representative of my year. Those squeezed this year include Ethel Cain (“Sun Bleached Flies”), Wild Pink (“Sucking On The Birdshot”), Plains (“Line Of Sight”), Taylor Swift (“Bejeweled”), Florence + The Machine (“Free”), and Snow Ellet (“Can’t Hear The Phone”).

  • I tend to avoid covers and live material, though I will make exceptions. There’s a cover on the list this year! It’s really good!

  • I included release dates and album titles because I did that last year, and I am a creature of habit.

  • Finally, as I did last year I tried to shut everything else out and make this a list of my favorite songs, nothing else. I chose album tracks over singles if those were the songs I liked the most, and I tried to avoid making this a Year In Music survey. Plenty of interesting, important work by talented artists didn’t make the cut if, for whatever reason, it just didn’t resonate with me personally. Apologies to The Smile, Kendrick Lamar, Alex G, Rosalia, and Steve Lacy. I guess you’ll have to settle for near-unanimous acclaim from publications that people actually read.

  • As always: Thanks for listening, thanks for understanding.


(1) Martha - “Baby, Does Your Heart Sink?”

Album: Please Don’t Take Me Back

Release Date: Aug. 16

The theme for Martha’s tour this year is The Darkest Timeline Disco and this might be a dumb question, but I have to ask: Did that phrase originate with the Community episode, or did it exist before that? Because I can’t remember ever hearing it before, but now it’s everywhere.

(2) PUP - “Matilda”


Release Date: Mar. 1

In the hotly-contested category of “Songs From The Perspective Of A Non-Human Narrator Expressing A Mixture Of Disappointment And Concern For The Singer’s Mental Well-Being,” “Matilda” might be the first legitimate challenger to “Plea From A Cat Named Virtute” by fellow Canadians The Weakerthans, which makes sense since PUP sometimes covers that one as part of their live show and it kills. 

(3) Ethel Cain - “American Teenager”

Album: Preacher's Daughter

Release Date: Apr. 21

There are some musical trends that you can see coming from miles away, that feel as inevitable as the changing of the seasons. Like, there was always going to be a disco revival one way or another, and it’s cool that Jessie Ware and Dua Lipa and others rode that wave and made some good music but, if they hadn’t, someone else would have.

There are other trends that are born from the undeniable creative brilliance of a single person. Nothing about the rise of Ethel Cain and the creation of an entire aesthetic around fetishizing the darkness of rural americana happens without Hayden Anhedönia’s singular vision and force of personality. The culture was not crying out for a pop star who smokes ketamine and goes to antique malls in Indiana but it doesn’t matter - you’re getting one anyway. An undeniable artist, a magnetic performer, and the leader of a cult of parasocial superfans who scare me a little bit.

(I would have found a spot on this list for “Sun Bleached Flies” as well, but the line “God loves you, but not enough to save you” hits so close to home that I’m concerned she might be wiretapping my therapy sessions. Not cool, Hayden.)

(4) Craig Finn - “Birthdays”

Album: A Legacy Of Rentals

Release Date: Apr. 22

According to Spotify, this was my most-played song of the year, which makes sense because it’s pretty rare that I ever play a single song on repeat but there were multiple days in 2022 when I thought to myself, “y’know, I think I’d like to hear ‘Birthdays’ four or five times in a row.’” Always a good decision.

(5) Beyonce - “BREAK MY SOUL”


Release Date: Jun. 20

The best kind of song, which is to say that it soundtracked so many happy moments in my life this year that I don’t know if it’s good or not, and I don’t care. My only [10] of the year on our dear, departed Singles Jukebox.

(6) Camp Trash - “Lake Erie Boys”

Album: The Long Way, The Slow Way

Release Date: Jun. 15

Earlier this year, Camp Trash was selling a shirt with the slogan “Rock Music For Scared People.” I ordered one, but it never arrived. It’s cool, guys, I just wanted you to have the money anyway. Still, that line gets at something fundamental about what makes Camp Trash my favorite new band in a few years, something I can’t pin down any better than they already have. It’s not quite emotional honesty, a lot of bands have that. Emotional acceptance isn’t quite right, either, but it’s closer. It’s key to how they can write songs this bright and accessible that are also this deep and emotionally resonant. Maybe “not scared of being scared”? Something like that? Songs where anxiety and depression aren’t obstacles to be overcome and banished forever, but also where anxiety and depression aren’t meant to be worn like a badge of honor, either. They just are. We struggle. We’re going to keep struggling. It can be okay sometimes. Here are some songs about that.

(7) Bartees Strange - “Wretched”

Album: Farm To Table

Release Date: Jun. 13

It’s important to stop and acknowledge when things play out exactly like you hoped they would. For instance: Bartees Strange puts out a new record and it’s awesome, even better than his last one. He announces a European tour and he’s coming to Amsterdam and he’s playing upstairs at Paradiso, such a cool little room that’s perfect for an artist like him. You buy one ticket because, you know, his music is a little weird and maybe save your energy for talking your friends into other shows. But then a few days before the show you’re playing the record at home and Ilana hears “Wretched” and immediately loves it, buys a ticket, convinces Tom and Shay to come too, and the four of you stand in the front row and the crowd is small but they’re all into it, and Bartees is electric and it’s just good vibes all around and afterward you cycle home just thinking about how live music is awesome. Like, what else could you possibly want? 

(8) The Beths - “Expert In A Dying Field”

Album: Expert In A Dying Field

Release Date: Jul. 14

I really like Liz Stokes as a songwriter because it feels like she wants to show you how she does what she does. She methodically sets out two, three, four different vocal melody lines (verse, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge, maybe a few other nameless mini-sections), then starts combining them, eventually reaching that magical moment where they’re all happening at once and you can’t really focus on any of them and you just have to let them all wash over you.

