If you are going just by Billboard stats, the biggest song of 2022 wasn’t even released this year — great work, Glass Animals! And that’s often how the music world works these days, with artists finding long-tail success because of television syncs (Kate Bush), TikTok virality (Fleetwood Mac), and seasonal relevance (Mariah Carey, literally every year). But while catalog is booming in many aspects of the music industry, there was still a wealth of quality tunes sprouting up from all corners of the music landscape. And besides, we’re talking about the best songs of 2022 here, not just the biggest ones.
Some were inescapable, like Harry Styles’ omnipresent “As It Was” or Gunna’s massive “Pushin P.” Others might have been a little less underscored in pop culture, like great tunes from the likes of Ethel Cain, Fred Again.., and Vince Staples. But the thing tying together the following 50 songs is that they’re all living at the intersection of art and accessibility, where their creativity and inspiration are just as integral to their story as how people connected with it. Songs are nothing without someone to hear them, and the best songs of 2022 all encouraged passionate advocates and repeated spins.
But that’s enough from us, check out the best songs of 2022 below, and be sure to check out the best albums of 2022 while you are at it.
The 1975 – “Part Of The Band”
Our first taste of The 1975’s great Being Funny In A Foreign Language was less a preview of the album’s aesthetic and more a condensed look into the complexity at the heart of their music. The arrangement is as pristine as the melody is gorgeous, while the lyrics veer wildly from tongue-in-cheek to salacious to insightful. But for me, it’s the reflective closing moments, where leader Matty Healy looks at himself remarkably clear-eyed: “Am I ironically woke? The butt of my joke? / Or am I just some post-coke, average, skinny bloke / Calling his ego imagination?” The answer is plainly all of the above, which makes his notation of the days since quitting heroin all the more affecting. He’s also alive, one of our most provocative and interesting artists, and, you know, part of the band. – Philip Cosores
Anitta – “Envolver”
Though “Envolver” technically was released towards the end of 2021, the song made a big splash this year for Anitta. The song went viral on TikTok after the Brazilian superstar’s dance move of twerking to the ground while seemingly doing a push-up had everyone testing their physical strength on the dance floor. The sultry choreography embodied the alluring reggaeton romp’s powerful message of taking control in the bedroom. In the standout track on Anitta’s Versions Of Me album, she asserted herself as a global pop act who wasn’t afraid to push buttons or boundaries. – Lucas Villa
Armani White – “Billie Eilish”
Billie Eilish didn’t drop this year, and NORE’s “Nothin’” came out in 2002. Because of Armani White’s innovation, there are traces of both on our Best Songs Of 2022. “Billie Eilish” samples “Nothin’,” but White’s cocky flow adds the necessary original flavor. “Glock tucked, big T-shirt, Billie Eilish” is such a simple hook; the attitude in White’s delivery made it sticky enough for A-list TikToks by the likes of Kim Kardashian and Tom Brady. The West Philadelphia rapper told Uproxxhe wants to make “happy hood music.” After his “Billie Eilish” breakthrough, he’s earned the runway to experiment however he’d like. – Megan Armstrong
Bad Bunny – “Me Porto Bonito” Feat. Chencho Corleone
Reggaeton music’s past and present made an incredible collision in Bad Bunny’s “Me Porto Bonito.” The Puerto Rican superstar teamed up with ex-Plan B member Chencho Corleone for his freaky reggaeton romp on Un Verano Sin Ti. While singing the praises of the woman that he was lusting for, Bad Bunny also waxed poetic as a feminist with the Spanish lyric: “If you want me to, I’ll make you a baby or bring you the plan B.” He evoked millennial nostalgia and mentioned telenovela group RBD in the same breath as perreo. Bad Bunny at his baddest is what made this sexy collaboration so good. – L.V.
