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The 100 best Irish songs of 2022

The 100 best Irish songs of 2022

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Our 100 favourite new Irish songs of the year. With a playlist on the last page after the countdown.

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2022 Best of | Best albums | Best songs | Irish albums | Irish songs | Best Of Podcasts | Guest lists | Best New Irish artists

100.

Rosie Carney

Dad

London-based Donegal artist Rosie Carney ‘s second album i wanna be happy  interrogates personal mental health struggles against the backdrop of navigating a musical career in 2022.

Eschewing the more acoustic style heard on 2021 single ‘Party Dress’, ‘Dad’ finds Carney bringing buzzing guitar atmospherics to her sound on a slow-diving shoegazing song a marked contrast to 2019’s Bare and her covers album of Radiohead’s The Bends.

99.

Blimp

Tonight

Producer Shane Smyth aka Blimp  gave us ‘Tonight’ a song that hits those euphoric spots between the cracks.

98.

Problem Patterns

YAW

Problem Patterns are just one of a few feminist punk bands from Belfast and they say “[we] are not limited by age or ability or binary identities. We don’t have a front person, swap instruments and roles to ensure that each member of the group has a voice. 

‘YAW’ stands for “Yes All Women” and stands up for equality and respect for all women in the wake of the killings of Sarah Everard and Ashling Murphy.

97.

Melts

Maelstrom

From Dublin band Melts 2022 album Maelstrom, ‘Circular’ is the buzz-saw synth rock song that stood out to me on an early listen. I’m a sucker for a good rolling rock bassline. Also, you cannot be mad at comparisons to The Horrors’ Primary Colours era.

96.

Uly

Keith, I Want To Be Everything

Dublin-based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Rafino Murphy aka Uly follows up ‘Fishing’ with ‘Keith, I Want To Be Everything’, a softly spun song of jazz-funk and singer-songwriter proportions.

95.

Paddy Hanna

Yoko Ono

Paddy Hanna can be a purveyor of Scott Walker-esque songwriting or he can be found writing odd songs about cannibalism or Italian-American crooners.

‘Yoko Ono’ is one of the latter, a name-dropping trip of a song, about imposter syndrome and having an identity crisis, from the artist’s fourth album Imagine I’m Hoping.

“The song started as an improvised rap about Mike love from The Beach Boys, and over time it mutated into a cheerful bop about an identity crisis. There isn’t a day where I don’t feel like an imposter, so why not write a catchy tune about it,” says Paddy. 

94.

April

54321

Kildare-born London-based April‘s ‘54321’ is a fresh sound for the artist, a more-underground-spun song with nods to Uk garage and drum’n’bass without losing sight of a pop hook.

‘54321’ was co-written with Matt Maltese and produced by Danny Casio (Joy Crookes, Griff), and takes inspiration from Pinkpantheress.

93.

Æ Mak

Sun God, I’ll Be Your Woman

Æ Mak’s ‘Sun God, I’ll Be Your Woman’ is an otherworldly sun dance of a song, “inspired by Tiamat, primordial goddess of the sea and personification of chaos.”

Described by Aoife McCann as “a bloopy bubble pagan ritual cartoon warrior song,” it also features a prominent kazoo.

“I bought a kazoo in the music shop in Dundalk with the intention of making a big bird kitsch dance tune. I’d been reading about Tiamat, the primordial goddess of chaos, and then got asked to make new work for Body&Soul festival’s Eriu (the Goddess of Ireland) series so it was lovely and serendipitous and I made this bloopy bubble pagan ritual cartoon warrior song.”

92.

Ellen Arthur Blyth

Young Ones

Dublin-based singer-songwriter Ellen Arthur Blyth released this gorgeous classic-sounding song this year on the debut album Nine.

The track has a jazzy Lana Del Rey pop vibe that yearns for better things.

91.

Telefís, Sean O’Hagan

Space Is Us

After the sad passing of Telefís’ Cathal Coughlan in May, news emerged that Coughlan and Jacknife Lee’s Telefís project had a second album, A Dó, coming, that was completed just before the musician died.

Space Is Us’ is from the album and features The High Lllama and and Microdisney co-founder Sean O’Hagan on vocals.

…”Cathal’s dying was always a part of these songs. Not literally, but his reflections and explorations of where he came from were examined from this perspective. After his death we could have waited to release the album, and we accepted that we might have to, but now we just want to celebrate Cathal. I want people to know that he was active and working up to the last few days of his life. We were working on more Telefís – writing and planning. There are many layers to Cathal Coughlan. The mischief, the tenderness, and the profound melancholy. It’s all here, and it’s some of his best work. Writing these songs during his illness knowing what lay ahead of him shows his commitment to words and ideas. It’s his life.”

Jacknife Lee

90.

