The great songs of 2022 so far come in all shapes and sizes. This year, we’ve seen some massive pop hits (looking at you Harry Styles), rappers surprising with both solo tunes and collaborations (not much was bigger than “Pushin P”), and some really emotionally resonant indie jams (Big Thief wrote two discs worth). Some of these songs might have first bubbled up near the end of last year, but their impact really peaked in 2022. Alas, check out Uproxx’s picks for the best songs of 2022 so far below.
Anitta – “Envolver”
Leave it to a Brazilian pop star to make the song that leads to a viral TikTok challenge of people gyrating their asses as they hover-grind the ground below them. It’s no surprise that “Envolver” is the opening track to Anitta’s latest album, Versions Of Me, because it’s far and a way the stickiest track of the bunch. It flashes a rare je ne sais quoi from Anitta, that allows her to spread the wildfire of Spanish language reggaeton throughout her native Brazil (a Portuguese speaking nation), then beam it across the globe before completely breaking loose at Coachella. – Adrian Spinelli
Arcade Fire – “The Lightning I, II”
Arcade Fire’s 2017 album Everything Now had its moments but it was definitely a bit extra, so much so that the band had to offer an (also-extra) apology about how they pushed it. So, this year’s We was an important album for them and it clearly succeeded in a lot of ways. “The Lightning I, II” was the first song the band shared from the LP and it was the perfect mission statement, as it saw the group successfully return to their distinctive, cinematic, rock-driven sound that got fans all those years ago so hyped on them in the first place. – Derrick Rossignol
Bad Bunny – “Ojitos Lindos” Feat. Bomba Estéreo
Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti is a monumental statement on both the malleability of reggaeton and also of his status as arguably the biggest star in the world right now. But it’s on the album’s second half, when Benito embraces featured artists from Latinx music’s more alternative realms, that his vision throws us for a welcome and endearing loop. “Ojitos Lindos” is easily the marquee product of this highly successful exercise, where Bomba Estéreo singer Li Saumet flashes her usual grace and forceful delivery. But it’s in how Saumet matches up alongside Bad Bunny so well, that it makes you wonder what could come of more frequent cross-pollinations between whats’s above and below the ground of the music industry. – Ad.S
Bia – “London” Feat. J. Cole
Bia and J. Cole may make for a surprising combination, but boy, does it work! On their collaborative single, “London,” the two rap over a UK-inspired drill beat, following the lead of the likes of Stormzy and Bree Runway. Bia perfectly emulates a British accent while demonstrating her knowledge of UK terminology. She maintains impeccable chemistry with Cole throughout the track, both providing solid examples of their versatility across various subgenres of hip-hop. Bia has been in the game for a hot minute, but if she continues delivering bars like these, 2022 is gearing to be a breakthrough year for the NYC-bred rapper. –Alex Gonzalez
Big Thief – “Certainty”
Big Thief are nothing if not crafty, as shown by their 2022 track “Certainty,” which was written during a massive power outage. The song, which arrived on the band’s mouthful of an album titled Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You, succeeds primarily through the interplay between vocalist Adrianne Lenker’s warm, comforting voice and Buck Meek’s twangy harmonies, serving as complimentary puzzle pieces. It’s got pretty much everything you’d expect in a Big Thief song: wandering, enigmatic lyrics, stripped-down-yet-triumphant chords, and a rambling, hazy beat. – Carolyn Droke
Buddy – “Wait Too Long” Feat. Blxst
The Compton rapper’s return with his first album since 2018’s Harlan & Alondra wasn’t met with the fanfare that it deserved. However, we did receive a lasting memento that’ll almost certainly become a house party mainstay. “Wait Too Long” features a groovy beat courtesy of Hollywood Cole and an earwormy hook from “the West’s new Nate Dogg,” Blxst. It’s very much a feel-good record that captures the throwback vibe of LA classics while updating the formula for a modern audience. – Aaron Williams
Camila Cabello – “Bam Bam” Feat. Ed Sheeran
If there’s one thing we can count on from a pop artist following the split of a long-term relationship, it’s a breakup bop to fuel our summer playlists. The second single off Camila Cabello’s third album Familia, “Bam Bam” featuring Ed Sheeran is a salsa inspired, Latin pop dance track paying homage to her Cuban roots. The lyrics convey the message that even when nothing seems to be going your way, you just have to keep on dancing. Así es la vida sí – That’s just life baby! – Lindsey Burton
Carly Rae Jepsen – “Western Wind”
It’s been a minute since CRJ has had a pop hit like “Call Me Maybe,” “Good Time,” or “I Really Like You.” (The latter was actually her latest song to make the Hot 100 chart, in 2015.) Defining Jepsen by what she hasn’t been lately misses a lot, though, because she’s still been bringing the goods on a consistent basis. This year’s “Western Wind,” for example, takes the warm breeziness of Lorde’s Solar Power but pushes it in a more enveloping, full-bodied direction, making it a perfect cool-down between the upbeat hits set to dominate the upcoming months. – D.R.
