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My Top 30 Songs of 2022

Phil Shaw

1 Point Me Toward the Real – Ezra Furman

The story of a fragile character re-entering the world after being collected from a psychiatric hospital may seem an unlikely best-song choice, but this has a poetic, Dylanesque lyric, a vocal reminiscent of Neil Young, killer chorus and beautiful brass.

2 It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody – Weyes Blood

Natalie Mering, the best of a group of brilliant women singer-songwriters featured in this chart, muses on the human condition, loneliness and how well we know ourselves or others, all wrapped in slow-building strings and woodwind with a strong 70s feel.

3 It’s Over, If We Run Out Of Love – David Holmes featuring Raven Violet

An anthemic call to arms, or rather to compassion and optimism, this draws both on the Wall of Sound and girl-group vibe of decades past and the techno culture of more recent times with its buzzing rhythm track, topped off by an epic guitar riff.

4 Taboo: Gabriels

The Anglo-American soul trio, featuring the remarkable voice of Jacob Lusk, raised their profile with a stand-out Glastonbury set and keep delivering gems influenced by gospel, Curtis Mayfield and Nina Simone although this track highlights an approach instantly recognisable as their own.

5 Feast of Carrion – Midlake

It took the Texan band 16 years and the loss of their main writer to recreate the strange sense of unease that pervaded the folk-rock-meets-AOR classic The Trials Of Van Occupanther, but the ethereal harmonies and ghostly melody on this track mark a return to form.

6 A Lifetime To Find – Wilco

Frontman Jeff Tweedy called Wilco’s 12th album, Cruel Country, the alt-rock outfit’s first country record and this song, redolent of the Flying Burritos at their finest (minus the pedal steel guitar), proves that great songcraft can flourish in any genre.

7 Invisible Exit – Broken Bells

Of all the songs on Into The Blue, the latest collaboration between The Shins’ James Mercer and producer Danger Mouse, Mercer’s best vocal comes against a backdrop of acoustic guitar and sumptuous synths, making me pine for new Shins material.

8 Body Paint – Arctic Monkeys

A lush, soulful ballad with echoes of Bacharach & David, draped in orchestral flourishes and gritty guitars which frame an Alex Turner vocal showing that his prowess extends far beyond the indie-rock idiom and includes impressive falsetto.

9 Babylon Days – Jessie Buckley & Bernard Butler

An Oscar-nominated Irish actress with a rich voice hooks up with an ex-Suede guitarist with deft production skills, the result here being a dreamy song that places them somewhere in the folk-jazz fusion world of John Martyn and Nick Drake.

10 Belinda Says – Alvvays

The Canadian band breathe new life into dear old jangle-pop, with Molly Rankin’s effervescent vocal referencing Belinda Carlisle’s hit Heaven Is a Place On Earth (‘Well, so is hell’, the lyric continues) allied to irresistible key changes.

11 Friday Night – Beth Orton

12 Broken Beauty – Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band

13 Gorilla – Little Simz

14 Harness The Wind – Calexico

15 Candle – Rosina Bullen

16 1974 (live) – David Crosby & Lighthouse Band

17 Bird I Do Not Know – Lady Maisery

18 Gunsmoke Blues – Buddy Guy featuring Jason Isbell

19 Out Of My Head – First Aid Kit

20 Mangrove – The Accidentals & Kaboom Collective

21 Its A Brand New Morning – Morton Valence

22 Mistakes – Sharon Van Etten

23 Dried Roses – Big Thief

24 Viral – Matthew Barber

25 Goodbye Mr Blue – Father John Misty

26 All the Good Times – Angel Olsen

27 Jackie Down The Line – Fontaines DC

28 Neon Blue – Mariel Buckley

29 Soundings – Elanor Moss

30 Aftershook – Frankie Cosmos

My 10 favourite covers of the year

1 Nightshift

Bruce Springsteen (Original: The Commodores)

2 The Bay of Fundy

The Unthanks (Gordon Bok)

3 Five Years

Cowboy Junkies (David Bowie)

4 Buffalo Stance

Robyn featuring Mapei (Neneh Cherry)

5 In a Mist

Spencer Cullum’s Coin Collection (Duncan Browne)

6 Talk To Me Of Mendocino

Katherine Priddy & John Smith (Kate & Anna McGarrigle)

7 I’ve Got A Feeling

Buddy Guy (The Beatles)

8 A Pair Of Brown Eyes

Cat Power (The Pogues)

9 Youre No Good

Weyes Blood (Dee Dee Warwick)

10 I’m A Mess

Phosphorescent (Nick Lowe)

’Tis The Season To Be Different: Phil Shaw’s alternative festive playlist


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