This week, Corbin began wearing shorts to work. Considering I was planning to write this article halfway through the year, the hairy white pins of George FM's superstar Promotions Manager are a glistening reminder I am overdue. The bulk of 2022 has been and gone, yet it still feels appropriate to take stock of the year’s biggest tunes before artists begin dropping their summer festival songs.
These six could very well be the top songs of the year, but there are still over three months left for artists to insert themselves into this group. However it will have to be pretty impressive to be considered among the following, which I’ve picked as the biggest songs of 2022 so far..
6. Chase & Status - Mixed Emotions
The lead single from what will most likely go down as the album of the year… is number six a bit harsh? Are the other five songs actually better than this? Short answer: Probably not.
But sometimes being the best song doesn’t mean it's necessarily the biggest. Sometimes you’ve gotta be the biggest to be the best… or to beat the best, you’ve gotta big the beast.. Wait. Lemme explain.
Few songs can touch “Mixed Emotions” when it comes to actual songwriting. The lyrics, the powerful vocal performance from Clementine Douglas which is so incredible it translates impeccably to an acoustic version (the surest sign a DnB song is actually a good song). In fact the only song that can come close to “Mixed Emotions”, would probably be “Netsky & Montell2099 - Mixed Emotions”… but that comes close more on a technicality.
The truth is, this song in only #6 on this list because Chase & Status don’t need it to be any higher. It’s not what they were going for. As you’ll see, the higher songs in this list were breakout successes, or they were artists making a statement, or going for commercial glory. C&S don’t need to prove themselves. In fact, the majority of the tracks on the album are tracks for the heads. Dutty numbers like “Headtop” or rollers like “Censor”. “Mixed Emotions” was less a statement, and more a reminder that old dogs can learn new tricks, and legends like C&S who have been making DnB for decades can still make an accessible hit, if they feel like it.
5. Fred Again & Swedish House Mafia - Turn On The Lights Again… (feat. Future)
Remember when I said the other artists in this list were either breakout successes, making a statement, or commercial gloryhogs? Well, Fred Again… probably made the statement of the year with this tune.
I would absolutely love to know how much Swedish House Mafia did on this track, because mentally I’ve given all the credit to Fred. I assume Angello and the other two were probably on enough Zoom meetings from some miscellaneous Amsterdam rooftop to claim equal naming rights, yet it was Fred and his insane boiler room that hammered this song’s statement home.
He’s probably the most exciting thing in dance music right now according to Sin and Brook, and this song is his most exciting song to date. Just get an ad blocker if you wanna watch the boiler room though. Definitely kills the vibe otherwise.
4. Cat Burns - Go (Goddard Remix)
We’ve all listened to songs that we’ve been told are great, yet the lyrics go waaay over our heads. “The trees have swayed like the presence of grey in our love…” Songwriters can be too out there for our own good sometimes. So how cathartic is it to hear blunt lyrics like “You fucked up on a night out. Pack up your shit and go.” Can’t accuse Cat of beating around the bush there.
What’s cool about this song from a commercial perspective is both the original and the remix were charting almost equally in the UK before NZ got a hold of it. Obviously George FM started playing the Goddard remix, yet pop radio also added the heavier drum n bass version which contributed to the nationwide success of the tune. There was a definite case for them to only play the acoustic-styled original, but they took a risk and it paid off. Long live DnB.
3. Shockone & Lee Mvtthews - Thinkin About
Big ol’ fuck-off tune. Next!
2. Luude & Mattafix - Big City Life
I’ve always dreamt of winning lotto. Who would I tell? Would every facebook friend-of-a-friend message me with a congrajulashins/can I have 20k kinda message?
I wonder how many of Luude’s battler primary school acquaintances hit him up after “Down Under” (which would probably be in this list if it was released this year) and “Big City Life”. These songs launched Luude’s 10,000 stop DJ tour of Europe which will see him moving up a few tax brackets for sure.
Not to mention, this is a follow up of his real breakout tune. Not many people follow up their breakout worldwide smash hit with a song that’s actually good. Yes both of these songs aren’t original ideas, however I’d argue Luude deserves every single bit of his success. From picking those songs, organising and liaising with the original artists, sharing that vision with them, and then making the songs the best re-imagined versions they could be.
My question is, what 1980 - 2010 song is next to get the Luude treatment? Shania Twain’s “Man, I feel Like A Woman”? Maybe “Genuine - Pony”? Possibly “Boys II Men - I’ll Make Love To You”? OK yes, I’m getting lost in my wedding reception playlist. Moving on.
1. Wilkinson & Becky HIll - Here For You
I mentioned Luude following his breakout tune well. But what if you were following up the Mona Lisa? The biggest drum n’ bass song ever? How on Earth do you begin making the sequel to the greatest reference point the genre has?
Well, “Here For You” is about as good as it gets. While a commercial success across a multitude of radio stations & charts, it did more than that. It measured up to “Afterglow” almost 10 years later.
So what makes “Afterglow” so good? It resonates with people. The song works acoustically. The vocal performance is timeless. And it’s been cemented in the psyche at our biggest festivals for the last 10 years. That is a unique testament to Wilky’s work ethic. “Here For You” does all of these in its own way, except for the last one since it hasn't had the time yet.
Nomatter how many David Guetta collabs she does, Becky Hill’s legacy is infused with Wilkinson. She should be proud of what they’ve come up with here, as even deciding to attempt a follow up is a big move. And they each have their own similarities and strengths.
“Afterglow” is euphoric and historic, “Here For You” is beautiful and new. I’ve got an extremely niche tennis reference to finish on, and although you probably won't understand I'm just gonna go for it - “Afterglow” is Federer V Nadal Wimbledon 2008, “Here For You” is Federer V Nadal Aussie Open 2017. An instant classic in the shadows of timeless.
Human Movement - House Check (feat. Big Skeez)
Great to hear something a bit different connecting.
Mylen - Twilight Zone
An artist on the rise punching above his weight.
TSHA - Dancing In The Shadows
There is an alternate universe somewhere where this song wins a grammy and TSHA becomes president.