Caroline Polachek – “Billions”
While “Billions” isn’t necessarily the absolute banger that fans of Polachek’s previous single, “Bunny Is A Rider,” were hoping for, it does bring her new music full circle so to speak. A long, linear verse structure circles back with hypnotic vocal flourishes until Polachek hits that titular word, all but reclaiming it from the ruling class who are tucked safely away in their estates. This one won’t be sparking any TikTok dance trends — it doesn’t have the melodies of “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings” or the pure night sky vibes of “Bunny” — but it’s a solid entry into Polachek’s growing solo catalogue. – Caitlin White
Charli XCX – “Beg For You” Feat. Rina Sawayama
Charli and Rina took everything there is to love about British pop music and wrapped it in an exploding bow on “Beg For You.” The pair gush and pan over a lover like it’s nobody’s business on this fiery banger that, when it dropped in January, felt like summer came early. Digital Farm Animals’ production adds a UK garage twist to a sample from an early ’00s Swedish pop number, rendering it pure dance pop bliss from two of the most exciting singers in the business. – Ad.S
Chlöe – “Treat Me”
Chlöe has been analyzed and talked about more than the young singer may have expected in her career. While 2021 was her coming-out party as a solo act, 2022 seems to be the year where her full vision and individual artistry will be shared with the masses. “Treat Me” was her latest step in that process and it was truly a moment of progression for Chlöe. Her prowess and fierceness are on full display on the bouncy record which proves that Chlöe’s solo project will be much different than what we’re used to hearing from her. – Wongo Okon
Christian Lee Hutson – “Strawberry Lemonade”
Christian Lee Hutson manages to continually craft timeless ballads, exemplified by his song “Strawberry Lemonade.” The single arrived on his sophomore album Quitters, which was produced by Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst. With stand-out heart-tugging lyrics like, “Pain is a way to move through time and visit people who are gone in your mind,” “Strawberry Lemonade” offers a series of vignettes about holding onto memories, the art of letting go, and how our society collectively remembers the past. –C.D.
Coi Leray – “Aye Yai Yai” Feat. Bleu
Coi Leray and Bleu fuse their melodic vocals like Yu-Gi-Oh cards on “Aye Yai Yai,” being very straightforward about their desire for an intense, drug-laced sexcapade. Bleu Vandross is presented with the opportunity to be with someone new, but can’t get his mind off of a past lover who put it on him so well he’s got 911 looking for her. Leray, on the other hand, revels in being the one getting chased and takes pride in the fact her lady parts have the guy running back, even though it bothers her that certain men have more attitude than her and lie a lot. Though their narratives are different, Bleu and Coi blend very well together, especially when both man the chorus on “Aye Yai Yai.” – Armon Sadler
Dave – “Starlight”
The BRIT Award-winner’s March single flips a sample of the jazz standard “Fly Me To The Moon” to take a reflective look at the life he lives and how much it’s changed from his days growing up in the endz of South London. It’s a sign not just of his growing fame but also of his expanding artistry; a far cry from the gritty hip-hop and glitchy grime with which Dave made his name, “Starlight” is the latest indication that he’s become a crossover star capable of greater heights than previously imagined. – A.W.
