Best Songs of 2022

These year-end lists get harder to pull off when the number of children in your household doubles. I considered just posting an unadorned list of my favorite songs of the year, but I love music too much and want other people to love it too much to not at least write about the some of the best tracks. So here it is – my 50 favorite songs of the year, with some more detail provided for the top 20. You’re welcome.

Before we get to the 50 best, here are links to various playlist options, followed by 15 honorable mentions that just missed the cut.

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Five Quality Tracks: September 2015

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This was a feature that I used to do for the Daily Californian’s Arts & Entertainment blog. I decided to give it life again here. At the end of each month, I’ll post a feature highlighting five quality tracks released during that month.

1. Deerhunter: “Breaker”

Bradford Cox is the face of Deerhunter, known for his stream-of-conscious style of writing and erratic genius, but the band’s secret weapon is Lockett Pundt, guitarist and occasional songwriter. Pundt released a solo album under the moniker Lotus Plaza in 2012 that was very important to me during three months that I spent in Chile. It was a time when, being in a new place, my vulnerabilities were more raw, and thus, the music I was listening to was especially potent and life-affirming. The highlight from that album was “Remember Our Days”, which featured beautiful guitar interplay and a simple but welcoming melody singing “If I don’t see you again, I’m glad that you were my friend, I’ll remember our days.”

Rarely does Pundt emerge from the background on Deerhunter songs, but he shares vocal duties with Cox on “Breaker,” one of two excellent singles released from their forthcoming album Fading Frontier. They harmonize gracefully on the verses, before Pundt takes over on the chorus — and let me just say that the chorus is straight-up amazing. It bursts open with a melody so good (and simple) that I can hear Paul McCartney singing it (which, by the way, is basically the highest compliment you can pay to a melody). “Breaking the waves, I can not, no, I tried, I can’t seem to stem the tide.”

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