(Ilana has helpfully pointed out that yes, it’s interesting when The Beths do this, but this is also how virtually every musical is structured, and if I love this kind of songwriting so much, why don’t I listen to more musicals? It’s a good question, and I have no answer. If you’d like to teach me about musicals in 2023, applications are open.)

(9) Prince Daddy & The Hyena - “El Dorado”

Album: Prince Daddy & The Hyena

Release Date: Mar. 24

Last year’s PD single “Curly Q” snuck in at the end of my 100 Songs for 2021, and this is what I had to say about it: “Several years ago, I saw Prince Daddy open for Oso Oso upstairs at Paradiso. They were fun but sloppy, and it seemed like they were more about bringing non-stop energy than actually writing songs. Well, they have absolutely proven me wrong. This is beautiful.

Somehow I was a year early on that sentiment because it applies even more in 2022. Whatever leap they made between 2019 and 2021, they’ve made an even bigger one between 2021 and 2022. “El Dorado” comes off as multiple songs mashed together, yet they’re all great and complement each other perfectly. I love the Madchester drums in the first bit, and by the end I’m screaming “You’re gonna wake up cooooooold tomorrow” at confused pedestrians as I cycle past them.

(10) Maggie Rogers - “Anywhere With You”

Album: Surrender

Release Date: Jul. 29

I think most people have realistic goals that they’ll tell you about if you ask, but also weirder dreams they know they will never pursue but enjoy thinking about. Like, I understand that there aren’t all that many places I would really want to live: Stay in Amsterdam, go back to California, maybe London? (But people who live there seem to hate it?) Anyway, those are the realistic ones. I have one life, and I’ll probably spend it there. But, if I had a hundred lives, there are a few places I would absolutely spend one or two of them: Oxford, Nairobi, Asheville, maybe Mexico City. Places I’ve been for anywhere from a few days to a few months and thought, “yeah, I could see myself living here.” I just need more lives.

So anyway, the Maggie Rogers life plan, where you drop everything, put your successful career on hold, enroll in some weird, esoteric graduate program, an aggressively specific discipline like Religion and Public Life, a degree that no one has ever successfully used to get a job, where all you do is read difficult books and then talk about those books with other people who also willingly chose to do this, and then somehow try to write songs about it? I mean, I’m not going to do it but, if I had multiple lives, I’m spending one of them on that, no question. That sounds amazing.

My songs wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as hers, though. “Anywhere With You” is a monster. I’ll be honest, I did not think Maggie had a song like this in her.

(11) MUNA - “Kind Of Girl”

Album: MUNA

Release Date: Apr. 28

One of my favorite made-up mini-genres is the Low Stakes Empowerment Anthem. When they get too big, they lose me. The songs telling me I’m a goddess, a queen, a boss, a firework … it’s too much. They just make me feel worse, like I’m letting Lizzo down somehow. (And yes, I understand that I am not the target demographic for those songs.)

But songs like “Kind Of Girl,” songs that don’t ask for much more than “maybe you could be a little nicer to yourself,” those hit home.

Also, I’m just a sucker for a mandolin.

(12) Rat Tally - “Longshot”

Album: In My Car

Release Date: Jul. 7

I’m trying to avoid straightforward “sounds like” reviews this year, but … this song has a lot of “Me & My Dog” energy. There’s more of an indie rock edge here, and Addy Harris is more than just a Phoebe disciple, but this song absolutely wants to be emaaaaaaaciated. It wants to hear one song without thinking of you. It just does.

(13) The Reds, Pinks and Purples - “Pour The Light In”

Album: Summer At Land’s End

Release Date: Jan. 21

I miss San Francisco. I really do. I mean, I’m not itching to move back or anything. I am fully aware of its many flaws as a city, and when someone criticizes it I’m far more likely to agree than to defend it. But … there’s just something about it, a feeling I’ve never felt anywhere else. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s because I dreamed of living there for so long and then I actually got to do it. Maybe that feeling is just pride.

But I don’t think it is, because The Reds, Pinks and Purples make music that sounds the way San Francisco feels to me, and it doesn’t seem like that should be possible unless there was something universal behind it. It’s the ever-present dualities. It’s staggering natural beauty shrouded in fog. It’s every little thing that makes the city unique, coming together to fight a losing battle with the forces that will eventually make it just like everywhere else. It’s both a place where decades of constant waves of weirdos and outcasts have come to see their utopian dreams flourish and also very much a place where those dreams ultimately die at the hands of a machine that knows nothing but how to commodify them and sell them to boring rich people. (It’s hoping you’re in that first category but knowing, deep down, that you’re in the second.) It is all of that. That’s what The Reds, Pinks and Purples sound like to me. Wary hope and soft sadness, every day, all the time. Is it weird to miss that?

(14) Cool Original - “U And Me Both”

Album: Outtakes From "Bad Summer"

Release Date: May 18

It’s really hard to describe an existential crisis after the fact. This summer, for reasons I cannot entirely explain, I went to Oxford for a three-day Global Leaders in Law conference and almost immediately melted down, like my entire sense of self dissolved right in front of me. Twenty years earlier, I had spent a semester abroad in Oxford, dripping with unearned confidence and convinced I was on the verge of becoming one of the greatest writers of my generation. Now I was here to talk about communication hierarchies and methods for fostering team-based efficiencies. Is that really who I was now? How did that happen?

In times like those, my two best methods for re-centering myself are (a) running and (b) discovering new music, so the next morning I got up an hour early, put on a playlist of new tunes from the wonderful folks at Small Albums, and headed out for a few miles along the Thames, the same path I had worn out two decades prior. One of the first songs to come up was “U And Me Both,” this unexpected mash-up of Philly indie rock sensibilities and synth-jazz instrumentation that just should not work but absolutely does, and my feet immediately felt lighter and the sun reflected off of the water and the early-morning rowing teams glided by hypnotically and I don’t know how else to say it, I just kind of returned to myself. I can’t guarantee the same results for you, but why not give it a shot?

