Sunday , February 5 2023
Alvvays - Blue Rev

Charlie Doherty’s Top Songs and Albums of 2022

It wasn’t until around last October and November that I heard some of my favorite releases of 2022. Canadian indie pop rockers Alvvays released their third album, Blue Rev, in early October. Not only is there not one terrible track on it, the group – best known for “Archie, Marry Me” – has expanded and perfected their sound, namely by turning up the guitars and sweetening the hooks across 14 cuts. Standouts from the new Alvvays album include “Belinda Says” (a tribute to Belinda Carlisle), “Pharmacist,” and the outright punk rock energy of “Pomeranian Spinster.” So there you have it, my studio album of the year.

Then there was the box set highlighting Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 20-night residency at The Fillmore in 1997 that arrived the day after Thanksgiving. With 4 CDs (and not one but THREE guitar picks bearing the initials of Scott Thurston, Mike Campbell, and Tom Petty), Live at the Fillmore 1997 contains numerous fun covers and special guests, including John Lee Hooker and Roger McGuinn. Being the first official live release since 2009, it is probably the most wide-ranging one in the band’s arsenal, with everything from blues, country, and even a bluegrass number (“Little Maggie” sung by Thurston) accompanying the usual favorites in the Petty catalog (“You Don’t Know How It Feels,” “Runnin’ Down A Dream,” and “Walls,” etc.). It’s my favorite non-studio release of the year.

Here’s my Top 20 Songs list (with commentary) and picks for my Top 20 Albums of ’22, not all in any particular order.

Top 20 Songs of 2022:

Beach Novels “You Might Enjoy That” (Lush dream pop from Mississippi.)

Alvvays “Pharmacist” (This shoegaze-y power pop number is the lead track from Blue Rev. It was an immediate hit with fans when it came out last summer; even Jeff Tweedy of Wilco sung its praises and covered it already.)

Iggy Pop “Frenzy” (Iggy’s newest record Every Loser came out two weeks ago, but this fiery punk rocker was released last October and features rock heavyweights like Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, and producer extraordinaire/guitarist Andrew Watt.)

Megadeth “Dogs of Chernobyl” (First half? Par for the course Megadeth. It’s the apocalyptic fury of the second half, the fourth verse in particular, that makes it an instant classic. True fact: Dave Mustaine’s oncologist, who treated him for throat cancer, co-wrote those descriptive lyrics on what radiation exposure can do to the body.)

Band of Horses “Crutch” (Ben Bridwell’s group continues to master the art of the catchy chorus and do so song after song, album after album in a style all their own.)

The Smile “Open the Floodgates” (In case you forgot about or miss Radiohead, here’s a dreamy one from Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood’s new side project.)

Dead Cross “Christian Missile Crisis” (Faith No More singer Mike Patton’s side project takes on organized religion and “NRA-holes” on this unrelenting thrash attack with Slayer-style breakdowns.)

Margo Price “Fight to Make It (f/Mavis Staples & Adia Victoria)” (A women’s rights anthem released in the wake of Roe being overturned, this one was a favorite in the Doherty house. Thanks mom!)

Wild Pink “See You Better Now” (This Tom Petty-ish ditty is noticeably enhanced by Dinosaur Jr. frontman J. Mascis’ guitar cameo.)

The Freight “Done With You” (At its most psychedelic moments, it has Dark Side of the Moon vibes.)

Muse “Won’t Stand Down” (My fav from their August 2022 release Will of the People, it has one of the most ferocious choruses Matt Bellamy has sung to date.)

Harry Styles “As It Was” (There’s so much crap out there in the mainstream but not this one, as it was arguably the song of the summer of 2022 – no pun intended.)

Greet Death “Your Love Is Alcohol” (It’s one of a few standouts from the Flint, Michigan indie rock/slowcore group’s newest EP, New Low.)

David Knudson “Medalle (w/Bayonne)” (Knudson had a big 2022: a surprise reunion recording and show with his ’90s metal band Botch and a debut solo record. The guitar parts on this laid-back track are some of the most Minus the Bear-ish on it.)

Jimmy Eat World “Something Loud” (Jim Adkins may sing about leaving the past behind, but the sound here is largely vintage Jimmy Eat World, with a killer bridge section that takes this pop rocker to another level.)

Neil Young and Crazy Horse “Chevrolet” (I’m still a sucker for good, long, and raw guitar jams.)

Metz “Come on Down” (This one rips hard and features vocals by Joe Talbot from IDLES, a British post-hardcore group that is up for a Grammy next month for Best Rock Album for their late 2021 LP, Crawler.)

Clutch “Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone)” (Over 30 years into their career, this heavy rock quartet still has a ton of firepower in their sound – and entertaining videos for tracks like this one.)

Built to Spill “Gonna Lose” (Doug Martsch’s band is also over 30 years old now, but his voice never ages and he never seems to run out of great riffs.)

Sharon Van Etten “Far Away” (Sonically, it recalls the Cocteau Twins; lyrically, the song is for her young son and is the final one on her sixth album, We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong.)

BONUS: Amelia Anisovych “Let It Go” (Last but not least, this Ukrainian girl went viral for singing the Frozen theme song from a bomb shelter during her country’s war with Russia. Brave and inspiring.)

Alvvays - Blue Rev

Top 20 Albums/EPs of 2022:

Alvvays – Blue Rev

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Live at the Fillmore 1997

Clutch – Sunrise on Slaughter Beach

David Bowie – Divine Symmetry (a Hunky Dory-era box set)

The Beatles – Revolver (5-CD Super Deluxe box set)

The Smile – A Light for Attracting Attention

Megadeth – The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead!

Muse – Will of the People

Wilco – Cruel Country

Greet Death – New Low EP

Zach Bryan – American Heartbreak

Smashing Pumpkins – ATUM – Act I

Miranda Lambert – Palomino

Drive-By Truckers – Welcome 2 Club XIII

Neil Young and Crazy Horse – World Record

Sharon Van Etten – We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong

Eddie Vedder – Earthling

Bonny Light Horseman – Rolling Golden Holy

Band of Horses – Things Are Great

Dead Cross – II

About Charlie Doherty

Senior Music Editor and Culture & Society (Sports) Editor at Blogcritics Magazine; Prior writing/freelancing ventures: copy editor/content writer for Penn Multimedia; Boston Examiner, EMSI, Demand Media, Brookline TAB, Suite 101 and Helium.com; Media Nation independent newspaper staff writer, printed/published by the Boston Globe at 2004 DNC (Boston, MA); Featured in Guitar World May 2014. Keep up with me on twitter.com/chucko33

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