For the THIRD year, we have used our small blogging platform here at Digital Detroit to showcase Founder and CEO Nick Mattar’s “top 20 songs of the year” list. Nick has built his list every year since 2000, with the first 13 years all cataloged via “burned CDs.” If you are unsure what a burned CD is, you probably will not like most of the music on this list.
Before moving ahead any further, be sure to check out our Top 20 Songs of 2021 as well as the Top 20 Songs of 2020.
Since 2014, the top 20 songs have lived primarily on Spotify, and 2020 ushered in a new era: the blog! This expanded format offers Nick the opportunity to explain what he likes about each song, as many of them are not your typical top 40 hits. But, oddly enough, 2022 featured many radio hits, with 10 of them appearing on the SiriusXM Hits 1 top 40 list for at least one week.
To see past lists, check out Nick’s Spotify channel, where all of them are chronicled over the years. You can also view the top 50 songs from the 2000s and the top 50 songs from the 2010s. In 2025, Nick plans to do a revised “top 25 of the last 25 years” that he has already started thinking about.
Without further ado, we will switch over to the first person as Nick takes over the post with his list, from 20 to 1.
20. Megan Thee Stallion and Dua Lipa – Sweetest Pie
In a year fraught with sexy album art, this might be the most sensual, even though there are no revealing body parts! In terms of music, between Megan Thee Stallion and Dua Lipa, there are probably 25 bangers from the past three years alone. While they both appeared on the list last year (Dua Lipa twice), this is their only appearance in 2022.
In the interest of keeping this blog post rated PG, I won’t get into the lyrics. But I laugh at some of Megan Thee Stallion’s rhymes every time I hear this song. I guess that should not be a surprise in a song called “Sweetest Pie.”
19. Friday Pilots Club – Hot Mess
If I had stumbled upon this song six months ago, it would likely be close to the top of this list. But I only heard this jam for the first time during Thanksgiving weekend. Friday Pilots Club hails from Chicago and apparently is big with some streaming stations, as I heard it playing over the loudspeakers at Peppa Pig World with my kids in December.
A lot of the alternative songs on this list have a vaguely similar sound to Hot Mess: upbeat with strong harmonies, but also a dark and edgy feel. Songs like this are great for a workout playlist, which has honestly become the most common method for me to hear these songs. Satellite radio and podcasts have taken over my in-car listening.
18. Cardi B – Hot Sh*t (feat. Ye & Lil Durk)
Replacing a single letter in a curse word with a star is like blurting out middle fingers on television. What’s the point? Everybody knows what’s there, and kids who are not familiar will just ask more questions!
If you had told me five years ago that Cardi B would ever make this list, I’d slap you. But hey, she put it all together this year with the heaviest bass I’ve ever bumped in a car. Lil Durk is the star of the show here and his performance led me down a YouTube hole listening to his other stuff. Highly recommend.
17. The Weeknd – Sacrifice
After Blinding Lights snuck onto the list in 2020 (coming in at number 18), The Weeknd does it again with Sacrifice, the very first song I heard in 2022. About 10 minutes after midnight on January 1, one of the New Years’ Eve shows played this soon-to-be hit song, and it stuck with me ever since.
If there is one cover art that is NOT sensual, it’s this one. Imagine The Weeknd at age 75 in front of a dark background, and you have the exact image. I’m not exaggerating – that is exactly what it is. I’m also surprised my Spotify Wrapped didn’t list this song higher on my list. The Spotify lists are infamously heavy on the first six months of listening because it is strictly numbers-based. But this came in at #14, a big surprise considering many songs ahead of it were much older, workout-exclusive tracks.
16. Hailee Steinfeld – Coast (feat. Anderson .Paak)
Maybe it’s Hailee’s entry into the MCU. Maybe it’s Anderson’s appearance in that Modelo commercial. Whatever it is, they both had a great year and put it together in this summer beach banger that I couldn’t stop listening to in the later part of the summer. Most people considered Nicky Youre’s “Sunroof” as the song of the summer, but I give that distinction to “Coast” for its laid-back vibes. Oh, and it wasn’t massively overplayed on the radio like “Sunroof” my god.
This is the first song by Hailee Steinfeld that I have actually enjoyed. I know she had several hits in past years, but this is the first time – for me at least – that she got out of the “annoying” sector of music. I’m not a fan of garbage like Florida Georgia Line or EDM artists that remix the same beat 50 times. Now that she has collaborated with a talent like Anderson .Paak, I think she could make more bangers like this in the future.