(15) First Rodeo - “Pucker Up, Amelia”

Album: First Rodeo

Release Date: Jul. 12

And then somehow Nathan Tucker from Cool Original also has this fantastic alt-country project called First Rodeo, which is just unfair. (He also plays drums in Strange Ranger, and if I spend too much time thinking about that my brain starts overheating.)

(16) The 1975 - “Part Of The Band”

Album: Being Funny in a Foreign Language

Release Date: Jul. 7

I hope I’m not stepping on his Guest List, but my friend Dillon said that this song sounds like going on a road trip, and that is absolutely perfect. So, since I can’t improve on that, let’s take another opportunity to eulogize The Singles Jukebox (it will not be the last). I only wrote for TSJ for about a year and a half before it closed its doors earlier this year, but I started reading it in 2005. It’s one of the longer relationships in my life. I don’t think there’s anything else like it on the internet. The freedom. The originality. Disagreements were fun. They were kind of the point. It was fascinating to see why another passionate music fan hated a song you loved, or vice versa. No one needed to be right about anything. So, that said, it was only fitting that my last contribution was a rave review for “Part Of The Band,” a song that pretty much everyone else hated.


(17) Carly Rae Jepsen - “Talking To Yourself”

Album: The Loneliest Time

Release Date: Sept. 16

We seem to have stopped making up fake rivalries for albums released on the same day like the British music press used to do back in the Blur vs. Oasis days, and I think that’s a shame. Not sure if I’m willing to go on record as preferring The Loneliest Time over Midnights, but I will say that “Talking To Yourself” is the best song on either album.

(18) 2nd Grade - “Me & My Blue Angels”

Album: Easy Listening

Release Date: Sept. 6

There are sixteen songs on Easy Listening and I swear I’ve seen half of them on one year-end list or another. For me, the clear standout is “Me & My Blue Angels.” If I ever got around to making a Lyrics Of The Year List, “Have you ever been lonely? Have you ever seen the world from above? Have you ever been too high to be hurt by the ones you love?” would be way up there even though I don’t personally relate to it in any way. I just immediately feel what it would be like to be someone who did.

(19) Plains - “Problem With It”

Album: I Walked With You A Ways

Release Date: Jul. 27

Katie Crutchfield keeps alive her impressive streak of just never making a bad song, ever. Like, ever ever.

(20) Wild Pink - “See You Better Now”

Album: ILYSM

Release Date: Sept. 21

A lot to unpack on this one. It’s an incredible song, but I’m probably never going to be able to separate it from the fact that, when we saw Wild Pink play it in concert, a guy standing very close to us had what appeared to be a seizure and they had to stop the show for what felt like an incredibly long time, even though I’m sure it was just a couple minutes. It’s a song from an album that has received rapturous critical praise, but I guess that doesn’t really translate to real world success because they didn’t sell out a fairly small venue in Amsterdam. It’s a song from an album that centers on frontman John Ross’ unexpected cancer diagnosis, but he didn’t mention it once, and in fact he stuck around after the show happily chatting with fans like he didn’t have a care in the world. It should be ranked higher. It should be ranked lower. All of you should go check out the full album. I really should have found a spot for “Sucking On The Birdshot” on this list as well.

(21) White Reaper - “Pages”

Album: Asking For A Ride

Release Date: Oct. 26

Since this song came out, I have spent significantly more time refreshing the Tour Dates page on White Reaper’s website than thinking about what I should say about it for this blurb. The result, in both cases, is that I’ve got nothin’. But maybe that will change soon! (The part about the tour dates, that is. The blurb is done.)

(22) Veronica Maggio - “Heaven Med Dig”

Album: Och Som Vanligt Händer Det Något Hemskt

Release Date: May 13

It’s important to have people in your life to keep you humble. Years ago, when I started working at a law firm, I thought I was pretty cool because I ran marathons, until I found out there was a guy in my office who finished top-50 in Boston once and almost made the Olympic marathon team. Likewise, I used to think I was cool because I knew a few Scandinavian pop stars, but now my friend Ryan is so deep into the genre that he has basically taught himself Swedish. So, I still think “Heaven Med Dig” is a great song, but I no longer think that I’m especially cool for knowing about it.

(23) Spoon - “Wild”

Album: Lucifer On The Sofa

Release Date: Jan. 11

I am an outspoken disciple of the Ilana School of Pop Maximalism (Our Motto: Just Start With The Good Part), but the fact that Spoon waits a minute and twenty seconds before bringing in that piano line is absolutely what makes this song great. I hear it as a nod to “Sympathy For The Devil” on an album called Lucifer On The Sofa, which is really clever, so I’m just going to assume that’s what they meant to do and not research it any further.

(24) Jimmy Eat World - “Something Loud”

Album: N/A

Release Date: Jun. 10

An unlikely source for the best Japandroids song in five years, I certainly didn’t expect Jimmy Eat World to be carrying the Dudes Rock mantle in 2022, but they wear it well.

While we’re here, I just want to stop here and give thanks for aging bands who are actually willing to age. I don’t know if past generations had that. After thirty years, the legendary acts of the 60s and 70s were either chasing trends and embarrassing themselves or completely scattered to the winds. The biggest bands of the 80s don’t fare that much better: Bono is still auditioning for messiah, and Anthony Kiedis is so close to coming up with a new rhyme for “California.” Meanwhile, “Something Loud” is a song written by a guy who’s forty-seven years old about … being a guy who’s forty-seven years old.

Do you still feel part of something loud? / Are you such a different person now?

(25) PUP - “Totally Fine”


Release Date: Mar. 22

You know how, when you were a kid, after you spent the day at an amusement park, you’d be in your bed that night and it would still feel like you were on a roller coaster? Whenever I hear this song, I still feel like I’m in the biggest, happiest, friendliest, bounciest mosh pit of all time. If you ever have a chance to see PUP in concert, you need to promise me that you’ll go.