Becky G and Karol G – “Mamiii”
Becky G and Karol G brought the Latin g-force to pop music with their collaboration “Mamiii.” The breakup anthem pulled from influences of mariachi music from Becky G’s Mexican background and blended that with the reggaeton genre that both women are dominating at the moment. Becky G and Karol G lyrically cut their exes down to size while evoking Mexican icon Paquita La Del Barrio’s classic “Rata de Dos Patas.” The Latina girl power behind this fiery collaboration made it one of the most exciting moments on Becky G’s Esquemas album. – L.V.
The Beths – “Expert In A Dying Field”
Expert In A Dying Field by The Beths is a breakup album, the phrase itself referring to the act of getting to know someone so well just to end up departing from them and having nowhere to put the intimate information. Bandleader Elizabeth Stokes captures this particular, searing pain on the opening title track, singing, “And I can close the door on us / But the room still exists,” summing up in a single, striking image the urge to return to a past lover instead of moving on. –Danielle Chelosky
Beyoncé – “Alien Superstar”
When Beyoncé talks her sh*t — think “Bow Down / I Been On” or “Upgrade U” — the world stands still. Renaissance’s “Alien Superstar” is no exception. The track commands attention over all 16 tracks of Bey’s seventh studio album, serving as both a moment to flex for the veteran pop star and a rallying dance floor anthem. Outside of its confidence, Bey toys with texture creating a variety show on the 3-minute track. She pays homage to the Black ballroom, gives us a sermon from National Black Theatre founder Barbara Ann Teer and sprinkles a catchy adlib, “UNIQUE,” on top of it all. Kudos to Knowles for pushing past typical futuristic themes for her otherworldy-titled track and referencing the past for her new sound. If you’re looking for the spunk of Vanity 6’s “Nasty Girl” interwoven with Beyoncé’s floaty vocals, look no further than “Alien Superstar.” – Ellice Ellis
Bia – “London” Feat. J. Cole
BIA’s brilliance on her tongue-in-cheek, UK drill anthem “London” gave J. Cole imposter syndrome. The single marked the Massachusetts-bred MC’s first time rapping over a UK drill beat, but she was right at home. BIA cleverly rips through brand names she can afford and lame men she can’t be bothered with, while Cole shakes down anyone who’s forgotten he’s the man. They walk the walk in the video, galavanting around London and toying with British accents. All told, it’s an infectious bar fest. – M.A.
Big Thief – “Certainty”
Big Thief recorded 45 songs in 2021, 20 of which are included on their staggering double album, New Warm Dragon I Believe In You. Incredibly, all of those tunes are pretty great. One of the highlights is this mid-tempo strummer, which spotlights the easy chemistry these four musicians have. It sounds like a love song that Adrianne Lenker is singing to her own band in praise of their steadfast fidelity: “My certainty is wild, weaving / For you, I am a child, believing.” – Steven Hyden
Buddy – “Wait Too Long” Feat. Blxst
West Coast crooner Blxst has been on a roll the last few years and his hot streak continues here. While Buddy, who released his long-awaited second album Superghetto after a nearly four-year hiatus, handles the smooth verses, it’s Blxst’s yearning chorus that sets off this sunny serenade, which was a staple of LA house parties throughout the summer.” – Aaron Williams
Burna Boy – “Last Last”
For the second year in a row, afrobeats found its place in the song of the summer conversation. What was Wizkid and Tems’ “Essence” in 2021, became Burna Boy’s “Last Last” in 2022. Supported by a sample of Toni Braxton’s “He Wasn’t Man Enough,” Burna Boy detailed the struggles he endured following the end of a relationship. Still, the sad nature of the song meant little to many as they gleefully sang the song through the year’s hottest months. Even Burna’s pleas for “igbo and shayo” (“weed and alcohol” in Yoruba) to cop with heartbreak played more to fans’ desire for the aforementioned party favors as a boost to their outings. Nonetheless, you can’t blame many for not understanding Yoruba. In the end, “Last Last” did what music, in general, is supposed to: unite those from far and wide. – Wongo Okon
Charli XCX – “Beg For You” Feat. Rina Sawayama
Charli and Rina letting it all out on the same track set the British pop world on fire. This is the stuff that cotton candy-flavored dreams are made of. On the best moment from Charli XCX’s fifth album, Crash, the pair gush over a sizzling beat from producer Dance Farm Animals in an instant dance-pop classic. It’s everything that good pop music should have: an undeniable bounce, desire at its core, sheer thirst for romance, and two magnetic divas in their prime. Yes please. – Adrian Spinelli
Chlöe – “Treat Me”
Halfway into 2021, Chlöe kicked off her journey as a solo artist with her debut single “Have Mercy.” That journey continued into 2022 with the release of “Treat Me.” The high-paced single sees Chlöe take on the New Orleans bounce-inspired beat without issue as she puts her foot down with each bass drop to stand on her worth. Its accompanying music video saw Chlöe leave it all on the floor with her flamboyant spirit and high-octane dance movies. If “Treat Me” taught us anything, it’s that there’s no humbling or quieting Chloe Bailey. – W.O.
