Top 50 Songs of 2022

Kicking off our 2022 Annual Report by revisiting the year's standout tracks

top songs 2022 consequence list best songs
Illustration by Allison Aubrey

    The 2022 edition of our Annual Report begins today with our Top 50 Songs list. As the year winds down, stay tuned for more awards, lists, and articles about the best music, film, and TV of 2022. You can find it all in one place here.

    Things are still far from perfect, but relatively speaking, 2022 was an okay year. With a push towards returning to semblance of normalcy, the last 12 months felt a bit like the “hard launch” of live music’s return; luckily for us, there was plenty of fantastic new music worth — to paraphrase Paramore — leaving our houses for.

    Really. We had a lot to pore over. Early-year Artist of the Month alumni Momma and Wet Leg gave us riffs that we’re still humming along to in December. Indie rock veterans like Alex G, Big Thief, and Alvvays each managed to put out some of the best songs in their already-fantastic discographies. Bad Bunny, Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, and Beyoncé kept pop fans fed, while cuts from rising acts like Ice Spice, Soul Glo, and Bartees Strange set new standards for what their respective genres can be.


    That’s not to say everything’s been perfect. The past year has given us a laundry list of aspects we need to re-evaluate within the music business in order to maintain it both as a lucrative stream of income and as an accessible form of entertainment for consumers. We sure don’t have all the answers, but we know they’re questions worth asking.

    And if you needed any proof, here are just 50 songs released in 2022 that reminded us that music is a fine art, and worth fighting for.

    — Abby Jones
    Associate Editor

    Editor’s note: Scroll to the end for a playlist of all 50 tracks.

    50. Wet Leg – “Ur Mum”

    Wet Leg's artwork for "Ur Mom"
    They’re full of male ego-killing one-liners, but “I feel sorry for your mum” may be Wet Leg’s sharpest jab. Here, the Isle of Wight duo’s Rhian Teasdale melds inevitable post-breakup anger with the knowledge that she deserves better: “I loved you/ That was crazy/ ‘Cause you just don’t motivate me.” If you’re not ready to move on yourself, howling along to her “longest and loudest scream” at least offers catharsis. — Carys Anderson

    49. Angel Olsen – “All the Good Times”

    Angel Olsen's artwork for Big TimeAngel Olsen’s turn toward country wasn’t unprecedented, but it was still a risk. Luckily, in case there were any “I-listen-to-anything-but-country” fans hiding in her audience, Big Time opener “All the Good Times” proved just how comfortable Olsen was in a cowboy hat and spurs. Olsen combined genre signifiers like pedal steel and organ with her signature voice and wrapped it all in an explosive, climactic structure. Simply put, it’s a good time. — Jonah Krueger

    48. Lil Yachty – “Poland”

    Lil Yachty - "Poland"Drawing inspiration from Wockhardt cough syrup and a bottle of spring water that Lil Yachty spotted in the studio, the warbling “Poland” wasn’t even finished yet when the self-described “joke” song leaked online. However, the track’s absurdly catchy hook instantaneously made it a viral hit, forcing the Atlanta rapper to first release the song on SoundCloud before bringing it to streaming services. Harkening back to Yachty’s earlier, carefree days, it’s no wonder that “Poland” became his first solo Top 40 entry and allegedly scored him an invite from the Polish prime minister. — Eddie Fu

    47. Death Cab for Cutie – “Here to Forever”


    Death Cab for Cutie - "Here to Forever"
    Death Cab for Cutie have learned to age gracefully with “Here to Forever,” which tackles legacy and mortality with the seemingly effortless brevity and wisdom that only a band in their third decade could pull off. With palpable urgency, Ben Gibbard finds the means to push himself and the band forward, whether it comes from “God, or whatever.” — Bryan Kress

    46. Plains – “Problem with It”

    Plains - "Problem With It"
    Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield and Jess Williamson formed Plains to explore their favorite country sounds, aided by Brad Cook’s production and backing from Phil Cook and Spencer Tweedy. It’s hard to imagine those ingredients leading to anything but success, and highlight “Problem with It” is the “leave you in the dust” breakup song that proves the recipe was just right. — Ben Kaye

    45. Horsegirl – “Anti-glory”

    Horsegirl - "Anti-glory"
    “Anti-glory” was an indie-rock banger upon arrival. Surprisingly danceable and slightly moody, the track is drenched in the genre’s history without feeling stuck in the past. The first song for Horsegirl’s debut album, Versions of Modern Performance, it not only lives up to the record’s title, but introduces Horsegirl as a rising force poised to help direct the state of indie in the 2020s. — J.K.

    44. Lizzy McAlpine – “All My Ghosts”


    Lizzy McAlpine - "All My Ghosts"
    There are few places less likely to spark a romance than “in the 7-11 under fluorescent lights,” and yet there’s a beating heart behind the Slurpee-centric love story laid out in Lizzy McAlpine’s “All My Ghosts.” The 23-year old folk-pop singer-songwriter’s chance convenience store encounter revives dormant fears from the past, but her plain-spoken confidence reveals a brighter future ahead as she says, “When all my ghosts disappear/ I can see it crystal clear.” — B. Kress

    43. Joyce Manor – “Gotta Let It Go”

    Joyce Manor 40 oz to Fresno new album artwork Gotta Let It Go song video stream
    Joyce Manor have spent the better part of their tenure delighting in suburban skate-punk debauchery, but they’re older and wiser now. So what happens when the rebellion starts to go too far? On the band’s explosive single “Gotta Let It Go,” frontman Barry Johnson recounts a night spent aimlessly wasting time that may have taken a wrong turn: “Got into your car, the one that you stole/ It’s not a confession if I was just messing!” Suddenly, as he repeats the song’s title, “you gotta let it go” feels more like a wake-up call than a hedonistic mantra. — A.J.

    42. Lucius – “Next to Normal”

    Lucius - "Next to Normal"
    May we humbly submit this for the highly coveted Bass Line of the Year Award? Never has the musical duo of Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig sounded so downright funky, weaving a witchy disco heater seemingly cooked up in a laboratory for the sole purpose of shutting down dance floors across the globe. When the chorus kicks in, you’re liable to hallucinate a disco ball spinning triumphantly in front of you. — Spencer Dukoff

    41. BROCKHAMPTON – “Brockhampton”


    brockhampton the family artwork
    Leave it to a song like “Brockhampton” to remind us how special it was to have such a unique and creative band around for the last six years. Across lush strings and a romantic air, Kevin Abstract lays it all out for his audience: the good, the bad, the moments where everything fell apart. His bars are fiercely vulnerable, lifted from his most personal thoughts, and frankly, heartbreaking. R.I.P. (?) BROCKHAMPTON, it’s been a blast. — Paolo Ragusa