Blinded By The Floodlights best songs of 2022
Our 20 favourite songs of the year featuring Arctic Monkeys, Pastel, Foals and a few surprises thrown in for good measure!
With Foals taking our album of the year crown, it's now time for our best songs of 2022 list - an almost impossible task considering some of the brilliant song releases this year. But we've slaved through our favourites from the past twelve months and provided a ranking based on both the impact these songs had on us at the time and their long-standing impression.
Sam Fender's mammoth single 'Seventeen Going Under' won this accolade last December and this year it's been even more difficult to pick. Read on to view our top 20 songs of 2022.
You can hear all the songs mentioned below on our specially created Best Songs of 2022 playlist.
Before we begin, we must acknowledge that narrowing our favourite songs down to 20 was a tough task! Here are a few which deserve recognition, but just missed out.
Fred again…’s ‘Delilah (pull me out of this)’ was my favourite dance song of the year and is worthy of a mention for its heavy number of plays, ‘Sculptures Of Anything Goes’ saw Arctic Monkeys produce a spine-tingling eerie highlight of seventh album The Car and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever’s ‘Vanishing Dots’ was an unsuspecting atmospheric delight from Endless Rooms.
Other tracks which almost made the list include the raw emotion of Angel Olsen’s ‘The is How It Works', DMA’s vulnerable banger ‘I Don’t Need To Hide’, Sam Fender’s delicate ‘Wild Grey Ocean’ and Young Father’s thumping anthem ‘I Saw’.
20. Julia Jacklin – Lydia Wears a Cross
“I’d be a believer / If it was all just song and dance,” admits Aussie singer-songwriter Julia Jackin on piano-led PRE PLEASURE opener ‘Lydia Wears A Cross’. She then cynically adds “I’d be a believer / If I thought we had a chance”. It takes her back to a simpler time as an unquestioning child in a Catholic school, confessing to conflicted feelings in adulthood around her faith. Two-thirds in, a combination of a wailing guitar, bass and drums has the song excellently bursting into life to brighten a melancholic childhood tale — a stunning highlight on one of 2022’s best records.
19. Danger Mouse & Black Thought - No Gold Teeth
Blinded by the Floodlights might be mostly an indie/alternative site, but this doesn’t mean we don’t love a slice of hip-hop now and again! Danger Mouse and Black Thought's new collaborative album Cheat Codes was one which made quite the impression, with a host of stunning tracks featuring some of the biggest names in hip hop (MF Doom, ASAP Rocky, Run The Jewels). In particular, the swaggering hip-hop soul of lead single ‘No Gold Teeth’ was a particular highlight, making us feel that little bit taller as we bounced down the street to its blaring beats.
18. The 1975 - Happiness
'Happiness’ is The 1975’s trademark sound - addictive melody, glittery guitars & a crooning, carefree vocal. It shows the band having fun, jamming, and the result is one of their greatest hits. It makes you want to dance and singalong, which is kind of the sign of a great pop song: “I would go blind just to see you” is a standout lyric in the first verse, revealing his deep, unhealthy infatuation with a girl. The band are currently on a tour they confidently named At Their Very Best, and ‘Happiness’ is suited perfectly for. (words by Josh Robinson)
17. Tate McRae - she’s all i wanna be
Boy meets girl. Boy meets another girl. Boy breaks the first girls heart. It’s hardly an original tale but what sets Tate McRae out is her honestly. At some point in our lives we’ve all felt insecure of who we are and who we’re not. We’ve just never had the courage to admit it like this a song McRae co-wrote. It’s the best pop song of the year. And in a twelve month period that featured absolute bangers from Lizzo and Beyoncé, that’s some achievement. (words by Neil Renton)
16. The Lounge Society – Remains
Hailing from the small Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge, The Lounge Society found support last year from an unlikely source: the founder and producer of The Strokes, Gordon Raphael. “Not only are they cool-looking but they can play like hell…” revealed Raphael to NME in 2021, “this could be another chapter of rock music when it’s not supposed to be here”. This is evidenced on the seventh track of debut Tired of Liberty’s ‘Remains’. Here they explore darkened rock sonics, which soon pummels into a crashing demise - an outstanding ending to the song very much enjoyed by turning the notches up even further!
