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2022, a year where live music and festivals came back in a big way. Big-hitters like Beyonce, Rihanna, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and Harry Styles dominated the streaming charts and Kate Bush got a new set of fans.

Here, our music gurus look at the tracks which rocked their year.

Arctic Monkeys – There’d Better Be A Mirror Ball

Helen: The most grown-up record from the Sheffield lads to date.  It’s goodbye to brash guitars and lethargic snarls – The Arctic Monkeys usher in a new era of the Arctic Monkeys and it’s filled with silky strings, laid-back jazz beats and some truly beautiful old-school crooning by Mr Turner.  Now I must go and listen to the rest of the album – if you need me, I’ll be lying on a chaise longue, wearing a smoking jacket and sipping on a brandy.

David Guetta and Bebe Rexha – I’m Good

Euan: This one isn’t going to win any awards for originality, but this collab smashes it in terms of pure feel-good fun. A late summer hit which has morphed into a Christmas party banger. When I talk about the power of music to move people, it doesn’t always have to be a deep soulful emotion as this proves. You will feel better for having heard it!

Albin Lee Meldau – Forget About Us

Helen: If Eddy Vedder and Nick Drake had a love child in Sweden – it would be Albin Lee Meldau.  ‘Forget About Us’ is a swirling, heartfelt, melancholic thing of beauty that somehow makes heartbreak song incredibly sing-along-able! What a breathtakingly gorgeous talent – can’t wait for the album.

Metro Boomin ft 21 Savage and The Weeknd – Creepin’

Euan: I was blown away the first time I heard this. When you listen to as much music as I do, that is unusual. That guy can SING! It’s that’s rare cover version which is better than the original. I don’t know how he does it, but the way he takes the lyrics and makes you feel them is pure art.

The Black Keys – Wild Child

Helen: Transporting you to the coolest of dive bars in 1970s U S of A  – the Black Keys are back with their unique sound of thunderous, foot-stomping grimy blues-rock!  As with most of their music – ‘Wild Child’ is infectiously catchy and will be an instant hit with fans. Watch out for them rocking the festival circuit this summer!

Aitch, Ed Sheeran – My G

Euan: On paper I should hate this. A hardcore rapper trying to show his softer side while teaming up with … well… a slightly over-exposed star. But I love it. It’s authentic, it’s heartfelt and Ed’s chorus adds to the feels. It reminds me of Eminem’s Stan and that’s a good thing.

Lola Young – Sorry

Helen: At just 20 years old, Lola Young recently graduated from the BRIT school – famous alumni include Amy Winehouse and Adele – and with Lola’s soulful sound there’s no doubt comparisons will be made.  But I don’t get the impression that will daunt this confident young woman whose lyrics are refreshingly honest and relatable.

Sam Smith, Kim Petras – Unholy

Euan: Ask anyone in our office and they will say that it must take a lot for me to put Sam Smith on my best tunes of the year list! I respect and appreciate their talent; they just don’t make my kind of music. Until this! The combination of the gritty and dark lyrics with the sheer joy of the chorus is infectious. After a couple of listens you’ll be booking your own visit to the body shop.

Gabriels – Angles and Queens

This has got to be my absolute number-one pick of the year.  Soulful, raw, insanely talented – I cannot say enough good things about this group.  They’re on the BBC’s Sound of 2023 shortlist, which tips the most exciting new musical talents, and I can absolutely see why.  If you do one thing today – listen to the album from beginning to end – you will not be disappointed.

Pomplamoose – Dancing In The Dark

Euan: This is a personal pick for me. I’m a huge Pomplamoose fan. They’re a bunch of crazy talented musicians and vocalists. Their music hits the spot for me, and I love the innovative way they do business too. True fact: their keyboard player is also the founder of creative business platform Patreon. Pomplamoose do a lot of covers, with Dancing in the Dark, it sounds nothing like Springsteen’s version but conveys all the optimism and yearning of The Boss with some added funk.