(26) Ibibio Sound Machine - “All That You Want”

Album: Electricity

Release Date: Jan. 18

You start with a singer who was born in London but grew up in Nigeria, a guitarist from Ghana, a percussionist from Brazil, and then you get Hot Chip to produce the entire thing. I’m still heroically resisting the urge to buy turntables but there are a few songs every year that make me think, “yeah, this would be in my set.” I do not, in any way, have a set. But this one would be in there.

(27) Snow Ellet - “Playing Dead”

Album: N/A

Release Date: Dec. 1

A lot of people think that “cellar door” is the most beautiful phrase in the English language, but it’s actually “Sarah Tudzin is producing the new Snow Ellet.” The only song released in December to make this list, which is an honor in itself.

(28) Lee Bains + The Glory Fires - “God’s A Working, Man”

Album: Old-Time Folks

Release Date: Mar. 8

Here at Burn Your Hits, the only strain of American Christianity we recognize is Class War Christianity. For the rest of you, I’ll start paying attention as soon as you finally get that camel through the eye of a needle. How’s that going, by the way?

(29) Dazy & Militarie Gun - “Pressure Cooker”

Album: N/A

Release Date: Mar. 14

In which a new generation runs around robbin’ banks all whacked on the scooby snacks. 

(30) bigfatbig - “Wrong Place, Wrong Time”

Album: Rockin’ and Rollin’ and Whatnot

Release Date: Nov. 4

An unexpectedly positive part of getting older is the sense of pride and protectiveness I now feel for young bands, even bands I absolutely don’t know the first thing about. We saw bigfatbig open for Martha at EartH in Hackney and it was obviously the biggest crowd they had ever played in front of, probably by a pretty wide margin. They crushed it, and the crowd started to feed off of their energy more and more after every song, and it was just so cool to see them meet their moment head-on, this band none of us had heard of until days before the show and, I don’t know, can you be proud of someone you don’t know? Can you be protective of someone you have no actual relationship with? Like, what can I do to help bands like this? I guess I don’t really have any useful skills but there must be something.

(31) MUNA - “What I Want”

Album: MUNA

Release Date: Jun. 24

Co-written by the guy who also co-wrote "My Brother's Gay" and "Stink" for The Other Two, and also "UK Hun?" for RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. Even if you didn’t literally know that … you knew that.

(32) Martha - “F L A G // B U R N E R”

Album: Please Don’t Take Me Back

Release Date: Oct. 28

A great song, but somehow maybe not the best song about giving an anarchist a cigarette. Honestly, I think Martha might agree, and I will never say no to more bands being inspired by Chumbawamba.

(33) Caracara - “Strange Interactions In The Night”

Album: New Preoccupations

Release Date: Feb. 15

Influential Philadelphia emo band Caracara (cool) returns with a new album produced by Will Yip (cool) and a lead single that I have seen multiple critics compare to Snow Patrol (wait). Whatever, I’m not cool either.

(34) String Machine - “Touring In January”

Album: Hallelujah Hell Yeah!

Release Date: Jan. 11

The Pittsburgh seven-piece called their album Hallelujah Hell Yeah! and I didn’t hear anything else last year more deserving of that title. It’s nice to see that, as a culture, we’re all inching slowly back toward that stomp-clap-hey! Lumineers/Of Monsters and Men folk-rock we all loved ten years ago but now have to pretend we always thought was corny and lame.

(35) Taylor Swift - “You’re On Your Own, Kid”

Album: Midnights

Release Date: Oct. 22

Taylor received a lot of criticism in the past for her hesitancy to take sides politically, especially in 2016, and I think that’s fair. She absolutely should have. However, I have a hard time believing that a few tweets from her would have tipped the balance, so I can’t get too worked up about it. In 2022, though, it’s completely different: Taylor, you have a chance to weaponize your fan base and destroy Ticketmaster forever, and if you don’t do this, I am absolutely going to hold it against you.

(36) Maren Morris - “Circles Around This Town”

Album: Humble Quest

Release Date: Jan. 7

In a parallel universe there is a much more cynical version of Maren Morris who just spent the rest of her career trying to replicate “The Middle” over and over again. It got a billion streams! Who could blame her? Thankfully, in our universe, Morris fell in with The Highwomen and then moved on to Humble Quest, a deeply personal record that critics can’t stop calling “comfortable,” “welcoming,” “unpretentious,” “charming,” and “satisfying.” So hey, if she wants to mix in a couple more songs with Zedd here and there, I say she’s earned it.  

Also I’m still just a sucker for a mandolin.

(37) Caroline Polachek - “Billions”

Album: N/A

Release Date: Feb. 9

After the commercial success of “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings” and the critical success of “Bunny Is A Rider,” there was such a clear path to Caroline Polachek becoming the next big crossover indie pop darling, and I love that instead she has chosen to just get weirder at every turn.

(38) Florence + The Machine - “King”

Album: Dance Fever

Release Date: Feb. 23

I still haven’t had that religious epiphany-level experience that so many hardcore Florence fans have, but I have to respect that just about every single one of her songs sets up for a massive cathartic emotional release and then actually delivers on that promise.  

(39) Bartees Strange - “Heavy Heart”

Album: Farm To Table

Release Date: Mar. 1

You could really spend a pleasant afternoon reading Bartees Strange profiles. Just seems like a lovely guy.

(40) Joyride! - “St. Mary’s”

Album: Miracle Question

Release Date: Apr. 15

A surprising amount of San Francisco bands on the list this year, which kinda makes me wish I hadn’t used up so much of my SF material on that Reds, Pinks and Purples section earlier. Either way, Joyride! is approaching a similar problem from a much different perspective. While Glenn Donaldson describes the RPP project as “enveloping ennui,” Joyride! comes from a place of clear-eyed but still resolute optimism, feisty and hopeful in the face of the same unstoppable forces. It can be hard to love San Francisco, but those who do love it with such a fierce purity that I can’t help but root for them.