Claud – “Go Home!”
Buzzy indie artist Claud has been climbing the ranks since signing to Phoebe Bridgers’ label imprint and dropping their debut 2021 album Super Monster. Though they didn’t release an album this year, they still managed to drop their version of a song of the summer with the breezy “Go Home!” Accompanied by cascading keys and ballad-like lyrics, the song evokes the unmatched comfort of returning home after a particularly difficult day. – Carolyn Droke
The Dare – “Girls”
2022 marked the return of indie sleaze, so it only makes sense we had some coquettish music to go along with the revival of the era characterized by runny eyeliner and sweaty dance floors. Enter The Dare: the new musical project of NYC-based DJ Harrison Patrick Smith. With salacious lyrics about smoking cigs and hating cops, the electrifying song is a cheeky and catchy ode to New York’s thriving nightlife and evokes the chaos and fervor that ensues with it. – C.D.
Dave – “Starlight”
UK MC Dave has been on the rise for the past few years and with “Starlight,” you could say he’s arrived. Since the single’s release, Dave was joined onstage by Drake and headlined Rolling Loud in Toronto, all in the wake of winning a BRIT Award for his most recent album We’re All Alone In This Together. He did all this before his 24th birthday; Dave is definitely a star. – A.W.
Doechii and SZA – “Persuasive”
When Doechii first released “Persuasive,” it was hard to fathom she could improve upon the seductive ganja-inspired single. Yet SZA’s soft and dramatic vocals command the second verse, which when paired with the track’s tinkering beat and Doechii’s self-confident but faded adlibs, force the listener to slow down — as any stoner anthem would. The house-inspired single plays SZA’s “spiritual baddie” aesthetic off of Doechii’s animated rap person, making “Persuasive” more than a dance anthem. It’s a stark reminder of the power, range, and talent held by the first ladies of TDE. – E.E.
Doja Cat – “Vegas”
With no time for games, Doja Cat refuses to put up with “hound dogs” on the standout track from the Elvis soundtrack. Sung in tandem with an interpolation of Big Mama Thornton’s “Hound Dog,” Doja is aware of her power and mystique, refusing to settle for men who aren’t on her level. Though much of her summer was spent recovering from tonsil surgery, Doja’s presence was felt through this empowering earworm, which was inescapable this year. – Alex Gonzalez
Dove Cameron – “Boyfriend”
From innocent childhood star to sexually liberated singer, Dove Cameron has had quite a transformative year. While former Disney darlings find it difficult to shed their preadolescence image, Cameron leaned into one of her tween roles for viral single “Boyfriend.” Co-written by Skyler Stonestreet and anchored by Evan Blair’s robust production, “Boyfriend” quickly became one of the newest queer anthems. The track’s use of theatrical finger snaps creates an ominous opening, followed by grandiose strings and strategic bass placements, building the perfect mold for the song’s flirtatious lyrics. “Boyfriend” is Cameron’s undeniably bold initiation into the mainstream. – Flisadam Pointer
Ethel Cain – “American Teenager”
Cain’s single, “American Teenager,” shines a light on the hedonistic underbelly of her perception of the patriotic dream. With the music video filmed on a high school football field, she details the passing of a neighbor’s brother and getting drunk at church to grieve — all while parading around in a cheerleading uniform. “It’s just not my year, but I’m all good out here,” Cain maintains in the chorus, keeping the positivity that matches the upbeat pop instrumental. –Lexi Lane
Fred Again, Romy, HAAi – “Lights Out”
Fred Again.. fired on all cylinders this year. No dance music producer built a fresh cult following during lockdown quite like he did, with his bedroom dispatch collaborations with vocalists from across the globe. Enter “Lights Out,” a beat he made on a train ride in Scotland, sent to HAAi to flair up with drum and bass bravado, before The xx’s Romy Madley-Croft gave it the emo-EDM pulse it needed. “Lights Out” teems with dancefloor sparks, instantly making you sweat as it builds into a triumphant release. Fred said it best: “Romy’s lyrics and voice are just like a hug from a rave angel.” – A.S.