Sweetlemondae

Never Gonna Be

The 22-year-old Galway-based MC Sweetlemondae, comes through with a memorable R&B track called ‘Never Gonna Be’ , informed by a conversation from Irish artist Moyo about the increase of racial crimes in Ireland.

“I thought it would be good to shed light on that topic. I hope it can be understood that I’m not speaking from an American point of view but an Irish one. It’s sad how such racial crimes can strain families and change a person’s life forever hence ‘Never Gonna Be The Same’.”

Sweetlemondae

‘Never Gonna Be’ was created during a Diffusion Lab songwriting camp with producer Benza and Irish artist Moyo.

89.

Gaptoof, Illiterate

Door Wide Open

‘Door Wide Open’ is a dark late-night track with insecure premises on the mind from producer Gaptoof and rapper illiterate have a collaborative EP Journal 01.

88.

Jehnova

Golden Sceptre

Jehnova is usually found out here quietly dropping great Irish hip-hop tracks. On ‘Golden Sceptre’ he works with close collaborator Sivv on a head-nodder that uses a distant David Cross sample to introduce some discombobulation to the bed for Jehnova’s verses.

See more here.

87.

Zaska, J Smith

Gone In A Minute

From Zaska’s guest-stuffed second album A Better Way comes this hook up with his pal J Smith for this gorgeous slice of neo-soul about climate change.

“It’s a song about how fragile and vulnerable Mother Nature is, and that if we’re not careful it’ll be gone. But it’s not all gloom and doom. There’s a positive message that we can get together and do something about turning it around.”

Max Zaska.

86.

STRABE

Magic

From Strabe’s JUVENOIA album on PIAS, “Magic’ is a clubby indie bop from Scottish singer Angelica Black and Irish producer Emmet Carey, which they say has the aim of capturing “the full-body rush of when you’re in a sweaty, grungy club with flashing lights and a pulse-like bass into music form. We want this song to echo through you, making you move before you can even think about it… like magic.”

85.

Niamh Regan

Late Nights

Galway singer-songwriter Niamh Regan released a a four-track collection EP called In The Meantime, that serves as an artistic stopgap between debut nominated album Hemet, and what’s to come next next.

Regan says ‘Late Nights’ is about “navigating family guilt, growing up and leaving behind little bits of yourself as you enter a new chapter of thinking”.

84.

Lemoncello

Always Neighbours

Wake up it’s 2019 and you need to get over it.
Wake up it’s 2019 and you need to get on with it

The duo of Laura Quirke and Claire Kinsella aka Lemoncello released the first single from since their 2020’s Oil And Water EP this year, and it’s a gorgeous unfurling folk song across five and half minutes.

Lemoncello say ‘Always Neighbours’ is:

“An ode to the cyclical nature of love and life. A reminder that in order to be free, we must at once let the past go while knowing it’s what has given us the resilience to march on.”

83.

Monjola

Extrovert

Dublin artist Monjola explores the grey area between introversion and extroversion when the truth is a lot of us might be ambiverts.

‘Extrovert’ is about not wanting to be alone but also feeling alone when you’re around people. Pushing people away cause you don’t wanna get hurt but at the same time also craving the company of the same people.

82.

KhakiKid

Woodstock

Crumlin artist 22-year-old Abdu Huss AKA Khakikid brings some sunny vibes to his music on song ‘Woodstock’, a playful Mac Miller-esque tune with stanking bass celebrating an unexpected night out.

“I wrote Woodstock reminiscing of those nights where you hadn’t any plans but by the end of it you’re missing 50 percent of the clothes you left the house with. Even with the memories of your mams mortified face in the morning, you can’t help but look back on those nights with a tinge of nostalgia. I wanted the song to feel like you’re walking home at sunrise, hearing birds chirping and are desperately trying to avoid shameful eye contact with early morning joggers.”

81.

Sprints

Literary Mind

Dublin rockers Sprints‘ ‘Literary Mind’, a punchy indie-rock song that is giving me Fight Like Apes and ’90s rock vibes, produced by Daniel Fox of Gilla Band and released on Nice Swan Records.

“Literary Mind is probably one of our most light- hearted songs in Sprints in terms of subject matter, while still exploring something quite close to heart. It’s a real deep dive and exploration into the feeling of falling in love, particularly queer love, in which you feel like you’ve been conditioned to believe a heteronormative way of life is the only “right” way to live, which leads to incredible difficulty and emotional oppression. You push these feelings down, ignoring them, praying them away even but eventually with acceptance comes a rush of emotion that you never thought you’d feel. You unlock, finally, what it means to be happy and with it comes the rollercoaster of emotions, hot sweats, fever dreams, happiness, giddiness and excitement that we’ve tried to capture in the energy and pace of the song.”

Karla Chubb, Sprints
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