15. Jamie T – 90s Cars
This year, South London’s finest Jamie Treays (aka Jamie T) smashed his return after six years and it was opening track ‘90s Cars’ which ensured we sat up and took notice. The melancholic curtain raiser has Jamie T poking fun at himself (“Bar staff have to be nice to and save a seat / They talk to me the same way that they talk to police / With an air of distaste / A bell of hate / Welcome to the working week”) and blends a sprinkling piano melody with a dreamy bass riff. Vulnerability never sounded so quirky.
14. Wet Leg – Angelica
Fever pitch acclaim has followed Isle of Wight duo Wet Leg since last summer when ‘Chaise Longue’ seemingly appeared out of nowhere to dominate the indie listening stratosphere. Describing their music as “sad music for party people, and party music for sad people”, it was trippy album track ‘Angelica’ which hit the nail on the head more so than any other. ‘Angelica’ contrasts a differing party experience of a carefree girl with the social awkwardness of the on looking protagonist. With many of the other singles being overplayed to death, this one stood out as a firm favourite to return to.
13. Foals – 2001
Foals delivered our album of the year with Life Is Yours, managing to reinvent themselves with a consistently fun and bright record which acted as a wonderful soundtrack not just for the Summer but the entire year itself. Carrying on from ‘Wake Me Up’ and ‘2am’, ‘2001’ is case and point for their new found approach, featuring references to “Brighton rock” sweets and “beachside candy canes”. There’s a childlike innocence and nostalgia towards sunny days by the British seaside to this single which we couldn’t get enough of!
12. Skullcrusher – Whatever Fits Together
Back in October, American indie-folk singer Helen Ballentine (aka Skullcrusher) offered us her deceptively sweet, Autumnal-vibes debut Quiet the Room. It was the first preview single ‘Whatever Fits Together’ which stood out as a dreamy highlight. Bellantine confesses to writing the song “while reflecting on my past and wondering how I might begin to explain it to someone”. Her ethereal vocals are complimented by a subtle banjo riff to reflect again on mistakes and regrets of yesteryear – an absolutely encapsulating single.
11. Gang of Youths - in the wake of your leave
Gang of Youths fourth album angel in realtime was one of 2022’s most poignant. This was summarised perfectly by reflective single ‘in the wake of your leave’, a sense of sadness contrasting to a hopeful sound and radio-friendly hook. Inspired by Dave Le’aupepe’s grief following the death of his father, it possesses an addictive, yearning quality that was so easy to get lost in. “My hand / On heart / It's not a thing that I've been dreaming of / And it throws me without warning” sings the Aussie frontman. It was hard not to momentarily feel his chest-pumping pain.
10. Alvvays – Pomeranian Spinster
It’s hard to pick a favourite track on Alvvays third album Blue Rev. Each of the 14 tracks are great in their own right! However, when pushed, the crashing punk of ‘Pomeranian Spinster’ has the Canadian indie pop band at their rawest and most energetic. Singer Molly Rankin spits her vocals with a similar ferocity to Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell on Blue Weekend’s ‘Play the Greatest Hits’, rivalled in intensity by Alec O’Hanley’s closing guitar solo - the guitarist channelling his inner John Frusciante from RHCP’s heyday. It’s a perfectly placed breathless delight.
9. Jack White - Fear Of The Dawn
At just over two minutes long it’ll take you longer to read this review than listen to Jack White being at his chaotic best. There’s not even enough time for a chorus but that doesn’t matter when White stands in the heavens chucking Rock God thunderbolts at us all. Guitar solos have a square go with a pulsating beat in the back alley of some seventies dive bar and it’s the listener who wins. White wears his retro heart in his sleeve and when it’s this spellbinding who can blame him? (words by Neil Renton)
8. Sunstinger – Only in the Morning
Back in August we were quick to proclaim Sunstinger’s latest single a song of the year contender, so of course it was always going to appear on this list! The Fife shoegaze rockers only song release of 2022 rivalled the brilliance of the songs on 2021’s excellent EP Beyond the Frame. Described by the band as “an upbeat summer fitting song with a dark twist relating to the overwhelming depressing and anxiety of youth today”, we couldn’t get enough of this sugary haze of noise.
