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Blazin's Top 40 Songs of 2022

A not-late-at-all list of songs. Hopefully, the albums and drumming songs list will also be finished by the end of the week. I hope you enjoy the selections and blurbs!
41Lupe Fiasco
Drill Music in Zion

Honorable Mentions:

50. Gang of Youths - “Goal of the Century”
49. Motorpsycho - “Mona Lisa / Azrael”
48. Black Country New Road - “Haldern”
47. Gaerea - “Memoir”
46. Ashenspire - “Cable Street Again”
45. Blut Aus Nord - “The Apotheosis of the Unnamable”
44. Ethel Cain - “Family Tree”
43. Denzel Curry - “Walkin”
42. Conan - “Grief Sequence”
41. Lupe Fiasco - “MS. MURAL”
The Loser

“Hyper”: As happy as I was to hear Gospel come back with a sucker punch of an album, picking actual highlights was somewhat frustrating. The Loser might be a complete album experience, but “Hyper” is the cosmic screamo jam I came back to the most. It’s an instrumental showstopper with the same kind of power they had on their 2005 classic, just with a bit more refinery. This may not have even been their finest moment this year, but Gospel knew they still had it in them with something this expansive and awesome.
We're Not Here To Be Loved

“Baldpate Driver”: Ah, the second Kurt Ballou-associated track in a row. It certainly goes to show the kind of year he’s had, specifically on this blast of an opener where the guitars are given full power and immersion. The vocals are splendidly done as well, riding a satisfying balance between Chino Moreno-esque softness and distorted fear. After almost a year of listening to this, I never found out what the title was supposed to mean, but in the lyrics we are blacked out at a party where no one knows what’s going on. Epic stuff.
38Elder (USA-MA)
Innate Passage

“Merged in Dreams - Ne Plus Ultra”: One of my favorite points of success from Innate Passage was its ability to get the most substance out of long jam passages as possible, and there was no better example of that than on the near 15-minute “Merged in Dreams”. This song just seems like a culmination of all the experience from making the more prog-infused material of Omens and the rest of Innate Passage. The whole experience just feels so ethereal and immersive. There’s honestly not much else to say on this one other than it suits the promise of its title brilliantly.
37Cave In
Heavy Pendulum

“Searchers of Hell”: Cave In’s best strength in their transition into sludge metal territory was the guitar work and the killer riff writing. They weren’t all bangers, but this is one of the most through-and-through kind of neckbreakers this year had to offer. The heavy psychedelic lead in the first half made a splendid buildup for the massive breakdown on the bridge reprise. It’s like a song out of an early Mastodon/Pantera hybrid. I grew up with both on pretty heavy rotation, so this was a wonderful twist of nostalgia along with the absolute blast of the song itself.
36Prince Daddy and The Hyena
Prince Daddy And The Hyena

“Black Mold”: This group’s slowly started to grow on me after I was completely turned off by Cosmic Thrill Seekers. This album was pretty fun, and it feels unfair putting the penultimate epic on this list as it’s easy to rope me in with a track list position like that. It’s just too good to pass up. The song’s crescendo-climax progression seems too simple to count on with the main highlights being heightened power cords and more intense vocals, but it’s all so passionate. It’s got stellar writing, too, and the frustration of a collapsed friendship is depicted so well vocally. If you’re like me and had to take years to come around to this band, at least give this a try.
Moon of Foul Magics

“Moon of Foul Magics”: Often when you hear things like, “This sounds like something that was good 25 years ago”, that’s not a good sign for your product. However, this track sounds like a classic from both today and 25 years ago. Its distant production gives what’s going on a more mysterious vibe. It’s somewhat unexpected, really, because we’ve got a “speedened black metal” epic here, if that’s even a thing. Nonetheless, this song is amazing. The verse riffs are damn groovy and lead into an insane chorus where the tempo change almost snaps the song in half. The arpeggiated guitar solo in the back half just caps off an already insane cut.
34Greg Puciato

