Daria Paterek, Christy Clark, Emily Cook, Emily Campbell, Ellie-Mae Davies
2022 was a great year of music full of new songs, tours and album releases from our favourite artists so Impact’s music writers through December have been voting in a survey to crown our artist of the year, group of the year, album of the year, song of the year, debut album of the year and newcomer of the year. Our writers have written mini award speeches for each of the winners, here are the results of our awards…
ARTIST OF THE YEAR
2022 was Beyoncé’s year- and it’s pretty obvious why. Last year saw Beyoncé release her seventh studio album, ‘RENAISSANCE’, which further facilitated her status as an (alien) superstar. After creating the perfect breakup album, Lemonade, many fans wondered what direction her next solo album will go. Inspired by the tremulous political and social, Beyoncé told Harper’s Bazaar that “with all the isolation and injustice over the past year, I think we are all ready to escape, travel, love, and laugh again” and is there any better way than to celebrate than with music? The album pays tribute to the black queer community while continuing to be relatable for everyone, with hits like BREAK MY SOUL and CUFF IT.
Beyoncé deserves Artist of The Year because she continues to elevate her career through constant musical experimentation while making music that is both liberating and empowering. Particularly with ‘RENAISSANCE’, which many have deemed a cultural and musical renaissance. Over 20 years into her career, Beyoncé continues producing music that is bigger, better, and bolder than ever before. Daria Paterek
Over 16 years ago, young country singer Taylor Swift released her self-titled debut album. It’s a testament to her relatable, emotional songwriting and all these years later, she remains in the spotlight as one of pop music’s biggest stars. The diaristic, vulnerable and electric ‘Midnights’ sold a huge, career-best 1.58 million units in the US in its first week, with Anti-Hero topping the Billboard 100 for 8 non-consecutive weeks, again Swift’s best. Where ‘folklore’ and ‘evermore’ showcased her ability to write stripped-back, fictional songs, this year she’s shown she can still hit the top spots (or the entire top 10, for that matter). Typically, it wasn’t just the thirteen songs her fans had come to expect following the announcement, oh no. ‘Midnights (3AM Edition)’ produced an extra 7 songs, including my personal favourite, Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve: an emotional, retrospective look at a past relationship.
Aside from ‘Midnights’, Swift wrote the haunting Carolina, garnering Grammy and Golden Globe nominations, and earnt an honorary doctorate from NYU, which she accompanied with a captivating, (and, of course) easter-egg filled speech.
It’s no surprise that Swift takes artist of the year: she’s returned to pop music clearly more popular than ever, and it’s anybody’s guess where she goes from here. 2022 just proves, though, that she’s far from done at the top. Christy Clark
GROUP OF THE YEAR
2022 was a huge year for The 1975, arguably one of their best yet! From releasing their fifth studio album, to embarking on an international tour and receiving multiple nominations at the Brit Awards, Matty, Ross, Adam and George accomplished some outstanding achievements during 2022.
The beginning of 2022 seemed rather quiet for The 1975, with eager fans anticipating the release of their next album. In typical 1975 fashion, the boys did not confirm new music easily, with Matty teasing the release of the album’s first single during June 2023. Alas, on the 7th July 2022, Part of the Band was released, as the debut single of their fifth studio album, confirming a new wave of music for The 1975. Subsequent singles Happiness, I’m in Love With You and All I Need To Hear were also released, before their album ‘Being Funny in a Foreign Language’ was released on the 14th October 2022. The album received universal acclaim, with it finishing 2022 being included in Billboard’s ‘The 50 Best Albums of 2022’ and Entertainment Weekly’s ‘The 10 Best Albums of 2022’.
To support their album’s release, the boys embarked on ‘The 1975 at Their Very Best’ international tour, beginning in America and ending in Japan in 2023. The tour envisions everything The 1975 are, beginning with an outstanding theatrical performance of their favourite songs from ‘Being Funny in a Foreign Language’ and ending with the most incredible array of their best songs. The tour compliments the talents of the 4, the show being extraordinary to watch, really confirming that they deserve the title of Group Of The Year.