Future – “Wait For U” Feat. Drake and Tems
On the poignant “Wait For You,” from Future’s I Never Liked You, he and Drake seek to stand by their loves, despite the occasional tumultuousness of their relationships. The two deliver their signature styles of rap-singing over a sample of Tems’ “Higher,” seemingly ready to move on from the “toxic king” ways that made them both household names. When Future and Drake link, it’s always a guaranteed hit, but “Wait For U” tapped into a side of them we hadn’t seen from either since the days of Pluto and Take Care – the records that made us love them in the first place. – A.G.
GloRilla and Cardi B – “Tomorrow 2”
If there was any doubt about GloRilla’s star power after “FNF” took over the airwaves and Yo Gotti signed her to CMG, it was removed when Cardi B lent her considerable co-sign to Glo’s thugged-out, weirdly optimistic banger. For someone who hasn’t put out an album for over four years, Cardi has certainly kept visible, and “Tomorrow 2” is a stellar, endlessly quotable example of how she’s been doing it. – A.W.
Gunna and Future – “Pushin P” Feat. Young Thug
Whether or not one is familiar with the southern colloquialism “Pushin P,” the song set the mood for 2022. Though the song clocks in at just over two minutes, the musical chemistry between the three ATL legends is evident, as they deliver bars reflecting Gunna’s explained “player mentality” over glimmery production. Everyone and their mother was pushing blue P emojis this year, and while some of the tweets from corporations may have been cringe, most would agree that the trio have delivered a timeless classic. – A.G.
Harry Styles – “As It Was”
Harry Styles penned “As It Was,” a three-time-Grammy-nominated chart-topper, about his personal evolution through the pandemic. It also undeniably transcended him into generational rock star status. There is no going back; we’re living in Harry’s world. The Harry’s House lead single dances between shimmering synth-pop melody and stripped-down introspection. “Answer the phone,” he softly sings. “Harry, you’re no good alone.” Styles has hardly been alone since launching his Love On Tour, including an unprecedented 15-date Madison Square Garden residency, with “As It Was” as a unifying staple on the empowering setlist. – M.A.
Hitkidd and GloRilla – “FNF (Let’s Go)”
Let’s Go! GloRilla and Hitkidd’s “F.N.F.” is an anthem for women to let go – whether it’s from shedding their fears and insecurities from their past relationships to devoting their time to their girl squad and, more importantly, themselves. More than anything, the song is an ode to self-love. With its bumping base and Big Glo’s raunchy lyrics, the track is both rachet and righteous — something for the streets to dance to and the perfect mantra to get through any breakup. – Alexis Oatman
Ice Spice – “Munch (Feelin’ U)”
Reminiscent of TLC’s “No Scrubs,” Ice Spice uses the drill-inspired track to call out a specific group of thirsty men, also known as a “munch.” With the help of social media, the Brooklyn rapper’s track became a runaway hit. Her gritty lyrics and adorable curly head of hair captivated the world and made everyone wonder what a munch is. Ice Spice would eventually reveal in an interview with Rolling Stone that song was not only meant to be a fun and upbeat record, but it helped to describe “the heaps of desperate men” who can’t stop thirsting after her. Additionally, the rapper noted that the song was a shot at her critics, particularly the men who were sex-shaming her online. – A.O.