“All Waves to Nothing”: Can a song ever be too edgy? Yes, but only with the benefit of being doubly and crazily good. Greg Puciato’s best vocal performance on Mirrorcell features him manically being fed up with everything to the point where he gets his proclamations mixed up. That’s the kind of added detail I used to feel on DEP’s stuff and was a lovely surprise to hear on the album closer. The back half eventually fades and comes back into a catchy, yet melancholic guitar passage that adds wonderfully to that half’s sober comedown. Greg’s vocal performance on this part is just stunning, too. This is honestly one of the best songs he’s ever been involved in.
Hostile Architecture

“The Law of Asbestos”: What a mind-blowing way to start off your record, eh? It starts off nicely with an intro familiar of an early 2000’s maudlin of the well or Arcturus. The longer things go on, the darker and more brooding things get, progressing along perfectly with lyrics of gradually amplifying struggles of many in the working class. This can easily get into preachy territory, but it’s done with fantastic delivery and a beautiful orchestration to back it up. It’s awesome to see something like this more than live up to its hype.
32Porcupine Tree

“Herd Culling”: On the other hand, this was the worst received single from Porcupine Tree’s new album lead-up. I can somewhat understand that given it’s one of the less “different” sounding singles of the bunch and I believe it was released as a radio edit first. However, the full piece is what we get when the band is firing on all cylinders. It’s got the whiny, edgy, but awesomely catchy chorus, spectacular drumwork from Gavin as always, and Richard Barbieri deserves his flowers this year just for this track alone. It’s a masterclass in creating a moody, flavorful synth backdrop. It’s not their best song from this year, but a treat to hear something that could’ve fit the Deadwing era (17 years ago) be performed at its prime.
31King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard

“Astroturf”: Changes wasn’t quite my favorite KGLW record from this year, but I can’t harp on it at all if we’re getting “Astroturf” from it. This is a splendidly funky jazz-rock number containing a top-10-of-the-year type chorus. The orchestration couldn’t have been better. The trade-off of the woodwinds and brass instruments is much of the beauty and grooviness present in the verses and solos. Stu brings a great range of attitudes vocally from a fun, kinda bratty delivery in the verses to a soaring high in the chorus that perfectly matches the mellotron hanging in the background. This is just one of the many examples of KGLW’s fantastic year.
Diaspora Problems

“Jump!!”: Look, this whole album was nuts. Almost nonstop energy from the frontman, kickass punk instrumentals, and “sensibly unhinged” commentary on modern life. “Jump!!” was just on another level with all of those. The first couple verses into the choruses contain some of the best writing on the record, or as much as you can hear of Pierce Jordan’s rambling. The instrumentals are pretty cool up until the bridge where things turn for the chaotic and it doesn’t take long before that explosive “SInging on Russell” climax nearly caps everything off. I also love how the vocalist is clearest at the track’s end like all that screaming finally took away his ability to speedrun his lyrics. Love it.
29Big Thief
Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You

“Change”: Simple, lovely, and heartbreaking, “Change” was one of the many amazing products of Big Thief’s 2022 breakout year. The song’s first half makes you think it’s a humble piece of existentialism, which would have been nice for a whole song idea. But little clues pop up that make this personal and experienced “Death’s like a door”, “The deep sea, a suitcase”. The subversion in the second half to relationship-driven grief is beautiful writing and Adrianne’s somber vocals on that second-to-last chorus are just perfect. It’s such an unassuming tune, but I still catch Easter eggs after 20+ listens, like the background synth after “space”. Over a year of listening and still one of 2022’s best.
28King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard
Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms and Lava

“Magma”: It may be silly, but “Magma” probably has this year’s most effective jam. This is as groovy of a piece as anything KGLW put out this year. The first jam section seems to sit on a fairly dark key like being at the height of a crazy drug trip, especially with the fluttering woodwinds and the peaking guitars. The tone changes after halftime into something more upbeat, which of course plays out very nicely. We’re all here at this part for it’s ending, though. It’s one of those classic big-finish guitar solos that easy to appease me, but the way it and the bass play together just makes for just a magnificent moment. The chorus reprise puts the song at its most demonically ritualistic and distorted, and it makes for an astonishing finish.
27Willi Carlisle
Peculiar, Missouri