(41) The Mountain Goats - “Training Montage”

Album: Bleed Out

Release Date: Jun. 2

Despite the fact that this was the lead single off of their new album Bleed Out, they don’t play it live, which is a shame, because I really wanted to see if I would have to amend my “Things It’s Fun To Scream At A Mountain Goats Show” rankings to include “I’m doing this for revenge!” Current rankings:

4. “I would do it again! I would do it again!” (from “Against Pollution”)

3. “I hope you die! I hope we both die!” (from “No Children”)

2. “There will be feasting! And dancing! In Jerusalem next year!” (from “This Year”)

1. “Hail Satan! Hail Satan tonight! Hail Satan! Hail hail!” (from “The Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton”)

(42) Alvvays - “Easy On Your Own?

Album: Blue Rev

Release Date: Aug. 10

Whether we’re talking about best singles or best albums, Blue Rev is deservedly showing up on just about every year-end list, but I haven’t seen that much love for my favorite track, “Easy On Your Own?,” so let’s fix that.

(43) Big Thief - “No Reason”

Album: Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You

Release Date: Feb. 11

Years are getting longer, right? I’m not just imagining that? Because when Big Thief’s Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You came out, it was pretty much universally regarded as the year’s Big Important Artistic Statement That Will Stand The Test Of Time, and I’m not really contesting the truth of that, I’m just saying that it feels like the album came out in, like, 2007 (the internet tells me it actually came out in February).

(44) The Wonder Years - “Oldest Daughter”

Album: The Hum Goes On Forever

Release Date: Apr. 21

Every time I listen to this song, I’m struck by the line “Another day up in flames, another cop who knows your name,” and its ability to pack so much exhausted hopelessness into eleven words. While this song is about a specific person (a relative of frontman Dan Campbell who has experienced homelessness in the past), it’s a universal truth for everyone - if a cop knows your name, something bad has happened. Might be your fault, might not. The cop might be helpful, might not. Either way, whatever happened, you wish it hadn’t.

(45) Black Sherif - “Kwaku The Traveller”

Album: The Villain I Never Was

Release Date: Mar. 30

OK, last Singles Jukebox eulogy. It was truly a place where I found music that I never would have found anywhere else. Sure, it was fun to see what the group would have to say about the new Taylor Swift or Olivia Rodrigo, but it was even more fun to see a high score from an artist I had never even heard of before. Sometimes, they were just ahead of the curve - I first heard Azealia Banks’ “212” after seeing it on TSJ (now and forever their highest-scoring song), but … I would have heard it somewhere else eventually. Songs like Simmy’s “Ngihamba Nawe” or Yasmine’s “Pega Nha Mon,” though, I never would have heard without TSJ, and that’s what I’m most upset about losing. The last song in that glorious lineage seems like it’s going to be “Kwaku The Traveller,” a Ghanian drill track that sounds nothing like any other music I enjoy and yet still embeds itself in my brain every time I hear it. There is just no way this song gets to me without TSJ.

(46) Craig Finn - “Messing With The Settings”

Album: A Legacy Of Rentals

Release Date: Mar. 25

So last year we covered what songs I want to be played at my funeral. This year, if it’s not too much, could I request that you also get Craig Finn to perform the eulogy? Because wow is he ever good at it.

The album version is beautiful and understated and has Cassandra Jenkins singing the chorus, which is all great, but when Craig plays it live with his band The Uptown Controllers it’s faster and louder and almost sounds like a Hold Steady song. Not sure which version I prefer, it’s just cool that both can exist together.

(47) Stars - “Pretenders”

Album: From Capelton Hill

Release Date: Feb. 17

It has really snuck up on me that a lot of bands have been a part of my life for twenty years now. My time with Stars marks a slow evolution from sadness to contentment: sad kid listening to Heart in 2002 in St. Cloud, Minnesota, convinced he would never fall in love because it hadn’t happened yet → sad kid listening to Set Yourself On Fire in 2006 in San Jose, California, convinced he would never fall in love because he thought he had for a second there but turned out to be mistaken → wistful, nostalgic adult listening to From Capelton Hill in 2022 in Amsterdam just so overwhelmingly grateful he doesn’t feel like that anymore.

“We were the best of the pretenders / All our bets on being young forever”

(48) Joyce Manor - “Don’t Try”

Album: 40 Oz. To Fresno

Release Date: May 3

This seems impossible but it really happened: we saw Joyce Manor open for The Menzingers and a guy did a backflip in the mosh pit. They’re that kind of band.

(49) Beyonce - “ALIEN SUPERSTAR”


Release Date: Jul. 29

Every year, I try to finish this before the more high-profile year-end lists come out. This year, it feels like I’m behind schedule and they’re ahead of schedule so, anyway, not even close, but I’ve found it really interesting to see how RENAISSANCE has been represented on singles lists. I could have told you that “BREAK MY SOUL” wouldn’t get the most love (too basic for the cool kids, though I obviously disagree), but I would have guessed that those accolades would have gone to “ALIEN SUPERSTAR.” Turns out the critics are almost unanimously breaking for “CUFF IT.” There isn’t really a wrong answer here, just surprising. As with all of RENAISSANCE, I listen to it at home by myself and think, “yeah, this is pretty good,” then I listen to it in Tom and Shay’s basement and think, “oh, right, this is the greatest music ever made.” The truth is probably somewhere between those two.

(50) Jessie Ware - “Free Yourself”

Album: N/A

Release Date: Jul. 19

While I just call everything that sounds like this “disco,” apparently this is actually “Italo-disco” and for a brief moment I see how pedantic I sound splitting hairs on a million different indistinguishable sub-genres of indie rock (not that I’m going to stop doing that or anything).

