The year 2022 has witnessed the emergence of some monster hits and banging tunes that have kept people singing along or getting their groove on. So, I thought it would be fine to go ahead and make a list of the best songs of the year that may very well still be on an array of playlists even in 2023.
Note, this list is in no particular order of preference.
1. Light Switch – Charlie Puth
Charlie Puth took the plunge with his own songs after co-writing for the likes of Justin Bieber, and this track is sure to get you moving. Bringing a blend of more R&B style vocals with an 80s inspiration, it’s quirky but in a cool way. This extends to the video, which you really need to check out as well.
2. Plan B – Megan Thee Stallion
This has to be one of the best rap songs of the year 2022, partly helped by sampling some tracks from the 90s with that authentic and timeless beat. Her lyrics and delivery are in your face and aggressive, which just adds something to the song. If you want to learn what it’s like to be scathing about an ex, this is the track to listen to.
3. The Motto – Tiësto And Ava Max
Tiësto remains a dance superstar, and this combo with Ava Max resulted in one of the best dance songs of the year. With a melody that sticks in your mind and a beat that gets your pulse racing, I can see why this track became one of the favorites in clubs around the world.
4. ALIEN SUPERSTAR – Beyoncé
Surely, any list of the best songs of the year must include something from Beyoncé, and ALIEN SUPERSTAR is deserving of its place. However, if something seems familiar with the rhythm in sections, then that’s thanks to its sampling I’m Too Sexy by Right Said Fred. Now, there’s a combo you never thought would happen!
5. Spitting Off The Edge Of The World – Yeah yeah yeahs
The absolute roaring comeback of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is in full effect on this percussion-heavy masterpiece. This track is perfect for a super emotional scene in a movie, so don’t be surprised if you see it tied to a tear-jerker soon.
6. Shut Down – BLACKPINK
I had to include this song on the list simply because of the way it’s different from what you would expect to hear. It samples from an Italian violin concerto called La Campanella, and who would think of that appearing in a hip hop song? It completely changes the beat and the way you feel about the track, and the bass sound that runs through it adds a whole depth of feeling to the melody unlike anything else in 2022.
7. MAMIII – Becky G And Karol G
People went crazy when they heard these two were doing a collaboration, and MAMIII was certainly a song worth waiting for. Seen as an empowerment anthem, it does a fantastic job of bringing together Mexican guitars at the start before more of a reggae-style beat kicks in to take you through the track. It’s fresh and has such a cool vibe to it that it’s no surprise it gave them their biggest hit to date.
8. First Class – Jack Harlow
Released in April of 2022, this was the second song from the second album of American rapper, Jack Harlow. It features a sample from the 2006 hit, Glamorous, and it is packed with some summer vibes, which is partly why it performed so well in the charts throughout the warmer months. This was a massive hit, and I think it is easily one of the best tracks of the year thanks to that sort of chilled feel it gives to you.
9. STAR WALKIN’ (League Of Legends Worlds Anthem) – Lil Nas X
This song is not only cool, but it is also the anthem for the 2022 League Of Legends World Championships. The surprising thing is that it didn’t rank as high on the charts as the track deserved. I love how it incorporates some classic beats and has enough of a catchy feel to it for you to crave to want to hear more. The ability of Lil Nas X to create stunning melodies comes across loud and clear here.
10. Sidelines – Phoebe Bridgers
This indie rock chick has been making waves for a few years now, and the song Sidelines certainly helped to propel her to even more fame in 2022. I see this track as quite peaceful, and it certainly comes across as pretty thoughtful with the way it’s all put together. It’s clear Phoebe Bridgers has a lot on her mind, but it’s the instrumental part that helps this song stand out leading to its rightful appearance on this list.
11. Daylight – Harry Styles
Is there anything Harry Styles cannot do? If I had to choose one song from 2022 that had some serious bounce to the vibe, then Daylight just has to be that track. It’s light, catchy, and zips along with such a great feel to it that the harmonious sounds stick to you like glue. Oh, and he shot the video with James Corden for practically no money, which is also cool.