2022 really was an incredible year for The 1975, their music being heard by so many all over the globe. ‘The 1975 at Their Very Best’ tour and ‘Being Funny In a Foreign Language’ both compliment The 1975’s musical ability beautifully, this era of their music arguably being one of their best yet! Their triple Brit Award nominations for Group of the Year, Mastercard Album of The Year and Best Rock/Alternative Act, certify the band’s talent, and their ability to produce such inspiring, heartfelt music. Matty, Adam, Ross and George took the world by storm in 2022, affirming The 1975’s win of Group Of The Year 2022! Emily Cook
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
‘Harry’s House’ by Harry Styles
‘Harry’s House’ is my personal favourite album of the year and one of my favourite albums of all time, it was released 20th May 2022 and fuses genres such as synth-pop, pop-funk, pop-rock and R&B. It brings me an instant nostalgia of summer not only due to the time of its release but also because of the up-beat, feel good factor of songs like As It Was and Daydreaming that feature on the album. The album also includes more reflective and retrospective songs like Boyfriends and Matilda. This mix of songs is one of the reasons it has achieved so much success because there is at least one song that most listeners can relate to.
‘Harry’s House’ placed at number one in the UK charts for 6 weeks and became the best-selling album of 2022 which in itself shows the wide-reaching popularity of the album. The album also garnered attention across the globe gaining number one in countries such as the US, Canada, Germany, Australia, Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.
Harry deserves the Album of the Year Award because his music brings people together, which can clearly be seen at his concerts where everyone dresses in bright colours and freely dances and sings the songs as a collective. Furthermore, the album ventures into different genres than he has previously explored so the album has demonstrated his ability to dip into other styles of music with ease. Emily Campbell
SONG OF THE YEAR
As It Was by Harry Styles
Since emerging as a solo artist after his successful career with One Direction, Harry Styles has established a style of his own. He displayed his classic rock influences in his debut single Sign of the Times (2017) which reached number 1 in the UK charts. Furthermore, his album ‘Harry Styles’ (2017) portrayed his flexibility in genre continuing the pop-rock feeling in Kiwi and Only Angel but also including acoustic pop tracks like Sweet Creature and From the Dining Table. His more recent album ‘Fine Line’ (2019) echoed back to his pop roots clear in hits such as Adore You and Watermelon Sugar.
The release of As it Was as Styles’ lead single for his new album ‘Harry’s House’ (2022) preserved the ‘upbeat’ pop flavour of ‘Fine Line’ and spent 10 weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart. The upbeat synth-pop track hinted to the sound of the 80s, which has recently regained popularity in the last few years, as seen in songs like Blinding Lights by the Weeknd. The distinct keyboard riff and fast-paced drums with Styles’ soft vocals made the perfect pop hit. Lyrically, the song contrasts with the ‘upbeat’ instrumentation as its content consists of emotions of isolation and loss.
I think the song gained so much popularity because it was Styles’ musical return after 3 years and it is such a catchy pop tune. The song also blew up on TikTok as well as the success of Styles’ ‘Love on Tour’. The rest of the album had songs that climbed the charts, such as Late Night Talking. Yet As It Was was the major hit of the year, reminiscent of the 80s pop era, perfect for a casual listen or as a party tune. Ellie-Mae Davies
DEBUT ALBUM OF THE YEAR
‘I Used To Think I Could Fly’ by Tate McRae
Canadian singer, Tate McRae released her debut album ‘I Used To Think I Could Fly’ on the 27th May 2022. The album mainly sticks in the realms of pop but dips into dance pop in some songs, so it is accessible for listeners genre wise. She explores themes of relationships, growing up and self-esteem. This album is therefore an outlet for Tate’s own thoughts and feelings, but it has also resonated with others at similar stages in their lives. Hate myself is possibly Tate’s most vulnerable song on the album she told seventeen that she recorded it right after a breakup and ‘was standing at the mic stand sobbing. I was crying as I was recording the song and you can hear my voice crack. I was crying because it was so real.’ While some songs are musically up-beat they remain sad lyrically, as seen in songs like she’s all I wanna be and what would you do?