Doechii – “Persuasive”
Using this song to make her grand introduction to the global stage offered by her recent signing to Top Dawg Entertainment, Doechii also quickly gets listeners accustomed to her fearless boundary-blurring and boldly defiant outlook. Influenced as much by house music and queer culture as by the moody backpack gangsta rap that defines so much of the label’s roster, Doechii takes things in a familiar but futuristic direction — both for her new label home and hip-hop as a whole. – A.W.
Dove Cameron – “Boyfriend”
Dove Cameron might’ve been best known for her work as an actress before this year, but now that “Boyfriend” is here, music fans are on high alert. Dove is an artist who has only recently locked into the exact sound she’s been looking for, and “Boyfriend” is the dramatic queer anthem that put her on the map, even charting within the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. Dark and sultry, “Boyfriend” reintroduces Dove to the music world, and it’s very clear this clever single is just the beginning. – C.W.
Ethel Cain – “American Teenager”
Genre-bending prodigy Ethel Cain has come crashing into the indie world, sending an electric current with her elegant, haunting songs. Sitting amongst songs that wander through darkness is “American Teenager,” a standout with its anthemic chorus and bright texture. It’s a high point on Preacher’s Daughter, a glimpse of light that grows over the course of its four minutes. The song engulfs the listener in its infectious excitement as she calls for a fight: “Say what you want / But say it like you mean it with your fists for once.” – Danielle Chelosky
FKA Twigs – “Jealousy” Feat. Rema
FKA Twigs kicked off the year with Caprisongs, a collection of hip-hop and dancehall inspired tracks. One of the standouts is the beachy “Jealousy,” on which she declares independence from an ex and their jealous ways. The song takes inspiration from afrobeats and features a verse by Rema, who rides the beat smoothly and in sync with Twigs. Many of Caprisongs’ tracks are melancholy in nature, but “Jealousy” provides a glimmer of hope amid feelings of longing and regret. – A.G.
Fred Again.. – “Lights Out” Feat. Romi, HAAI
Fred Again.. previously noted that when making “Lights Out,” he immediately sent it to Haai and The xx’s Romy, both of whom ended up featuring on the song. He also compared Romy’s lyrics and vocals on it to “a hug from a rave angel” and rarely has an artist statement hit the nail to squarely on the head. As has been the case with so many The xx songs over the years, Romy’s distinct vocals are the perfect fit for this one, an atmospheric and excitingly structured number built for euphoric dancefloor moments. – D.R.
Future – “Wait For U” Feat. Drake, Tems
There are multiple takeaways available from Future’s “Wait For U.” The record is hisfirst chart-topping song as lead artist, and it’s also the first song with a Nigerian artist to debut at No. 1. The record is the latest entry on Future’s HNDRXX-esque catalog while it also strikes as the latest in a long list of memorable collaborations between him and Drake. For Future, the success of the lovelorn “Wait For U” is proof that more than a decade into his career, the Atlanta trap star hasn’t lost a step when it comes to composing the best records. – W.O.
Gayle – “ABCDEFU”
If you were on TikTok at all this year, chances are you have the catchy chorus to Gayle’s debut track “Abcdefu” seared into your memory. Now used in nearly 2.5 million videos across the app, “Abcdefu” shows the 17-year-old singer challenging traditional songwriting norms. Her unapologetic fury is tangible on the track as she throws a hearty “f*ck you” at everyone who tolerated an ex’s distasteful behavior. Proving herself more than a one-hit wonder, “Abcdefu” appeared on the singer’s alt-rock-infused debut EP, A Study Of The Human Experience Vol. I. – C.D.
