The 40 best songs of 2022 so far

Mikael Wood, Suzy Exposito and August Brown, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

My Chemical Romance, “The Foundations of Decay”: Twenty years after My Chem debuted with their post-9/11 lament, “I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love,” the New Jersey emo legends resurface with their first recorded release since 2014’s “Fake Your Death,” a thunderous goth-rock elegy for an empire in flux.

Angel Olsen, “All the Good Times”: Record nerds will dig the spot-on “Dusty in Memphis” horn stabs; humans with feelings will marvel at the empathy with which Olsen details a breakup.

Pharrell Williams feat. Tyler, the Creator and 21 Savage, “Cash In Cash Out”: Who makes more out of less than Pharrell? This track is just a red-lined 808 and a mean little sample stutter, but it gives 21 Savage and Tyler, the Creator more than enough space to play on their verses.

Pusha T, “Let the Smokers Shine the Coupes”: Pusha raps about cocaine like Jiro dreams of sushi — he does one thing perfectly, every time. His LP “It’s Almost Dry” has uncommon precision and panache, and he absolutely fillets his verses on the slinky “Let the Smokers Shine the Coupes,” a high point on an album with no low ones.

Adrian Quesada feat. iLe, “Mentiras con Cariño”: Grammy-winning guitarist Adrian Quesada, best known for his riffage in Texas bands Black Pumas and Grupo Fantasma, ventured out on his own this summer with the release of his Latin soul album “Boleros Psicodélicos.” In the hypnotic tropical noir of lead single “Mentiras con Cariño,” or “Lies With Love,” Quesada shares the spotlight with Puerto Rican chanteuse iLe and her quietly arresting alto.

Rosalía, “Saoko”: In her inspired callback to rappers Wisin and Daddy Yankee — who delivered a hype song for the ages with their 2004 reggaeton classic “Saoco”— the Catalan avant-pop star Rosalía revs it up with a frenetic, jazz-fueled kick.

Bartees Strange, “Mulholland Dr.”: Signs of life in indie rock.


Harry Styles, “Boyfriends”: Point: “Our house is a very, very, very fine house.” Counterpoint: “Boyfriends — are they just pretending?”

Carrie Underwood, “Denim & Rhinestones”: There’s nothing country about the synth-slathered title track from Underwood’s latest album. But like any “American Idol” alum, she’s studied enough Whitney and Mariah to make the pop-soul costume fit.

The Weeknd, “Out of Time”: On the Weeknd’s “Dawn FM” album, this tender ballad follows a spoken-word appearance by Quincy Jones — one way to acknowledge (and to boast about) “Out of Time’s” debt to “Off the Wall.”

Wet Leg, “Ur Mum”: Isle of Wight duo Wet Leg evoke echoes of Van Halen and ELO in this antisexist slacker-rock missive. May you never be on the receiving end of a line so withering as, “When I think about what you’ve become/ I feel sorry for your mum.”

Yahritza y Su Esencia, “Soy El Unico”: Guided by the vocal dynamite of 15-year-old Yahritza Martinez, the Yakima, Washington, family band Su Esencia first captivated audiences on TikTok; now their star has risen across the Americas, thanks to their heartrending corrido “Soy El Unico.” What’s most shocking is not that the Martinez siblings cracked the No. 1 spot on the Hot Latin Songs chart — but that it’s the first song they ever wrote.


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