We’re kicking off our 2022 Midyear Report with our favorite songs of the year so far.
What the hell happened to time? Remember when a week felt like a week? Since everything went belly up a few years ago, seven days seem to feel more like 30. Which might go some way to account for the onslaught of music we’ve received over the first half of 2022.
This feels like the first time since it happened that things are running at full-steam again — or more than full, really. The industry’s collective finger was on pause for essentially two years, and now we’re fast-forwarding to make up for it. It’s a lot to take in — then again, so is everything these days. We’re faced with such a constantly shifting rush of emotions, swings of positivity and negativity, that it only makes sense for music to mirror the surge.
Over the last six months, we’ve witnessed the return of legends, follow-ups to viral hits, and rookie breakthroughs at a seemingly unprecedented clip. But if there’s one space where “too much of a good thing” doesn’t necessarily apply, it’s music. That’s especially true when we’re locked in an experience whirlwind; we need something to pull us back towards the ground, to tether us in the chaos and remind us simple joys still exist.
Perhaps nitpicking through such a smorgasbord of sound to find the “best” songs of the year so far is a bit of a fool’s errand. For one, there have just been so many good songs. For another, whatever got you through these last six months are the best songs, regardless of what the experts say. Maybe it’s better to say these are the 50 songs that the experts at Consequence have connected with the most so far in 2022. We know you connected with some of them, too.
— Ben Kaye
50. Avril Lavigne – “Love It When You Hate Me”
A more modern entry in Avril Lavigne’s pop punk comeback, “Love It When You Hate Me” could easily have been bogged down by the emo rap contributions of blackbear, but a beat switch allows him to slide right in without overstaying his welcome. Elsewhere, Lavigne delivers a chorus that’s as hooky as ever, venturing into the familiar territory of ignoring the warning signs. And of course, Travis Barker’s thunderous drums continue to be the cheat code two decades into his career. — Eddie Fu
49. Joy Oladokun – “Keeping the Light On”
Joy Oladokun has promised the follow-up to her breakout in defense of my own happiness debut will be “about the human will to keep trying in the midst of all the tragedy that we’ve seen and perpetrated.” Consider “Keeping the Light On” a thesis statement to that goal, a bright counter to modern misery that’s as heartening as it is catchy. — B. Kaye
48. Momma – “Speeding 72”
Pavement reference? Check. Fuzzed-out guitars? Check. A chorus that gets lodged in your subconscious? Check, check, check. This rocker from co-bandleaders Etta Friedman and Allegra Weingarten is a song about driving a car tailor-made for playing while driving a car, preferably with the volume turned all the way up. — Spencer Dukoff
47. Father John Misty – “Q4”
The master of indie satire strikes gold on “Q4,” his Chloë and the Next 20th Century track that bites back at the corporatization of art. The tale is centered around a struggling memoirist, but coming from Father John Misty, you can’t help but find the irony doubling back on itself. In that way, it reveals an earnestness in Josh Tillman’s songwriting that actually only furthers the innate irony, a feedback loop that ends up thoughtfully revealing. — B. Kaye
46. Oso Oso – “Computer Exploder”
If it came out that a radioactive songwriting spider bit Jade Lilitri of Oso Oso, no one would be shocked. Lilitri can write some of the catchiest music in indie rock, only to withhold it for the perfect moment. Case in point, “Computer Exploder,” the first track off sore thumb. What starts as a mid-paced opener seamlessly morphs into a festival-ready anthem with a chorus begging you to sing along even upon first listen. — Jonah Krueger
45. The Weeknd – “Sacrifice”
Since his major label debut in 2015, The Weeknd has constantly been in pursuit of dissecting and reframing the hedonistic bad boy persona that earned him his keep, and “Sacrifice” is yet another phenomenal entry from Abel Tesfaye. Throughout the thumping, Swedish House Mafia-assisted track, Tesfaye examines the tension between who he used to be and who he wants to be, sacrificing his time and his habitual quest for dopamine for the commitment necessary to maintain a relationship. — Paolo Ragusa
44. Wet Leg – “Angelica”
It is now totally okay to want to leave a bad party, or not even want to be at a party at all, thanks to recent Artist of the Month Wet Leg and and their debut album highlight “Angelica.” As the penultimate verse goes, “I don’t know what I’m even doing here/ I was told that there would be free beer.” If there’s not even free beer, what is the point? — Cady Siregar
43. Bad Bunny – “Moscow Mule”
The leading track from Bad Bunny’s hit album Un Verano Sin Ti (“A Summer Without You”) perfectly captures the essence of the loneliness that can come with being an international superstar. Searching for a deeper connection, the singer finds himself somberly going through the motions of sex — while reflecting on the fact that his sexual partner hasn’t saved his phone number. The contrast between pain and ecstasy is strong, with deep grooves and rhythms detaching us from the anguish. — André Heizer
42. Widowspeak – “Everything is Simple”
“Everything is simple… ’til it’s not.” Widowspeak channel a meditative melancholy with this The Jacket cut, a steady drum groove and sparse guitars accompanying Molly Hamilton’s dreamy vocals. It’s an observational and apt ode that ponders fresh new beginnings and experiences — like falling in love, or starting a new job — that seem fun and exciting at the very start before the reality and weight of everything else starts to set in. — C.S.
41. Maren Morris – “Circles Around This Town”
The lead single from Maren Morris’ third major label album is essentially a love letter to her entire career, spinning the tale of her arrival in Tennessee as a fresh-faced hopeful eager to break into the country music scene. Of course, the road to Nashville superstardom is far rockier — and more cyclical — than it may seem. Ultimately, the song serves as a testament to Morris’ tenacity, about how far she’s come, and how far she still has yet to go. — Glenn Rowley