15. Paramore – This Is Why
Another late addition to the list, I first heard this song in October and was extremely surprised to hear it and then see it was Paramore who actually performed it. This type of song is out of character for them but it’s fun to get such different sounds between the verse and the chorus.
To be honest, this song is refreshing to hear because it is so unlike all of the other songs on this list. It’s not too heavy, and after “Coast.” it is probably the “slowest” song on the list. Paramore’s first appearance on the list since 2007’s #1 song “Misery Business” is a fun comeback, even though they’ve been consistently making music for the past 15 years…
14. Ocean Grove – Cali Sun
“Cali Sun” is the first of three songs on the countdown with less than 1 million Spotify plays. Songs like this usually end up on the countdown thanks to Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist, which has become so tailored to my likes over the years that it can guarantee me a few personal top 20 songs.
There’s a lot going on throughout this song, with some really heavy drums and lots of background sounds. I’m surprised this song didn’t even crack the 1 million play threshold, as it’s pretty captivating. Alas, #14 on my top 20 list will have to do.
13. Steve Aoki – Whole Again (feat. John Martin)
I really thought John Martin was the brother and generic brand of Chris Martin based on his voice (he’s not). But it also didn’t surprise me that he was the vocal talent behind Swedish House Mafia for years. This is probably my second favorite Steve Aoki song of all time behind the timeless “Boneless” and Martin provides a fabulous vocal element that Aoki’s earlier hits lacked.
There is another credit on this song – KAAZE – another Swedish DJ who is one vowel away from sharing a name with the second-biggest music downloading program of the 2000s. I would guess he is responsible for the Swedish House Mafia sound that blends in with Aoki’s unmistakable vibe.
12. Saucy Santana – Booty (feat. Latto)
Each year, a song sneaks onto the list that is very much out of character for me. This is that song. But hey, anytime a song can combine the epic horns from “Crazy In Love” while sneaking in mentions of Pornhub and 100 repetitions of the word “booty,” it deserves a spot.
The first time I heard this song, I was hungover as hell and was extremely confused as to what I just listened to. This video is also very NSFW, so watch it with caution. There is a lot of booty.
11. K.Flay – Four Letter Words
Speaking of NSFW, this song is VERY NSFW, as you can probably guess by the title. K.Flay has really evolved over the years, from a feature on Zion’s “Coastin'” in 2011 to the top-5 hit “Blood in the Cut” a few years later to now this beast of a song in 2022.
I don’t get in fights, but I think this would be a good song to brawl to.
10. Doja Cat – Celebrity Skin
There’s a lot to unpack here.
First, props to Doja Cat for making a song nearly indistinguishable from its 90s original. Rumors abound about Taco Bell “forcing” her to make this song (I can’t find anything to link to, otherwise I would). But this song is nearly impossible to tell apart from Courtney Love’s original banger. I also doubt the rumors about her relationship with Taco Bell because she announced later in the year that they were coming back with the Mexican Pizza and she seemed excited. Celebrity gossip is not my strong suit…
Second, I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe – especially their credit music choice. But this song SOMEHOW got me to stop associating “Celebrity Skin” with the credits from Captain Marvel. Golf clap.
9. David Guetta – I’m Good (feat. Bebe Rexha)
I feel like every year we see 90s music permeate the top 40. I prefer songs like this that take a song I listened to every day and turn it into a contemporary banger. It’s scary to think most people who listen to this song have no idea where the sample came from. They have no clue know what “I’m blue da ba de da ba di” means.
David Guetta never disappoints in these spots, somehow making a timeless 90s sound into a relevant hit today. I do wish they would have kept the “I’m blue” part for posterity, but I’m good with “I’m good.”
8. Nicki Minaj – Super Freaky Girl
As if 90s music wasn’t iconic enough, Nicki Minaj took it a step further and channeled Rick James for a song that I’m somewhat embarrassed to list here. But it’s too wild to omit, and the way she spells “freaky” is peak Nicki.
“Sweetest Pie” led off the list with some pretty intense innuendos and a few overt sexual references, but this one pulls no punches. It should go without saying, but avoid the video if anybody is around. The pink fire is cool, though.