Jack Harlow – “Churchill Downs” Feat. Drake
Jack Harlow dispelled “never meet your heroes” with the Grammy-nominated “Churchill Downs.” He challenged Drake back into his ruthless rap bag post-Certified Lover Boy and was rewarded with an explicit co-sign, as Drake plainly states in the hypnotizing track’s last line, “Shorty like, ‘You know that boy Jack is going places’ / I know.” Place is important to Harlow. Namely, all he craves is Louisville’s embrace — akin to Drake’s universal embodiment of Toronto. Their Kentucky Derby takeover felt like the official coronation of the city’s new king. – M.A.
Jamie xx – “Kill Dem”
Jamie xx’s knowledge of musical styles is second to none. Go see him DJ for a masterclass in global genre-hopping through his elite crate-digging moxie. For “Kill Dem,” The xx producer dug into his personal experiences growing up exposed to the Caribbean cultures and dub music of the Notting Hill Carnival every summer. The dancehall sound system tune, soaked with a heavy dose of Jamie’s signature steelpan drum sound, presented a long-awaited return to form for the sleeping giant. He’s back. – A.S.
Kendrick Lamar – “Die Hard” Feat. Blxst and Amanda Reifer
Kendrick Lamar’s long-awaited fifth album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers features many uncomfortable and off-kilter records. These niche records make up half of Mr. Morale, with the remaining half being more digestible records like “Die Hard.” The Blxst and Amanda Reifer-assisted song touches on Kendrick’s passionate ways, and how it often aided his bad qualities as much as it did his good ones. The track’s West Coast feel, something aided by the presence of Blxst, brings Kendrick back to his roots, a place he needs to go in order to fix the many problems he details on Mr. Morale. – W.O.
Kodak Black – “Super Gremlin”
Kodak Black’s multiple run-ins with the law have prevented him from having a steadily rising and uninterrupted career. Despite that, Kodak has managed to release records that have placed him high on the charts: “Zeze,” “Tunnel Vision,” and “Roll In Peace.” The latest example of this came with “Super Gremlin,” the haunting and spooky track that captures Kodak’s disappointment with a former associate’s betrayal towards him. Kodak’s quick-timed punchlines and unforgiving bars are on full display for the record that peaked at a top-three position on the singles chart, the second of his career. – W.O.
Latto – “Sunshine” Feat. Childish Gambino and Lil Wayne
Latto‘s nostalgia-baiting megahit “Big Energy” may have garnered most of the attention early in the year, but the real gem from her sophomore album 777 turned out to be a more traditional rap song tapping a fellow Atlantan and one of her generation’s greatest influences. The result is an uplifting anthem that puts Latto’s full rapping ability on display while pushing the boundaries of her stylistic palette. – A.W.
Lizzo – “About Damn Time”
This year, it was “About Damn Time” Lizzo delivered another viral hit and she certainly did not disappoint. Lizzo returned with glitz and glamor on her feel-good track “About Damn Time,” which previewed her much-anticipated sophomore album Special. In true Lizzo fashion, the song is upbeat, infectious, and has some of the most quotable lyrics of the year. I mean, who can resist singing along to the line, “It’s bad bitch o’clock, yeah, it’s thick-thirty.” – C.D.
Megan Thee Stallion – “Her”
Meg’s time as a judge on HBO Max’s ballroom competition Legendary is evident in this viral track. On “Her,” Meg channels her inner dancing queen, as she delivers fiery bars over a house-inspired beat. With this fan-favorite from Traumazine, she takes over the dance floor, rocking high fashion and fully aware that all eyes are on her. And without hesitation, she will gladly “tell a hater, kiss both cheeks, ciao bella.” – A.G.
The National – “Weird Goodbyes” Feat. Bon Iver
It’s been more than a decade since the Dark Was The Night compilation, but these old friends still have a natural chemistry that lends itself to collaboration. On this song, they return to the electro-folk template of Sleep Well Beast and I Am Easy To Find, though Justin Vernon gives the chorus some understated soul when he harmonizes with the classically craggy Matt Berninger. – S.H.
