Best of 2022

(Once again, I started this in 2022 but finished it here in the beginning of 2023, so just keep that in mind when I refer to “this year” throughout this post)

Looking at my stats, I listened to 25% more music in 2022 than I did in 2021, and that makes sense considering I didn’t really vibe with a lot of music last year. This year, not only did I get some new tracks that I absolutely loved, there was just a lot of good music coming out. I think bands finally were coming out of their post-pandemic phases and trying to hit a strong year to set them back up for success as more venues opened and touring continued to get a little easier. I saw a ton of shows, as well. Maybe I’ll write something up about that, but no promises. Let’s just get into the playlist!

2022 – The Playlist.

If you and the above embed aren’t getting along, or you want to access the playlist on the go, here’s some links for you!
Spotify | YouTube Music | YouTube
No Apple Music, they wouldn’t let me sign up for a trial account. Sorry Trev.

Track-by-Track Writeups

Just a few words about why I enjoyed these tracks, or their respective releases since many of these were honorable mentions from the previous post.

  1. The Wonder Years – “Low Tide”
    As my favorite track from the album, this song was going to be on this playlist no matter what. However. when I saw The Wonder Years open their set with it back in October, I immediately knew I had to open the playlist with it just the same. Read more about this album here.
  2. Story Of The Year – “Tear Me to Pieces”
    I haven’t really enjoyed much of SOTY’s recent work, but this track fucking rips. It sounds like an early-era Underoath track more than a SOTY track.
  3. The Mountain Goats – “Training Montage”
    Eventually, The Mountain Goats will come for us all. For some people, it was when John Darnielle was recording on an 8-track by himself. For others, it was when they were writing songs about wrestling. I honestly didn’t give this full album enough love, but I adore this track. It’s so much fun.
  4. Pool Kids – “That’s Physics, Baby”
    The perfect encapsulation of everything about Pool Kids’ self-titled album. Read more about this album here.
  5. Short Fictions – “Heather”
    I really wanted to put their album’s opening track because it has some great emo horns in it, but I liked how this track flowed in the playlist better. This band does some really solid pop-forward emo and was one of my honorable mentions this year. I enjoyed this album.
  6. Somewhere South of Here – “Opposite Shores”
    Metro Detroit-area emo/indie/punk rock band that gives off strong Gaslight Anthem, PUP, and early Third Eye Blind vibes. This is a super solid debut LP, and has a couple tracks I enjoyed quite a bit. If you dig this one, check out the album’s opener, “July,” which is a bit poppier than this.
  7. DURRY – “Big Boy”
    Speaking of poppy indie rock, TikTok’s own DURRY is back on the list again. This track started as a jokey little riff on their TikTok, but given the fan support, it blew up into a full song, and I’m so glad it did. This is honestly a top 5 song for me this year, it’s just so much fun. As a very tall man, this song speaks to my soul. Thanks to DURRY for looking out for all the big boys out there.
  8. The Maine ft. Adam Lazzara of Taking Back Sunday & Charlotte Sands – “Loved You A Little”
    I never really got into The Maine, and even after this song, I still don’t intend to. However, thanks to the dueling vocals with Adam Lazzarra, and the overall musical quality, this song sounds like a Taking Back Sunday track to me, maybe Louder Now era. The inclusion of Charlotte Sands is a nice touch, she brings a wonderful extra layer to the song, and the way they layer the three vocal parts is well done. I still think everything else The Maine does is boring, but this one worked for me.
  9. Jimmy Eat World – “Something Loud”
    I hope this track is indicative of the new music Jimmy Eat World is working on, because this song is great, and that last album was a dud.
  10. Anxious – “Your One Way Street”
    Incredible album opener and part of the reason I got hooked on this album for 2022. This was my most-played song for the year and also one of my favorites. Read more about the album here.
  11. Hawthorne Heights – “Inside Out”
    This is from the compilation album Dead Formats from Pure Noise records this year. I only enjoyed a few tracks, but I love whenever bands cover songs that inspired them, so also check out Spanish Love Songs covering Alkaline Trio’s “We’ve Had Enough” on this one.