(51) Fime - “White Collar Gold”

Album: Sweeter Memory

Release Date: May 10

Fime was born as Jay Som’s touring band. Since Jay Som is the solo studio project of Bay Area multi-instrumentalist Melina Duterte, she needed to recruit backing musicians to take it on the road, and so the four members of Fime were brought together. When the pandemic shut down touring, the members of Fime decided to record their own album of original songs, and Duterte produced it, like if Bob Dylan had produced an album for The Band (something that did not happen but would have been either incredible or horrible with absolutely no in-between). Fime doesn’t really sound like Jay Som, but the important thing is that, in one form or another, indie rock fans keep getting great tunes from these five people.

(52) Oso Oso - “Computer Exploder”

Album: Sore Thumb

Release Date: Mar. 18

Absolutely no one on earth writes a hook like Jade Lilitri.

(53) MJ Lenderman - “TLC Cagematch”

Album: Boat Songs

Release Date: Mar. 16

Lenderman’s Boat Songs is the Aging Midwestern White Guy Album Of The Year, so it makes sense that, as an aging white guy actively suppressing his midwestern-ness, I think it’s pretty good but not quite as transcendent as my peers would have you believe. (Lenderman himself is actually from North Carolina, but he is as spiritually midwestern as they come.) “Hangover Game” is the song that’s going to make most of the year-end lists, but I’m going with “TLC Cagematch” because it’s always fun to get metaphorically wistful over pro wrestling. 

(54) Samia - “Born On A Train”

Album: N/A

Release Date: Feb. 14

In my opinion, "100,000 Fireflies" by The Magnetic Fields is the saddest song ever written. "Born On A Train" is the counterargument that it might not even be the saddest Magnetic Fields song, and Samia's version is just as heartbreakingly beautiful as the original. I tend to avoid covers for this list, but this one is undeniable.

(55) Cory Branan - “When In Rome, When In Memphis”

Album: When I Go I Ghost

Release Date: Sept. 2

Both Jason Isbell and Brian Fallon sing backing vocals on this, and Craig Finn sang backing vocals on his last album, which gives you an idea of how well-respected Cory Branan is in the industry.

(56) Superchunk - “City Of The Dead”

Album: Wild Loneliness

Release Date: Feb. 25

It is both comforting and terrifying that Covid-19 seems to be receding from our collective consciousness so quickly. 

On the one hand, I remember hearing the opening lyrics to “City of the Dead” for the first time:

Well, you can walk for miles

In the evening to clear your head

But still wake up each day

Oh, in the city of the dead

And just being crushed by that feeling of recognition, all those dark walks through an abandoned city when it seemed like movement was the only thing keeping me sane. It’s really nice to not feel like that anymore.

On the other hand, “City of the Dead” isn’t a depressing song, it’s a call to arms:

Remake the world when the old one dies

Cover your mouth and open your eyes

And it’s sad to slowly realize that we had a once in a lifetime chance to build a better world in the aftermath of the pandemic and collectively said, “nah, we’re good.”

(57) Boys World - “SO WHAT”

Album: N/A

Release Date: Jul. 27

Capably filling the pop-trash girl-group void left after Little Mix broke up, but you can probably draw a more direct line from Boys World to their early 00s predecessors. This is a 3LW song. This is a Dream song. (They pretty clearly want it to be a Spice Girls song, but let’s not get carried away here.)

(58) Petite Meller - “The Drummer”

Album: N/A

Release Date: Sept. 8

Here’s a random question I’ve been spending too much time thinking about: If you were DJing a party for a diverse audience and you had to play one song that (a) no one knows, and yet (b) everyone immediately loves, what would you choose? For me, I’m pretty sure it’s Petite Meller’s “Baby Love.” I can’t imagine anyone not loving it, and yet I don’t think I’ve ever heard it in the wild.

Anyway, “The Drummer” isn’t quite on that level, but it’s not too far off and, as the first single from an album expected next year, it’s a hopeful sign of what’s to come. (Also, if she tours anywhere within about a five country radius of here, I’m going.)

(59) Koffee - “Shine”

Album: Gifted

Release Date: Mar. 22

Seems unlikely that there will ever be more than one reggae song per year on this list, but I just generally find it reassuring that it still exists as a genre. Glad to know that there are people out there having a much mellower time of it than I am.

(60) Sloan - “Dream It All Over Again”

Album: Steady

Release Date: Oct. 19

Sloan formed in 1986. “Dream It All Over Again” came out on October 21, 2022. That has to be the longest it has ever taken me to notice a band. We got there in the end though, didn’t we?

(61) The Umbrellas - “Write It In The Sky”

Album: N/A

Release Date: Jun. 24

Another San Francisco band! I missed The Umbrellas’ excellent debut album last year, but luckily they put out one new single this year so I get to make up for my previous oversight.

(62) Spiritualized - “The Mainline Song”

Album: Everything Was Beautiful

Release Date: Mar. 7

On the one hand, it’s the shimmering emotional centerpiece of Jason Pierce’s beautifully dreamy new album.

On the other hand, it sounds a bit too much like the background music for the “Get More With Super Duolingo” in-app interstitial ad that I have heard six thousand times this year, so it’s just a constant reminder that I still don’t speak Dutch yet.

(63) The Killers - “Boy”

Album: N/A

Release Date: Aug. 5

At this point, the bar for legacy blog-rock acts is literally on the floor, but let’s take a minute to appreciate The Killers. It’s been twenty years and they don’t even have a “Controversies” section on their Wikipedia page. No sexual assault allegations, no anti-vax rants, no QAnon, I mean … Brandon Flowers had lunch with Mitt Romney once, apparently. That’s it. They write basically the same song over and over again, and it’s a good song, and they just consistently don’t do anything to tarnish any of my happy memories, which is all I ask. Thanks! 

(64) Momma - “Speeding 72”

Album: Household Name

Release Date: Apr. 19

After Wet Leg blew up last year, Momma seemed primed to follow in their footsteps as this year’s alt-rock cool-girl duo with a heavily 90s-indebted artistic sensibility, to the point where they even opened for Wet Leg a few times. It didn’t quite work out that way, which isn’t a slight exactly, it’s just at this rate Momma is unlikely to wind up with a UK #1 album or a Best New Artist Grammy nomination. The songs are still undeniable, though.

