As I mentioned in my article about the music from the first half of the year, I was happily surprised by the fact the music from this year is so good. Considering how much the COVID pandemic inspired so many artists to think outside the box, I was worried that 2022 would bring a lull to the music world. This did not happen in the slightest, though. I think that 2022 was one of the best music years in recent memory. The year started super strongly, and it did not slow down in the slightest as it went on. As great as the music was in the first half of 2022, the music in the second half was just as good or better. Some of my favorite songs of the year came out in its second half. There are quite a few songs on this list I know I will still be listening to a lot in the coming years. With that being said, here is a list of some of my favorite songs from the second half of 2022. Please let me know in the comments how you feel about these tracks, and also comment what songs you think I should have included.
BAD HABIT – STEVE LACY
Steve Lacy is an artist who has been relevant in the music industry for a while, even if he hasn’t gotten notoriety for his solo work. He joined the Grammy-nominated band The Internet at a young age, accumulating a lot of respect for his work with them. He also has produced a lot of music for other artists in the last several years. After his first solo album Apollo XII garnered him an underground following in 2019, he went viral in 2022 for his single ‘Bad Habit,’ which is on his second album Gemini Rights. This song has an old-school R&B and funk sound that feels like it’s from the 1970s. The instrumental is so groovy and easy-going; it is the kind of track that is bound to put anyone in a good mood when they hear it. There is a good reason why this song blew up so fast and got so popular online so quickly. ‘Bad Habit’ has an extremely catchy pre-chorus and chorus. The hook on this track is such an earworm. It is literally getting stuck in my head as I sit here writing about it. It is very apparent that Steve Lacy has a knack for writing memorable lyrics after listening to this track. I think ‘Bad Habit’ is a song that will be popular for years to come because of how captivating its hook is.
LOOSE CHANGE – BRENT FAIYAZ
Brent Faiyaz is an artist who has been on the cusp of a breakthrough for a while. Similar to Steve Lacy, he has had an underground following for several years but was never able to truly take that next step. This changed in 2022, as his album WASTELAND peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. There are many great songs on the record, and my favorite is probably ‘Dead Man Walking.’ That song was released as a single in 2020, though, so I can’t include it here. Another one of the album’s best songs, ‘Gravity’ featuring Tyler the Creator, was released as a single in 2021. That said, my favorite song from the record that was new in 2022 is ‘Loose Change.’ This is an extremely interesting and unique R&B track. I do not think there is anyone else making music like this(at least who is in the public sphere) right now. The instrumental for this track is driven by various synthesized string instruments, with the melody being driven by a distorted violin riff. The song does not have a beat, making the instrumental feel so deliberate and intense. Brent’s soft vocals make the instrumental feel even more all-encompassing. The song also has multiple vocal sound effects that add to the song’s intensity. With songs like ‘Loose Change,’ Brent Faiyaz shows that he is one of the coolest and most innovative artists making R&B right now.
the perfect pair – beabadoobee
Unsurprisingly, I had to include another beabadoobee song in my article about the music from the second half of the year. BEATOPIA was one of my favorite albums of 2022, and there are many songs from this record I could have included. If someone were to say they preferred songs like ‘See You Soon’ or ‘You’re here that’s the thing,’ I would understand that. I have to go with ‘the perfect pair,’ because of how much it stands out. This song departs from the late 90s Alternative sounds that beabadoobee typically goes with. Instead, it takes on a Bossa Nova sound. In other words, the song has a Brazilian Jazz feeling to it. The riff on this song is so warm, sweet, and catchy; it makes me feel good whenever I listen. Bea Kristi’s soft and sweet vocals on this track pair up so well with the cozy feeling of the instrumental. As much as I love the music she is known for, I would love to hear Bea pursue this sound more in the future because of how well her voice works on this kind of track. ‘the perfect pair’ is a song that I will be going back to for years to come when I am down because it brings my mood up every time.
2 BE LOVED – LIZZO
I have to be completely honest, for as much of a massive Lizzo fan I was in the past, I was disappointed by her album that came out in 2022. I feel like so much of it sounded like it was geared toward trying to create hits on Tik Tok, making it feel disjointed and not cohesive. There is one song from the record I do love, though, and that is ‘2 Be Loved.’ I do not like to be the kind of guy that calls back to previous music from an artist(because I like to respect their creative process), but I have to say that ‘2 Be Loved’ has an energy that makes me think of Lizzo’s last record, which I loved. This song has a sound that feels like a modern take on Disco music. It is so fun and high energy, and it makes me smile and want to dance whenever I hear it. For much of last year, ‘2 Be Loved’ was on my list of songs I listen to on the way to work because it puts me in a good mood. Lizzo’s vocals shine through on this track; some of the notes she hits at the end of the song are incredible, and they are notes that only she can hit. Even though Lizzo’s full record from 2022 was not my favorite, ‘2 Be Loved’ is a song that is going to live on beyond this year for a while.