Gunna and Future – “Pushin P” Feat. Young Thug
“Pushin P” recalls the magic of 2019’s “Unicorn Purp” off of Future Hndrxx Presents: The Wizrd, but Future takes Young Thug’s place in trading lines with Gunna this time around. Though the definition of “Pushin P” is still a bit unclear, it truly doesn’t matter. The trio raps with fury over the Wheezy and Juke Wong-produced track, branding their usual confident flexes and lyrical gymnastics with a specific commitment to utilizing words that begin with the letter “P” as much as possible. The song became a major viral sensation, rightfully so. Who else but three of the most eclectic acts of today would make the blue P emoji so visible? – Ar.S.
HAAI and Jon Hopkins – “Baby, We’re Ascending”
Jon Hopkins has become one of electronic music’s most revered figures over the past two decades, so if he hops on a track with another artist, they’re probably worth paying attention to. Indeed, Haai has been an exciting up-and-comer in recent years, so much so that she got Hopkins to join her on the title track of her debut album, Baby, We’re Ascending. The six-minute tune does more than ascend, as the sky-high production (rooted in a firm, consistent, and deep rhythm) lets this tune get delightfully lost way above the clouds. – D.R.
Harry Styles – “As It Was”
Kicking off his Harry’s House era with this single was a great move. It surprised people with its indie-pop aura; the colorful synths, breezy rhythms, and gentle vocals drew comparisons to bands like Wallows and The Drums. But it also has an infectious melody that sticks; his downtrodden words contrasted against the upbeat sound create an irresistible bittersweet atmosphere as he sings the spellbinding hook: “You know it’s not the same as it was / In this world, it’s just us.” – D.C.
Hitkidd & Glorilla – “FNF (Let’s Go)”
“I’m F-R-E-E, f*ck n**** free,” y’all know the rest! If you haven’t heard of Glorilla yet, her song “FNF (Let’s Go)” produced by Hitkidd is hard to miss if you spend a ton of time on TikTok. Barely released in May, the video has already accumulated over 12 million views and it features Glo literally outside, hanging out the window at a red light, with her friends. Not a man in sight! Let’s goooooooo! – Cherise Johnson
Jack Harlow – “Churchill Downs” Feat. Drake
Released right on time for Derby Day on Harlow’s sophomore album, Come Home, The Kids Miss You, “Churchill Downs” pairs Harlow, a budding superstar, with his idol, Drake. On the song, Harlow raps about his adjustment to stardom, while Drake reflects on more than a decade in the rap game. The two slide over a smooth Boi-1-da production, with a prominent female vocal sample in the background. As “Churchill Downs” follows the traditional Drake formula, there was never any doubt that it was bound to be a hit. – A.G.
Jenny Hval – “Year Of Love”
An avant pop fixture, Hval has always been a complex, yet perfectly methodical lyricist. Yet “Year of Love” might be her most ambitious arrangement of a song yet, with it’s build-up of synths, strings, and congas (oh, those congas!). All the while, Hval narrates a pensive moment where how witnessing a couple’s engagement from the stage at one of her shows made her question the matrimonial institution. Hval has never presented herself with such a fluid structure, and never has she been so… pop. It’s a sublime experiment that never never ceases to keep building up into one damn, hell, ass thrill of a song. – Ad.S
Kay Flock – “Shake It” Feat. Cardi B, Dougie B, and Bory300
Since delivering her record-setting and Grammy-winning debut album, Cardi B has given us memorable moments year after year as we wait for her second album. Whether it’s the controversial “WAP” or her pregnancy reveal during a performance of “Type Sh*t,” Cardi B knows how to make her impact. In 2022, one of those moments would be her combative verse on Kay Flock’s “Shake It” with Dougie B and Bory300. Her electrifying contribution to the song is truly captivating from start to finish as it accentuates another layer of Cardi’s versatile artistry. – W.O.
