What makes a great song?
The criteria for 'Song of the Year' is very different to that of 'Album of the Year'.
Instead of weighing up a body of work, judging how it flows, how each song works both alone and in the context of an album and the overall vibe, with song you're going more by gut instinct. How does it make you feel? Are the lyrics good? Does the melody make your heart sing?
We've gone primarily with our gut instinct with our Top 10 Songs of 2022; these are the tunes that we simply couldn't stop listening to this year.
10. Paolo Nutini - 'Through the Echoes'
Taken from the Scottish musician's excellent 'comeback' album 'Last Night in the Bittersweet', this was a gem of a tune that sounded like a forgotten '70s soul classic.
9. Taylor Swift - 'Anti-Hero'
It's barely been released a month, and already 'Midnights' has gone down as one of Swift's best. This, the lead single, is the album's crowning glory - a reflective, moody pop tune packed with vulnerability, paranoia and okay... a little humour, too. 'It's me, hi, I'm the problem, it's me' was not the pop lyric we expected to have lodged in our brains this year.
8. The Weeknd - 'Sacrifice'
Abel Tesfaye's 'Dawn FM' made our 'Albums of the Year' list, thanks to songs like this: funky, finger-snapping, glorious, glittering synthpop laced with euphoria and bittersweetness.
7. James Vincent McMorrow - 'Hurricane'
The Dublin musician released a very fine album in 2022, 'The Less I Knew', which seems to have been overlooked by many end-of-year polls. There's no getting away from the brilliance of this track, though: a loose, languid, soul-pop tune that epitomised McMorrow at his best.
6. CMAT - 'I Don't Really Care for You'
2022 was the year of CMAT, thanks to a brilliant debut album that was brimming with effortlessly melodic pop tunes. This country-tinged number sums up everything great about CMAT: the voice, the innate sense of what works in a pop song, the razor-sharp lyrics like "I just spent seven hours looking at old pics of me / Tryna pinpoint where the bitch began / Somewhere after the Passion of Christ / And before I had an Instagram".
5. Beyonce - 'Break My Soul'
As we said (while awarding her our coveted '2nd Best Album of 2022' honour), 'Break My Soul' was a song that we didn't see coming from Beyonce. Incorporating '90s house - thanks to that Robin S. sample - and New Orleans bounce courtesy of Big Freedia's 'Explode', it blended nostalgia with a forward-thinking defiance. It was also damned bloody catchy.
4. Sprints - 'Literary Mind'
If Sprints' singles are this good, then we're in for a treat whenever the Dublin band get around to releasing an album. Splicing '80s indie with contemporary post-punk and a killer hook, it's a refreshing ice-cold shower of a song.
3. Wet Leg - 'Chaise Longue'
Chances are that you've heard this song this year, even if you don't know it. The half-spoken lyrics, that zippy little guitar riff, the overall brilliant of the tune: we just couldn't get enough of it. Everyone on three: 'Excuse me... what?'
2. Harry Styles - 'As It Was'
We know, we know. It seems like such an obvious pick, considering he - and it - were difficult to escape from in 2022. The truth is, this is a banger of a pop song: dreamy and propulsive in equal measure. 1.6 BILLION streams can't be wrong, right?
1. Lizzo - 'About Damn Time'
We love Lizzo, but we've come to accept the reality that she's probably just not an 'albums' artist - or at least, she hasn't made a killer album from start--to-finish yet. When it comes to singles, though? Weeeeeeeoooooooowwwwww. 'About Damn Time' was a sassy, funky, impossibly uplifting number about resilience and empowerment that simply made us happy every time we heard it this year. It's bad bitch o'clock, indeed.