Thursday, January 5, 2023

GL.22.18: Ryan Joyce


Guest List 2022: Ryan Joyce

Mining the last year of releases to produce a GLW contribution is always a daunting task, but so unrelenting was the pace at which we were served great new music this year that I was at a total loss for how to bring some order to this summary.

So I took the COVID’s-endemic-now route and chose to celebrate 2022 as the year we could once again enjoy the full complement of places and ways to consume music and as a year where live performances, festivals, and hours spent on dancefloors that formed the touchstones of my year of musical memories.

My GLW contribution this year is, therefore, organized around venues. Each entry (and mini-list accompanying it) stands for a particular type of music or energy that formed a significant part of my musical consumption in 2022. The TL;DR version is the 30-song shortlist listed first.

So, here are…nine?...playlists to help you kick off 2023!

A shortlist of 30 songs, curated with a one-song-per-artist policy I very nearly abided by. (Organized alphabetically by title.)


Think: Chart-toppers and stadium-fillers; picking a landmark towards the back of GA and hoping you and your friends have a bit of room to dance; praying you don’t get stuck behind a pack of 2-meter tall Dutchies.


Anti-Hero (Taylor Swift) 

  • She’s developed an impeccable sense of how to recalibrate this type of autobiographical song against her (still-)growing fame and influence.

Background Music (Maren Morris)

Circles Around This Town (Maren Morris)

  • The audacity that Maren and Kacey have writing these hooks!

CUFF IT (Beyoncé)

Free Yourself (Jessie Ware)

HEATED (Beyoncé)

  • Listen up: Beyoncé is warm, has her hackles up, is looking her best, and is wearing stolen goods. Tough as it was to pick a favorite from RENAISSANCE, I kept coming back to “HEATED” for the quadruple-meaning of its title and the charming (and actually kinda believable?) commentary-inspired bars at the back end of the track.

High Infidelity (Taylor Swift)

I’m A Mess (Avril Lavigne, YUNGBLUD)

Light Switch (Charlie Puth)

Naked (Lizzo)

Set For Life (Noah Cyrus)

Sweetest Pie (Megan Thee Stallion, Dua Lipa)

uh oh (Tate McRae)

Wonderful Life (Two Door Cinema Club)

You Know What I Need (PNAU, Troye Sivan)

Think: 35 euros for a ticket and two drinks to see a prestige pop act being *the* definition of value for money; sneaking in minutes before the headliner begins and standing shoulder-to-shoulder at the back of the room; remembering that back home the crowd would be six-times larger, the view obstructed, and the night would set you back a few hundred bucks; recapping the highlights on the cycle home.


After Midnight (Phoenix)

After The Earthquake (Alvvays)

American Teenager (Ethel Cain)

  • I don’t agree with the premise of the American-Teenager-is-a-great-Taylor-song argument, since I don’t see a world in which Taylor ever dares write a lyric as audacious as << The neighbor’s brother came home in a box / But he wanted to go / So maybe it was his fault. >> Instead, I hear a sonic and lyrical indebtedness to a tradition of Irish pop/rock, from the opening Coors-inspired bars to the raw sketch of the tragic outcomes of a uniquely American “religion”—faith simultaneously placed in Jesus, football, its own exceptionalism, etc.—that channels U2, Sinéad O’Connor, and The Cranberries at their early ‘90s best.

Anywhere With You (Maggie Rogers)

Blue (Sigrid)

Home By Now (MUNA)

  • So pure a distillation of the anguish of any long-term relationship plagued by inertia that I risked total breakdown if I listened to this at the wrong time.

Kind Of Girl (MUNA)

  • So pure a distillation of the self-delusion that accompanies privilege, comfort, success, and a type-A personality that I risked total breakdown if I listened to this at the wrong time.

Love Will Get You There (Inhaler)

  • Had it been released in 2006, Inhaler would have locked in the indie-rock-band-with-caché spot in the “Favorite Bands” field in my Facebook profile.

