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NPR Music 2022 Staff Picks: Sheldon Pearce

Soccer Mommy
Sophie Hur
/
Courtesy of the artist
Soccer Mommy

I've already written at length about albums, so grant me a brief moment here to talk specifically about songs. 2022 was a helter-skelter year for big, compelling singles, but it was a restorative one for more peculiar creations — fragmentary stuff (FKA twigs' "pamplemousse"), experimental stuff (Lucrecia Dalt's "Dicen") and epic stuff (any sequence of The Blue Hour). I found the most comfort in songs that felt irregular in some way, or like they were mid-development in an evolutionary cycle.

Global pop felt particularly dynamic and progressive, with many artists testing long-standing rules of genre: Bad Bunny and Rosalía, Koffee and Bayka, LE SSERAFIM and Hikaru Utada. It was a great year for K-pop singles (IVE's "After LIKE," LOONA's "Flip That," WJSN's "Last Sequence," LIGHTSUM's "i," pretty much every NewJeans song) and deep cuts (STAYC's "YOUNG LUV," Kep1er's "Downtown," HYOLYN's "BODY TALK," Girls' Generation's "Freedom," Chung Ha's "XXXX"), for Afro-pop (Oxlade's "KU LO SA," CKay's "samson and delilah," Ayra Starr's "Running," Rema's "Calm Down," Asake's "Organise") and dancehall/reggae (Skeng's "New Era," Jahvillani's "Rockefeller," Shenseea's "Can't Anymore," Protoje's "Late at Night," Kranium's "No Regret"). With all of this momentum in so many directions, I'm excited to hear the resulting sprawl in 2023.

Brief shoutout to some songs that technically came out in 2021 but are of 2022 and would have otherwise been on this list: Two Shell's "home," Earl Sweatshirt's "2010," Koffee's "West Indies," Chief Keef's "B**** Where" and AURORA's "Cure For Me."

Top 10 Albums of 2022

▶ LISTEN ON SPOTIFY

• FKA twigs, CAPRISONGS
• Rosalía, Motomami
• Ethel Cain, Preacher's Daughter
• DOMi & JD Beck, NOT TiGHT
• Koffee, Gifted
• Kojey Radical, Reason to Smile
• Lucrecia Dalt, ¡Ay!
• Immanuel Wilkins, The 7th Hand
• Caroline Shaw & Attacca Quartet, Evergreen
• Roc Marciano & the Alchemist, The Elephant Man's Bones

Top 10 Songs of 2022

▶ LISTEN ON SPOTIFY

• Gunna & Future (ft. Young Thug), "pushin P"
• Bayka, "1Uptown"
• Ice Spice, "Euphoric"
• SZA, "Gone Girl"
• LE SSERAFIM, "Impurities"
• Soccer Mommy, "Shotgun"
• iayze, "556 (Green Tip)"
• WILLOW, "hover like a GODDESS"
• Bad Bunny, "Tití Me Preguntó"
• Hikaru Utada, "Somewhere Near Marseilles"

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Sheldon Pearce