CUFF IT – BEYONCE
After taking a six-year hiatus from making personal music, Beyonce took the world by storm in 2022. She knew she had to come back full force to show everyone she is still one of the premier artists of the 2000s, and that she did on her album RENAISSANCE. This is an album that had so many great tracks; in fact, every song on the record was great. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone were to pick any one of the songs from the album as their favorite. A track that took the world by storm via Tik Tok was ‘CUFF IT.’ If you are present on Tik Tok at all, or even Instagram for that matter, I would think you have at least heard this song in passing. It seemed like at one point in the late summer/early fall everyone and their mom was making little dance videos to this track. ‘CUFF IT’ is a song that takes the listener right back to the Disco era. If someone were to tell me this song came out in the 1970s and I did not immediately recognize Beyonce’s voice, I would believe them. The instrumental for this song is so funky and light and fun, and it has the kind of melody and beat that will naturally make anyone move their feet and hips when they hear it. Beyonce vocally excels on this track; ‘CUFF IT’ shows how versatile she is and it proves that she really could have fit into any era of music. ‘CUFF IT’ is probably the song from this record that will stay popular beyond 2022 for the longest because it is appealing to younger and older people on a similar level.
ALIEN SUPERSTAR – BEYONCE
Beyoncé’s RENAISSANCE was so great that it was not possible for me to pick just one song from it for this list. As I stated, any song from the record could be picked as a favorite because they are all so good. One track has stood out to me from the start, though, and is ‘ALIEN SUPERSTAR.’ This is a song I can’t stop going back to. ‘ALIEN SUPERSTAR’ is unlike anything I have ever from Beyonce. This is a futuristic Dance track that almost has a Drag Race feeling to it. It is the kind of song that is perfect for a modeling runway. It is so high energy and fun and cool. ‘ALIEN SUPERSTAR’ takes 90s House and Techno music and makes it sound like it came from an alternate reality. This song is super motivational. Throughout the track, Beyonce asserts that she knows how great and important she is, and encourages her listeners to feel the same way. ‘ALIEN SUPERSTAR’ may not be as palatable as some of the other music from RENAISSANCE, but it is as cooler or cooler than anything else on the record. If ‘CUFF IT’ is the song that I think will stand the test of time with the world, ‘ALIEN SUPERSTAR’ is the song that will be engrained in my brain for many years to come.
HITTIN MY SHOULDER – LIL UZI VERT
Lil Uzi Vert has been one of the most consistent Trap artists to emerge in the mid-2010s. He has always been able to stay relevant because he doesn’t go very long in between releases, and all of his projects have been very good to great. In 2022, he release his mixtape Red + White which is meant to be a preview of sorts for his upcoming record The Pink Tape. One song from this record I really enjoy is ‘Hittin My Shoulder.’ As far as what one would expect to hear from Lil Uzi Vert, this track is a bit harsher and darker than usual. Uzi has dabbled with the harsher sound at times in the past, and he has always excelled. ‘Hittin My Shoulder’ is no different in this regard. This track is driven by a creepy violin-Esque synth-riff that is complemented by a gruff and growling synth bassline. Lil Uzi Vert raps with a higher tone and super fast pace that contrasts the instrumental of the song perfectly. Not many people could make an instrumental like this sound high energy and almost fun, but Lil Uzi Vert accomplishes that on this track. ‘Hittin My Shoulder’ may not be the most memorable Lil Uzi Vert song of all time, but it does show that he is still at the very top of his game.
DANCE NOW FEAT. KENNY MASON – JID
As I stated in my article about music from the first half of the year, one of the most anticipated albums of 2022 was JID’s The Forever Story. Unsurprisingly(because of how talented he is), this album definitely lived up to expectations. It is at the top of most people’s album of the year lists, and for good reason. Every song on the album is great, but ‘Dance Now’ with Kenny Mason has to take the cake. This track stands out among the rest of the music on the record, and it stands out among the rest of the Hip Hop from 2022 in general. This song has an intense yet super simple instrumental. The melody is driven by some ominous humming that is provided by JID himself, and it is complemented by a heavy bassline and various synths to give it depth. As usual with JID, he constantly changes his flow and vocal tone on this track. He constantly keeps you on your toes when you are listening to this song because of how many times he changes his delivery. No matter how many times you have heard ‘Dance Now,’ it will never get boring because of how diverse JID’s many vocal deliveries are on this track. Everything about ‘Dance Now’ shows how special JID is; he is on a level that not many artists in the world right now are currently at, and it is easy to hear on ‘Dance Now.’
