Features Year End Lists

Staged Haze’s 10 Songs Of The Year: 2022 Edition

Do you ever want to scream out from the rooftops about how much you love a song and how it means so much to you? Is that just us? Well, this post is the digital version of that.

The following songs are highlighted from five of our writers: Me (Kristin), Emma, Erin, Sean, and Taylor. We all have a pretty eclectic music taste, but there’s usually some sort of common thread that binds our tastes together, leading to the list of songs below that made an impact on us this year. We hope you find something new to enjoy!

In chronological order:

“KING” – Florence + The Machine 
Release date – February 23

Personally speaking as a Florence + The Machine fan, this year was quite the treat. The band released their newest album Dance Fever, their first album since 2018, along with the first single titled “King.” This single is an ode to women with “King” being considered Dance Fever’s feminist anthem. Throughout the track, the power of femininity is shown to be a staple subject as Florence delves into the harsh realities women must face within society while also referring to herself in a position of power that is typically held by a man.

“I am no mother, I am no bride, I am King.” The beginning of the piece starts off soft with a simple message, gradually building up to the boastful chorus Florence suddenly belts out, representing the emotions women are pressured to keep suppressed. To me, this is one of the best songs ever created, let alone just of the year. I appreciate the fact that a song representing the dramatics of female rage could be so melodious and captivating. – Taylor

Release date – March 18

It’s not often that I put a cover down as one of my favorite songs of the year, but “DELIRIO DE GRANDEZA,” off of Rosaliía’s “MOTOMAMI” is too irresistible, and one of the standout tracks on an album filled with great song after great song.

“DELIRIO DE GRANDEZA” is a cover of a song by the same name by Cuban singer Justo Betancourt, and samples Soulja Boy’s “Delirious.” The song, performed by Rosalía, is a symbol of the entire album, the blending together the new and the old, as Rosalia sheds her traditional flamenco roots and breaks into hip hop, reggaeton, cyberpunk, well, a whole lot of things on the varied and complex Motomami. It’s also a showcase for the Spanish singer’s beautiful vocals, as she heartbreakingly sings about her disillusionment with fame and heartbreak. Although the song was originally written six decades ago, it’s still achingly relevant. – Erin

“All My Ghosts” – Lizzy McAlpine
Release date – April 8

The road to falling for someone new is often paved with previous skeletons in our closets popping up to cause problems. That’s exactly how I’d describe the beauty that is the song “All My Ghosts” by breakout artist Lizzy McAlpine, who had a fantastic 2022 and is quickly on her way to an even bigger 2023.

With mentions of trivial, light-hearted moments spent with someone new, including getting free Slurpees, spilling mac and cheese, and failing to make consumable sangria are all facets of falling in love that are often treasured, but hard to describe in music. The simplicity of McAlpine’s lyrics are what make them strong: falling in love is scary, especially when you know that your demons are right next to you, but you go for it anyway. – Kristin

Quicksand” – Hatchie
Release date – April 22

My top songs of the year tend to fall into a category I call “reflective bops.” They ask big questions, the kinds that ricochet in your mind, bury themselves, and then pop back up unexpectedly. They also resist lyrical heaviness with upbeat, anthemic production-the kind that triggers you to replay the song over and over again. 

“Quicksand” by Australian pop singer Hatchie was my most played song of the year and is the Platonic ideal of a “reflective bop.” The unanswerable questions (If I had everything I wanted would I want more?”) rattle in your head like the buttery synths reverberate in your ears. With production by Dan Nigro (best known as the singular producer behind Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour), “Quicksand” is a synth-pop masterpiece that gives existential self-doubt a shimmering soundtrack. The result is an exquisite musical feedback loop, one that carried me through the peaks and valleys of 2022. – Emma

Tití Me Preguntó” – Bad Bunny
Release date – May 6

On an already experimental album, “Un Verano Sin Tí,” “Tití Me Preguntó” is one of the most experimental songs, starting off with a simple latin trap beat, and expanding into an evolving flow of dembow, bachata and psychedelia. It also effortlessly shifts moods halfway through the song — in the first half, Bad Bunny goes on about the girls from all over the world that he has been and can be with, before turning into a more melancholic reflection on an inability to fall in love.

I can go on and on about the complexities that have made “Tití Me Preguntó” into such an undeniable hit, but at the end of the day, it’s also just one of the most irresistibly fun songs I’ve heard all year, and for that it will of course wind up in my favorites. – Erin

“My Kink is Karma” – Chappell Roan
Release date – May 6

Not to dismiss Miss T. Swift’s ridiculously catchy, over the top song “Karma,” but Chappell Roan’s take on the concept is far catchier than the one that features a line that reads “Karma is a cat.”

