2022. The year of the slap, the butter board, the adult Happy Meal, and weather. Taylor Swift had us all on pins and needles between her album release, new tracks, and how the heck to get tickets to her first major tour since Reputation. The Queen died, we got a lady Captain Marvel, Russia invaded Ukraine, and the divorce of two famous beautiful people was all anybody was talking about.
Amid all the insanity and beauty, there was a song playing in the background, for all of us, sometimes on repeat, and we never got tired of hearing it.
These are the best songs of 2022 according to the staff here at We Got This Covered.
The Mountain Goats – “Wage Wars Get Rich Die Handsome”
The Mountain Goats are a fantastic band. And every album they release is an instant classic. And 2022’s Bleed Out is no exception, featuring several tracks that are sure to become staples at the group’s live shows, including “Mark On You” and “Need More Bandages.” And the cherry on top of this fantastic album is the super-catchy “Wage Wars Get Rich Die Handsome.”
This song has a wonderfully funky beat and a fantastic riff guaranteed to get you moving. It also features the band’s trademark esoteric and clever lyricism. And this all culminates in a chorus that is the definition of an earworm. Prepare to be singing this in the shower for the next few weeks. – Jonathon Greenall
Spoon – “Wild”
“I got on fine with modern living.”
For the uninitiated, the latest release from Austin’s own rock’n rollers Spoon is so spectacular it spurred a second release in the same year. Their latest album, titled Lucifer on the Sofa, is a rip-roaring rollick of bluesy jams, melodic riffs, and ultra-keen lyrics from frontman Britt Daniel.
From front to back, just like their previous two releases, there’s a story smoothly strolling along as each track bleeds into the next. The video is a certain kinda stroll in and of itself as well, something you could put on repeat and not even realize how many times it’s got you smiling and wishing you were sporting a cool cowboy hat and confident strut along some expanse of land.
Let “Wild” and the rest of Lucifer on the Sofa take up some expanse in your mind, as the album as a whole is even stronger than the individual tracks, which in the Spotify-age can all stand on their own two legs, too. And, check out Lucifer on the Moon. It’s not often a remix album is worth a listen even without the predecessor, but this is an exceptional exception. – Habeab Kurdi
Burna Boy – “Last Last”
Burna Boy managed to release a heartbreak ballad wrapped and excitingly presented as a summer party anthem. The Grammy winner soulfully lamented the pains of his most recent heartbreak while simultaneously injecting rhythm and joy into the feet of everyone listening. “Last Last” is a song that can be thoroughly enjoyed even without knowing the lyrics or their meanings (just check TikTok), but somehow takes a whole new dimension when you do know the lyrics. Don’t believe me? Then just look up the countless DJs that included the track on their wedding playlists without knowing its true meaning (much to the delight of the guests). – Bankole Imoukhuede
Kendrick Lamar – “United in Grief”
The opening track to Kendrick Lamar’s Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers makes one of the biggest impacts on the album. It discusses grief and how people resort to materialistic endeavors to cope with tragedy. Kendrick looks inward and calls out his own issues with this and the feeling of being stuck in a never ending loop. It’s a vicious cycle but being aware of it can help one overcome it. – Ethan Alexander
Taylor Swift – “You’re On Your Own, Kid”
Taylor Swift made history with her tenth studio album Midnights in 2022. It will surely find a place among most of the year’s musical best-ofs, but while the album’s lead single “Anti-Hero” dominates charts, there is an unassuming b-side that shines as not only Midnights’ best, but Swift’s too. “You’re on Your Own, Kid” mixes triumphant melodies with melancholic lyrics, in a journey through Swift’s past choices, mistakes, and victories. It’s a look-back through the contradictory feelings that come with chasing your dreams, leaving your past behind, and finding independence, while coming to terms with the inherent loneliness and corruption of that experience. Long-time Swift collaborator Jack Antonoff co-wrote and co-produced the track, which charted eight on Billboard Hot 100, despite not even being a single. – Francisca Tinoco
Doja Cat – “Vegas”
Sampling Big Mama Thornton was such a great way to reference the Black roots of a lot of Elvis’s music while being just plain catchy! Seriously, there’s a version of the song on YouTube that has all the rest of the vocals stripped except the sample and you can still listen to that and it’s a good time. It’s one of those songs I had on nonstop repeat for a boost of serotonin for a while after it came out. – Allie Capps
Alexisonfire – “San Soleil”
This is an extremely personal selection but Alexisonfire are a band that first won me over in my early teens. Half of my current lifetime later and they too have got older, hairier, and weirder in all sorts of wonderful ways. In 2022, 11 years after they initially decided to call it quits as a band, and 13 years on from last full-length release, they returned with a new album, Otherness.
Setting aside some of the frenetic energy of their early years to double down on a mood more befitting a group approaching middle age, they have grown with their fans. This is millennial dad rock in the best way possible, and San Soleil is an emotional sledgehammer that lands the biggest punch from this new clutch of songs.
Written by one of the band’s guitarists and one of their three lead singers, Wade McNeil, but given voice by their other guitarist and City And Colour singer-songwriter Dallas Green, this is a song about love, coming to terms with yourself, and the mental battles so many of us have to fight to pull ourselves through life. It is anthemic, full of feeling and a direct link back to the emotional expressiveness of their early work, reconfigured and matured into a far more grown-up offering that reaches deeper places within you as a listener.
