Extra Favorites From 2022

Favorite EPs

5. DJ Sabrina The Teenage DJ – Call You/Under Your Spell

Normally, I’m a big fan of DJ Sabrina’s 2-3 hour long extravaganzas but I honestly thought this year’s Bewitched was the weakest project in years despite being relatively short. Thankfully, the Call You/Under Your Spell EP nails the best cuts from the album in a tighter format. “Call You” is the clear-cut peak with an incredible mix of Indigo Girls and Megan Thee Stallion. The 5 tracks show why DJ Sabrina is still the best at making sample-based house these days.

4. Moonlight Sorcery – Piercing Through the Frozen Eternity

Moonlight Sorcery has got you covered if you love frozen, twilight atmospheres in your melodic black metal. Piercing Through the Frozen Eternity is the first project from the Finnish band and it’s got all of the displays of a bright future for the band. The ambiance in particular hits that wintertime aesthetic with its muddled mixing and distant, incomprehensible shrieks. With two EPs this year, I’m hoping we’ll hear a full-length project from them in 2023.

3. PinkPantheress – Take Me Home

Holy shit is that a PinkPantheress song that’s longer than two and a half minutes? Take Me Home is a short and sweet peek into a more dance-pop, EDM-influenced side of her with the first two songs. It’s interesting to see where she goes from the atmospheric DnB and 2-step sounds of To Hell With It. Her lyrics of yearning for youth and unrequited love are still as passionate as ever. Together with her most recent singles, hopefully this means that she’s planning to branch out her sound for the next album.

2. CSR – Sequence: 7272

If you don’t like Sequence: 7272, I’m just going to assume that you hate having fun. CSR was formed this year and features a bubblegum pop sound with lyrics centering around first loves. This EP is a lot of fun and is one of the strongest releases in a rather forgettable year of K-Pop. The lead single “Pop? Pop!” is the definition of addictive and “Euratcha!” is a surprisingly energetic closer. If they keep up this quality over their next few singles leading into their debut album, they have the potential to transform into real stars.

1. Parannoul & Asian Glow – Paraglow

Shoegazers Parannoul and Asian Glow team up for Paraglow, an EP that plays up their strengths. Both of them appeared on my AOTY list last year so it’s no surprise that this new EP is here. They’re able to flow so naturally between winding riffs and sentimental vocals that it feels like a singular performance. Though the first three songs are amazing in their own respects, it’s the closer “Wheel” that truly eclipses everything else. Over 15 and a half minutes, the duo create lush passages of emotional evocation before culminating in a dense explosion of instrumentation and harmonized vocals. Paraglow is exhilarating in every way and a testament to the pair’s craftsmanship at the highest level.

Favorite Songs

My favorite songs of 2022 in one neat Spotify playlist. There were a lot of bangers this year and I tried to limit each artist to one song. Some thoughts:

  • K-Pop is so much more enjoyable when it doesn’t follow that overdone Trap/Festival House sound. Give them more guitars! DAMI’s solo with punk rock and Youha’s backbeat drums were killer songs.
  • BabyTron and Bandmanrill’s sample game is insane. Like Mike and Bunny-Girl Senpai??
  • I listened to way more Spanish artists this year. Albany made the AOTY list, Bad Bunny’s “Neverita” is special but it was Quevedo’s collab with Bizarrap that stayed in my head all year. Y nos fuimos en una, empezamo’ a la una/Y con la nota rápido nos dieron las tre’!!!
  • I feel like I loved the singles from the big names this year instead of their albums. Alvvays, Weyes Blood, Big Thief, Black Thought all show up here but are not on the AOTY list.
  • There were a couple of killer singles on meh albums like Rina Sawayama, Carly Rae and 4s4ki.
  • Jessie Ware, Kelela, and Men I Trust please come back soon.
  • Yung Lean’s entrance on “True Love” made me ascend and I hope Tohji blows up soon.
  • Zach Bryan and MJ Lenderman really remind you that country music can be incredible.
  • Metal was kinda forgettable this year apart from Asunojokei but Fellowship is the future of power metal.
  • Porter Robinson made a song so good I almost checked out League as a Dota player. Almost.
  • “I stay in her mind, I got condos in that bitch head” is crazy hard.

Favorite Video Games

I think the only game that I was hyped about that turned out well was Elden Ring. Digimon Survive, Rune Factory 5, and Soul Hackers 2 were all pretty mediocre but thankfully this was a better year than 2021. There were a few gems here and there but the disparity between the number one spot and everything else is glaringly obvious. I feel like I enjoyed the rereleases of older games more this year too: Trails to Zero, Persona 5 Royal, FF6 Remaster, Dwarf Fortress, and Portal Companion Collection. I did miss a few big ones like Stray and Xenoblade 3 so I’ll have to get around to those later. Endwalker technically came out in December 2021 but it deserves a shoutout anyway cause it’d be close to the top of this list.

Neon White

I think a lot of games really miss the mark on replayability when it comes to design. That’s not to say that video games should be inherently replayable but there’s often little incentive to do so. On Neon White, the level design is so immaculate that it feels natural to best your time and get the Ace. The game really rewards you for every hidden item or alternative route you discover and makes you feel like a real speedrunner. Combined with a blistering soundtrack from Machine Girl and stylized visuals, it hooks you in fast. It’s not easy but the self-improvement you go through (think Souls or roguelikes) makes it hard to put down.