NewJeans – “Hype Boy”
Not a day goes by where I haven’t played this song since its unofficial release over the summer. It’s dreamy Y2K pop with a blend of R&B, sung by five young and talented girls from ADOR and HYBE Labels who sound incredibly mature. “Hype Boy” checks off the qualities of a perfect K-Pop song with its addictive dance (a challenge done by almost everyone in the industry) and catchy hooks. – Lai Frances
Nilüfer Yanya – “Midnight Sun”
This buzzy British singer-songwriter was a breakout artist back in 2019, thanks to an eclectic amalgam of influences suggesting that Yanya ultimately wants to fuse the slinky grace of Sade with the sort of chunky and lovable punk anthems associated with Blink-182 and The Libertines. On her 2022 LP Painless, she detours into art-rock territory. Several tracks resemble Hail To The Thief-style rock bangers, though Radiohead hasn’t come up with a song as catchy as “Midnight Sun” in years. – S.H.
Oxlade – “Ku Lo Sa”
Afrobeats is the most refreshing genre that’s making a pop crossover. One of the songs that helped lead the charge for afrobeats this year was Oxlade‘s “Ku Lo Sa.” In the alluring love song, the Nigerian singer beautifully sings in Nigerian Pidgin English that’s typically spoken in his country. Oxlade’s voice soars with determination to get closer to the woman that he’s in love with no matter what obstacles are in the way. His slick charm and heartfelt performance made the world feel connected to this irresistible track. – L.V.
Post Malone – “Cooped Up” Feat. Roddy Ricch
Post Malone and Roddy Ricch do it again. After displaying some unexpectedly cool chemistry on the remix of “Wow.” in 2019 (before Roddy took over the world with “The Box”), they once again strike gold with “Cooped Up,” an angsty going-out song that somehow captures the anxiety of the last couple of years while giving listeners an irresistible urge to dance. Not bad for a track that Posty says he “probably” wrote “on the sh*tter.” – A.W.
Quavo and Takeoff – “Hotel Lobby”
It’s so weirdly unfair that Takeoff was killed just as Migos entered into this latest, unusual phase of their collective career. After years of “left off” jokes, the quietest Migo was finally getting his due as one-half of the Unc and Phew duo while they worked out whatever their beef was with Offset behind the scenes. “Hotel Lobby” offers the best summation of Quavo and Takeoff’s back-and-forth chemistry but it also leaves a pang knowing that any possibility of a true Migos reunion died with him. – A.W.
ROSALÍA – “SAOKO”
ROSALÍA ripped into her MOTOMAMI album with “SAOKO,” and it’s one of hell of a multi-genre ride. Though the song lasts a little past two minutes, the Spanish pop star makes every second count. She turns an interpolation of the classic “Saoco” by reggaeton pioneers Wisin y Daddy Yankee into a cyberpunk club banger. There’s even a jazz music detour thrown in the mix to show her influences are limitless. ROSALÍA evokes queer culture as well to describe her pop takeover. “Drag queen makeup, I transform,” she sings in Spanish. ROSALÍA’s drive to push her sound to new places is masterfully manifested in the rush of “SAOKO.” – L.V.
Saucy Santana – “Booty” Feat. Latto
Saucy Santana extended his run of hood hits with the Beyonce-sampling “Booty” after finally receiving recognition on the cover of XXL as one of its Freshman class of 2022. An undeniable twerk anthem, I’ve personally witnessed the inability of even the most stoic straight men to resist giving the tiniest of shimmies at this song, because it’s just that hypnotic. For years, we’ve been asking the wrong questions about hip-hop and gay rappers; the question was never “if” or “when” but “how” — and now, we’ve got our answer. – A.W.