12. Sweet Nothing – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift continues to have the ability to create some impressive music, and Sweet Nothing was her real standout track of 2022. There’s nothing too different in the way she delivers here, but it has this fantastic lullaby-style feel to it at different times which just slows things down and allows you to absorb the lyrics. Listen carefully, because they will manage to hit home.
13. Bad Habit – Steve Lacy
The problem with this song by Steve Lacy is that it’s just too good for you to stop listening to it. His vocals have a real yearning to them, which then works well with the melody that is packed full of punches designed to really install that track deep inside your mind. It’s an approach that works, and chances are that you will have this thing on repeat before you are even aware you are doing it.
14. She Knows it – Maggie Lindeman
This pop-punk-style song could be the one hit of the year that you would not expect to enjoy and then cannot get enough of it. The energy hits you with double the power thanks to the lyrics being full of pain and angst that so many can relate to, and also, just the rawness of the music. Sure, it may sound depressing at times, but it is still a fantastic track.
15. Unholy – Sam Smith And Kim Petras
This song is aptly named, and it becomes very obvious within the first few seconds of the intro. It erupts into your ears with energy right from the outset, and then you have the quite saucy lyrics to contend with as well. Sam Smith certainly knows how to make a tune, and this track will make you want to just be at a party and sing at the top of your voice.
16. For My Friends – King Princess
Honestly, King Princess knows how to put harmonies and melodies together, and if you prefer a touch of romance to your songs, then this is one artist you need to pay attention to. However, with For My Friends, she talks about her childhood, and there’s no doubt it delivers a sense of being together with people you love to spend time with.
17. Cardboard Box – Flo
Hailing from the UK, this girl group is different from what you expect thanks to their R&B-inspired vibes. Cardboard Box brings back thoughts of 90s R&B, and that’s not a bad thing if you were around at that time. It’s clear in this song that their “Flo” is perfect, and they bounce off one another resulting in this catchy tune.
18. Persuasive – Doechii And SZA
Doechii got her big break in 2022, and Persuasive had a lot to do with that. It led to more mainstream airplay, and the cool part is that this was not your usual rap song either. It has such a cool flow, and her ability to switch things up and mess around with tempo and the energy she gives to the track keeps you on edge throughout.
19. Lift Me Up – Rihanna
This track was only officially released at the end of October, but I still feel it’s a contender for one of the best songs of the year. This track is a bit of a move away from what you would expect from her, but her vocals throughout give the song a calming feel to it. The harmonies are more laid back than you would often want to see from her, but it just sort of works in this instance.
20. About Damn Time – Lizzo
The thing I love about the song About Damn Time is the fact it has this disco-style feel to it, and having some disco in your life is not a bad thing. You see, the track is all about bouncing back, and that concept is something that comes across loud and clear in the song. You won’t be able to stop yourself from bouncing along in time, but don’t forget to listen out for a hint of pop rock being thrown in for good measure.
21. Afraid to Feel – LF System
I had to include this song on the list simply because it offers such an uplifting feel throughout its duration. Seriously, if you want a track that will spark some joy in your life, then this is the one to have on repeat. It samples so much from 70s disco and R&B, but there’s enough of a new feel to it that it doesn’t come across as if you are stuck in the past. If you are feeling down, put this on and see how life changes.
22. As it Was – Harry Styles
This song brings with it a touch of synth-pop that was huge even before Harry Styles was born, but that’s not stopped him from incorporating it into this massive hit from 2022. The hooks in the track make you think about bands such as Depeche Mode in its prime but with the usual modern twist to it all. The year 2022 was big for Styles, and As It Was helped cement his place as one of the biggest stars on the planet.
23. Last Last – Burna Boy
This song was one of the hits of the summer, but you can thank Toni Braxton for that. Burna Boy admits that he sampled a huge amount from Braxton, but he then added his own Afro-fusion style to this mid-tempo track complete with a chilled vibe. It’s the type of song you can listen to and just allow your entire body to relax and be absorbed into the music.
24. Crazy What Love Can Do – David Guetta, Becky Hill, And Ella Henderson
What I love about this song is the way it takes pop music and house music and manages to blend the two together in perfect harmony. Of course, David Guetta is one of the biggest house music producers of all time, and Crazy What Love Can Do is a real standout track. There is a real sense of the song building and building allowing you to feel the energy soaring within before it bursts out as it reaches its climactic conclusion.