  12. Hot Mulligan – “Drink Milk and Run”
    This just barely edged out “Low Tide” to be my second-most-played song this year. This song was so good, and it was just a single that left me wanting more new Hot Mulligan, when all we got was an acoustic EP. Stoked to see what this band does next year.
  13. No Pressure – “Too Far”
    Weirdly, I struggled with which No Pressure song to put on this album because I couldn’t decide which one best encapsulated the album’s spirit. That was tough since all the songs are like two minutes or less. Read my appropriately short thoughts on the album here.
  14. Frank Turner – “Haven’t Been Doing So Well”
    I’ve only ever been able to get into a bit of Frank Turner here and there, but this track and “Punches” off his 2022 release FTHC both got a lot of play from me this year. Ultimately, given this year’s general theme of self-reflection and self-improvement, “Haven’t Been Doing So Well” hit a bit harder, and made its way onto the playlist here.
  15. Orville Peck – “Daytona Sand”
    Not only was it hard to pick an Orville Peck song, but it was also difficult to place it on the list because any track I chose would be so different from everything around it. The driving drum beat of “Daytona Sand” is one of the things that kept me coming back to the track and was the main reason I selected it for this playlist.
  16. L.S. Dunes – “Permanent Rebellion”
    This is one of the honorable mentions that bums me out the most. I absolutely love this track, and was looking forward to the debut from this emo supergroup, but I thought the rest of the album was just good. There are a lot more midtempo numbers on the album when I was hoping for balls-to-the-wall screaming-at-the-top-of-your-lungs bangers. This track is gold, though.
  17. Origami Angel – “JUDGE”
    Origami Angel decided to release a hardcore EP that clocked in at a solid 4 minutes and 47 seconds. Love it.
  18. Pinkshift – “i’m not crying you’re crying”
    This is an excellent female-fronted punk-rock track with a little hint of pop-punk. The album is definitely punk forward, with elements of hardcore and screamo in it as well. I wish I gave this album a bit more time, but this track definitely stood out.
  19. PUP – “Waiting”
    The rest of the internet is all over the board with opinions on the latest PUP album, but I enjoyed it. I thought the interludes, which told a fictional(?) story of the band as they unraveled while planning and recording the album, were done very tongue-in-cheek and had some real teenage jokester energy to them. Other people absolutely hated them and thought that the PUP they know and love is dead forever. Listen to this track and try to tell me PUP doesn’t still have the same chutzpah that they’ve always had.
  20. Carly Cosgrove – “Munck”
    This song is great but the band name and this track name give me a headache, and I actively avoid having to explain it to anyone, so I’ll do it once here and just link everyone here in the future. The band is a combination of names referencing the Nickelodeon TV show iCarly, and it’s main character Carly, played by Miranda Cosgrove. This particular track takes things up a notch, as it’s named after the actor who played Gibby on that show, Noah Munck. All that said, it’s a very good track. I do think the band name is going to hurt them in the long run, but we’ll see.
  21. Arm’s Length – “Object Permanence”
    I enjoyed a few tracks off this band’s early 2021 release, Everything’s Nice, but I think they really stepped up their game in their late 2022 release, Never Before Seen, Never Again Found. This is probably going to be an album I listen to well into 2023. I’m interested to see what tour they land on in the next year because that could determine how big this band is going to blow up in the near future.
  22. Armor For Sleep – “Whatever, Who Cares”
    Sometimes I don’t click with comeback albums. I didn’t love the Acceptance comeback album, and I didn’t love the Armor comeback album. It’s a good album, and it’s got some gems on it, but I never really became fully drift-compatible with it in the way I thought I would. This track sounds like it fell right from the What to do When You are Dead sessions though and was my favorite from the album.
  23. Meet Me @ The Altar – “Say It (To My Face)”
    Last year, MM@TA had one of my favorite songs on the playlist, their acoustic rendition of “Feel a Thing” featuring Dan Campbell. This year they’re back on the list with the lead single for their upcoming debut LP. You may have heard it on Taco Bell ads on TikTok and apparently on TV now too.