Kendrick Lamar – “Savior” Feat. Baby Keem & Sam Dew
I’m not sure when exactly so-called “conscious rap” became cool. There was a time that a focus on political or social lyrics would get a rapper mocked. Whenever things changed, Kendrick Lamar is here to remind listeners that, even amid the rise of pro-Black sentiments in hip-hop, artists are not necessarily the political leaders and organizers we need to effect lasting change. “Kendrick made you think about it,” he muses, “but he is not your savior.” Now, those are words to live by. – A.W.
Kodak Black – “Super Gremlin”
Kodak Black’s “Super Gremlin” is one of those songs that gets stuck in an incessant cerebral loop and pushes you to press play just one more time. Producer ATL Jacob spazzed on the beat alternating between haunting strings and cheery piano keys, the kid-sung chorus adds it the song’s menacing trance. “We could’ve been superstars,” Yak sings along with the kids. “Remember when we was jacking cars? Now it’s not safe for you.” With loads of accolades, “Super Gremlin” deservedly hit No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart and No. 3 on the Hot 100 chart. – C.J.
Latto – “Sunshine” Feat. Childish Gambino & Lil Wayne
“Sunshine” is a gift that keeps on giving. Latto’s chorus reflects on how people used her in the past before she emerged bright, and her spicy verse punctuates the energy she is currently on. A vintage performance from Lil Wayne seamlessly complements what Latto had to say, and then a rare Childish Gambino verse, possibly one of the best of his career, sends it over the edge. The three all have unique, well-documented stories and provide substantial snapshots on top of simply impressive lyricism. It is actually difficult deciding who has the best verse. – Ar.S.
Lizzo – “About Damn Time”
Whether you’ve heard Lizzo’s “About Damn Time” on the radio, in the club, or on various TikToks, the song is inescapable. And we’re not complaining. This funkadelic, feel-good banger is exactly what we needed for the summer, with Lizzo’s soulful vocals combining with her energetic rap-singing to deliver the confidence boost the doctor ordered. Throw that over a disco-inspired beat, and you have a contender for the bad b*tch anthem of the summer. – A.G.
Megan Thee Stallion – “Plan B”
Megan Thee Stallion is still a savage, but now even more so than ever. After debuting “Plan B” at Coachella, fans were eager for Megan to drop the song’s studio version, as they were intrigued by this new side of the rapper — a scorching, no holds barred side, delivering a revenge anthem for the ages. From the jump, Megan is not taking any sh*t from any man, and she maintains this, proclaiming to be “popping Plan B’s ’cause I ain’t planning to be stuck with ya.” And these are the most printable bars of the song. – A.G
Mitski – “Heat Lightning”
“Heat Lightning” is a brooding ballad that displays Mitski’s ability to connect to listeners through scarce means. With just eerie chords and her fearless narration — “There’s nothing I can do / Not much I can change / I give it up to you, I surrender” — she sings in a kind of bold declaration against an off-kilter, distorted sound that builds behind her. The song never reaches a point that’s too high; it continues on a steady path, prioritizing patience and an appreciation for simplicity. – D.C.
Nilufer Yanya – “Midnight Sun”
There are many fine moments on Nilüfer Yanya’s spectacular Painless, but “Midnight Sun” represents the one where the she finds the fortitude to preserve past forces that could drive her down. It’s an emotional triumph, but Yanya always presents these breakthroughs with nothing but poise; she’s a pinnacle of strength when she’s behind the mic and holding her guitar. A deep acoustic strum feels like it’s right out of “Everlong,” before the chorus rocks you gently with a warm electric riff and punchy drum machine beat. It’s a masterful display from the Brit. – Ad.S
Normani – “Fair”
While we wait for Normani’s long-anticipated debut album, she is continuing to showcase her range on a variety of singles. Last year, her Aaliyah-sampling “Wild Side” showed off her pop chops, while this year’s “Fair” features Normani singing of heartbreak over a minimalistic beat, by way of silky, flawless vocals. Proving to be skilled in a variety of genres, Normani can’t be put in a box. While we have nary an idea of when she’ll drop her debut album, or even a follow-up single, one thing is for sure — Normani is always worth the wait. – A.G.