7. Arctic Monkeys – Body Paint
Arctic Monkeys returned with their seventh album The Car back in October, a collection of lush and dramatic tunes which wouldn’t sound out of place on a James Bond soundtrack! Whilst there was the usual “where are the guitar banger?” moanings that have accompany their recent record releases, second single ‘Body Paint’ was the most accessible and enjoyable of the beautiful 10 tracks. What begins as a baroque pop delight takes an epic crashing turn half way through, providing a majestic earworm refrain: “There’s still a trace of body paint / On your legs and on your arms and on your face”.
6. Fontaines D.C. – Jackie Down The Line
Back in April, Fontaines D.C. produced an album of the year contender with Skinty Fia, a far improved effort on 2020’s inconsistent A Hero’s Death. First preview single ‘Jackie Down the Line’ let us know the Dublin band weren’t messing around, the brooding 90’s alt-rock inspired track containing an underlying sense of dread. And it was hard not to be lured in by Grian Chatten’s “do do do / la la la” hook, opening and closing the track in a delightfully peculiar manner.
5. Working Men’s Club – Widow
“Lust was easy / Until you died / Now I f*** inside my head but not outside” nonchalantly sings Working Men’s Club frontman Syd Minsky-Sargeant on an ominous ‘80s inspired synth pop track which provided one of the best hooks of 2022. ‘Widow’ is abrasive and melodic, the spirit of a darker New Order being channelled throughout. And it was this anxious nostalgic sound which couldn’t help but grab our attention from a Yorkshire band who’ve topped many an album of the year list with their sophomore record Fear Fear.
4. Confidence Man – Holiday
If ‘Holiday’ wasn’t the best song of 2022, it definitely was the most fun and addictive! Confidence Man were amongst the most talked about performers at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, bossing their Friday Park Stage set with an infectious eccentricity and energy. Soon a new legion of fans were to discover the Aussie dance-pop band's second album Tilt. Lead single ‘Holiday’ captured the imagination with its euphoric sun kissed sound and repetitive hook (“I getaway everyday / My holiday / I'm getting paid”). Like it says on the tin, gorgeous dancefloor summer vibes are written all over this banger!
3. Foals – Looking High
Foals’ seventh studio album is so good, there’s any number of tracks which we could’ve added to this list. Perhaps surprisingly, considering it didn’t get as much significant radio play as other singles, ‘Looking High’ was our favourite. It’s an undoubted mid-point highlight, disclosing Balearic vibes and a simple yet euphoric chorus hook (“Find another way / Any other way / Find another way”). It’ll have you lost in the moment and, like many tracks on the Oxford trio’s seventh effort, dreaming of Pina Coladas in the sunshine.
2. Pastel – Isaiah
One of my favourite discoveries this year was a young Manchester band called Pastel, who appeared on Soccer AM in October. Whilst they performed the pulsating ‘S.O.H.O’ that day, it was the title track of their latest EP which left the biggest impression upon further discovery. ‘Isaiah’ channels the spirit of The Verve in their forgotten early 90s-era: beautifully crafted, ponderous and shoegazey. As the song fades, frontman Jack Yates pleads “you’re on my time, get back to yours / you need to find the man who cures / In this life we suffer for” and we’re left hanging on every last word.
1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Spitting Off the Edge of the World
If you've been following me on Twitter then this number 1 pick will be of little surprise! With nine years since their last music release, many of us has given up hope of new material from New York icons Yeah Yeahs Yeahs. So when ‘Spitting Off the Edge of the World’ dropped back in June, you could almost heard the collective fanbase jaw drop as the power of the synth ballad was revealed. On ‘Spitting…’, which would become Cool It Down’s album curtain raiser, the wall of synths feel desolate and appropriately overwhelming. Karen O’s spine-tingling vocals (beautifully supported by Perfume Genius, no less) creep through to support a sense of apocalyptic dread. A stunning track well worth the wait from these Big Apple indie legends who are travelling to new heights almost twenty years since their debut album release.
Check out our Best Songs of 2022 playlist below, featuring all the tracks mentioned above!