While K-pop dominated most of my artistic consumption for the past few years, this years overall lack of real standouts has really led me to expand my horizons. And while this is primarily a K-pop focused blog (as the name suggests), sometimes I just love to talk about things that interest me. So, I thought it would be fun to have a post about (non-kpop) songs and *gasp* movies that I’ve really loved this year.
Now I’ve never really talked about my love for film on this blog before but watching movies remains one of my favourite pastimes. Much like the music I listen to, I love diving into different aspects of cinema and trying to really connect with and understand what I’m watching. And after two years of cinema being basically dead thanks to the pandemic, 2022 has roared back in that department, delivering films that I believe are already stone cold classics.
In regards to the songs, these are either new or ones that I forgot to talk about in my May roundup. I love each and everyone one of the songs mentioned below and while some of them might seem rather unassuming or even bad on first listen, I encourage you all to give them a few spins. You might just surprise yourself!
Conan Gray – Disaster / Memories / Yours
Conan Gray’s trio of singles for his second album “Superache” didn’t initially impress but effortlessly wormed themselves into my playlist with time. Disaster plays of the synth driven sound of past efforts like Maniac and Overdrive while both Memories and Yours feel like perfect distillations of his more emotive sound.
DPR IAN – Ballroom Extravaganza
Unlike most, I’ve never really been that into DPR or DPR Ian’s work. But as they say, sometimes all you need is one killer release to change everything. And in this case, the stunning Ballroom Extravaganza is that song. This is an absolutely incredible single, harnessing a gargantuan and endlessly creative soundscape that feels just as sonically ambitious as the albums cinematic rollout. Easily one of the years best songs.
Ellie Goulding – Easy Lover (feat. Big Sean)
Thanks to utter ubiquity and generally annoying nature of songs like Love Me Like You Do and Burn, Ellie Goulding turned into kind of a no go zone for me. And though her voice still isn’t completely for me, Easy Lover is a complete jam, harnessing one of the years strongest synth lines to create a real treat of a single. And though the layered chorus is one of the tracks defining moments, Big Sean’s dynamic rap break is what really steals the show for me.
Harry Styles – Daydreaming / Late Night Talking
Though much of “Harry’s House” carries as similar instrumental and atmospheric presence that can cause many tracks to feel lost in the mix, both Daydreaming and Late Night Talking carry enough unique quirks to put them comfortably alongside As it was as the projects strongest moments. Daydreaming succeeds thanks to its excellent chanted riff and brassy instrumentation whereas Late Night Talking pulls through thanks to an incredibly catchy centrepiece and the sheer power of good vibes.
Huddy – All The Things I Hate About You
Woah, woah, woah I know, I know, calm down. All good? Okay.
TikTok music has always been pretty terrible. And yeah sure All The Things I Hate About You is also objectively not the best. But c’mon man it’s just so damn funny. With all the drama surrounding the song and lyrics like “You could’ve had a rockstar but you chose up on a bumstar” how could you not think this is the funniest thing ever. But while much of my enjoyment does come from the novelty of it all, there’s an actual great chorus here, fuelled by a healthy dose of rock guitar, angst and yes, those incredibly lame (fucking hilarious) lyrics. You may roll your eyes at first but you’ll also be shouting “You’re a showstopper, A bad liar, Homie hopper, Drama starter” in no time. Honestly, it’s just a recent TXT song if you think about it.
Joji – Glimpse of Us
The piano ballad that’s taken the entire world by storm, Glimpse of Us stands as one of the strongest examples of the genre thanks to its gorgeous atmosphere, heart wrenching lyricism and evocative performance. Its chorus remains one of the years most memorable, harnessing a number of lethal hooks that implant themselves into your consciousness while Joji’s dreamy vocals wash over you, expertly conveying the sense of hopeless longing the songs lyrics describe so well.
Lady Gaga – Hold My Hand
As one of the soundtracks to arguably the greatest legacy sequel ever made, Hold My Hand‘s anthemic, 80’s inspired stadium rock backbone is one of the years most goosebump inducing. Not only does it enhance the sheer masterpiece that is ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ but it also stands as a thrilling listen by itself, exploding with one of the years most dramatic centrepieces and a production that just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Gaga’s voice was made for a song like this.
Lizzy McAlpine – ceilings
A gorgeous, guitar strumming track that’s gone onto become one of the years biggest growers, ceilings grows from an unassuming start into an absolutely stirring climax. It’s a track that’s very much from the Olivia Rodrigo school of songwriting, riffing off currently common sad-girl themes both lyrically and musically. And though that may initially deter many, it’s a track that heavily rewards multiple listens.
Måns Zelmerlöw – What You Were Made For
A perfectly calibrated synth driven throwback that could easily pass as a song from the 80’s, What You Were Made For is over the top in the best way possible. The production is turned up to a 100 and the vocal performance holds nothing back, attacking each and every line with so much conviction that it sells even the tracks weaker moments. Of which there are very few thanks to a majestic centrepiece and even more dynamic pre-chorus.
Omar Rudberg – Mi Casa Su Casa / Moving Like That / All That She Wants
An artist that I only discovered a few weeks ago but has quickly become one of my favourites, Omar Rudberg has been on fire this year, releasing three excellent singles that all tread similar musical ground whilst still retaining quirks that make them unique. Mi Casa Su Casa treads a more sensual groove that accentuates its titular hook whilst Moving Like That is all about that celebratory instrumental and fantastic dance-pop style chorus. All That She Wants feels like a combination of its two predecessors, taking a groovy, reggae influence for its verses to contrast its instantly memorable, more melodic chorus. And while all three are excellent, Moving Like That truly feels like the birth of a star.
OneRepublic – I Ain’t Worried
Top Gun: Maverick beach scene. That’s it. A perfect summer song.
The Regrettes – Barely on My Mind
Bolstered by a killer chorus and a healthy dose of distorted guitar, Barely on My Mind is an absolute blast from start to finish. And though its verses don’t quite match the sheer excellence of its hook, the production remains strong throughout, maintaining the energy before that oh so great hook comes slamming back in.
Rina Sawayama – Hold The Girl
While I was initially a little mixed on the tracks first minute, I was quickly won over by Rina Sawayama’s excellent new single, Hold The Girl. Its gorgeous, near symphonic chorus remains one of the years strongest, courtesy of a downright beautiful arrangement and Rina’s always commanding vocals. And though its opening verse pussyfoots a little too much, Hold The Girl basically turns into a perfect song after the two minute mark, fully embracing its gospel-like influences to deliver a real moment. A momentous song that somehow manages to get better each time.
Tove Lo – No One Dies From Love
Yung Gravy – Betty (Get Money)
This shouldn’t work. At all.
In what world can someone sample Never Gonna Give You Up, attach a trap beat, write a hook that basically just traces the melody of its sample, and have it be good? Well, in 2022 I guess anything’s possible. And though I initially wrote it off, Betty stands as one of 2022’s most fun tracks, endlessly memeable whilst still enjoyable on its own merits.
Sus my letterboxd lmao: https://letterboxd.com/arpydarpy/
Movies I have yet to watch but think would join these: RRR, Nope, X, The Northman
Everything Everywhere All At Once
Top Gun: Maverick