Up and comer Chappell Roan deserves all the awards for her fantastic singles she released this year, and I’d argue that “My Kink Is Karma” takes the cake for the best of them. “My Kink Is Karma,” an absolute dagger-to-the-heart song that’s about exactly what the title suggests, co-written with Dan Nigro (Olivia Rodrigo, Conan Gray) and Justin Tranter (Britney Spears, Julia Michaels, Justin Bieber, to name a few). Jealously? No way. Roan’s kink is seeing people who have wronged her “get theirs” in the end. Be the bigger person? No. See that person that you cannot stand feel the pain that they once caused you? Delicious. – Kristin

The Foundations of Decay” – My Chemical Romance
Release date – May 12

Anyone who has known me personally over the past 18 years has been sure of one thing: my Chemical Romance is my life. What started as a childhood obsession has blossomed into an adulthood obsession. I would have loved the song no matter what, but it doesn’t hurt that “The Foundations of Decay” ranks as one of the band’s best songs they’ve ever released. It’s a deeply reflective look back on the band’s own history and legacy, and what led to their 2013 breakup, as well as a more hopeful look forward. The song hearkens back to the band’s early post-hardcore roots, a turn away from the more glam rock-infused sound they captured on their last release “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys.”

The song was dropped with no lead-up or announcement that it was coming. The band used it as the opening song at all of their 2022 reunion shows (save for the first night of the When We Were Young Fest, which the band subtly mocked as a pure nostalgia cash grab, dressing as seriously old versions of themselves and only playing “the hits”), marking a new era for the band and a new dawn of hope for millions of fans looking for symbolism in every lyric, outfit worn by Way and internet post that even more music will be coming in the future. – Erin

Everything Goes On” – Porter Robinson
Release date – July 14

League of Legends has been on their grind in recent years, collaborating with many popular and up-and-coming artists once a year before their big tournament. I’m not really into the gaming scene but I sure am thankful for all of these great collaborations. These tracks have been absolutely stunning since I started paying attention to them back in 2017 when Zedd collaborated with them and released “Ignite” — his closest return to his club-esque bangers from 2014—but I digress.

Porter Robinson is next on the chopping block and, you guessed it, satisfies the banger litmus test. Personally, my theme for 2022 has been hope and revival, especially after the disastrous nature of the past two years. The chorus of this track is perhaps a little dreary on the surface, but the tone of the song balances the narrative. I believe that is exactly what Porter was trying to do—guiding us to find the positive through the noise. “Everything Goes On” is a wonderful addition to my daily rotation, and I’m sure it’ll join yours, too. —Sean

“Somedays” – Old Sea Brigade
Release date – September 30

I’ve been on the hunt for anything that resembles Big Red Machine’s How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last—my favorite album from 2021—and I believe I have succeeded with Old Sea Brigade, specifically with the track “Somedays.” It recaptures the melodic instrumentation that I grew to love over the past year. It’s a slower yet methodical track that inches along slowly, and that’s the joy of this gem.

In an age where popular songs are becoming increasingly bite-sized, a slower ballad is always welcomed. “Somedays” possesses primarily somber notes that are countered by an air of hope and fulfillment. Lingering trust also emerges as a theme that demands your attention. Overall, this track is the perfect entry point to everything O.S.B. –Sean

“Anti-Hero” – Taylor Swift
Release date – October 21

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Taylor Swift writing from a lens of self-deprecation is where she performs (arguably) at her best. Yes, that’s a very bold statement, considering many of her best written songs aren’t from that perspective, but many of them are. Which is where “Anti-Hero” takes us, the lead single off of Swift’s 10th studio album, Midnights, which dropped this past October with massive promotion but little hints to what was to come. It’s heavily rumored that “Anti-Hero” was picked as the single to drop ahead of the album, but I am pretty happy she decided to keep it until the album dropped in its totality, considering it stands alone sonically and contextually form the rest of Midnights.

I definitely didn’t have “Taylor Swift using the word ‘depression’ in a song” on my bingo card for this year, and I’m happy to see a bit of self-awareness from artist (who I deeply love and respect) who has tended to struggle with this in the past. Plus, we simply cannot ignore the brilliance that is the line “I’ll stand directly at the sun, but never in the mirror.” “The Archer” stans, RISE!
– Kristin

Check out all of our end of year coverage here.

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