Phoebe Bridgers – “Sidelines”
The “Motion Sickness” singer’s only new material of this year so far is this song “Sidelines,” but it’s enough to keep us satisfied for a while. The lush synths are reminiscent of the watery atmosphere of Punisher, blending beautifully with soaring violins as Bridgers charms with her incisive lyrics: “Used to fetishize myself / Now I’m talking to my house plants.” It moves seamlessly in an almost upward motion; it’s a rare moment of hope and persistence, more uplifting than most of her songs. – D.C.
PinkPantheress – “Where You Are” Feat. WILLOW
Few songs have staying power outside of the Tik-Tok algorithm, but leave it to the English pop-princess PinkPantheress to deliver. Produced by Pantheress alongside Mura Masa and Skrillex, the track features a sample from Paramore’s “Never Let This Go” and Willow’s angsty crooning, adding depth to its pop-rock tone. Like her debut album, To Hell With It, the viral star layers her breathy vocals and confessional lyrics over youthful instrumentals, creating the perfect addition to any Gen Z-ers playlist. The song and its heavy-hitting production aren’t just good or catchy but proof of PinkPantheress’ industry star-power outside of your #fyp. – Ellice D. Ellis
Pusha T – “Diet Coke”
Pusha T couldn’t have picked a better starting point to bring us towards his fourth album It’s Almost Dry. “Diet Coke” has a catchy appeal while also flaunting Pusha’s impressive lyricism. Lines like “Imaginary players ain’t been coached right!” are sure to be said in unison within large crowds while others like “Young Gs like we Hov and Puff” capture the double entendres we love to hear from Pusha. He stuck to his guns with “Diet Coke,” and it proved to be the best decision for the rap veteran. – W.O.
Raveena – “Rush”
Raveena went with an intriguing concept for her sophomore album Asha’s Awakening, which is told from the perspective of a Punjabi space princess. Indeed, there is an Indian flavor on the LP, which Raveena, who was born in Massachusetts after her parents immigrated from India, successfully blends with pop and R&B. “Rush” is a prime example of that, both in its stylistic meldings and the colorful, Bollywood-inspired video for the song. – D.R.
Rema – “Calm Down”
Rema submitted his bid for song of the summer in February with the Afrobeats jam “Calm Down.” He knew exactly the type of record he made, opening with the exclamation “another banger” before firmly requesting that the object of his affection follow the song’s title. “Calm Down” hits a euphoric peak in the chorus, with the repetitive “Oh,” “Whoa,” and “Lo.” Even if you have trouble figuring out the rest of the lyrics, those lines are more than enough to accompany the dancing you may not even realize the song has forced out of you. It is a spiritual experience. – Ar.S.
Rosalía – “Saoko”
The lead statement on Rosalía’s globe-smashing, Motomami, “Saoko” asserts the Spaniard’s unapologetic intention of morphing into a medium for Latinx music in all its forms. “Yo soy muy mía, yo me transformo. Una mariposa, yo me transformo,” she sings (“I am very much me, I transform. A butterfly, I transform.”) The track itself is a nod to Daddy Yankee and Wisin’s 2004 “Saoco,” and Rosalía puts it down over a menacing thump in spades. It symbolizes her arrival as much more than just a Flamenco pop muse, but rather a full blown “motomamí.” – Ad.S
Saweetie – “Closer” Feat. HER
It may have taken her a while to find her footing outside of the 2000s throwbacks with which she first broke into the spotlight, but this year, Saweetie’s been proving that she deserves every bit of it. Showing that she’s every bit as adept at conquering contemporary sounds as she was classic ones, the Bay Area rapper takes her own swing at the disco-pop trend that has been so beneficial for peers like Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion and knocks it right out of the park. – A.W.
