2022 is shaping up to be a big year for indie and mainstream music fans alike, with releases from Harry Styles, Angel Olsen, Perfume Genius, and Pusha T in the works. As the anticipation builds for these exciting albums, Street's taking a look at the songs that are making the wait a little bit easier. From covers that are getting us through the hardest midterms to singles that are complementing the start of spring and the return of warm weather, these tracks have undoubtedly redefined our perspective on life.
–Evan Qiang, Music editor
"Sister Ray" — Foxes
This past year has been a controversial time for the fan–created synth–pop supergroup consisting of Carly Rae Jepsen, Charli XCX, and Lorde. While Lorde’s Solar Power and Jepsen’s upcoming single “Western Wind” are strong indicators that toned–down production is back in style, Foxes’ record The Kick proves that dance music is also here to stay. As the lead single of The Kick, “Sister Ray” perfectly captures everything that makes the album so bubbly, catchy, and optimistic. The background synths become more dominant from the verse to the prechorus and eventually explode into pure bliss and ecstasy. When Foxes sings, “Our hearts spinning too fast, too far / To love someone,” she reminds us of those nights saturated with youthful energy, overwhelming vigor, and effervescent love. “Sister Ray” is more than a track inspired by Jepsen’s own Emotion or Kylie Minogue’s Aphrodite—it’s a track that'll inspire future pop masterpieces to come.
–Evan Qiang, Music editor
“Life is a Highway” — Rascal Flatts
In high school, one of my good friends introduced the phrase “fuck it, we ball” to our collective vernacular. Like an invasive species, it started popping up everywhere, sprinkled between lamentations over cryptic tests, forgotten running shoes, and missed curfews.
The phrase doesn’t have the same luster to it now, but the sentiment lives on: Sometimes, things are out of our control, and there’s nothing you can do about it but throw your metaphysical hands in the air and move along with your life. Before “fuck it, we ball,” there was “YOLO,” and before that, there was “c’est la vie” and “que sera, sera.”
In that spirit, I’m taking it upon myself to remind you of the cultural touchstone that is Rascal Flatts’ “Life is a Highway”—not the original of crooner Tom Cochrane, but the rollicking, pop–rock–infused remake, whose delightfully twangy guitar underlay offers an immediate hit of serotonin. Because sometimes, that’s all you can really say: Things happen, life is a highway, the world moves on … for whatever it is that’s stressing or bumming you out, “Life is a Highway” makes it deliciously simple.
–Anjali Kishore, Ego beat
“Heart Attack” — LOONA (Chuu)
LOONA’s debut was unconventional, even in an industry with perfectly timed releases and manufactured idols. Instead of debuting a project right off the bat, all 12 members of the girl group each released a solo song, as well as sub–unit songs, in a “Girl of the Month” manner before formally debuting as a full group in 2018.
The tenth entry was Chuu’s “Heart Attack,” a Christmas–tinged, saccharine–filled pop song about a romantic interest “attacking” Chuu’s heart. On the surface, this song seems innocent enough, but the music video tells a different story. However one might interpret the song’s video, “Heart Attack” remains LOONA’s most–streamed song in their discography, as it deserves to be. One can't help but sing along to the track that gives nothing but pure joy while simultaneously feeling Chuu’s desperation for her lover to notice her.
–Derek Wong, Music beat
“Wide Open Spaces” — Soccer Mommy
Look, the original “Wide Open Spaces” by The Chicks was my go–to preteen power ballad—and it remains a tried–and–true feel–good anthem. But Soccer Mommy’s slightly lower–tempo cover is the emo twist I need as I’m caught between the angst of finals and the sweet promise of summer’s freedom. Violin is replaced with electric guitar, but Soccer Mommy’s heavy drums and bass somehow dip perfectly into soft rock without compromising the integrity of The Chicks' iconic pop–country steel guitar. It’s a bright and trusty jam, all grown up with a touch of Soccer Mommy’s melancholy.
–Meg Gladieux, Features editor
“Everything Is Embarrassing” — Sky Ferreira
After going through a particularly strange string of situationships, I found solace in the past by listening to the song that defined 2014 Tumblr—Sky Ferreira’s “Everything Is Embarrassing.” Despite my 12–year–old self screaming the lyrics “Maybe if you let me be your lover / Maybe if you tried, then I would not bother” in an attempt to replicate the feelings of what I perceived as melodramatic heartbreak, I didn’t fully recognize the truth of this song until this month.
In contrast with the punchy drums and bright synths that make “Everything Is Embarrassing” a dance–pop anthem, Ferreira almost apathetically sings of the humiliation and confusion that occur when a partner slowly stops putting effort into a romantic relationship. Yet as the song progresses, Ferreira’s cool apathy progresses into a plea for reciprocated love, as she sings, “Telling me that basically you’re not looking out for me / Everything is true to me / Never words where you would see.” Through this song, Ferreira perfectly encapsulates how it feels when you suddenly realize that a relationship has become one–sided—it’s heartbreaking, perplexing, and downright embarrassing.
–Kira Wang, Style editor
“Mansard Roof” — Vampire Weekend
For reasons still unknown, my mom had a CD of Vampire Weekend’s self–titled debut album in her car when I was growing up. We listened to it with the windows down so many times that I still know all the words to every song all these years later. In addition to being a nostalgic favorite, this overzealous, African–inspired, preppy song screams sun and springtime. Listening to this album outside on campus in the grass feels exactly like how it was intended to be listened to, and has the power to lift my mood instantly.
–Samara Himmelfarb, Music beat