All the songs on the album seem to be raw and emotional which takes real guts to release in a tough and often critical music industry especially at the young age of 19. The album hits the mark as a debut album as it gives us a taste of her style of music but also lyrically depicts relatable fragments of her life. Emily Campbell
‘Wet Leg’ by Wet Leg
Wet Leg are a revelation. ‘Wet Leg’ is that revelation. Lively yet contemplative, simultaneously brand new and timeless, the tongue-in-cheek album captures a sense of coming-of-age that, somehow, appeals to all. It’s hard to believe that this is their debut, standing comfortably above albums by far more experienced artists. The lead single, Chaise Longue, and its successor, Wet Dream, showcase this liveliness, this hilarity. If you’re looking to ‘worry your mother’, look no further. The record’s twelve songs, adding up to almost 37 minutes, feel perfect: a breath of fresh air standing comfortably as one of the year’s defining musical moments.
Don’t be fooled, though, tracks such as I Don’t Wanna Go Out show that not everything is as fun as it first appears (“now I’m almost 28, still getting off my stupid face, a fucking nightmare”). My personal favourite, Ur Mum, combines the two emotions, searching for answers to a breakup whilst keeping up the band’s lively approach. The song even culminates in what is assumably one of music’s longest screams, epitomising Wet Leg’s angsty, retrospective feel.
This blend of light-hearted humour and heavy contemplation was always bound to strike a chord with a few folks. It attempts to humiliate exes and evaluate growing up, all whilst sounding different from what has come before. Its inclusion on this list suggests it has achieved such a goal. Congrats, Wet Leg. Christy Clark
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Flo are a London based, three-piece girl group and formed back in 2019. Jorja Douglas, Stella Quaresma and Renée Downer released their first music to the world in 2022 consisting of four singles Cardboard Box, Immature, Summertime and Losing You. Their debut single Cardboard Box received a lot of attention on Tik Tok after a dance trend to the song went viral. The Carboard Box Happi Remix was used for over 1.2 million posts on Tik Tok and many celebrities jumped on the trend. As a result of this wide sharing of the song, the band accumulated a strong fanbase across social media platforms and Spotify.
To top off their first year of sharing music they won the Brits Rising Star Award for 2023. Flo deserve the Newcomer Of The Year award as they are set to be the next big girl group with their unique fusion of pop and R&B. Emily Campbell
Despite steadily releasing music from 2016, Cat Burns has really grown as an artist during 2022. She has released lots of new music including the EP ‘emotionally unavailable’ and multiple singles. Cat has found her style and has gained praise and attention as a result. Cat’s most streamed song go was released back in 2020 and reached number 2 in the UK single charts. This year it has been remixed eight times with Sam Smith and Sam Fischer collaborating on versions, which has revamped attention for the song.
As well as her music’s success she had the opportunity to support Years and Years’ Olly Alexander and Ed Sheeran on their respective 2022 tours. Cat Burns deserves the Newcomer Of The Year award because she has achieved success through hard work and perseverance. She recorded her first EP while she was a student at The BRITs School and now, she is now releasing chart topping music. Further to this, her music is pop in style but its gospel influences make it different and distinctive. Emily Campbell
piri & tommy
Drum and bass duo piri & tommy also known as Sophie McBurnie and Tommy Villiers formed in 2021. Their first album ‘froge.mp3’ was released in 2022 and was a collection of 12 songs including the popular streams on & on and soft spot. Like other artists this year they have utilised Tik Tok to help promote their music with soft spot becoming popular with Tik Tok users and they have accumulated around 1.76 million listeners on Spotify. As well as these triumphs the duo have performed at Reading and Leeds festival and Glastonbury. Emily Campbell
Daria Paterek, Christy Clark, Emily Cook, Emily Campbell, Ellie-Mae Davies
Featured Image courtesy of Emily Campbell. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
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