Soccer Mommy – “Shotgun”
Taken from her impressive next album Sometimes, Forever, “Shotgun” offers a captivating glimpse into Soccer Mommy’s evolving sound. Not only is she a master of catchy melodies, but she crafts complex atmospheres. This track reverberates with uneasiness; the instrumentation is eerie and off-kilter, but there’s a contrasting playfulness. Sophie Allison’s words, despite their intensity, are sung casually: “So whenever you want me I’ll be around / I’m a bullet in a shotgun waiting to sound.” The stakes are higher than they were in 2018’s breakthrough Clean, and she’s experimenting more since 2020’s Color Theory, making for possibly her most interesting record yet. – D.C.
Spoon – “Wild”
Spoon have been at it for decades now and they haven’t really faltered. Heck, they’re perhaps the most consistently great rock band ever. February’s Lucifer On The Sofa was another fine entry in their oeuvre that’s highlighted by “Wild,” a stomping, uplifting number on which Britt Daniel’s distinctive vocal grit finds a perfect home. Spoon is in rare territory in that nearly 30 years after their debut album, they’re still making songs, like this one, that could be considered among their best. – D.R.
Syd & Lucky Daye – “CYBAH”
Returning from a four-year solo hiatus, California soulster Syd displays incredible musical growth following 2018’s Fin. Where she was once an adherent to the dominant sound of moody, washed-out R&B as popularized by Drake and his offspring, she now digs deeper into the full range of Black music, unearthing long-dormant ’80s funk and quiet storm. She’s become a student of Prince, and as this song proves, there is no better teacher than the Purple One. – A.W.
Tate McRae – “She’s All I Wanna Be”
Tate McRae’s massive debut I Used To Think I Could Fly is finally out, but this single remains one of the most compelling songs on the album. The electric guitars and bouncy rhythm lend the track a Machine Gun Kelly-esque, pop-punk edge, enhanced by resentful lyricism, fuzzy synthesizers, and a relentlessly catchy melody. “She’s All I Wanna Be” showcases McRae’s knack for infectious pop anthems tinged with frustration and jealousy. – D.C.
Vince Staples – “When Sparks Fly”
If you were waiting for a signature A. Smarter hot take, here it is: Sure, Nas did it first, with “I Gave You Power,” but Long Beach native Vince Staples did it better thirty years later. Refining the formula first employed by the thug poet on his second album It Was Written, Vince gives the metaphor more poignancy and depth by framing it as a tragic love story, then places it over an absolutely gorgeous musical backdrop by Frano that only highlights how depressingly inevitable the scenario is — and has been for a very long time.
The Weeknd – “Less Than Zero”
It’s easy to get swept up by the sound and scale of The Weeknd’s best-ever album Dawn FM. Each song seems like it cost $1 million to make and came out sounding like $10 million. But on “Less Than Zero,” the “Big ’80s” production merely enhances that world-class songwriting on display, which just about matches the bygone pop behemoths that the song emulates. – Steven Hyden
Wet Leg – “Too Late Now”
Wet Leg were perhaps the most-hyped indie band making their debut in 2022, and tracks like “Too Late Now” prove why. Arriving as a single ahead of their self-titled album, “Too Late Now” opens with lead singer Rhian Teasdale infusing her far-reaching vocals with upbeat, cascading rhythms. It starts as shimmering pop-leaning tune before the bridge shifts to a catchy and highly relatable spoken-word stream of consciousness about dating apps, self-doubt, and writer’s block. – C.D.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Spitting Off The Edge Of The World”
Nearly a decade after the release of their last album, Yeah Yeah Yeahs are making a triumphant comeback. The band’s new single “Spitting Off The Edge Of The World,” which is set to appear on the upcoming album Cool It Down, shows just how much they’ve evolved in the last nine years. Rather than pairing frenetic guitars and upbeat synths to recreate their early eccentric indie-pop sound, Yeah Yeah Yeahs take their music in a more wistful and down-tempo direction. Featuring Perfume Genius and production by TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek, the track is a haunting and euphoric ballad inspired by the looming anxiety of climate change. – C.D.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.