No Me Llames (Carla Morrison)

Softly (Arlo Parks)

Sunset (Caroline Polachek)

Swim Away (Seinabo Sey)

  • A telltale sign of an interesting song in my book: one that feels longer than its actual run-time. “Swim Away” is so immersive and diverse, especially in its back half, that I’m always amazed it clocks in under four minutes.

Thank Me Later (Sigrid)

  • A chef’s kiss of a middle eight—the type of thing they (literally) teach in Scandinavian high schools.
The Only Heartbreaker (Mitski)

Till The World’s Awake (Connie Constance)

Want Want (Maggie Rogers)

  • It’s splitting hairs between the very different majesties of “Want Want” and “Anywhere With You,” but tie goes to the queer-discovery anthem, in part because of how comprehensively it conveys—with the incisive lyric, the jangled piano motif, the distortion, and the swelling cascade of an outro—the hesitation, confusion, internal destabilization, and joy to be found in queer sexual experimentation.    

Think: Fumbling through your email to find your lidmaatschap after presenting your ticket; a wild crush of teens at the garderobe also here to see your favorite pop girlie; flirting with that guy from the gym you totally didn’t realize was gay and definitely didn’t think was into Rina Sawayama.


Anxious (Carly Rae Jepsen)

  • Matches “New Romantics” for bonus track quality.

Anything 4 U (BANKS)

  • Gives a mature version of the spooky sexy vibe that Ms. Petras, after SLUTPOP and “Unholy,” can seemingly only flail at.

Beg For You (Charli XCX, Rina Sawayama)

Brividi (Mahmood, BLANCO)

  • The downside of the run-up to Eurovision in the streaming era is that songs like “Brividi” are almost bound to flop come the live shows. There’s little room for error on a vocal this challenging, and the flaws in their semi-final sounded all the more profound because the studio version has been drowned in autotune. But bless Mahmood nevertheless for cultivating a space for this type of hyper-intimate pop (for Italians, in Italian, no less). The real treat, though, is BLANCO’s scintillating vocal, which careens from injured to venomous and back again. There’s a raw, aggressive sexual energy to the song that felt boundary-pushing, even for the queer-friendly Eurovision stage.  

Crash (Charli XCX)

Go Find Yourself Or Whatever (Carly Rae Jepsen)

  • Now *this* is a masterclass in Taylor-Swift(-singing-about-John-Mayer) pastiche.

Head On Fire (Griff, Sigrid)

Hold The Girl (Rina Sawayama)

Holding Back (BANKS)

How Long (Tove Lo)

Kick In The Head (Tove Lo)

Roster (Jazmine Sullivan)

Sad Girl Music (Kito, BANKS)

Soaked (LÉON)

Somebody Like You (Bree Runway)

  • A world away from the equally magical “ATM” and “HOT HOT,” a full vibe and an exciting demonstration of range from Bree.

What It Is (Amber Mark)

Think: Niche pop from international up-and-comers; a room two-thirds full; only knowing two songs, but it’s Tuesday and the entry was half price on TicketSwap; thinking about the great story you’ll have to tell if they hit it big; internalizing that the Spotify algorithm isn’t all evil.


Blow Out My Candle (Betty Who)

  • I’m gay for Betty Who ordering me to << pump that choke. >>

Brutal (Rainsford, Anna of the North)

  • A cute lyrical conceit plays on the inscrutability of the broken relationship at the song’s center: << Brutal is better than confused / But close to the way that I feel when I’m with you. >>

Cardboard Box (FLO)

  • With Tove Lo having blown up, FLO is now the new shibboleth I use to identify QueersInTheKnow™.

Drive Back — Live (CANDIACE)

Ghost of You (Mimi Webb)

Hope You’re Not Happy (Ashe)

  • << I hope you’re not happy without me / I hope that it’s hard to / Get out of bed >> is a lyric so unsparing I was amazed to learn Ashe isn’t Dutch.  