“Peculiar, Missouri”: Willi Carlisle was one of my favorite songwriters of last year. Musically tasteful, witty, hilarious, and sometimes oddly nervous, his 2022 record showed more heart in a country-adjacent album than I’ve heard in quite some time. The title track turns all of that wit into a personal ramble, a lot of which I hear from myself as a rural American homebody. Even as it features just a slight mental breakdown “in the cosmetics aisle”, there’s an almost playful recital of a beautiful poem backed by some wonderful orchestration, warily juxtaposed to the casual road trip of the first verse. I’d like to add to fandom that Willi’s latest album has brought by recommending this, but I’d say it’s best to give something like “Tulsa’s Last Magician” a try beforehand since this is such a test of his writing style. However, it’s more than worth coming around to it.
26death's dynamic shroud

“Messe de E-102”: Shout out to DDS for making EDM drops mindblowing again in 2022. Despite obviously being a top highlight of the year, the whole track is a gorgeous orchestral electro-rock banger with loads of production power. The synths leading up to and out of the drop are beautifully executed, too, making the whole scene feel so spacey and expansive. The ending adds a nice touch of guitar wailing, adding to the pounding drums in emphasizing the “rock” part of the track. It’s one of those extremely rare cuts that never fails to get me nodding along.
25Little Simz
No Thank You

“Silhouette”: “Introvert” should’ve been at least somewhere on my 2021 list. That song had insane growth on me from the year after, but perhaps my unexpected love for this will make up for that somewhat. This probably has Little Simz’s best rapping on NO THANK YOU with the heartfelt bars and confidence that made me a fan of her first two records. The soul-based backing vocals and choir just fit the tone of the track so well, and Little Simz’s decision to let those vocals ride out the rest of the song makes this such a treat to listen to.
24Natalia Lafourcade
De Todas las Flores

“El Lugar Correcto”: The right place for a good time, indeed; this song is pretty incredible. I love the laid-back, spacious guitar production that allows both the acoustics and Natalia‘s voice to play off each other so smoothly and lusciously. To the point where, even as the verses may seem basic at first look, it’s just hard to stop listening to it because it’s just so well mixed together. Natalia‘s voice is just stellar. I don’t know how much justice I’ll do the song’s lyrics because I am very slowly working on my Spanish. I can only pick up a couple of words here and there, but it sounds like a laid-back relationship-driven song. The atmosphere makes it all sound carefree and charming, again, despite its simpler premise. It’s such a gorgeous song and probably the best of many great examples of how Natalia was able to craft her cultural influence on her newest album.
23Charlie Griffiths

“Dead in the Water”: Who in the world invited Korn’s lead singer on a Prog-metal song? That is something you would ask until you actually heard this godly creation. Not many people considered this to stand out on Tiktaalika, but it’s got some amazing riffs, there’s a Mr. Bungle-esque approach with the brass section and off-kilter melodies in the song’s middle sections. It’s just this awesome mixture of fun and badassery that reminds me of Devin Townsend at his absolute best. I also love how the song ties in repeating themes on the album especially toward its end. It’s such a cool and madly addictive cut.
Blue Rev

“After the Earthquake”: I really liked Blue Rev when it came out, but some of the individual song ideas got a bit stale on further lessons. “After the Earthquake” stuck with me the most after all and has certainly deserved its praise from its fans. The production is particularly magnificent; the way its effects are manipulated on the guitars add so much glamor to the entire piece. Both the vocal production and the lead singer herself sell the vocalist’s performance brilliantly. It’s an almost nostalgic experience, but twisted in a way that’s easy to fall in love with. It can be very easy for something of that nature to sound robotic and come through with little personality, but there’s so much life breathed into it. This is probably one of my favorite three-minute cuts from this year and I think its popularity will have future indie darlings looking up to it and even trying to replicate in some ways.
21Porcupine Tree