Vampire Survivors

Dopamine go brrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I was late to the Vampire Survivors train but I’m glad it came out of Early Access when it did because it’s so damn addictive. The feedback loop is a ton of fun and there’s a ton of depth for what boils down to a casual bullet hell. There are some roguelike elements involved but it doesn’t have the punishing difficulty of other games. It’s great for pick-up-and-go sessions and it’s probably the game I’ve enjoyed most on the Steam Deck. The core gameplay is very simple but its depth emerges from the customization of survivors and builds. Quite literally, this game is 5 dollar heroin. Don’t miss it.

AI: The Somnium Files – Nirvana Initiative

Long ass name aside, the sequel to one of the best hidden gems of 2019, Nirvana Initiative is another mind-bending murder mystery. Taking the visual novel and puzzle mechanics of the first game, this one goes to even greater heights with its brilliant narrative design. If you played the first one, you will be glad to know that the so-bad-it’s-good humor and the quirky characters are still around. The use of different timelines is fun and the voice acting is phenomenal. You obviously shouldn’t play this one without the prequel but come on, you’re missing out on meeting Kaname Date, the biggest bastard with a heart of gold to ever grace a game.

Elden Ring

I mean let’s be real here, there was never any other choice. Forget game of the year, Elden Ring might be one of the greatest games of all time. I don’t know what inspired Miyazaki to combine the precise combat from Souls games with an open-world concept but holy shit did FromSoft get it down perfectly. The game understands the appeal of exploration and combat by incentivizing you to discover every inch of the Lands Between. As always, boss fights are the bread and butter of the series but giving players the option to leave and return opens up a lot more possibilities. Elden Ring isn’t restrained by progression or builds; it’s simultaneously the easiest and hardest Souls game I’ve played. It thrives on this balance of punishing difficulty and immense satisfaction: defeating Malenia after days of learning was an incomparable feeling. Each encounter has a weight to it from the reskinned knights you’ve seen a dozen times to the cosmic terror of demigods crushing you. Even FromSoft’s generally cryptic lore resolves nicely in a few satisfying endings. Elden Ring is the definition of dreaming big and actualizing that ambition in a singular vision. There’s truly nothing else like it in video games and it will undoubtedly stand the test of time.

Favorite Movies

I actually didn’t watch too many 2022 movies because I’ve been going to theaters less and less. That said, there were a few really great ones that I couldn’t miss and I’ll probably slowly watch the rest as 2023 goes on. I was pleasantly surprised by “Bullet Train” and “Top Gun: Maverick” and I will seriously consider ending it all if I have to watch a Marvel movie ever again. Anyways, here are my three favorites this year.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Strangely enough, while I agree that this one is inferior to the original, I also think it’s way more enjoyable with friends or at least an audience this time around. The return of Daniel Craig’s bizarre accent as Benoit Blanc is a welcome sight but the murder mystery is definitely more straightforward here. One key thing that Glass Onion does exceptionally well is its cinematography and how it’s constructed in relation to the story. The power outage scene is intense and leaves you on the edge of your seat as it flashes between the chase. A lot of the fun lies in the direct nature of story delivery and assuming you’re watching the sequel with friends, it’s always a game of “Will they go the crazy Ransom route or is the villain who we think it is the entire time.” We get a little more insight into Benoit’s characterization and the overall playful tone of the movie keeps everything grounded nicely until the finale.

Decision to Leave

I will watch literally anything directed by Park Chan-wook and Decision to Leave is no different. I don’t want to get too philosophical with the movie since it’s something you really should experience for yourself but it’s unbelievable how all these multilayered plots of mystery fall away in face of the romance between the leads. When you finish the movie, in your head you keep thinking that there’s no way all of these decisions weren’t unhinged and insane but the chemistry sells you on every single one. The tonal shifts and jarring cuts can be a little heavy-handed at times but there’s a tender emotional resonance and stunning visuals that will leave you breathless. A tale of “I can fix her” but when it’s Tang Wei who can blame the guy?

Everything, Everywhere All At Once

The attempts at distilling the Asian-American experience into movies have always been annoying to me partly because they try too hard to capture specific things that ultimately fall short. With Everything, Everywhere All At Once though, it does a phenomenal job of naturally extending its scope beyond a singular experience to a cognizant yet broadly relatable narrative. Yes, the movie speaks to every second-gen immigrant Asian growing up under familial pressures and the precipice of tiger parenting but the overall themes of nihilism, existentialism, and generational trauma strike an emotional chord everywhere. There’s a sincerity to Michelle Yeoh’s performance that is absolutely enthralling and the life-affirming moments of vulnerability within the absurdist comedy is something special. The meld of gnawing anxiety against the beauty of the world has an extraordinary humanity that will touch anybody’s heart. Beyond that, the costume design, visuals, and characterizations are all stellar and prop up the narrative’s delivery. Everything, Everywhere All At Once openly wears its heart on its sleeve but I think even the most cynical of audience members will find something that echoes within them.

About the Author


I turned my incoherent ramblings on music, anime, and video games into an entire blog.

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