My Kink Is Karma (Chappell Roan)

Next To Me (Jim-E Stack, Lucky Daye)

Nylon (Beau Diako, Tobi Tunis)


Stayed At The Party (Hope Tala)

Wish on an Eyelash (Mallrat)

Your Name (Shea Couleé)

Think: Homegrown heroes from the Low Countries; accepting your place as a member of the havermelkelite; thinking it’s not so bad that you live in a country that takes Eurovision seriously; realizing there *are* still places in the Netherlands where you can be surrounded by Dutch speakers; wondering how people regularly take the drunk night trains home from Amsterdam.


Daydream Eyes (Nona)

Freedom (Grace)

Gastenlijst (Prins S. en De Geit)

  • Pure camp that should elicit a giggle from anyone who’s been stuck at the door of the club in the freezing cold waiting for twelve folks with guest list to finish kissing cheeks and making small talk with the bouncer.

Ik Zie Ik Zie (WIES)

Love Myself (RONDÉ)

Naar De Maan (De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig, Maan)

  • Three minutes of non-stop puns dipped a sugary, new disco coating. (My love language, that is.)

Multicolor (Son Mieux)

Penelope (KUZKO)

  • This. Song. Is. So. Cute!

Pills (Selah Sue)

Tired (Banji)

Wachtmuziek (Joost)

Zonder Gezicht (Froukje, S10)

  • A Dutch collaboration broadly equivalent in significance and quality to what “Silk Chiffon” was for Americans. 

Think: Your best Judy behind the decks doing what needs to be done; Sundays at 3 Dollar Bill but on an Amsterdam timetable; airplane hangars in the California desert doubling as temporary experimental trial locations for ketamine nasal spray; the internal conflict between singing the last chorus and kissing that guy; being confirmed in the faith of pop divas being featured over bouncy house rhythms.


And Groove (I, Jordan)

Call On Me (SG Lewis, Tove Lo)

Dopamine — Matt Johnson Remix (Purple Disco Machine, Eyelar, Matt Johnson)

Escapism (RAYE, 070 Shake)

  • RAYE has inherited the title of queen of featured vocalists (from SZA, who in turn received it from Normani). Here, and on her feature on Disclosure’s “Waterfall,” she shows she can buoy not just the PG-fluff of last year’s “Bed,” but also material with real soul and grit.

Flames (NERVO)

  • The MIDI pianos are giving me flashbacks to college nights I spent arranging a cappella music in Finale and, further back, listening to the PULSE compilation CD as a child in the late ‘90s. This deserves a second life as a lip sync for your life on the next season of Drag Race Down Under.

Good Luck (Mabel, Jax Jones, Galantis)
HMU for a Good Time (Tinashe, Channel Tres)

I Keep (BROODS, Tove Lo)

Musik Non-Stop (Felicia Takman)

  • Toxic, but the type of song that would get me to shed my shirt in a club.

Pull Up (Koffee)

Taste So Good (VINCINT, Hayley Kiyoko, MNEK, Kesha)

  • The absolute pinnacle of spon-con. There is no reason why a song to accompany the release of flop THC/CBD seltzer should be this good. (Fun fact: I met two of the stars of the video at Coachella this year and one of them was nice to me!)

Think: Memorializing Griessmühle as you climb onto rusted water tower in the Lofi garden; roaming the perimeter of that massive pergola/death trap/dance floor; taking in the massive geometric light installations from the risers behind the DJ booth; giving thanks for buying an apartment in West; memorizing the running order while in line at DS like a second-grader cramming for a spelling test; tracking the slow, white strobes as they flash across the basement in the early morning hours; trying to find the back of the dance floor but instead feeling like space extends forever; doing as you please for hours on end.


Waterfall (Disclosure, RAYE)

  • On full display during Disclosure’s Coachella set: the absolutely unearned and unmastered movement vocabulary this song and a 10mg gummy gave me. (A second made me scared of lights!) I am nothing if not a fool!

Sing It Back — Zoo Brasil Remix (Rebecca + Fiona, Zoo Brasil)

Evig Eventyr (Ka2)

Perler for svin (Angermund, Silja Sol)

The Give (John Dahlbäck)

  • Another good example of not wasting a second—starts at a 10 and doesn’t let up.

