The 10 Best Pop Songs of 2022…So Far
Fresh off the heels of nearly two years in an off-studio vortex, most artists have been kept from properly logging time in 2020 and most of 2021, with 2022 shaping up to be a night of new music releases. From R&B and rock to hip-hop, country and other alternative compositions, this year the music returned to its fullest form, introducing the masses to earworms (and candy) in the pop, long-awaited impulses around the entry into Harry’s house (Harry Styles), more powerful Lizzo vocals I’m not the girl I used to be or was on hit “About Damn Time” at Doja Cat’s tribute to Big Mama Thornton on her Elvis soundtrack offering “Vegas”.
Throughout 2022, pop has welcomed the experimental – everything from Charlie Puth’s TikTok song assemblage to his upcoming third album, Charlie, the fictional Disney-Pixar boy band 4*Town and the epic return of Beyoncé in the Renaissance, plus the re-emergence of Kendrick Lamar, Lauv, Maggie Rogers, Sky Ferreira and more.
Celebrating all the soulful elements of pop, here’s a listen to 10 songs that caught our attention in 2022…so far.
Features contributions from Tina Benitez-Eves, Alex Hopper, Hal Horowitz, Alli Patton, Jacob Uitti and Catherine Walthall.
1. “Nobody Loves You”, 4* City
The hit song from the recent Pixar movie, turn red, this song is not only reminiscent of the boy band craze of the late 90s and early 2000s, but is also written by current pop stars Billie Eilish and her brother FINNEAS. In the animated film, which is about a young girl turning into a red panda and the ensuing trouble, the song occurs in a particularly important film which, if you are engrossed in the story, a tear can even you come to mind. eye (don’t judge us!). —Jacob Uitti
2. “Mother I Sober”, Kendrick Lamar, with Beth Gibbons (Portishead)
What a masterpiece. The song, the album, the artist, everything. Kendrick Lamar is literary. It is a party. It’s a buffet of sounds that’s actually healthy for you. It is a marvel, a modern miracle. His last album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, is an instant classic and this single is iconic. It sends chills. It makes you think and entertains with flawless production, nuance, and human demeanor. Devour. —JU
3. “Light Switch”, Charlie Puth
Charlie Puth can make music out of anything. On “Light Switch,” released earlier in 2022, Puth used the actual sound of a wall switch being turned on and off on the dance floor. Following its release in 2018 Voice notesPuth has fleshed out the songs for his upcoming third album, Charlyreleased on October 7 on TikTok, down to the demonstration of sound effects (i.e. the light switch) on the keys being used and other musical tutorials in hopes of showing subscribers that anyone can make music.
“This album was born on the internet, and I had so much fun doing it in front of you all last year,” Puth recently posted on Instagram. Puth, who also published Charly singles “It’s Hilarious” and most recently, “Left and Right”, featuring BTS’s Jung Kook, added that “2019, I thought that to be an artist, you had to hide and not talk to anyone to make your art. It turns out you make art MUCH better when you involve millions of people in the process. —Tina Benitez-Eves
4. “Cut It”, Beyoncé
by Beyoncé Renaissance was born out of a disco daydream of returning to the club amid the pandemic. Delightfully experimental and deeply referential, the album is comprised of 16 tracks of pure vibes that can live nowhere but a sticky, sweaty club floor around 1am, when things are just getting started.