7. COIN – Brad Pitt
What if I told you this is not the only song on the list with Brad Pitt in the title? Well, there’s more coming. COIN has always hovered around the top 20 list, with many of their past songs just missing the cut over the years. Since I saw them live to open for Saint Motel (many years ago), they’ve had a bunch of great songs, but they’ve also really changed their sound. This one was hard to deny and ended up a core part of my rotation for most of the year.
A heads up: This song starts a pretty heavy run of alternative music to finish out the countdown. Only one remaining song is not considered “alt-rock” and several of the final songs sound somewhat similar to this one. So if “Brad Pitt” is not your style, you may be disappointed with what comes next.
6. Harm & Ease – Lemonade (feat. Fefe Dobson)
Chances are if you’ve heard this song, it played during a college football game broadcast when the network goes to commercial. I equate Harm & Ease (get it?) to a lesser-known version of The Heavy (the guys who did “How You Like Me Now”) but they came out swinging with “Lemonade” this year.
I had to look up Fefe Dobson to remember her past music, but she had a string of popular solo hits in the early 2000s. “Lemonade” seems like a pretty random pairing, although it clearly works here. I probably listened to this song on outdoor runs at least 50 times in 2022. If you want to hear their other stuff, check out their cover of The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights.
5. The Wombats – If You Ever Leave, I’m Coming With You
I didn’t like this song when I first heard it. The Wombats are very hit-or-miss, and I thought this one was going to be a dud. Then I heard it a second time on the radio, and something clicked. Now, it lives at #5 on the year, the same spot they occupied in 2018 with “Lemon to a Knife Fight.”
The album art here is pretty cool – it looks like some sort of Sim City architecture, mixed with the opening visual from Silicon Valley back when it aired on HBO. But these guys are clearly British: just listen to how they say “supermarket” in the second verse.
4. Bowling For Soup – I Wanna Be Brad Pitt
Man, where do I start here? Maybe it’s the fact that this is the second of two songs with Brad Pitt in the title. Or maybe it’s the fact that this is, in fact, Bowling For Soup of “1985” fame nearly 20 years ago – and they just resurfaced this year!
The video is pretty wild, with a Brad Pitt impersonator throughout and then the band showing up toward the end, complete with a lead singer who looks absolutely nothing like the man we saw in the “1985” video back in 2004. I’m not sure if it’s even the same guy, or if old age just caught up with him in a BIG way. I think the real Brad Pitt shows up briefly at the end, too…
Whatever the case may be, this is a crazy fun song that got Bowling For Soup back onto the list for the first time in 18(!) years. “1985” came in at #10 in 2004, one of the most loaded top 20 lists I’ve ever seen. I need to dig these up and post them all here because I’m still in awe at the music that the early 2000s produced.
3. Imagine Dragons – Bones
After first hearing this on an Instagram reel promoting season 3 of The Boys, I immediately was hooked. This is probably the first Imagine Dragons song I don’t find boring, so consider it high praise! The actual video is a nice throwback to various movies and horror flicks, and I’m not a huge fan of zombies in music videos (overplayed). So, maybe just watch this trailer from earlier in the year, which gives a good overview of the song.
2. TWIN XL – Upgrade (feat. Dreamers)
Spotify Wrapped named this my #1 song of the year, and it ALMOST took the top spot. There are some inherent issues with the way Spotify measures top songs, and the fact I listened to Spotify playlists for every workout this year definitely skewed their data.
Anyway, “Upgrade” get the #2 spot on my human-made list. Last year, Spotify named “Dirty” by Grandson (oh wait, he doesn’t capitalize his name so it’s just grandson) my #1 song and I put it in the third spot. “Dirty” and “Upgrade” are similar alternative songs, although TWIN XL never got the radio play that grandson did. But I loved it, and that’s all that matters here.
I know very little about TWIN XL and I don’t get why some bands put their names in all caps. I also don’t get the “XL” part of the name. They don’t look like they necessarily wear extra large clothing (like the Bowling for Soup guy now) and I’m not even clear if there are two guys or more – hence the “twin” name. And yes, I know the video shows two guys, but the dude with the blue hair is the lead singer of Dreamers, which had a song on the list last year.
1. Lizzo – About Damn Time
“It’s bad bitch o’clock. It’s thicc thirty.”
I don’t think there is much else to say. It’s my favorite lyric of 2022 and my favorite song of the year. And, also worth noting – it took 22 years, but a Detroiter has finally topped my list. This hasn’t gotten old since I first heard it in April, and I could listen to it for about an hour without changing the song.