“Love in the Past Tense”: Man, Porcupine Tree always throws their best songwriting game on a bonus track. “Stars Die”, “Drown With Me”, and, once again, “Love in the Past Tense”. This is probably the best thing they’ve released this year; it’s got an overall lovely composition, an amazing, soaring chorus, and one of Steven Wilson’s best vocal performances. Gavin’s drum work just adds so much splash and color to the song. It’s one of those songs where I believe Steven Wilson when he says that he approaches the songwriting process “like an idiot” by not putting this on the album somewhere because this honestly trumps anything the band did in their comeback.
20Without Waves

“Do What Scares You”: Another one of those songs you don’t really expect to be a highlight as an unassuming number smack dab in the middle of the album at middling length. However, it’s one of the best things that these fringe prog-rock bands have had to offer this year. I love that main keyboard melody that becomes the track’s main focus in the intro and the gorgeous crescendo in the second half. A slight gripe I had with some of Comedian was that the production was a bit too clean, but here I think it fits perfectly for those extra vocal harmonies and guitar delays to really let them get their polish. The drum work is pretty fantastic as well; the composition as a whole takes several listens to peel back everything that’s going on instrumentally. It’s just one of those guilty, but not-so-guilty prog-rock pleasures that I get a kick out of every time I listen to it.
19Imperial Triumphant
Spirit of Ecstasy

“Merkurius Gilded”: Pure insanity can only get you so far in the world as most of the irrelevant Deathspell Omega or Ulcerate followers have hopefully learned by now. Imperial Triumphant are clearly masters of that craft individually, but it’s been since “Cosmopolis” when they hit a truly magnificent songwriting stride. I suppose it didn’t take too long before they eventually got back to that quality. This song is mind-blowing; we’ve got a climax with ridiculous heaviness, constantly swirling drumwork, and brutal vocal passages up until you get Kenny G of all people to rip the best sax solo of the year. After three well-received records, I feel like this is the point where they really capitalize on urban New York insanity. This album was not perfect but I think the song shows these guys can reach that kind of potential and more.
18Billy Woods

“Pollo Rico”: You know a song’s gonna be amazing when the best beat in a year full of legendary beats doesn’t even carry the song. The numerous amazing bars, the progression of chorus renditions, and Billy’s delivery in the second half are all almost just as worthy to sing praises at. The story about visiting a near-death car crash victim in the hospital adds so much weight to the beat, as well, almost making the beat act as a calming reconciliation for the events in the lyrics. This might be the only song I keep ranking higher upon every listen; it’s that good.
17Black Midi

“Welcome to Hell”: One of the Black Midi’s best tracks ever starts off with a guitarist-drummer chemistry that makes it sound eerily similar to a Primus song. Black Midi is not new to the Primus soundalike comparisons but here I think is where that funk-metal style of Black Midi and their trademark quirkiness is done the best. I think the erratically bizarre story and characters behind the lyrics are brought to life by Geordie Greep’s performance. I love how it randomly turns into a thrash song a good ways toward the end. I thought that was an awesome diversion from the groovier section, which was also very solid and extremely fun. I love the swelling string sections that pop up here and there and I love how the ending is fairly dramatic, yet comparatively nonchalant with a “You’re fired” thrown in. It made a great single despite how complex some of the elements are and it was instantly one of Black Midi’s best when it came out.
16Richard Dawson
The Ruby Cord

“The Fool”: Richard Dawson is one of those artists that I feel like I should’ve been into a long time ago, but for some reason it’s taking me longer to get around to him. Perhaps it’s because I think his vocal approach and song idea quality are somewhat inconsistent, but I think “The Fool” is probably the best song I’ve heard from him. The length of the song fits its purpose perfectly and it’s a very heartfelt songwriting angle from Richard Dawson. I also dig the trademark fantastical angle of looking at the concept of love. Several songs on this very list explore that theme to a certain degree, but very few of them bring that same conviction. Also, the heightened vocal pitch toward the end and chaotic instrument scrambling that goes off infrequently just add so much weight to what’s already a pretty great premise. If you felt turned off by the sheer length of The Hermit or don’t really care for Richard Dawson’s material, Try this out as I think it’s potentially his best.
15Daniel Rossen
You Belong There