Although the album is wall-to-wall anthems, the track that takes the crown is “CUFF IT”. With lyrics by Nile Rodgers and production via The Dream, the song squeezes as many insatiable disco grooves as possible into four minutes. You can’t stop dancing when this one comes around – it’s the theme song for our summer of freedom. —Alex Hopper
5. “Daylight”, Harry Styles
Harry Styles left behind his classic rock pastiche for his third album, Harry’s house. Instead, he draws from more contemporary pop sources, giving fans a taste of the new, more upbeat styles. “Daylight” leads the push toward serenity with styles floating through the air during the verses before dropping back to earth for a punchy guitar line in the chorus. It bridges the gap between old styles and new and is unbridled fun to boot. —AH
6. “Anywhere With You”, Maggie Rogers
Maggie Rogers has convinced us we can go anywhere and do anything with her full summer 2022 release, Abandonment. The album is a stunning sequel to his 2019 debut and was bound to be divinely inspired. (Interesting way, Abandonment is also the title of Rogers’ thesis on divinity written for his Harvard master’s degree in religion and public life.) And since we must be bound to pick just one song, a standout track from this record is the brutally elegant “Anywhere With You”. The tune somehow seems quite specific and all-encompassing at the same time. “Anywhere With You” is exactly what we needed on all of our playlists. —Catherine Walhall
seven. “All 4 nothing (I’m so in love)”, Lauv
Lauv comes up with one of the most effervescent love songs this year (and possibly many years to come) with “All 4 Nothing (I’m So In Love)”. Shamelessly in love and shouting it from the rooftops, this song possesses the ability to drive away any whisper of gray clouds. Did you know that you are all my heart? Lauv sings, Did you know that I never stop? There is a brief moment of hesitation, however, when he sings, I never wanna say goodbye / So all those nights would just be for nothing. This line is part of the song’s humanity and that’s why we love Lauv the lyricist. —CW
8. “Don’t Forget”, Sky Ferreira
Sky Ferreira delivers a deeper shade of 80s synth pop and rock, capturing the essence of Berlin’s underground “Metro” over the sneering anthem “Don’t Forget”, singing I’ll catch your disease / It’s so a raw deal world / I don’t need to cheat you / I’m the real bad girl. Co-produced with Jorge Elbrecht and co-written with Tamaryn, “Don’t Forget” is Ferreira’s first new music since 2019’s “Downhill Lullaby,” and the first dip into her much-delayed second album, Masochism. On “Don’t Forget,” Ferreira walks straight into the fire of a semi-dystopian world—Troubled little girl, you see / Burn your house of certainty… Fire tears in the sky, make me feel good to be alive / Big dream, sick dream, used to think God’s inside of all of us.
“It wasn’t meant to be apocalyptic, but in some ways it is,” Ferreira said of the song when it was released in May. “I saw fire and I also saw a place between heaven and hell, that kind of vibe, but not in the biblical sense. I felt very stuffy for a long time, and I still do. She added, “It’s not that I wanted to set people’s houses on fire or anything like that; it’s a bit more symbolic. It’s about being put in those situations for a long time. is a bit of freeing myself, but not in the most conventional way, because I don’t necessarily feel free. —TBE
9. “Vegas”, Doja Cat
Excerpt from the soundtrack by Baz Luhrmann Elvis, “Vegas” is much more than a summer blockbuster. Backed by a beat reminiscent of blinding slot machines and scintillating showgirls, Doja Cat raps in her signature style – technically adept, exuding energy and confidence, yet having a wonderfully melodic quality. The rapper pays homage to the fiery-voiced Big Mama Thornton, with excerpts from her 1952 songs “Hound Dog” and “Vegas,” which fit the Luhrmann hallmark of history and hip-hop, though the track has everything to be a 2022 pop hit, movie or not. —Alli Patton
ten. “About Fucking Time”, Lizzo
Lizzo returns and she takes us back to Bad Bitch O’Clock. The shrug reflecting an infectious, bouncy bassline opens Lizzo’s first single since 2019 as she embarks on ’70s disco. This retro-chic style zinger brings the heavy funk and also draws inspiration from Diana Ross’ era gay anthem with his I’m going out tonight / it’s time to repeat the chorus. It’s pure delight for pop and dancefloor ears and one of the most impossible-to-ignore songs of the year. — Hal Horowitz.
Pictured: Harry Styles (Lillie Eiger); Lizzo (special album cover)