25. Tamagotchi – Omar Apollo
Tamagotchi is one of those songs where there is a really cocky feel to it all. However, that’s not a negative thing because this track actually encapsulates a whole lot of fun into the tune. It’s a real banger and the type of song that gets you up and bouncing around before you even know what’s going on.
26. Vegas – Doja Cat
I love when a song brings together different genres, and Vegas is one of those times. It does, of course, feature the stunning rapping talent of Doja Cat, but the fun doesn’t end there. Instead, it also throws in gospel vocals by Shonka, resulting in a combination that shouldn’t perhaps work, but boy, it really does.
27. Glimpse of Us – Joji
Glimpse Of Us is the type of song that has the ability to reach down into the depths of your soul and stay there forever. It has a hypnotic feel to it throughout, and you have the impression that you are being pulled along on a journey. This ballad is the type of thing that will give you goosebumps, and for all the right reasons.
28. Cash In Cash Out – Pharrell Williams Feat. 21 Savage And Tyler, The Creator
This song represents Pharrell Williams in his purest sense. He allows his smooth voice to take over as the actual backing track is stripped bare while still providing you with enough of a feel for what the track is all about. Accompanied by some solid lyrics, this is one of the best songs he has produced for several years.
29. Shake It – Kay Flock Feat. Cardi B, Dougie B, And Bory300
With a sample from Akon thrown in for good measure, Shake It by Kay Flock featuring Cardi B grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go until the song is over. Her delivery is explosive and packed full of energy, but it’s the beat that hits you the hardest of all. This is how sampling other tracks should work—leading to something new and exciting that you won’t forget.
Next: The top rappers in 2022
30. Miss You – Robin Schulz And Oliver Tree
This song went viral on TikTok, and while that did partly contribute to its success, there’s enough about this track to make it stand out on its own. This collaboration with Oliver Tree sees a remix of the 2020 hit called Jerk. However, this version is more smooth and offers something a bit more funky in style than you expect.
31. House on Fire – Mimi Webb
If you look up the definition of a catchy song in 2022, then House On Fire is what it will say. This pop track just takes the concept of catchy to a whole new level, and I guarantee it’s going to put a huge smile on your face. She has just the correct amount of cheek to the song to ramp up the fun factor to a level you never even knew existed.
32. Yuck – Charli XCX
Taken from her new album, Crash, this single is the kind of thing that grows on you over time. I admit it’s going to take a couple of listens before it has the ability to really sit with them, but it’s all worth it in the end. It has a bit of anger in it, but just enough that it bubbles below the surface rather than leaping out and smacking you in the face. Overall, it forces you into making sense of the lyrics, just like any good song should.
33. Out of Time – The Weeknd
What I love about this song is the way that The Weeknd is clearly checking out R&B songs straight from the 80s, which was obviously a classic time for the genre. However, don’t think for a second that it’s full-on R&B. Instead, it manages to throw some pop in the mix resulting in a track that is not quite your full-on synth-pop thanks to those smooth undertones that are blended perfectly.
34. Anyone for You (Tiger Lily) – George Ezra
This track is strange. The lyrics should mean the song is sad, and yet George Ezra manages to somehow create a far more uplifting mood than you would ever think possible. From the piano at the start, which stands a good chance of making those hairs stand up on the back of your neck, right through the hook that’s guaranteed to grab that harmonious side of you and hold on tight, there really is nothing to not like about this track.
35. Hold My Hand – Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga also jumped on the 80s revival bandwagon, as you will discover in Hold My Hand, even though it’s more of a mid-tempo ballad rather than full-on pop. A part of the album for the movie Top Gun: Maverick, she incorporates a whole lot of reverb and there’s even an electric guitar in there as well. It may not be the best track that she has ever produced, but it has enough about it to still make it one of the best songs of 2022.
