GL.22.11: Erik Kristjanson
My music journey of 2022 can best be described as waiting for more songs from Chappell Roan, and discovering that I may in fact like electronic music after all (except Odesza, all of that sounds the same to me ...). While some highlights of that journey included festivals, finally seeing artists live after COVID cancellations, and flying to LA on multiple occasions just for shows, the real peak was an evening with friends where we'd pick a theme, and go around each sharing a song that answered that assignment. We sat in silence listening to each other's choices for “a song that you want played at your funeral,” “a song that you listen to after breakups,” “a song that makes you horny,” and more. One or more of those songs may have made this very list, but I'll let you guess what they were responses to.
I just received Aaron's email with his list of 100 songs and I told myself I wasn't allowed to read it until I put my own collection together. Last year, I meticulously curated a Spotify playlist over the course of the year but couldn't bring myself to do a write up. But I'm putting my perfectionist self aside and committing to sharing this time. And besides, my last list in 2020 was right after a break up; this can only go up from there!
While not a music theorist, I AM a pop girlie through and through, and according to my Spotify Wrapped, Alternative R&B really does something to me as well. So without further ado, here's the 22 songs of 2022 that I cried to, danced to, had sex to, and more. By no means perfect music, but they made for a perfect year.
1. “Good Puss” by COBRAH ft. Cupcakke
When I tell you this song had a CHOKEHOLD on me and my friends. Yes, the original “Good Puss” came out in 2021, but Cupcakke really sprinkles her pussy juice on just about everything she touches. This song should be consumed at a pregame in Palm Springs with your closest judies, danced to on an elevated surface at a club in Lisbon, or enjoyed as you show up to the gym just to be seen, no workout actually required. I really don't care; just please please please TASTE this fucking bop.
2. “Talking to Yourself” by Carly Rae Jepson
I haven't washed my right hand since Carly Rae touched it at her concert at the Greek in Berkeley. This was somehow my number one song of the year and it came out in October. If I hear another one of you make any mention of Taylor Swift or Midnights when this came out the same evening and was better than the entirety of that album, so help me god. I will go to my grave evangelizing MY Canadian Idol.
3. “My Kink is Karma” by Chappell Roan
Easily the best and most poignant of the many follows up to the pop-perfection that was “Pink Pony Club.” I ran into my ex-boyfriend at FLETCHER's concert where Chappell Roan was opening, and as she introduced the song by saying it's about “watching your ex spiral," I turned to him and gently said "this one's about you." Love you bb <3
4. “What I Want” by MUNA
I showed up to MUNA's show in October and even though it was my fifth time seeing them, I forgot how absolutely truly hard they go. It's grungy, it's hard femme, and my parents will be thrilled to know I'm attracted to women (finally).
5. “SAOKO” by Rosalia
I was doing a solo trip through Spain about two weeks after Motomami came out and it further confirmed to me that Rosalia is truly the people's princess. I had saved “SAOKO” to my Spotify and I explored much of Barcelona with this song in my ear. I can't be using that data plan so flagrantly!
6. “Save Me” by Empress Of
Ironically, I've now seen Empress Of open for Carly Rae Jepson twice. Her newest set of songs, featuring the steamy “Save Me,” is exemplary of her growth as an artist.
7. “I Do This All the Time” by Self Esteem
This is technically a 2021 song, but I'm including it as I was A) introduced to it in 2022 by my dear friend Mairead and B) the deluxe version of the album came out this year. If you haven't given Self Esteem a stream, start with this spoken word piece. It's about heartbreak, not being enough, consistently being down on yourself, and that's just a few of the things I talked to my therapist about in our most recent sessions. 10/10 would name my kid Self Esteem, too.
8. “Imagining,” “Frankenstein,” “This Hell” by Rina Sawayama
Similar to my dilemma with Rina's last album, it's hard to pick one song from her sophomore work. I will say, I didn't care for most of the album upon first listen, but after seeing her live and realizing that Rina expertly tows the line between electropop and gay screamo, I'm all in. She's a modern day, bisexual Avril (no shade to Avril's still thriving music career - “Head Under Water” was a BOP).
9. “COZY” by Beyonce
After long thought, I've decided that “COZY” is my favorite song from RENAISSANCE and I won't be taking any further questions at this time.
10. “Persuasive” by Doecchi ft. SZA
Perhaps I was so desperately waiting for SZA's return that I allowed this song to grip me tightly for a good month and not let go. I continue to not be mad about it.
11. “Waterfall” by Disclosure ft. Raye
I've been on my Raye soapbox for so damn long now and it's getting lonely up here! She did finally announce her US tour for next year (though it is the same day as Chappell Roan in SF ...) but I am waiting for the mainstream girls to recognize how much of a heavy hitter she is, in all senses.
12. “damn Right” by AUDREY NUNA
“damn Right” was introduced to me through an ad on TikTok, and while it came out in 2021, I'm again allowing it on this list because I found out about it in October and it also showed up on my most played list of 2022. Perfect for strutting to the bar to see your friends, or blissfully walking past an ex-lover's house with pride.
13. “girlfriend” by Hemlocke Springs
14. “Hollaback Bitch” by Mura Masa with Shygirl and Channel Tres
Channel Tres in general makes me wanna but this is somehow sexier than usual.
15. “Cosmic” by Amber Mark
I sadly missed seeing Amber Mark in concert because I got COVID, but I did spend the better part of 2021 in wine bars with my journal with her new album playing in the background. “Cosmic,” to me, is out of this world ... pun obviously intended.
16. “Definition” by Mabel
File under the same category as Raye: British girlies who I'm waiting to get their dues. As a Mabel stan for years, I loved her new album and specifically love the drama that is “Definition.”
17. “Cake” by Remi Wolf
My friend KB and I went to see Remi earlier this year and stood in the very back as it was a Monday night and we were somehow the oldest people in attendance. I dated a guy who broke up with me at the time by telling me he couldn't have his cake and eat it too, even if his insta bio said otherwise. So, Greg, eat your heart out with this one.
18. “Kiss It Better” by Aluna & MK
19. “Free Yourself” by Jessie Ware
My friend Wayne texted me out of the blue one morning to say he had procured tickets to Jessie Ware's tour stop in LA. Me, having waited over a decade to see her, immediately jumped at the opportunity to fly down for 36 hours and see what was easily the best concert of the year for me. “Free Yourself” continues Jessie's inevitable takeover of modern disco, and I'm excited to get to take it all in.
20. “Ghost of You” by Mimi Webb
Just go give this one a listen, eh?
21. “Monte Carlo” by Drama (the Robin Hannibal Boogie Remix)
If you aren't listening to Drama, you're really missing the biggest come up in electronic music. And this remix in particular had me dancing late into the evening on multiple occasions.
22. “Where Do We Go From Here?” by Misterwives
Honorable Mentions: The entirety of SZA's new album (even the songs that make it too long), “Escapism” by Raye & 070 Shake, any new song Ava Max put out, “Catch Fire” by MOTHERMARY (and the rest of the Elite soundtrack), and whoever the fuck Big Thief is.
Happy New Year, and wishing 2023 an abundance of musical success (and new Rihanna pls!!!1)