TALLY – BLACKPINK
After a hiatus of a couple of years, K-Pop BlackPink superstars took the world by storm with their return in 2022. They release their second album, BORN PINK, in September of 2022, and it was the first album by a female Korean act to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart. This record is full of great tracks; I could have picked multiple other songs for this list that are just as or nearly as good. I knew I had to pick ‘Tally,’ though. One of the obvious reasons I was attracted to this song is that it is entirely in English. This is not the main reason I love the track, though. ‘Tally’ has a bit more of a traditional Hip Hop feel than we usually get from BlackPink. Instead of incorporating some EDM into the track as they do so often, this one has an Emo-Trap sound that makes me think of artists like iann dior, 24kGoldn, or even Post Malone. I love the attitude that BlackPink has in this song. The language in the track is more explicit than we are used to hearing from BlackPink, and the message of the song has way more of a carefree element than we typically get from them. ‘Tally’ stands out among BlackPink’s music in a major way, and I would love to hear them go with this sound again in the future.
CALM DOWN – REMA FEAT. SELENA GOMEZ
Like I said I’m my post about music from the first half of the year, 2022 was finally a time when Nigerian Afro-Pop artists started to gain traction internationally. Multiple Nigerian artists popped off this year, and Rema was one of them. Out of all the Afro-Pop songs to go viral last year, I honestly think my favorite is Rema’s song ‘Calm Down’ with Selena Gomez. ‘Calm Down’ is the kind of song that makes me feel good whenever I hear it. I have frequently listened to this song on the way home from work recently, as its sound is peaceful and soothing after a long day. The melody of the song has an island or an ocean feeling to it; when I hear it, I think of hanging out on a beach somewhere tropical. One of the highlights of this song is the performance of Selena Gomez. Don’t get me wrong, Rema is great and sounds very natural in this song, but I was surprised at how great Selena sounded on it as well. Selena Gomez’s voice complements Rema’s super well, and she gives the song a layer of depth that it needs. ‘Calm Down’ is one of the many great AfroPop songs that was popular in 2022, and I hope that 2023 has many AfroPop songs become internationally popular as well.
SUPER FREAKY GIRL – NICKI MINAJ
When a snippet from this track originally went viral online, I thought it was a joke. I assumed that someone had taken an old random Nicki verse and edited it into a Hip Hop remix of Rick James’ song ‘SuperFreak.’ I was excited and delighted to find out later that this was a real song that Nicki Minaj had made and was going to put out. I feel like ‘Super Freaky Girl’ is the kind of song that only Nicki Minaj could make. I do not think I could see any other of the major female rappers who are popular today making this track other than maybe Flo Milli. The song is so preposterous that it honestly works perfectly. If you have somehow now heard this song, it is exactly what it sounds like it would be. This track is a fast Hip Hop remix of the song ‘SuperFreak.’ The lyricism is just as cheeky and funny as it should be, and Nicki Minaj’s flow on this song works as well as it possibly could. ‘Super Freaky Girls’ may not be a song that is popular beyond 2022, but it was a funny moment from last year that gave a lot of people so much joy.
FNF – GLORILLA
There are a couple of female rappers who took the world by storm in 2022, and Glorilla is one of them. She seemingly burst onto the scene out of nowhere when her single ‘FNF’ went viral over the summer. It is obvious why this song was so popular, because it is such a hit. Glorilla hails from Memphis, Tennessee, and it is easy to pick this up from listening to ‘FNF.’ This track has the kind of sound that sounds like it was directly inspired by the music of Memphis greats Three 6 Mafia. This track has the kind of harsh and tough energy that immediately made me think of the Dirty Gangsta Rap that came out of Memphis back in the day. This song has a level and grit and intensity that pumps me up every time I hear it. Glorilla has a level of tenacity that stands out in the Hip Hop landscape today. I could see older Hip Hop fans loving this song because Glorilla’s flow and energy are reminiscent of a different time. ‘FNF’ is one of the best viral surprise Hip Hop bangers of 2022, and I think it will spark a long and fruitful career for Glorilla because her sound and energy are so fresh compared to the Hip Hop landscape we have today.