“I’ll Wait for Your Visit”: Daniel Rossen’s avant-prog-folk album You Belong There may or may not have catered to me but it was still one of my favorite records of the year. It had tons of wonderful songs and picking favorites was extremely difficult, but “I’ll Wait for Your Visit” is addictingly mesmerizing. I love the dizzying drumwork and the potentially more dizzying guitar work by Rossen. This is probably one of the darkest in terms of sound palette yet the lyrics are mostly made of vague relationship commentary and some bits of dry humor. The climax is just spectacular giving you moments toward the end you wouldn’t really quite expect and I think this is where the album hits a shining moment. It’s just a beautiful song and I really hope Daniel Rossen has more in the bag for this kind of sound going forward.

“Formentera”: Formentera the album had a handful of ups and downs, but also had its greats to straight-up classics and this was certainly the best among those. I think a few fans consider this more of a sleeper favorite than anything, but from front to back this is a driving synthpop song that had some of the best production I’ve heard on a pop song in years. I love the simpler nature of the lyrics about acknowledging that your worries might be there, but being allowed to let go from time to time is such a reassuring thematic angle for a song with this bright of a composition. I just can’t help but feel happy every time I hear it. It’s one of those songs that is way more than the sum of its parts and is one that’s gonna stick with me for a long time because of how well its concept works. I don’t see many songs of its genre or of its general sound topping something like this anytime soon.
13Riot City
Electric Elite

“Severed Ties”: I’m saddened that this song has not really gotten the flowers it deserves. Perhaps it blends in a bit too nicely with some of the other Electric Elite tracks before it but this is an all-time power metal great. It starts out with these beautiful melancholic guitar passages and a vocal performance that’s so good, overpassing the cheesy status despite being very exaggerated and performative. The whole song is this top-notch, exceptional songwriting, and a very powerful performance that actually makes you feel the more uplifting lyrics. One would think it would have the struggle of being overblown as a power metal song and, while it’s easy for most acts to fall into that trap, I feel like the performances are so good that those “cheesy”, uplifting lyrics become empowering themselves. That kind of effect is how you know this is probably among the all-time greats of power metal.
MVDM: Magick Volumes Of Dark Madder

“MVDM”: You can accuse this inclusion of me being a fan and I understand that, but I just love this song too much. It’s hard to even call this a song rather than a technical marvel or journey of sorts. It contains some of Gospel’s best instrumental passages and compositional ideas, which, by the way, is a very hard feat to pull off considering who we are talking about. I also loved that they’re challenging themselves at nearly every point along the way like the vocoded vocals near the beginning of the track and those really long synth solo passages throughout. Not to mention the inclusion of hilarious lines like “I am the GOAT”. It may have taken 17 years, but considering what we got from Gospel this year, I was not disappointed in the slightest. This thing is just fantastic as both a song and an EP. If you only heard The Loser or miss both entirely, do yourself a favor, and fix that because this is a proggy post-hardcore masterpiece.
11Conway the Machine
God Don't Make Mistakes

“Stressed”: Welcome to the most emotionally draining song of 2022. Not in the fact that it’s boringly draining, but that it’s emotionally heartfelt to the nth degree, whatever you want to make that n be. One of God Don’t Make Mistakes’ biggest highlights was an ear for production, but here, while fantastic in its own right, plays second fiddle to the pen. This is easily Conway’s best writing and vocal performance, especially the second verse, good Lord. Even the third verse is kinda underlooked with those voice cracks and one emotionally raw bar after another. It’s easy to make a “vent” song like this to be overly whiny, but Conway beautifully sells how high the stakes of his daily situation are. A lot of hip-hop artists struggle at writing humble emotion like this due to the natural macho and ego involved in the game, but this kind of openness not only makes great art but mainly an outlet to help Conway with those struggles.
10Black Midi