36. Bliss – Amber Mark
This love song is one of the best of that particular genre for the year, and for good reason. It has a steadiness to it rather than it being anthemic, but it just makes the track feel a bit more personable than you anticipate. The mix of music styles that are blended together gives this song an edge, so don’t allow yourself to be put off by the idea of it being a love track. It’s just not like that.
37. Catch Me in the Air – Rina Sawayama
This song was actually dedicated to her mother, but don’t expect it to be sad or depressing. Instead, there is a bouncy feel to it that keeps you on your toes wondering where the track is going to take you next. Also, she has added a sense of vibrancy to it from start to finish, and by the end, you are glad you took the time out to listen to it.
38. Old Friend – Earl Sweatshirt
Earl Sweatshirt has a lot to say about life, and that comes across loud and clear in Old Friend. Kicking off with some heavy bass, and a whole host of pop-synth, he blends a certain darkness in what he’s saying with light harmonies that just somehow work together. It’s the beat of this song that will grab your attention first, but check out the lyrics and see where they will take you in your own world.
39. Sacrifice (Remix / Alternate World) – The Weeknd And Swedish House Mafia
Swedish House Mafia always brings so much power and tempo to their songs, and Sacrifice is no exception. It incorporates vocals by The Weeknd, and they cut through the beat with absolute precision. This is a perfect example of what happens when two powerhouses come together to create a track. It’s actually pretty cool how two different styles can balance together like this, and if you want to experience a completely different collaboration from the norm, then this is the song you need to listen to.
40. abcdefu – GAYLE
This song by GAYLE has the ability to provide one of those lyrics that stick in your mind and stays there on repeat. It’s the way it changes tempo from laid back to more aggressive in both the music and the lyrics that has helped make this track one of the best of the year. It’s fun pop music with hooks designed to dig in there and force you into listening to the song over and over again.
41. Boyfriend – Dove Cameron
What stands out with this Dove Cameron song are the layers of vocals that run throughout the track. Falling into the alternative pop genre, her vocals are not too powerful on an individual basis, but the blend of layers helps to negate that issue. Overall, it’s just fun to listen to and is easy on the ears, which is always a great thing in my book.
42. Shotgun – Soccer Mommy
Shotgun is the perfect song to showcase where the alt-rock movement is in 2022. It’s inoffensive and manages to really sugarcoat some tough lyrics and darkness that sits within them. If you want to rock out without full-on head-banging, then this track by Soccer Mommy could be the perfect answer for you. It’s groovy, has enough power to keep the rocker happy, and yet, still offers more fun than you care to imagine.
43. N95 – Kendrick Lamar
N95 is the standout track from his latest album, and you will appreciate why that’s the case from your very first listen. But here’s the thing, this song is your all-out classic hip hop tune, and that means it balances the perfect beat with some stunning lyrics. But don’t expect this song to make you feel comfortable, Kendrick Lamar has gone out of his way to keep you on edge until it’s all over, and in doing so, he has produced one of the best tracks of the entire year.
44. SPACE MAN – Sam Ryder
Sam Ryder became a viral sensation on TikTok before entering the Eurovision Song Contest for the UK. This was his song, and it showcases his amazing vocals with a whole lot of Europop fun. It’s packed full of energy and thoughtfulness, and he has the ability to take you on a stunning journey just thanks to the power of his voice.
45. Starlight – Dave
Sampling the classic Fly Me To The Moon, this was a huge hit for the UK rapper Dave. It may not have reached every country in the world, but it has to be one of the most fun songs of the year by a long shot. His lyrics spin off with real freedom, and he gets his point across without being too over the top or aggressive with his stance. Overall, this is hip hop UK style, and I have a feeling you will fall in love with it even if you have never experienced UK rap before.
46. Black Summer – Red Hot Chili Peppers
This was the first song produced by Red Hot Chili Peppers since the return of John Frusciante, and it was well worth the wait. It brings their usual funk-groove feel to the track, and it just has that familiar feel to it thanks to the guitar of Frusciante. Oh, and don’t forget those awesome bass notes from Flea. He still knows how to rock even after all these years. Basically, this song takes you back a couple of decades to classic RHCP.
