It’s the start of a brand new year! Let’s kick it off with a look back at the greats of 2022, and where they left us. As any R&B fan knows, 2022 was the year of love- from finding it, to mourning its departure. Toxic love, lost affections, and even self-love made the charts this year- but which tunes spoke to you most. Here’s just a few of our R&B faves from 2022.
Lift Me Up
This is the first year after a 5-year career hiatus that we’ve seen Rhianna back on the charts- and we are loving it. Co-written by Tems, the song featured in Disney’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack (bear that in mind if you’re looking for its music licensing) and is a clear ode to the legacy the late Chadwick Boseman left behind. Fans are clamoring for more of this musical return to her roots, so don’t skip this one from your playlist!
Talking about Tems, she deserves a nod of her own. This song actually stems from her 2020 EP, but this was the year it rose like a phoenix from the ashes and landed here a Hot 100 solo spot. It’s a poignant ditty about the pains and peace of real love, the kind you cannot buy or mix.
Under the Influence
Chris Brown laments his hazy desires in this low-tempo lyrical attempt to court a loved one after one too many drinks. This song hit the Hot 100’s top 15, and went platinum, letting him end the year on a high note indeed despite a rocky start.
The return of SZA was another high point in 2022, and this innocuous named ditty tackles the complex topic of toxic love. It’s calm and chaotic all in one, featuring a signature Darkchild beat, and the music video is worth a watch, too.
Earworms ahoy! Bad Habit managed to get itself into the Big Four at the Grammys, stretching Steve Lacy’s career even further. With glittering synths and an awesome bass line, it’s well worth the listen.
Love can be complicated, right? Brent Faiyaz gives this a nod in this ultra-romantic R&B track, but he knows what he wants and isn’t shy to ask for it. It’s a little sad, a little buoyant, and a stand-out in a crowded field that became a breakthrough moment for this long-rising star.
Out of Time
Featuring a cool sample of Midnight Pretenders, a 1983 Japanese city pop hit, the Weekend brings a kinda-retro, kinda-modern song to life with the help of none other than Jim Carrey. It’s experimental in all the right ways, and even made it into the two-step dance anthem category too.
Break My Soul
Beyonce brings her typical high-energy personna to the table, with an over-the-top sample of Big Freedia’s 2014 single, Explode, thrown into the mix for good luck. It’s hard not to see this song as a way to release the isolation, fear, and challenges of the last few years in all the best ways, so rock on and enjoy.
Of course, there’s plenty more goodness where these come from, and 2022 was a stellar year for the R&B genre. Let’s hope 2023 is as good, right?
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