Welcome to my annual list of my favorite music of the (last) year. In the distant past I used to burn CDs, but for the past eight years I’ve been offering this as streaming playlists instead.
This list includes a sampler of my favorite music that I discovered in the last year. What do I mean by “discovered”? It’s either a new song to me, or a new remake, or a new live version (remastering doesn’t count). I hope you enjoy these tracks on my 18th annual playlist.
1. Opening Night
Weezer, SZNZ: Spring (2022)
“SZNZ” is pronounced “Seasons”, and SZNZ:Spring is the first of a series of four EPs put out by Weezer this year. Each one was released on the first day of the corresponding season. This song is a super-fun little number to open up this year’s collection.
2. Black Confetti
Dreamers, (single) (2022)
Energetic single from an indie band trio formed in Brooklyn. Dreamers appeared in my playlist back in 2020 with “Heat Seeker.”
3. Record Player
Daisy the Great & AJR, (single) (2021)
In addition to being really catchy, I did in fact buy a record player in 2022. But that’s a story for next year’s music playlist.
4. Lake Shore Drive
Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah, Lake Shore Drive (1971)
What is this song, and how have I never heard it before? I found this on an Apple playlist of 70s rock, and immediately liked it.
5. Steal My Sunshine (feat Cherry Glazerr)
Portugal. The Man, (single) (2021)
This is a cover of a 1999 pop song from a group called “LEN.” I had to look that up, although it did sound vaguely like something I had heard before. Portugal. The Man previously appeared in my 2017 list with “Feel It Still.” The band continues to struggle with the correct use of punctuation.
6. Sinners, Saints and Fools
Brandi Carlile, In These Silent Days (2021)
Also recommended by this artist: “You and Me on the Rock”
7. Wet Dream
Wet Leg, Wet Leg (2021)
A duo from the Isle of Wight (!), Wet Leg won the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album. (Do the Grammy’s mean anything any more?)
8. Taking Me Back
Jack White, Fear of the Dawn (2021)
Jack White wrote and recorded two records during the COVID-19 pandemic. This album takes the title literally, exploring the concept of eosophobia- the fear of the dawn. Jack White is weird.
Sleigh Bells, Texis (2021)
Time to crank it up for a few songs…
I’ve heard Sleigh Bells described as an “experimental noise pop duo.” They are probably most well known for their 2010 album “Treats” with the song “Infinity Guitars.”
10. Will of the People
Muse, Will of the People (2022)
It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years since Muse’s last appearance in these lists (“The 2nd Law: Unsustainable”).
11. Blue Like Jazz
Weezer, SZNZ: Summer (2022)
This track is from the second “Seasons” EP of the year. While I try to limit myself to one track per artist, these two are different enough (and short enough) that I made an exception.
12. Hard Working Man
Marcus King, Young Blood (2022)
Marcus King is a blues-rock musician from Greenville, South Carolina who played his first show at age eight. This was my favorite song off the guitar-vocalist’s latest album.
13. The Whistler
Jethro Tull, Songs from the Wood (40th Anniversary Edition) (1977)
This year I did a review of Jethro Tull’s major albums. I was shocked to discover this one that I had never heard before. Still sounds like classic Tull.
14. Small Strides
Umphrey’s McGee Asking for a Friend (2022)
Umphrey’s McGee continues to impress me as a jam band not like other jam bands. This track is pretty straightforward, with a good driving rhythm.
15. Need To Know Basis
Ben Harper, Bloodline Maintenance (2022)
Ben Harper is one of those artists that I’ve never really gotten to know. Even now my library only contains two songs, and the other is with blues-great Charlie Musselwhite. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this track.
Your love is on a need to know basis, and I need to know right now.
16. Chasing Birds (Preservation Hall Jazz Band Re-Version)
Foo Fighters, Single (2021)
My love of the Foo Fighters needs no introduction or explanation. This year, they put out a fun single with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, giving this collection a little old-time New Orleans feeling.
17. Cubano Chant
Jo Jones, The Essential Jo Jones (1977)
Late in 2021 I read a book that had been sitting on my shelf for over a decade, “Jazz for Dummies.” The end of the book had a collection of recommended recordings. I’ve been slowly making my way through that list, and this Jo Jones album came up in the Swing era section of the list. Jo Jones is a drummer born in Chicago 1911. I love the fun Latin rhythms and drum work in this track.
Vieux Farka Touré & Khruangbin, Ali (2022)
Khruangbin has become one of my favorite bands, and this album with Vieux Farka Touré did nothing to dispel that. Vieux Farka Touré is the son of famous Mali guitarist Ali Farka Touré. The combination of his African guitar work and Khruangbin’s bass is just amazing.
19. The Dripping Tap
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Omnium Gatherum (2022)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard is an Australian psychedelic rock band that is extremely proflific. They put out a lot of albums, EPs, and singles, in many different styles. Their first album of the year had this song on it, hands down my Favorite Song of 2022. It’s 18 minutes long, and most of that is building tension before a final release at the end.
Yungblud, (single) (2021)
Yungblud is an English artist who mixes rock, punk, and hip-hop.
Måneskin, RUSH! (2022)
Måneskin is crazy and flamboyant Italian rock band. They are famous in Europe for winning the 2021 Eurovision Song contest. This song is English, but their album mixes in Italian songs as well.
22. Same Team
Alice Merton, S.I.D.E.S. (2022)
Alice Merton has made it to my playlist three out of the last four years. Last year it was for Vertigo. This year’s track is from the same album. Also recommended: Hero.
23. You Hear Georgia
Blackberry Smoke, You Hear Georgia (2021)
Blackberry Smoke is a southern rock band out of Georgia. I discovered this album, and then spent the rest of the year working through their entire catalog. Their live albums are particularly interesting, but I went for this song since it is the one that got me into the band in the first place. Also recommended: Hey Delilah from the same album, Sanctified Woman and Aint’ Much Left of Me from Leave a Scar: Live in North Carolina, and Testify from Bad Luck Ain’t No Crime.
24. America’s Sweetheart
Elle King, Love Stuff (2015)
Elle King, country-rock (?) singer, made my list last year with a track called “The Let Go”. In addition to this pick, I also recommend “Where the Devil Don’t Go”, “Ex’s and Oh’s”, and “Last Damn Night.” It’s a good album.
25. Driver 8 (feat. John Paul White)
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Georgia Blue (2021)
Every year a cover seems to make its way onto my list. This year, Jason Isbell covered this classic R.E.M. song, and I cannot get enough of it.
26. I Want More
KALEO, (single), 2020
I’m going to wrap up this year’s list with my favorite Icelandic folk-rock quartet, who last appeared in this list back in 2016.
See you for the 2023 list!
The Annual Pronunciation Guide
To native English speakers, Zweitausendzweiundzwanzig looks intimidating, but it breaks down as follows:
- Zwei (2)- pronounced with an “s” sound, followed with “veye” (rhymes with eye), all packed into a single syllable
- tausend (1000)- pronounced like the English word “thousand”, replacing the “th” sound with a straight “t” sound (there’s no “th” sound in German)
- zwei (2) – see above
- und (and) – pronounced like it looks
- zwanzig (20)- pronounced like the English word “swan”, with a “z” in front instead of an “s”, followed by “zig”
Now mash that all together in one single word. Yes, this is an actual German word. There you go, that wasn’t so hard, was it? And yes, it literally translates to “two thousand two and twenty.”
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