“Sugar/Tzu”: I was honestly surprised at “Sugar/Tzu”’s insane reception. It’s a pretty technical song, even by Black Midi standards, especially its “instrumental chorus” if you can call it that. Despite my slight confusion with the audience’s reception of it, the love is highly deserved I’ve loved every second of the song ever since it came out. That instrumental chorus so technically manic, it’s jarring when the song structure of the verses is as basic as it is. However, it lets the guitar melody and the vocal performance shine, giving everyone in the band a perfect share of attention in the mix. Not to mention that there some edgy, but pretty killer moments in the story that are always fun to come back to. It’s one of those types of stories only Georgie Greep can give the narrative respect it needs to work in a song like this. This was always top-tier Black Midi material and this isn’t even the best song on the album.
9Kendrick Lamar
Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers

“United in Grief”: I’m so happy to have two Kendrick songs show up on this year’s list. “United in Grief” is a classic example of beautiful instrumental progression and how Kendrick is able to perfectly match that progressive with his own lyrical intensity. The song’s opening ropes the listener in with some of Kendrick’s best bars on Mr. Morale over a reversed cool jazz instrumental. As the drums and piano get denser, however, Kendrick’s venting becomes more elaborate and emphasized and beautifully capped off near the end with the point, “money wiping the tears away”. I would say this is probably one of us probably the best song he’s released on an LP since TPAB despite DAMN. having some bangers on its own. This was just something else.
8Black Country, New Road
Ants From Up There

“Basketball Shoes”: “Haldern”, currently in the honorable mentions section, was my favorite BCNR song for quite a while, but then I realized I was starting to catch up on something brilliant going on with the towering closer “Basketball Shoes”. I already loved the more immediate attractions of the track; that little indie rock lick that comes in half way through is definitely a highlight on the record and they somehow turned a two-and-a-half-to-three-minute buildup into like something perfectly progressed. Not to mention it’s all exceptionally arranged. What really made me fall in love with it, though, was its unapologetic angle on lonely degeneracy. I might not relate to the extreme examples Issac writes about on it, but the oddly graphic way Isaac writes the ending and the way he wraps the Concorde theme into this admission is a result of incredible songwriting. I couldn’t have asked for much of a better way to close the album off.
The Forever Story

“Sistanem”: This was not even my favorite song on The Forever Story at one point, but it’s now grown on me as the best hip-hop, gospel soul crossover of 2022. JID’s lyricism here is beautiful; there are lots of great flows and a very relatable story about him, his sister, and his struggles to reconnect with her after the fame takes up so much of his time. James Blake’s hand in the production gives us a surreal, wobbly background during the verses and absolutely soaring orchestration during the chorus, which has some outstandingly performed vocals. It’s a rare advantage for a rapper to have the vocal range to keep all of these different rhyme scenes and flows intriguing especially over a minimal instrumental on the verses like this, but JID just had it in him this year, and all the hard work seemed to pay off big time.
6Naked Flames
Miracle in Transit

“Pan Matsuri”: “Pan Matsuri” is the opener to the very last album I put on my schedule for 2022, so I feel very lucky to have heard a top 10 song (and maybe album) of the year in conditions like that. This track is so crazy good that, in the right mood and time, it is the best song of the year. Nearly the whole experience is so ethereal and washed out in some of the best synth layering I’ve heard all year. I could see how people could argue that it’s easy for anyone (yes, even those underground RYM breakbeat artists) to make something like this, but the vocal sampling, the way that bass mixes in, and the way the synths gradually build toward the climax I’d argue not just anyone can do. Experiencing this song every once in a while is like being at a legendary live DJ set of sorts. It’s hard to live a song like this down and, again, I just feel privileged that I even got to hear what would end up being a top ten song for me.
5Elder (USA-MA)
Innate Passage