(65) The Tisburys - “Garden”

Album: Exile On Main Street

Release Date: Jun. 30

There’s a famous story about The Replacements that, when they were struggling to come up with a name for their new album, they decided that they would name it after the next song they heard on the radio, which is why they have an album called Let It Be. Philadelphia indie kids The Tisburys wanted to pay homage to Paul Westerberg and co., which is why they called their new album … Exile On Main Street.

(66) Ondara - “An Alien In Minneapolis”

Album: Spanish Villager No. 3

Release Date: Jun. 22

Singer-songwriter J.S. Ondara and I both feel like aliens in Minneapolis, though we come to that feeling from completely different directions. We also have completely different visions for this song because, while Ondara largely leaves it understated, like a mantra chanted under his breath, I have spent far too much time thinking about how I would blow it out into a beautiful, sprawling mess of a song, repeating that chorus at least five more times and adding, in this order, piano, electric guitar, at least a three-part horn section, a full gospel choir, and eventually Ladysmith Black Mambazo. So, let’s agree to disagree on that.

(67) Drive-By Truckers - “Every Single Storied Flameout”

Album: Welcome 2 Club XIII

Release Date: May 13

I don’t know where he stacks up compared to Jason Isbell and Patterson Hood on the all-time leaderboard, but Mike Cooley has been writing all the best songs on the most recent DBT albums. Here, with all due respect to Neil Young, Cooley makes a solid case for the defense in the eternal matter of Burn Out v. Fade Away.

(Also, one more data point for my theory that every aging band should just add horns. It works!)

(68) Say Sue Me - “Around You”

Album: The Last Thing Left

Release Date: May 13

Top notch jangle-pop from South Korea.

(69) Oceanator - “The Last Summer”

Album: Nothing’s Ever Fine

Release Date: Apr. 7

Oceanator is coming to Europe next year opening for Queen of Jeans … on every show except the Amsterdam date. It’s hard not to take that personally.

(70) The Reds, Pinks and Purples - “Saw You At The Record Shop Today”

Album: They Only Wanted Your Soul

Release Date: Aug. 17

Glenn Donaldson’s prolific band was my most-played artist of 2022, mostly because I think they’re great and fit a wide variety of listening situations (calming work headphone music, pleasant dinner party background music, peaceful evening wind-down music), but also because they put out three albums. “Saw You At The Record Shop Today” is a nuanced story about catching a peek at someone else’s selections (The Buzzcocks and Husker Du, if you’re keeping score), but now I’m just imagining a different band writing this song and it’s about seeing someone staggering out of the store just weighed down by a mountain of Reds, Pinks and Purples records.

(71) Camp Trash - “Church Bells”

Album: The Long Way, The Slow Way

Release Date: Jul. 1

Impossible to pick a second Camp Trash song for this list, but I’m a sucker for “And I used to not feel tired / I mean, I used to never sleep” as a hook.

(72) The 1975 - “Wintering”

Album: Being Funny In A Foreign Language

Release Date: Oct. 14

When Jack Antonoff works with women, he has a tendency to default to the same song structures and general sonic palate, and we’re starting to see a bit of a backlash to that. When Jack Antonoff works with men, he has a tendency to just try to write Paul Simon songs, and I hope he never stops.

Random Question: When Matty Healy says, “She walks down the stairs, feeling herself / Looking like she just won a court case,” do you imagine she was the plaintiff or the defendant? I think it only works if she was the defendant.

(73) Christine and the Queens - “Je Te Vois Enfin”

Album: Redcar Les Adorables Étoiles (Prologue)

Release Date: Jun. 24

I’m probably not going to learn French exclusively through Christine and the Queens songs but, I mean, it couldn’t hurt, right? “Je Te Vois Enfin” means “I finally see you.” Progress!

(74) 2nd Grade - “Teenage Overpopulation”

Album: Easy Listening

Release Date: Sept. 27

The line, “It is too late to take back / what we said about ‘Paint It, Black’?” makes this a song (2nd Grade - “Teenage Overpopulation”) about a song (Big Star - “Thirteen”) about a song (The Rolling Stones - “Paint It, Black”), which I think might be a first. Sometimes it’s fun when great music is made by larger-than-life icons who exist on a completely different plane of existence, and sometimes it’s fun when great music is made by people who are somehow even bigger music nerds than you are.

(75) Young Guv - “Only Wanna See You Tonight”

Album: GUV III

Release Date: Mar. 11

More bands should be writing songs that sound like they could have been on the That Thing You Do! soundtrack.


(76) Rina Sawayama - “This Hell”

Album: Hold The Girl

Release Date: May 18

Sometimes explicit references to cultural touchstones of the past are a useful way for an artist to ground their work in tradition and to honor those who came before, and sometimes it comes off like an artist desperately pointing at stuff and saying, “Hey, remember this? You guys like this, right?” Anyway, what I’m saying is that, while I still love Rina, if there was a version of this song without the “Let’s go, girls!” and “That’s hot!” ad-libs, it would rank about forty spots higher.

(77) Big Nothing - “A Lot Of Finding Out”

Album: Dog Hours

Release Date: Feb. 18

Friends of Martha, friends of Camp Trash, based in Philadelphia. Now that is a pedigree.

(78) ME REX - “Lager Door”

Album: Plesiosaur

Release Date: Jun. 17

Death, taxes, and me never shutting up about this band that no one else likes. See you all back here again next year.

(79) Soccer Mommy - “Shotgun”

Album: Sometimes, Forever

Release Date: Mar. 23

Three solid albums in a row now for Sophie Allison and yet I still feel like it’s going to be years before the first thing I think of when I hear “Soccer Mommy” is anything other than Bernie Sanders thanking her for playing one of his rallies.