MUNCH(FEELIN’ U)- ICE SPICE
Out of all the new rappers to pop off in 2022, arguably none of them have been bigger and more popular than Ice Spice. Once in a while, a song by a new artist that is very unique will become a cultural phenomenon, and this was the case with Ice Spice’s song ‘Munch(Feelin’ U).’ If you are present on the internet at all, you have probably seen the word ‘Munch(Feelin’ U)’ being used. This track was so big it literally created a new popular slang term. Similar to Glorilla, Ice Spice is making a style of music that stands out among what else is popular in Hip Hop today. This song is inspired by UK Drill music. It has a buzzing bassline that gives the song a sinister energy, and a beat that feels like a crossover of American Trap and British Jungle Music. Ice Spice has a very distinctive voice and flow that fits perfectly with this kind of instrumental. I love how she kind of raps off-beat on this track, as it truly makes her delivery pop. Ice Spice has a style of music and a vocal style that is distinctive, and her energy is larger than life. Even if ‘Munch(Feelin’ U)’ does not remain popular in the coming years, I think it might be the start of a long and fruitful career for Ice Spice because there is no one like her.
JUST WANNA ROCK – LIL UZI VERT
Fortunately for music fans, Lil Uzi Vert’s Red + White mixtape is not the only thing he released in 2022. Uzi has been subject to many leaks of his music over the years, and 2022 was no different in that regard. In the past, when a song of his is leaked, he has typically scrapped it, resulting in the full song never ending up coming out. This changes with the song ‘Just Wanna Rock.’ I think it was because the leak for this song was so popular; he felt like he had to release it. Before this song even came out, it was the number-one sound on Tik Tok. ‘Just Wanna Rock’ is a Jersey Club song that makes me want to dance and party every single time that I hear it. This song gives me so much energy when i hear it. It brings me back to the era when everyone was creating dances to all of those Jersey Club remixes that went viral on vine back in the day. Unsurprisingly, Lil Uzi Vert is the perfect vocalist for this. His charisma and tone work so well for this track, and his performance on the song matches the energy of the beat. ‘Just Wanna Rock’ is another example of how versatile Lil Uzi Vert is, and once again solidifies why he is one of the top artists in the world right now.
BAD – MAYA B FEAT. OMERETTA THE GREAT
Maya B has been one of my favorite rising Pop/R&B artists for a while. I have followed her career ever since I found her a couple of years ago, and she has just been getting better and better. She has such a unique and captivating voice, and can seemingly sing on any kind of instrumental; her versatility is astounding and so cool. Her single ‘Bad,’ which features Omeretta The Great, is easily one of my favorite R&B Trap songs of 2022. I love how the instrumental for this track switches back and forth from a sweet, low-key keyboard riff and a heavy, dark, synth-heavy sound. During the more low-key sections of the song, Maya B has a vocal style that is very light and pretty, and ethereal, and during the heavier sections, she sings with a lot of power and emphasis. The hook for this song gets stuck in my head every time I hear it. Just thinking about this track, the phrase Good Girls only go… BAD!!! has been repeating over and over in my head. Omeretta the Great complements Maya B well in her verse, as her voice contrasts Maya B’s just enough to give the song the extra layer that it needs. ‘Bad’ is yet another example of why Maya B is one of the most exciting young artists coming up in music at the moment.
GOTSA GET PAID – RICO NASTY
If you know me personally, you have probably heard me talk about how much I like Rico Nasty at some point. Ever since I discovered her a few years ago, she has been one of my favorite music artists. Rico Nasty has an energy she tenacity in the way she raps and sings that is unlike everyone else. Her in-your-face and brash attitude and delivery stand out so much. This delivery she is known for is very noticeable and apparent in her newest single. ‘Gotsa Get Paid’ has a harsh and tough instrumental that sort of feels like a modern Trap version of 90s Gangsta Rap. Even though this is technically a Trap song, something about the instrumental makes me think of artists like Redman or the Wu-Tang Clan. ‘Gotsa Get Paid’ is Rico Nasty at her darkest and grittiest. It makes me think of songs of hers like ‘Rage’ and ‘Smack A Bitch’ because of how intense and angry her delivery sounds on ‘Gotsa Get Paid.’ If you are a fan of this style of music from her, you will love this song. ‘Gotsa Get Paid’ is the latest example of why Rico Nasty is one of the most unique and exciting artists making Hip Hop music right now.
