Last week I highlighted some of the album highlights of 2022, but this week it’s all about the singles. Before I discuss my ten of my favs I want to pay homage to the late great Terry Hall of the Specials, who died recently. He was an amazing singer who used his voice incredibly well off stage too. He joins many other greats who died in 2022, including Pharoah Sanders, Christine mcVie, Takeoff, Ronnie Spector, PNB Rock, Kay Slay, Coolio and many more. May they all rest in peace. Okay, back to the singles. It’s been another amazing year for great songs. Here’s ten of my favourites
An anthem that defined the year. Burna Boy is always on point when it comes to the hooks, and “Last Last” was a floor-filler from the moment it dropped. Using the rhythm from Toni Braxton’s classic r&b smash, “He wasn’t man enough” to devastating effect, “Last Last” was not only the song of the summer but one of the songs of the year!
Another huge track with an afrobeats influence, it was the Tems vocal which made this special. Sampling is back in a big way, and this time it’s “Higher” by Tems that was re-worked. She is one of the most exciting artists in Nigeria right now, and she also had a successful hit by writing “Life me up” by Rihanna, later in 2022. Future and Drake do their thing here, but it’s the hook which made it an instant classic.
Beyonce - Cuff it/Energy
You could pick almost anything off “Renaissance”. the hugely successful comeback album from Beyonce. For me it’s the section of the album, where “Cuff it”, “Energy” and “Break my soul” segue together effortlessly, which brought it to the next level. Beyonce not only using club culture for it’s aesthetical value, but making her album flow like a DJ mix. A genius move on a genius album.
Ireland has got some amazing talent! Sweetlemondae is the latest artist making a big name for herself on the Diffusion label in Dublin. This is a soulful r&b number, where Sweetlemondae glides effortlessly over the top, with some wonderful lyrics that are at the same time playful yet socially conscious. Definitely an artist to watch it 2023.
What can I say about this track! A global anthem from one of the albums of the year, but it’s this tune that has propelled Steve Lacy into the big league. Previously better known for his involvement with the Internet, Steve is now two albums deep and he’s coming to the Electric Picnic next September!
Lizzo is another great artist who can incorporate all sorts of different styles into big pop hits, and “About that time” is another great example of a perfect tune. Wearing it’s early 80’s influences on it’s sleeves, it still manages to sound fresh and funky, and as usual Lizzo shows that’s she’s as comfortable singing as she at rapping, by doing both brilliantly.
Afrobeats, amapiano and afrohouse, all continued to prove more popular than ever in 2022, and there were numerous anthems. Lojay’s “MonaLisa”, Fireboys “Peru” and Oxlade’s “Ku Lo Sa” were just a few of the big jams, but today i’m gonna pick the infectious “Calm Down”, a huge club and pop hit that didn’t really need the Selena Gomez feature that later followed, though that helped expand it’s reach even further as the year wore on.
Rave was also back in the big way, and 90’s styles continued to feature as a new generation of young music fans delved deep into the classics of days gone by. Lisa Lisa & the Cult Jam were the first to use this sample, with a wonderful C&C Music factory production, and Eliza Rose and Interplanetary Criminal used the sample to devastating effect here. Huge.
The girls continued to show the men that they were ruling things on the mic, and artists such as Megan Thee Stallion, Ice Spice, Coe Leray, Nicki Minaj and many more brought heat. GloRilla had a huge hit with Cardi B on “Tomorrow 2”, but this DJ preferred the earlier street banger “F.N.F”. Both were classics!
It’s a bit of fun really, but what a groove and what a tune. Guaranteed to stay in your head!