Electricity (DubVision, Otto Knows, Alex Aris)

Me&Youphoria (Röyksopp)

  • A prolific 2022 for the Norwegian duo, who partnered with a who’s who of Scandinavian vocalists across the three Profound Mysteries albums. “Me&Youphoria” demonstrates their effectiveness in a verse/chorus structure; the (uncredited) vocals are from the Oslo-based Gunhild Ramsay Kovacs.

KILL DEM (Jamie xx)

B.O.T.A (Eliza Rose, Interplanetary Criminal)

Feel It (Röyksopp, Maurissa Rose)

  • The opposite end of the spectrum from “Me&Youphoria”: an eight-minute odyssey that would make for a fitting transition for an outdoor-to-indoor party.

Luna Bay (O’Flynn, Frazer Ray)

Morse Code (Shadow Child, Mark Archer)

Ghosts (Two Shell)

  • One of the joys I’ve mined from a more consistent exposure to electronic music this year is how the genre is built around upending the veiled threat implied in all the volume, tempo and bass of the music itself. Sometimes the song itself takes the piss, as on “Ostbahnhof” (2pm on a Sunday / It’s the best day, they say / Flat white, toasts, shower, and black sneakers…), other times, as on “Ghosts,” it’s the understanding that a room of people letting loose and succumbing to the sonic overload can yield a supremely welcoming and wondrous experience.

Ostbahnhof (Miss Kittin, The Hacker)

Therapy (Mouissie)

I Go — Soulwax Remix (Peggy Gou, Soulwax)

Problem Solver (Loods)

Hyphae — Peach Remix (Swoose, Peach)

It’s Called A Dip (Animistic Beliefs)

  • Support the Dutch scene and get thee to an Animistic Beliefs set now!

Thức Tỉnh (Animistic Beliefs)

Think: Duo är en uggla; successfully ordering a coffee in a Stockholm cafe only to switch back to English when asked legitimately any follow up question; wondering whether 2023 will be the year I actually visit this part of the world; realizing that if inflation continues to be what it is now, the answer is, resoundingly, no.


070-xxx-xxxx (Veronica Maggio)

Aniara (Joakim Berg)

  • “Aniara” has a sit-back-and-watch-it-all-burn energy that feels as if the speaker were living on a Children-Of-Men-era planet, but the song reveals a heart and hopefulness about the generations to come in the sharp observations of its final lines:

<< För de är smartare än vi (“For they are smarter than we are”)
De är mindre nostalgi (“Less nostalgic than us”)
De är starkare, snabbare, argare (“They are stronger, faster, angrier”)

För de är smartare än vi (“For they are smarter than we are”)
De har mera empati (“They have more empathy”)
De är mjukare, öppnare, varmare (“They are softer, more open, kinder”) >>

Ansvar (Petter, Eye N’I)

Bare Bli Elsket (Ka2)

Bon Voyage (Dotter)

Can’t Stop (Coucheron)

Deeper (ZIDA, Rat City)

DREAMGRRL (Rebecca Lou)

Heaven med dig (Veronica Maggio)

  • The melodic and lyrical alignment as Maggio’s vocal cascades into the title of the song at << Försöker låta bli / Men hamnar i / Heaven med dig >> (“I try not to, but end up in heaven with you”) is some first-class songwriting.

hjem fra fabrikken (andreas odbjerg)

  • AM-radio energy from Denmark’s favorite soft boy!

Hold Me Closer (Cornelia Jakobs)

  • Look—winning Melodifestivalen, the Swedish Eurovision selection contest, is the real seal of approval. This song is a bit too down-the-middle to win Eurovision these days, especially in a year in which Ukraine delivered another credible, exciting entry. But despite being the oldest trick in the book, the steady three-minute crescendo, paired with Jakobs’ compelling rasp, totally won me over. (My most played song of the year—eek!)
Ingenting Jeg Hellere Vil (Pil)

Krop Som En Sten (The Minds of 99)

Lägenheten (Kerstin Ljungström)

No comments:

Post a Comment