For the second year in a row, I’m adding a special countdown for all the pop music (ie: anything that isn’t Korean or Japanese) I loved in 2022. I’ve slowly dipped my feet back into international music markets, highlighted by the blog’s “Global Round-Up” posts that kicked off this February and will continue into the future.
Here’s the second half of this year’s countdown: songs number twenty to one! Make sure to check out the first half before diving in.
20. Khalid – Skyline
This laid-back groove was perfectly suited to summer. I can’t believe this wasn’t one of the year’s biggest smashes.
19. The Weeknd – Out Of Time
Another song that should have been a mega-hit, Out Of Time perfectly replicates a shimmering, MJ-esque 80’s r&b sound.
18. Gryffin x OneRepublic – You Were Loved
Is this sentimental dance anthem cheesy or profound? I have no idea, but it gets me every time.
17. Tom Grennan – All These Nights
A bombastic rocker that never takes its foot off the gas. I love this style of cathartic stomp.
16. Confidence Man – Feels Like A Different Thing
90’s house music and gospel choir vocals go hand-in-hand, and Confidence Man wring everything they can from the recipe with this ebullient stunner.
15. Sigala – Stay The Night (ft. Talia Mar)
Sigala was one of my MVPs of the year, producing excellent dance music — one hit after another. This song had a long-lasting place on my workout playlist.
14. SB19 – WYAT (Where You At)
SB19 are representing P-pop on this year’s countdown with the infectious retro throwback WYAT. It’s everything BTS’s Dynamite should have been.
13. Lizzo – About Damn Time
The perfect disco pastiche for our playlist-obsessed era. About Damn Time makes one addictive turn after another.
12. Betty Who – Blow Out My Candle
Speaking of pastiches, Betty Who nails a certain style of softly anthemic 80’s pop with the excellent Blow Out My Candle.
11. Jax Jones – Where Did You Go (ft. MNEK)
It’s straightforward — but perfectly straightforward — dance music. There’s something transcendent about its single-minded simplicity.
10. The Weeknd – Sacrifice
The Weeknd harnesses anlethal groove on Sacrifice. This kind of 80’s funk is my happy place, and this song feels like home.
9. Sigala – Living Without You (ft. David Guetta & Sam Ryder)
That chorus shreds! This is high-octane, propulsive dance music with a fantastic vocal that soars to the sky.
8. Ava Max – Maybe You’re The Problem
A bit of a turn from her past music, Maybe You’re The Problem‘s mile-a-minute chorus and vaguely synthwave beat combine to forge a dynamite pop standout.
7. Rina Sawayama – This Hell
It’s Gaga meets Shania on this campy country-pop-rock-dance hybrid. Rina pulls it all together with her effortless charisma and cheeky performance.
6. Beyoncé – Break My Soul
Depending on what you consider a “single,” I could’ve easily featured other Beyonce tracks on this list. But, Break My Soul was positioned as a killer opening salvo for the album. Its house sound is a revelation for her.
5. Sigala – Melody
This potent dance track was one of my most-played songs of the year — in any genre. It’s executed so well, anchored by a flawless (and huge!) chorus.
4. Måns Zelmerlöw – What You Were Made For
I’m always open to a schlocky 80’s power pop motivator. What You Were Made For is designed for pumping your fist in the air. That pre-chorus is so satisfying.
3. Erika Vikman – Kateus
Once again, I’m embedding the single mix before the video because that version is vastly superior. Vikman was one of my big discoveries this year. I adore her gargantuan, ultra-maximalist take on pop music.
2. Ellie Goulding – Easy Lover (ft. Big Sean)
The vocal blend during Easy Lover‘s chorus is a thrill every time it comes around — even if I’ve heard the song dozens of times before. It’s simply a brilliant pop performance.
1. MUNA – What I Want
If you couldn’t tell by how often I use the word, I’m a big fan of “catharsis” in pop music. MUNA’s What I Want builds its entire existence around this sensation, bursting at the seams with longing, frustration and — ultimately — a rush of pent-up release. It’s a thrilling track with one of the year’s strongest choruses.
3. Madison Rose – Technicolor
2. The Weeknd – Dawn FM
1. Beyoncé – Rennaissance