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My Top Songs of 2022 (According to Spotify)

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.

Stuck in My Head: Black Orchid Empire – Singularity

Black Orchid Empire Singularity album art

This song is incredible no matter how many times I listen to it. It’s been a huge source of sonic inspiration for my own guitar noodling. I love how the massive guitar riff that kicks off the song comes back immediately after the chorus; it keeps the energy high, especially with those consistently head-bangable drums propelling the track.

My Top Songs of 2021 (According to Spotify)

I had fun writing about my favorite songs of 2020, so I wanted to do the same thing for this year.

Same rules as last time:

  • The ranking is determined by my personal Spotify Wrapped 2021 playlist
  • I will only count songs released in 2021
  • Only one song allowed per artist

One problem – as soon as I started going through my Wrapped playlist to check the release date of each song, I released how much I spent this year replaying songs from the last five or six years. Out of my 100 most-played tracks of the year, only six actually meet my rules.

But what are those six tracks?

6. Bring Me The Horizon, Jeris Johnson – Can You Feel My Heart – Remix

I’m not normally a big fan of the poppier phases that Bring Me the Horizon has gone through, but this remix successfully layered the admittedly catchy melody of “Can You Feel My Heart” over hard-hitting pseudo-trap beats. Turns out that’s all I needed to keep this one on repeat.

5. Shadow of Intent – Laid to Rest

Lamb of God’s Ashes of the Wake was a sufficiently brütal album for its day, but Shadow of Intent’s cover of “Laid to Rest” proves that everything sounds better as deathcore.

4. Lorna Shore – To the Hellfire

Lorna Shore’s symphonic, blackened deathcore track “To the Hellfire” became an instant classic of the genre upon release. It’s also now one of the go-to choices for YouTube “reaction” videos, for fairly obvious reasons as soon as the full band kicks in. Will Ramos’s vocals are simply on another level, as are the concatenated tempo changes at the end.

3. Drake – What’s Next

What’s Next for the 6ix God? Hopefully more bangers like this. I thought CLB was mid as hell (and its album art was somehow even worse than Donda), but “What’s Next” fortunately gets straight into the energy with a great synth chord progression over booming kicks. The music video, which prominently features Toronto locales, is honestly my favorite way to listen to this track.

2. Kodak Black – Righteous Reapers (feat. Sykobob, WizDaWizard & Wam SpinThaBin)

This track was addictive from the start. The instrumental is sublime and every contributor rides the flow perfectly. Also, the line “I got murder on my mind but I ain’t Melly” gets me every time.

1. Brand of Sacrifice – Vengeance (feat. Jamie Graham)

Everyone’s favorite Berserk-themed deathcore band put together one of the catchiest choruses this year. Well, at least to me. Your mileage may vary, but to me this is the perfect kind of track to have on loop at, like, 15% volume while at work.

Stuck in My Head: BIA – WHOLE LOTTA MONEY

BIA FOR CERTAIN

I didn’t expect this track to stay with me for so long, but since it’s been over a week since I’ve been humming lyrics about putting on my jewelry simply to visit the bodega, I decided it’s time to write about BIA’s “WHOLE LOTTA MONEY.”

The two-note sub bass line takes care of the hard-hitting, minimalist melody while BIA calmly flexes on all of us. My favorite parts include the 808 cowbell and the way BIA’s voice seems to fade into true nonchalance as she ends each refrain with “Bitch I’m getting money, give a fuck about a hater.” Words to live by.

Stuck in My Head: Necrophagist – Diminished to B

Necrophagist - Epitaph album art

I’ve yet to find another tech death band I enjoy as much as Necrophagist, which makes it all the more disheartening that they haven’t released a new album since 2004 and likely never will. (I was thrilled for a moment when I saw the website Metal Sucks report that an unearthed third Necrophagist album was coming out later this year, until I saw the date of the article – April 1st – and the title of the supposed final track of this album – “Endurance of the Gullible Masses.”)

Both of Necrophagist’s albums are masterpieces from start to finish, but lately it’s been “Diminished to B” that’s been stuck on a loop in my head – specifically the first thirty seconds or so. I love the halftime switch up that happens not even ten seconds into the song. I don’t think there’s any way one can ease themselves into extreme metal music like this, so this track is as good a place as any to dive right in if you’re curious. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be growling “SURROUNDED BY DARKNESS AND…. COOOOOLD” along with these crazy Germans in no time.