TOP SONGS FOR 2022
My 15 favorite songs of the year – too many for a Hot Dozen
Around 1000 songs, albums and videos were submitted to Music Sin Fronteras for reviews and consideration for the Hot Half Dozen. So, I expanded b y original plan for a Hot 10 to a Hot 15, almost evenly divided into English and Spanish. You can stream them all on Spotify and most major platforms except for Janis Ian’s album which is available directly from her.
As my regular readers know, my recommendations are eclectic – rap, rock, alt, electro, dance, love songs, ballads, pop, English and Spanish. Most of these are rising artists – you may not have heard of many of them, although some, like For de Toloache have collected a Grammy or two.
Careful readers will notice that my recommendations tilt towards women, which may seem odd in a world where the majority of music released is by men. That is because so much of the male music is the same; so much of the female-led music is unique and much, much better than most of what I get from the male groups. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t recommend male artists – they just need to be very, very good.
La Realidad, single by Lau Noah. Known widely through her film scores, thisNYC-based Catalan composer/singer /multi-instrumentalist with the voice of an angle and castanets and classical Spanish guitar is simply enchanting. Listening to her music is joining a complex, joyful, wide-ranging conversation.Stream on Bandcamp and Spotify. Spanish.
Floracita Rock-Era, album by Flor de la Toloache. With 10 songs that re-invent classic Latin anthems in Spanish, the Latin-Grammy-winning NYC group celebrate International Women’s Day with iconic rock songs. Each song is a stand alone work of art, but I have my favorites, like El Matador,Stream on all platforms. Spanish
Guadalupe Reyes, single and video by Nancy Sanchez and Luckas O. What a kick! The fusion of mariachi and cumbia tells the story of Luipita, who went off to church and wound up in a 26 day-long party. The song and the video by the Mexican-American blues/mariachi/pop singer-songwriter Nancy Sanchez and the Guadalajara-based singer-songwriter Luckas O. will make you want to party for at least that long. I predict this will be a classic party song. Stream on Spotify. Catch the great Guillermo More / Polie Pérez video on YouTube. Spanish.
Herederos by Mariachi Herencia de Mexico. Mariachi like you have never heard it before. A Chicago-based mariachi of 14 women and men led by 19-year old Marco Villela, they produce music that is true fusion. It ranges from traditional songs like “Fallesté Corazón” with La Mairsol, to love songs “Hay Unos Ojos” with Lupite Infante, to “Frank Sinatra” (not with Franck Sinatra), to “It’s Impossible” with full mariachi treatment. Stream on Spotify. Video on YouTube. Spanish and English.
Como La Flur, single by Francisca Valenzuela. Valenzuela uses melody, lyrics, and her vocal magic to let us know that there is good in the world and we can be attuned to it. A song you will listen to over and over and learn something new each time. Produced by the talented team of Ali Stone and Sebastian Keys, it is emotional, nostalgic, hypnotic. Spanish. Stream on Spotify. Video on YouTube and Vevo. Spanish.
Sobarán, single/video by Elsten Torres. Watercolor notes with a touch of nostalgic pain. A (lost)love song as only the master can do it. The chorus will take your breath away and you will sing it over and over again. Available on all platforms. Spanish
Que Surfas by Doris Anahi Muñoz. Blues to make your heart ache with a voice that floats like a feather but carries the weight of deep emotion in a sound fused with soft Latin beats and empathetic trumpets. This bilingual songbird is at the beginning of her career and I see much success. Stream on Spotify, Soundcloud. Video on Vevo. Spanish.
Livin’ for Love by Jackie Bristow. The New Zealand native is better than ever with a Nashville-recorded single that is the heart of country soul. Addictive with mix of acoustic and deep-down electric guitars, banjo, and her seductive Americana voice, this song will make you rock and soar with her melody at the same time. Video on YouTube. “Outsider” album out on Mesa Blue Moon records https://jackiebristow.com
Lovers and Friends, album, by Irene Diaz. The long-awaited album dedicated to friends and lovers and those who are both from the queen of love songs. A delicious buffet of tempos, emotions, and styles, but all with Diaz’s unique voice and arrangements. A milestone in her decade-long career that will stay in your mind and your heart. English. On all major platforms.
Call Your Girlfriend, single by Maggie Szabo . Powerful, wrenching, demanding; you cannot tear your ears away from Szabo’s cover of the Robyn song. The pop mistress puts her heart into this devastating ballad and brings us a classic. Stream /download on Spotify, Apple Music. Video on YouTube.
Misery and Gin , single by Layla Tucker. Covering Merle Haggard is always risky, but especially so for a woman in country, even if she is Tanya Tucker’s daughter. The 22 year-old Tucker pulls it off and pays tribute to her hero and friend so beautifully I think Merle would have loved it. I certainly do. Download/stream on all major platforms
Tempting Fate, album by Carolyn Wonderland. Wonderland manages to pull off the best ever grab-your-gut electric blues, heartfelt ballads, cosmic country and soulful Tex-Mex while vocally winking at you. She is amazing in the ten songs in this album. I especially love “Texas Girl and her Boots”, and you will too. On all platforms.
Exile, single by Eric Zayne. Eric Zayne has been my radar for almost 10 years. He delivers a combination of power, agony, passion, and determination that no one else quite accomplishes. He released 4 singles in 2022, all worthy of your ears. But Exile – which in a way Zayne is given his history of being forced out of his home country by war and genocide – is the most powerful. Stream on Spotify.
Introduction and Fugato in D Minor by Cuthburt Harris, single by Ric’key Pageot. I don’t usually do classical music, but this first time ever recording of Introduction and Fugato in D Minor by the Madonna pianist and co-founder of the speakeasy soul/ragtime band Parlor Social is too good to pass up. Stream/download on all major platforms.
The Light at the End of the Line, album by Janis Ian. The final album from a multiple Grammy winning Queen of Americana, folk rock, blues and social commentary for over a half century. Gentle, forceful, determined, melodic; the 12-track kaleidoscope of a farewell album will stay on your playlists forever. Order at invasionmerch.com/collections/janis-ian.