I was fortunate enough to catch Alexisonfire on their comeback tour this year in London, U.K. Being there, part of an audience of thousands singing in one voice to “San Soleil,” a song that McNeil had introduced as a track that had taken on a life of its own, was a special moment. The overriding feeling was one of “we made it!” Almost 20 years on from my first listen, Alexisonfire are a band that has grown up with its fans, and all that life has thrown at them and their followers. “San Soleil” captures that. That’s why it’s one of the best songs of 2022. – Greg Johnson
Kate Bush – “Running Up that Hill”
Ok. So, you’re thinking, “wait a minute, that song totally came out in 1985!” So look, you know it had a resurgence this year. It was huge, or aren’t you a fan of Stranger Things? That was a huge moment – when Max was brought out of her trance upon hearing the sound of her favorite song. Fans of the show headed to their Google machines to find out what that fabulous song was, and a star was reborn. If that song didn’t become the anthem of your workout, the antidote to your depression, the soundtrack to your housecleaning routine, seriously – check your pulse! And make no mistake – Kate Bush is grateful. There is an entire library of her work that came available to a whole new generation of music lovers. Thanks, 2022. – Misty Contreras
Gojira – “Our Time is Now”
Amid the onslaught of trendy pop music, dance tunes, and more Taylor Swift than any metalhead can stand, there was Gojira’s handbanging single, “Our Time Is Now.”
The French groove metal band has established itself as one of the premiere quartets across the genre. From Joe Duplantier’s growling vocals, to his brother, Mario, taking home drummer of the year honors from multiple metal publications for 2021’s near-perfect album, Fortitude, Gojira is on the doorstep of being the next major rock headliners. Released in October, “Our Time Is Now” is the band’s introduction to many non-metal fans as it was written exclusively for the video game, NHL ‘23.
Gojira beat out stiff competition in the heavy rock music category. Only weeks ago, Metallica dropped their newest single, “Lux Aeterna,” which was a throwback to their 1980s thrash sound. There also was death metal icons Lamb of God, whose latest album, Omens, single, “Nevermore,” brought the high-octane, angry metal that fans adore. To round out a great year for metalheads, Slipknot and Meshuggah dropped solid albums of their own. In the end, Gojira narrowly edged out the field with “Our Time Is Now,” though 2022 as a whole has been a win for all metal fans. – Matt Tuck
Orville Peck – “Hexie Mountains”
“Hexie Mountains” feels like a mix between a sorrowful ballad and an old-school country love song. This light finger-picking guitar allows the vocals to shine, and you can hear the emotion in Orville Peck’s voice in many parts of the song. “Hexie Mountains” is a real underrated gem from his new album, Bronco. – Wyatt Fries
Gorillaz – “Cracker Island”
As someone who finds little to enjoy in the modern music scene, you might be surprised that even an old curmudgeon like me found a couple of 2022 hits that are worth listening to. Of course, we have the Gorillaz to thank for that. Their first single of the year, the delightfully catchy “Cracker Island,” is an instant hit, thanks in part to Thundercat, who brings a slick bass line and hypnotic vocals to the table. This funk jam will have you bopping your head along to the beat, and some of you might not be able to resist doing a little dance in your seat. If you’d rather dance standing up, like a normal person, I wouldn’t hold that against you either. – Shaan Joshi
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Spitting Off the Edge of the World”
“Spitting off the Edge of the World” opens with a steady heartbeat of percussion before billowing forth in a progression of synth chords as discordant as they are majestic, raising high the sonic atmosphere into which the unmistakable Karen O, now 44 years old, steps and intones, “Cowards, here’s the sun.” What follows is a bellowing dirge perfectly-calibrated for our apocalyptic year, a call to inter-generational action, a climate crisis cri de cœur, and weirdly, a hell of a lot of fun. Or maybe not so weirdly; what YYY recognizes is that the nuclear annihilation jams of Gen X’s coming-of-age that are invoked here have peculiar resonance for Gen Z, whose future and aesthetic are imbued with catastrophe. In a year that’s brought us Hurricane Ian and heat-related deaths in Northern Europe, Pakistani floods and Somali drought, Uvalde and Buffalo and Colorado Springs, the YYY’s first single in a decade has arrived just in time. Listen, and bury your psyche in a gorgeous reckoning. It is, as the kids cry, a vibe. – Sarah Fisch
Beyoncé – “Heated”
While every song on her illustrious seventh solo album Renaissance is worthy of a “best song” nod, “Heated” offers some of Beyoncé’s most radio-friendly content in quite a while. A predominantly dancehall track with elements of Afrobeat, RnB, and rap, the singer is probably at her most confident on “Heated.” From boasting about her expensive taste and extensive designer collection, while reaffirming that she’s the hottest thing since sliced bread, Beyoncé never shies away from hyping herself up. Topping it all off with aggressive rap bars, and a shout out to her late, gay Uncle Johnny, Beyoncé created a masterpiece that’s already become a staple in ballroom and club culture. – Demi Phillips
Taylor Swift – “Karma”
You didn’t think we’d let this list get away with just one Taylor Swift song, did you? Surely not. “Karma” is another song from the pop star’s mega-popular tenth studio album “Midnights” (10 albums, people. 10! And she’s still topping the charts). Upon first listen, it sounds like she’s talking directly toward Kanye West, for who else has burned TayTay so badly as to leave a decade-long scorch mark? We’ll tell you. Scooter Braun, that’s who, the owner of Big Machine Records and the reason why Taylor has had to re-record her entire discography. The closer you listen, the more you realize this song is not just about West, but about everyone whose done her wrong, including Braun. The lyric “Spider-boy, king of thieves” supports this theory, as Braun, along with Drake, invested in (and now co-owns) the esports team 100 Thieves since 2018. This also points to the (very likely) possibility that “Vigilante Sh**” is about Braun as well, possessing the lyric “Picture me thick as thieves with your ex-wife.” It’s a lot, folks. But that’s all for now. “Karma” is a bop, not much more to say than that. Go have yourself a listen. Thank you for coming to our TedTalk. – Cody Raschella