    I’m super conflicted about this song. It’s a good song, and it’s very catchy. However, it feels kind of toothless compared to some of the previous MM@TA songs, which have been known to feature thick and chuggy guitar tones, sometimes in the style of Four Year Strong, and bigger breakdowns. This is a clean, glossy, radio-friendly pop-punk song, and on its own it’s a fine track, but I expect a little bit more from the band. The lyrics have some teeth, so maybe that’s where the band is looking to make up the difference.

    This is also their major label debut album (Fueled by Ramen/Elektra Records), and was supposed to drop in 2022 (with the single dropping in September) but got pushed to 2023. I’m worried that the delay was caused by too many record execs getting their hands on it, especially as the press release touts them as a “pop-punk trio” when they’re much more than that, and they might try to get packaged as “Paramore 2.0” by the press. The album is supposedly set to drop in early 2023, with a spring tour happening as well, so we’ll see what happens next for them. I’ve got my fingers crossed.
  24. Action/Adventure – “Carolina Reaper”
    Do you love early 2000s era pop-punk and emo bands? Because Action/Adventure does, and they show it with their four-track EP they dropped this year. Heavy guitar work like early Underoath or He Is Legend, paired with punk rock blast beats that feel like a Set Your Goals song, and trading vocals like Where You Want to Be-era Taking Back Sunday all come together in this track that feels like a love letter to the early 2000s scene. Another young band that has a huge amount of potential.
  25. Head Smashed – “Inflame the Light”
    Head Smashed is a Swiss pop-punk band that showed up on a Spotify playlist for me once early in the year, and got stuck in my head ever since. The riff and melody feel very similar to Rise Against, but it’s still a really good song.
  26. Joyce Manor – “Gotta Let It Go”
    I really don’t like much Joyce Manor stuff, but this song sounds like it could be a song off Third Eye Blind’s self titled album, and that’s good enough for me.
  27. Oso Oso – “father tracy”
    I’m very glad that Jade was able to get back to making music after the loss of his cousin and primary collaborator. This album is very good, and it shows some moments of evolution from basking in the glow but it’s a little all over the place for me. There’s some solid tracks, like this one, “computer exploder” or “pensacola,” but I don’t think it has the tightness and focus of the previous album. Still a good listen though.
  28. Knuckle Puck – “Lonely Island”
    Knuckle Puck may be the best pure pop-punk band currently making music, after The Wonder Years. Especially when compared to similar modern scene favorite pop-punk bands that are bigger, like State Champs or Waterparks, I think Knuckle Puck has grit and spirit where those two bands largely sound soulless. Their five-song EP from this year, Disposable Life, is just five straight bangers. Every song is great. I’ve liked everything the band has put out since Copacetic, but never loved a release of theirs front to back until this EP.
  29. Ben Quad – “Blood for the Blood God”
    There is nothing I can say about Ben Quad that I didn’t say the other day. This is my second favorite song of the year, no question.
  30. Origami Angel – “live from the ufo”
    Not only did Gami do a brief hardcore EP this year, they did an acoustic one, and I’ve used the whole “multiple releases in a year” thing to give a band multiple entries on my list before, so here I’ll do it again. I think it was a smart move to split these into two separate releases because the spirit of them is so different, but also I don’t think either direction would work for a full album. This track, in particular, sounds like it could have been a b-side from the Gami Gang sessions.
  31. Hot Mulligan – “MakeDamnSure”
    Congrats to Hot Mulligan for being the first band to close my playlist twice, nonetheless, two years in a row. They were second-to-last in 2020 as well, so they find themselves here often. Their second acoustic EP wasn’t as good as the first overall (I think the acoustic version of “Drink Milk and Run” sucks), but this cover made it all worth it. Hot Mully’s take on this Taking Back Sunday classic (it’s 15 years old now) is fantastic. Since I seem to like to end my playlists on a chill note, this is a great way to do it.