(80) Teens In Trouble - “Decomposing”

Album: N/A

Release Date: Jul. 21

Move from San Francisco to Raleigh, get into gardening, write a song about composting, get all your friends together to chant “We are dirt! We are clean! We are slowly decomposing!” like you’ve just cracked open the meaning of life because hey, I can’t prove that you didn’t.

(81) Good Looks - “Almost Automatic”

Album: Bummer Year

Release Date: Jan. 18

The Best Ever Alt Country Band In Denton.

(82) Sobs - “Air Guitar”

Album: Air Guitar

Release Date: Oct. 26

One Of The Best Current Indie Pop Bands In Singapore. (Note: This is not yet a Mountain Goats song, but stay tuned.)

(83) Nightmarathons - “Senseless”

Album: Hidden Vigorish

Release Date: Oct. 26

People throw around the word “derivative” as an insult, but I think it’s sort of charming that four dudes from Pittsburgh just really, really want to sound like Against Me!

(84) Yeah Yeah Yeahs - “Spitting Off The Edge Of The World”

Album: Cool It Down

Release Date: Jun. 1

I have no memory of doing so, but it looks like I gave this a [9] on The Singles Jukebox earlier this year.

(85) Church Girls - “Telepathic Mind”

Album: N/A

Release Date: Apr. 21

Not as many Big Scary Monsters Records bands on the list this year, but Church Girls are still here to represent. High hopes for their new record in 2023.

(86) Carly Rae Jepsen - “Go Find Yourself Or Whatever”

Album: The Loneliest Time

Release Date: Oct. 21

We talk a lot about Taylor and Kacey slowly transitioning from country to pop, but are we paying enough attention to Carly slowly transitioning from pop to country?

(87) Nilufer Yanya - “Midnight Sun”


Release Date: Jan. 19

Yanya is a fascinating artist, a shape-shifting perfectionist with an incredible eye for detail who seems at home in any genre, so it feels a bit reductive to say that I chose the song that sounds like Radiohead (“Midnight Sun”) over the one that sounds like The 1975 (“anotherlife”), while my favorite song of hers remains the one that sounds like The Strokes (“In Your Head”) when I mean it as the highest possible compliment that she can do all of those. 

(88) BANKS - “Holding Back”

Album: Serpentina

Release Date: Feb. 25

Reclaiming chipmunk soul from, y’know, that other guy who used to chop up samples like this.

(89) Hurray For The Riff Raff - “SAGA”


Release Date: Feb. 18

I don’t think we’ve included enough fake genres in the list this year, so I just want to point out that Hurray For The Riff Raff refer to their music as “nature punk.” Also, it’s great.

(90) First Aid Kit - “Out Of My Head”

Album: Palomino

Release Date: Aug. 12

Sounds like First Aid Kit doing a Florence + The Machine impression, which they pull off better than I would have thought.

(91) Hot Chip - “Eleanor”

Album: Freakout/Release

Release Date: Jul. 7

The year’s best song about Andre The Giant.

(92) Weyes Blood - “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody”

Album: And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow

Release Date: Sept. 12

I haven’t spent enough time with this album yet, and my suspicion is that I’m going to look back and wish I had ranked this about fifty spots higher.

(93) Wet Leg - “Angelica”

Album: Wet Leg

Release Date: Feb. 28

Still the year’s best song about bringing lasagna to a party.

(94) Paramore - “This Is Why”

Album: N/A

Release Date: Sept. 28

Hardcore fans might disagree, but I kinda like the fact that Paramore’s comeback single sounds nothing like Paramore.

(95) Phoebe Bridgers - “Sidelines”

Album: N/A

Release Date: Apr. 15

From what I’ve heard, the television adaptation of Conversations with Friends wasn’t great, but at least we got a pretty good Phoebe song out of it.

(96) HAIM - “Lost Track”

Album: N/A

Release Date: Mar. 1

Fun Fact: Before she became an actress, Alana Haim was in a band with her sisters!

(97) Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds - “Pretty Boy”

Album: N/A

Release Date: Oct. 31

While I remain Team Liam, I can admit that Noel was the only Gallagher brother to release a half-decent single in 2022.

I bought a ticket to the Blur reunion at Wembley next summer, 80% because I think it’s going to be a great show and 20% because I’m trying to make Oasis jealous.

(98) Voxtrot - “Kindergarten”

Album: Cut From The Stone

Release Date: Jun. 24

I lived in San Jose, California, from 2004-2006. Voxtrot released three critically-acclaimed EPs across 2005 and 2006 and, while it’s not fair to say that they stopped existing after that, they may as well have (and they had broken up by 2010). Despite the fact they are from Austin, Texas, and have zero connections to the Bay Area, there are few bands I associate more with my time in San Jose. Late last year, I was back in town briefly visiting JD, we walked into a taqueria, and they immediately began playing “The Start of Something” from the Raised by Wolves EP. I have never been more convinced that I am living in some kind of simulation, that the places I leave just remain on eternal loops until I return. I mean, it’s probably not true, but that’s a pretty strong data point.

Anyway, Voxtrot put out a b-sides and rarities compilation this year and it’s pretty good.

(99) Walt Disco - “How Cool Are You?”

Album: Unlearning

Release Date: Jan. 25

Glam rock from Glasgow! It’s just so much fun to say!

(100) Foxes - “Growing On Me”

Album: The Kick

Release Date: Feb. 11

I have no idea how to rank this song because it’s so immediately enjoyable in the moment but then it just does not imprint at all, to the point where I feel like I’ve “discovered” it three or four separate times this year. Pop music as a renewable resource, I guess.


  1. It’s happened again. I tell myself, “ Just set this aside and read it when you have more time.” But then I have to read it and now I’m going to be late for my dentist appointment. Sublime.

  2. Have had 'Wretched' on repeat for the last few days, such a vibe. Also, I hope there's a techno remix of Bernie Sanders thanking Soccer Mommy. Love that Maren Morris is on the list too :) Great list and great writing.