Polyphia

I don’t update this blog often, but when I do, there’s a strong chance that it’s December and I’m back to share my most-played songs of the year. As in previous editions, I will follow these three rules:

  • The ranking is determined by my personal Spotify Wrapped 2022 playlist
  • I will only count songs released in 2022
  • Only one song allowed per artist

Last year I lamented that out of my 100 most-played tracks on Spotify, a grand total of only six met my requirements. Luckily it appears that 2022 was a better year for music, however, since this time I actually had to leave songs out in order to create a proper top-ten list.

10. Beg For You – Charli XCX (feat. Rina Sawayama)

This repackaging of the classic 2005 dance track “Cry for You” by September is every bit as catchy as the original and even adds melodies that fit so naturally that you wonder why they weren’t there in the first place.

9. Otoboke Beaver – I am not maternal

I was so glad that I got the chance to see the Japanese riot grrl punk rock band Otoboke Beaver when they stopped by Lee’s Palace in Toronto earlier this year. They put on a great show, thanks to their short, relentlessly energetic tracks like “I am not maternal.”

8. ERRA – Stockholm Syndrome

Progressive metalcore band ERRA’s take on what is perhaps Muse’s greatest song lends a certain edge to the track that is curiously lacking from the original until that legendary breakdown at the end. To be honest, I still prefer Muse’s version, but both are worthy of including in my regular Spotify rotation.

7. Haunted Shores – OnlyFangs

The new album from Haunted Shores, the side project by Periphery guitarists Misha Mansoor and Mark Holcomb, had all the chaotic instrumental metal brutality we could have asked for. (Well, at least until Animals as Leaders and Polyphia released their albums later in the year.)

6. Pabllo Vittar, Rina Sawayama – Follow Me

I said I can only have one track per artist, right? Well, I’ll let Rina Sawayama appear twice on my list since she’s the featured (rather than the lead) artist on both this and “Beg For You.” Rina has a knack for finding catchy pop hits to attach herself to, and Brazilian singer Pabllo Vittar’s “Follow Me” is no exception.

5. Jeris Johnson – RAINING BLOOD (feat. ZillaKami)

Jeris Johnson uses Slayer’s classic riff to great effect here, creating a rap-metal banger that goes dummy hard, especially when the vocals come to the forefront of the mix to growl, “Make it rain blood; I could fill a cup.” I adore this song.

4. ROSALÍA – SAOKO

I’m a little surprised that this song made it so far up my list, since I tend to listen to only the intro of this track before moving on. But that transition from the “Saoco” callout to the drop about 20 seconds into the song is clearly enough to keep me coming back.

3. Animals as Leaders – Monomyth

Supreme djentlemen Animals As Leaders knocked it out of the park again this year with their album Parrhesia. “Monomyth” was the lead single, which is probably why I ended up listening to this track more times than my actual favorite track on the album, “Conflict Cartography,” which melts my brain every time it goes through that nasty tempo change halfway through.

2. OFFICIAL HIGE DANDISM – Mixed Nuts

Having gotten back in touch with my inner weeb this year, I, like many others, discovered this gem of a track as the first opening to Spy x Family. What hooked me was the wild piano and energetic melody. It’s a fun song to sing along with even when you don’t know what you’re saying!

1. Polyphia – Playing God

If someone handed me the aux at any point in 2022, there’s a strong chance that this is the song I put on. Even people with violent allergic reactions to lyric-less music seem to enjoy Polyphia’s flamenco-flavored “Playing God.” I distinctly remember a flight I took this year where the only two tracks that worked on my airplane-mode Spotify app were this and “一途” by King Gnu, but I didn’t mind. I can basically listen to this on repeat forever. The bossa nova breakdown tickles my eardrums so thoroughly that I almost feel like this song was written specifically for me. Honestly, “Playing God” is such a masterpiece that I can even forgive the fact that I lost my wallet at the Polyphia show I attended this year.