Sorry – “Let The Lights On”
UK-based post-punk group Sorry took an off-kilter-yet-charming turn with their Anywhere But Here single “Let The Lights On.” It’s an amorous, hypnotic, and drum-driven track that captures the anxiety and excitement of new love, opening with vocalist Asha Lorenz repeating enamored lyrics. The song not only shows off the band’s songwriting chops, but it gives an honest portrayal of how difficult it can be to let go of love, even when it’s the right choice in the long run. – C.D.
Steve Lacy – “Bad Habit”
Every time I listen to “Bad Habit” is more exciting than the last. You see, it’s not just a ridiculously catchy pop song, it’s also an incredibly layered one. On every new spin, there’s another wrinkle to discover, whether it’s a vocal loop you didn’t realize was there before, a synth that jumps out of nowhere, or Lacy’s incredible range. The song somehow even managed to end Harry Styles’ historic run atop the Billboard Hot 100 with “As It Was,” and it’s a testament to the many, many flowers that Lacy is set to receive in his budding career. – A.S.
SZA – “Shirt”
There’s a history behind SZA’s “Shirt.” She first posted a snippet of the track on her Instagram story back in 2020; months later, the song was teased at the end of her March 2021 “Good Days” music video. After just under two years of TikTok challenges to the mystery audio and pressure from fans, she blessed them with 3 minutes of classic SZA. She lusts for love, digging into her rap-singing bag and refusing to shy away from addressing the despair that fame brings. The track is her premiere collaboration with industry vet Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins’ emotionally chilling sound, which is a fitting foundation for SZA’s commonly expressed relationship woes. – E.E.
Tate McRae – “She’s All I Wanna Be”
McRae struggles with self-comparison on “She’s All I Wanna Be.” Specifically, one that involves competing for a “stupid boy’s” attention and affection. While not gearing into internalized misogynistic tropes like predecessors of Paramore’s “Misery Business” might have, she instead makes a pop hit that plays into almost an admiration for the perceived other woman. McRae wants to be her while realizing the guy is the real problem. – L.L.
Taylor Swift – “Lavender Haze”
Taylor Swift didn’t release an advance single from Midnights. For Swifties listening to her record-breaking October album in order, the swirling opener “Lavender Haze” was the palate cleanser from the cottagecore of Folklore and Evermore — a synth spiral back into prime Pop Taylor. Swift borrowed the titular phrase from Mad Men, fiercely protecting her relationship with Joe Alwyn. Swift rejects the outdated fairytale “Love Story” or “Mine” was built upon. She’s not “a one-night or a wife.” She’s standing tall against “the 1950s sh*t they want from me.” Sprinkle in Zoë Kravitz’s songwriting credit, and “Lavender Haze” is a contender for the All-Cool Team. – M.A.
TWICE – “Basics”
Being one of the most artistically driven members of TWICE, Chaeyoung knew what she was doing when she wrote “Basics.” As this feel-good b-side track hails from the group’s 11th EP, Between 1&2, “Basics” highlights the members’ strengths and hidden talents in a perfect mesh of Korean and English lyrics. (Pay attention to the second verse where Chaeyoung and Momo go back-to-back in a thrilling rap cypher or when Mina and Jihyo perfectly show off their English pronunciation in the pre-chorus.) – L.F.
Vince Staples – “When Sparks Fly”
If you’ve been following my work for any amount of time, you know I’m biased when it comes to Vince Staples. But I will defy you to find a rap song from 2022 that grabs hold of your guts the way this standout from Ramona Park Broke My Heart does. Sure, the concept — personifying a controversial piece of cold steel — has been done, but where predecessors have focused on the technicality of the execution and the precise machinery of mechanical storytelling, Staples kicks you in the chest by making it a doomed love story. – A.W.
The Weeknd – “Less Than Zero”
Each song on Dawn FM seems like it cost $1 million to make and came out sounding like $10 million. Go beyond the extremely 1980s signifiers — the synth tones, the Thriller vibes of nearly every chorus, Jim Carrey’s ‘luded-out DJ (his best performance since Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind!) — and it’s this quality that makes the album feel like such a throwback. The record’s climax arrives with the penultimate track, which sounds like a lost A-Ha tune covered by George Benson. – S.H.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.