Arts and Entertainment Editor
2022 was a good, but hectic year for many UC Santa Barbara students. While most of us were happy to get back to fully in-person instruction, going outside meant a lot more time spent moving from place to place, especially in the midst of protests and rain showers. In case you missed any of them amidst this year’s chaos, here are 22 of the best songs that came out in 2022 (in no particular order).
“Tear Gas” by stressed-out lyrical master Conway the Machine details the chaos that has continued to follow him through the rise of his career.
“Concorde” by Black Country, New Road is both soul-tearing and freeing. It is perfect.
“Father Time” by Kendrick Lamar sees this G.O.A.T. candidate reflect on his daddy issues in between heavenly, lush choruses from Sampha.
“Simulation Swarm” emblematizes Big Thief’s ability to make a song that will make you both cry and feel comforted and held.
“Johnny P’s Caddy” by Benny the Butcher and J. Cole is filled with so many inspiring bars it would be a crime to pick just one to highlight.
“Gasoline” by The Weeknd is the perfect bop to bump while drinking and dancing in the club (and regretting it the next day).
“Tabula Rasa” by Earl Sweatshirt and Armand Hammer is the kind of song to put you in the mood of loving life whether you’re sad or happy.
“The Only Heartbreaker” by Mitski has two quintessential elements of a Mitski song: the somewhat awkward blend of styles and the sudden and intense rush of emotions.
“My Babe” by Spoon is a simple love song by a rockstar who had never released one before in his over a 30-year career. The once-bottled unbridled love shines through beautifully.
“No Hard Feelings” by billy woods uses the titular three-word phrase to connect two seemingly-unrelated stories and speak of a unique, banal type of pain over exploding bagpipes.
“Alive Ain’t Always Livin’” by Quelle Chris is a nice sentimental jam to save for a rainy day.
“Bravo” by Gospel takes what was once teenage angst and makes it eternal and existential.
“Aquatic Mouth Dance” by Red Hot Chili Peppers sees the band as groovy as when they started over 40 years ago.
“Open Door” by Boldy James, featuring Rome Streetz and Stove God Cooks sees each rapper at the top of their respective games, delivering bar after bar.
“Speeding 72” by neo-alt-pop rock duo Momma makes the magical feeling of speeding in a car with the top down as a depressed teenager instantly accessible.
“The Gambler” by Ransom may have the highest analogies-to-words ratio of any song in history.
“Hentai” by Rosalía is the year’s softest, sweetest love song for those who can’t understand the Spanish lyrics.
“Dreamin of the Past” by Pusha T features some exuberant verses over what may be the greatest beat of all time.
“One Way or Every N***a With a Budget” by Saba stays smooth and relaxing as the rapper celebrates his life and promises to take his friends with him to the top.
“Gorilla” by Little Simz is just one big bunch of laid-back bars that casually slap.
“Whatchawannado” by STS and RJD2 is so groovy it will make you wonder why old school ever went out of style.
“Go to Sleep” by Your Old Droog is relaxing from the lyrics to the tone to the chilled-out organs.
For me, 2022 was the year I discovered listening to new music and reviewing it as a hobby. These songs, each of which holds a special place in my heart, are proof that this pursuit was worthwhile. Here’s to another great year of music.