CREEPIN – METRO BOOMIN FEAT . THE WEEKND AND 21 SAVAGE
There are not many people who are as important to modern Trap music as Metro Boomin is. Ever since Modern Trap started dominating Hip Hop in the early 2010s, Metro Boomin has been a pioneering force in its sound. He has helped innovate the genre time and time again with his distinctive production. In 2022, Metro Boomin released his second major label full-length record, HEROES & VILLAINS. There are many great tracks on the record, but one track stands above the rest. That track is ‘Creepin’ with The Weeknd and 21 Savage. ‘Creepin’ heavily sample Mario Winan’s classic R&B track ‘I Don’t Wanna Know.’ As sweet and pure as Mario Winans sounds on the original track, The Weeknd somehow sounds even better on this instrumental. 21 Savage provides a perfect contrast to The Weeknd’s sweet vocals, giving the song some much-needed grit. One of my favorite things about this track is how it constantly speeds up and slows down. The instrumental keeps me on my toes because of how the pace is constantly changing. ‘Creepin’ shows how versatile Metro Boomin can be, and it once again shows why he is one of the premier producers in music today.
MONOTONÌA – SHAKIRA FEAT. OZUNA
Shakira is easily one of the most influential Latin artists of all time. She pretty much single-handedly popularized Latin music in the United States with all of the songs Latin Pop and Reggaeton she made in English during the 2000s. She stopped making music in English several years ago, though, and has instead been dominating the Spanish-speaking music world for several years. It seems like she has one of the biggest Spanish-language hits pretty much every year, and 2022 was no different. Her song ‘Monotonìa’ with Ozuna was one of the biggest Spanish hits from the second half of 2022, and it is easy to see why. ‘Monotonìa’ has a sound that is heavily inspired by traditional Dominican Bachata music. I have never heard her make a song in this style, and I hope she does it more in the future. I think her voice sounds so sweet and pure in this kind of music. She takes the emphasis out of her vocals that she is known for and shows a softer side to them, and this delivery fits the instrumental perfectly. Ozuna’s pleasant tone complements Shakira’s awesomely; I love what he adds to the track. ‘Monotonìa’ is the kind of song that one would not typically expect to hear from Shakira, and she makes it work as well as she possibly could have.
FORTUNA – LEXIE LIU
Since I am constantly looking up so much music on YouTube, I have recently started to receive ads that are just music videos. Artists will pay for their music to come up as an ad for people, and I am one of those people who constantly gets music videos for ads. I honestly love that this happens, because I have discovered some cool new artists this way that I probably would not have otherwise come across. Lexie Liu’s single ‘FORTUNA’ came up as an ad for me last month. I enjoyed the song so much that I ended up listening to and reviewing the whole album it was a part of. This song is like a fusion of modern Darkwave Synth-Pop and 2000s Dance Rock. Somehow, this track makes me think of 2010s Pop artists like Charli XCX and 2000s Pop-Rock artists The Veronicas. Lexie Liu has this soft and dainty high-pitched vocal tone that fits the instrumental as well as it possibly could. One thing that is really cool about this track is how Lexie Liu sings in Mandarin, Spanish, and English on it. You usually do not hear someone sing in three languages on the same song, and it shows how cool and talented she is. Lexie Liu is a rising Pop star with a ton of potential who stands out in a major way, and ‘FORTUNA’ proves why she is an artist that needs to be on every Pop fan’s radar.
BESOS MOJA2 – WISIN & YANDEL FEAT. ROSALÌA
Traditional American music fans may not be familiar with Wisin & Yandel, but if you are a Latin music fan, you know this duo. Wisin & Yandel is one of the most successful Latin Trap artists ever, having dominated airwaves throughout much of the 2000s. In 2022, the legendary duo dropped their first album in many years. This record had multiple hits in the Latin music world, but none was as big as ‘Besos Moja2” featuring Rosalìa. This is actually a second part/reimagining of one of Wisin & Yandel’s biggest hits from back in the day. This song has a nice, smooth Reggaeton instrumental that is traditional and easy to dance to. The instrumental is not the thing that stands out about this song, though; the best thing about this song is the vocal performances, specifically the one from Rosalìa. Don’t get me wrong, Wisin & Yandel do their thing on this track and show why they are so popular, but Rosalìa truly shines on ‘Besos Moja2.’ Her range on this song is just awesome; she hits these falsettos that not many other artists can hit. She also raps on this track, which creates a nice contrast to the rap from Wisin. ‘Besos Moja2’ is a fun and light Reggaeton track that shows off why people love these artists so much. It is a song that will be in my rotation for a long time because it puts me in a good mood whenever I hear it.