47. In the Wake of Your Leave – Gang Of Youths
This alternative rock band from Australia had an impressive hit in 2022 with the track, in the wake of your leave, and even if you are not a big alt-rock fan, this could very well change your opinion. It has a melodic indie feel to it that’s not too different from the likes of Arcade Fire, making this a fun song to listen to that’s kind enough to your ears. Also, look out for a gospel choir in the background just to change things up a bit. It’s this sense of the unexpected that helps make this track one of the best of the year.
48. Boy – The Killers
The Killers know how to put together a winning song, and boy is just another one to come off their production line. Expect some cool synth-pop vibes combined with the ability of the band to also incorporate some rock edge to their tracks as it takes you on a musical journey that may just reignite your interest in them as a whole. It’s the type of song that improves with age, but it’s pretty good even from the first listen.
49. My Love – Florence + The Machine
Let’s face it, Florence + The Machine has a habit of producing fun-filled indie pop music filled with wonderful harmonies and the stunning vocals of Florence Welch. My Love began life as a sad poem but has now been transformed into an upbeat pop song complete with a cool dance vibe that absolutely changes the entire meaning behind the lyrics. It’s classic Florence + The Machine, so there’s a whole lot to love about it for that reason alone.
50. Welcome to Hell – Black Midi
This list has had an absence of rock music, but that’s all about to change thanks to black midi and the song, Welcome To Hell. The track brings color and vibrancy to a tune that’s all about PTSD, which is hardly the best of topics. However, it then explodes with some guitar rock that adds a real sense of power to the song that lasts for a long time after the tune is over. If you want to rock on… then this track will help you do exactly that.
51. This is Why – Paramore
Paramore has moved away from their pop-punk base and more to an indie rock approach, and This Is Why helps showcase their evolution as a band. I love how it moves and sways through the song, incorporating some quiet lyrics before you are awoken by some more prodding guitar sounds. I just love the confidence that bursts through this track. It’s not as in-your-face as their old stuff, but it shows more maturity when it comes to their songwriting.
52. The Foundations of Decay – My Chemical Romance
This song shows that My Chemical Romance may have moved away from their more goth-rock early days and are heading toward something of a prog-rock approach to their music. The Foundations Of Decay throws in some riffs that are perfect for a stadium tour along with a darker mood that then explodes into life shaking those cobwebs off your shoulders. Also, there’s just enough metal in there to keep most rock lovers happy. MCR themselves say it’s one of their best songs ever, so I think we should listen to them.
53. Aquamarine – Danger Mouse And Black Thought Feat. Michael Kiwanuka
Aquamarine is a thumping track and is the result of this collaboration between Danger Mouse and Black Thought. The lyrics come across like poetry and weave their way through the beats and you feel you are being taken on a journey into the deepest recess of Black Thought. It’s deep and melancholic resulting in one of the best rap songs to come out in the whole of 2022. Just sit back and allow the lyrics to hold your hand and guide you through the next few minutes of your life.
54. The Lightning I, II – Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire is back, and The Lightning I, II shows that they are back to their punk origins, which is fantastic to hear. It’s the type of track that has this uneasy feel to it, but that’s something deliberate and designed to make you want to delve deeper into the tune. Packed full of energy, if you have never listened to Arcade Fire before, then now is your time to change all of that via this single song.
55. Free Yourself – Jessie Ware
This UK singer and songwriter knows how to write a classic tune, and Free Yourself is one of those songs. This is classic dance music accompanied by her very own voice that has a sexy undertone to it while leaning heavily on some inspiration from the disco genre. This is light dance music that is so full of joy and designed to make you feel extremely happy, and it does exactly that with ease.
Barry has worked as a freelance writer for over a decade and has developed an eye for detail when it comes to unearthing cool and interesting facts.
His love of music stems from his student days checking out up and coming bands playing in the darkest corners of bars and clubs in Edinburgh.
The love of uncovering something new also remains with him. With an appreciation for music that’s best described as eclectic, his musical tastes range from Eric Clapton to Eminem through to Snow Patrol and Incubus. The memories that music can bring back to the fore is something he tries to portray in his writing.
For him, the voyage of discovery and unearthing something new is what makes this task of writing for MusicGrotto.com so interesting.