“Catastasis”: I remember thinking in 2020 that it was going to be very hard for Elder to top the opener for their last album Omens, which was such an incredible track that it made a very good album not even live up to. Perhaps you could say the same about “Catastasis”, but I think, in a seemingly impossible twist of fate, “Catastasis” and Innate Passage might have beat their counterparts. This song is a stellar musical journey where nearly every passage here is a grand highlight of some sort while being so beautifully put together. This is probably one of the best vocal performances I’ve heard from Nicholas as his performance here encapsulates why his style works so well for the band’s signature songwriting style. Stuff like this is why I’m more excited about this band now more than ever. At the peaks at their more progressive side of the heavy-psych, sludgy sound we know and love from them, they make instant classics like this.
4Black Midi

“27 Questions”: CERTIFIED CLASSIC My favorite track from what feels like yet another near-perfect album from Black Midi’s catalog is one that I think a lot of people are going to question and understandably so. It’s not an instrumental highlight or a vigorous rave or anything like that but I think it’s Black Midi’s best-written song and one of the most impressive instances of black comedy and comedic writing I’ve heard in a long time. The sheer talent to back it all up helps tremendously, but I just keep coming back to the lovably weird story and Georgie Greep’s immaculate presentation of the whole thing. I love the way the actual 27 questions are delivered and how the twists and turns the story takes get more numerous and deranged as the song and composition unravel themselves. It’s a wild example of theatrics and an addicting ride from start to finish.
3Kendrick Lamar
Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers

“The Heart Pt. 5”: CERTIFIED CLASSIC Maybe it’s cheap to put Kendrick’s magnum opus this high, but this is the masterpiece it was hyped to be. That “thank you” message in the beginning transitioning into the spitting he puts out in the first verse is of course a highlight. As for the actual spitting, most of us know Kendrick’s a master of maximizing syllable emphasis, but anytime he ups the graphic detail, there’s this subtle bit of push given to those phrases. Here is where I’ve heard him do it best, possibly ever, on a song that benefits exponentially from extra delivery power. The first half has an instrumental punch with that funky disco beat familiar to his TPAB days. As soon as Kendrick “takes the drums out” and lightens the beat, he wedges himself into his criticisms of black culture and the expectations of those commenting on black culture. It’s a great perspective change where, even though we as the audience know about Kendrick’s authenticity, brings the theme home perfectly.
2King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard
Omnium Gatherum

“The Dripping Tap”: CERTIFIED CLASSIC Before “The Dripping Tap”, KGLW was spinning in the mud creatively. They couldn’t get as versatile as they were in, say, 2017 with the familiar jazzy psych-rock sound. Their fix? Go BIG and drop an 18-minute showstopper culminating in one of the most magnificent pieces of psychedelic rock you will ever hear. Not all will agree with me here, but not a single minute is wasted. I absolutely love how the rhythm section and its tempo just keeps going and going and going for the near entirety of the track. Even if the rhythm section seems to never stop, the tonal progressions and passage transitions all feel so natural and gratifying. The chorus, guitar solos, and the fuzzed-out production are, of course, all spectacular. It’s disappointing to hear this get followed up on the record with songs that could only pale in comparison, but it started KGLW’s best year ever and it treated fans to something that I think will stand the test of time.
1Big Thief
Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You

“Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You”: CERTIFIED CLASSIC BEST SONG OF 2022 I admittedly have more of an outsider’s perspective on sensual love, relationships, and their struggles. So, I see that from limited experience that Big Thief’s title track is probably the most beautifully written piece on relationships I’ve ever heard. Of course, everything’s perfectly integrated production-wise and of course, Adrianne’s vocal performance is heavenly. Even as an instrumental, it would’ve made the list proper, but I have to try to give the writing its justice. I adore how each stanza brings us to a different setting: nature, space, city night, and the overarching dragon theme. It paints this otherworldly, yet understanding picture of the intensity of relationships and it’s all delivered with the life of the settings themselves. I know my commentary is likely not genuine with my opening considered, but I genuinely feel that this is my song of the year and an all-time indie favorite.
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