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How The Sounds Of The '70s Took Over The 2022 GRAMMYs: The Return Of ABBA, The Throwback Vibes Of Silk Sonic & More
(Clockwise, L-R): Jon Batiste, Doja Cat & SZA, Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars as Silk Sonic, ABBA

Source Photos (Clockwise, L-R): Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Global Citizen; Christopher Polk/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images; John Esparza via Getty Images; Gus Stewart/Redferns

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How The Sounds Of The '70s Took Over The 2022 GRAMMYs: The Return Of ABBA, The Throwback Vibes Of Silk Sonic & More

Between the feel-good soul of Silk Sonic and the return of pop greats ABBA, there’s no denying that the 1970s have permeated mainstream music once again. And as several 2022 GRAMMY nominations reflect, its influence goes beyond the dance floor.

GRAMMYs/Mar 28, 2022 - 02:25 pm

It started as a mysterious announcement: an invite to an event deemed "a historic day that celebrates the past and future of ABBA."

Why this message was coming in September 2021, four decades after their gargantuan global success in the '70s, was an open question. As it turns out, there was a future of ABBA — and an auspicious one. 

The beloved band would release new music for the first time since 1982 in the form of the album Voyage. The project earned ABBA the first-ever GRAMMY nomination, thanks to the aptly-titled single "I Still Have Faith In You," up for Record of the Year. But in addition to being the group's highest-charting album to date — it debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 in November — Voyage was emblematic of a '70s influence that had infiltrated contemporary music in full force. 

That's especially reflected at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards: In practically every nomination field this year, the sounds and sentiments of the '70s are thriving as boisterously as a pair of bell bottoms under a shimmering disco ball. From ABBA's inaugural nod to the musical voice of this year's most-nominated artist, Jon Batiste (who received 11 nominations across seven fields), it's an undeniable fact that everything old is new again. 

So why are the sounds of the '70s making such a triumphant return? One could argue that after two years of dour headlines and uncertainty, people are eager to remember times when society let loose and the culture was just unapologetically fun. Those two qualities are front and center in Doja Cat and SZA's downright fun "Kiss Me More," nominated for four GRAMMYS including Song and Record of the Year.

"I wanted to make a song about kissing," Doja matter-of-factly told Apple Music's Zane Lowe. "I just thought it would be cute. That doesn't happen too often, but just a song that's solely about kissing." How does one package up that blatant innocence in a musically joyous way? By infusing it with disco beat, of course, courtesy of Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" (though released in 1981, the single borrowed its buoyant vibe from the previous decade).

As ABBA, Doja and SZA have been bringing the disco era's pure pop sounds, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak's Silk Sonic dug into the soul and R&B of the time. The duo's acclaimed album An Evening with Silk Sonic takes a page from bygone acts like the Stylistics, the Spinners and the Manhattans. All of those groups who sang with deep passion, stacked melodies and slow-simmering rhythms. 

Silk Sonic's debut single, "Leave The Door Open," is a recipe for a bonafide throwback gem, with serious harmonizing buoyed by Mars' falsetto. Its '70s stylings clearly resonated: Along with topping several charts, "Leave The Door Open" is nominated for four GRAMMYS, including Record and Song of the Year.

Then there's Jon Batiste. He's the ceremony's most-nominated artist with a whopping 11 chances to win a prized trophy (including Record of the Year for "Freedom" and Album of the Year for We Are,) and the most acknowledged act since Kendrick Lamar scooped up 11 nods six years ago. (Only Michael Jackson and Babyface have been nominated for more GRAMMYS, once each scoring 12 nominations in a single year.) Much like Bruno Mars, Batiste's musical influences have a firm foundation in the past, specifically music popularized decades before his own 1986 birth.

"It has the classic feel I was trying to imitate when I was growing up," said Batiste in a recent interview of We Are's soulful, throwback and funky feel that could have been right at home smack in the middle of the 70s. "My mentors — Stevie Wonder, or Quincy Jones, who wrote the liner notes for the album — when they listen to it, they hear that in it." 

The recycling of former sounds is a story as old as the music industry itself, with long-antiquated genres popping up and taking culture by storm on a regular basis. These periods of renewed interest are akin to the revival of any sort of trend in music, fashion or otherwise. It often follows a formula: first something is cutting edge, then it becomes mainstream, sometimes resulting in a period of ultra-proliferation. During this phase, the trend morphs into passé, only to be forgotten about — and then subsequently rediscovered by some future generation. 

This oft-repeated cycle, which takes place over a period of 20 to 40 years, is another reason why the '70s are back. It even occurred during the actual 1970s, as the '50s came back into vogue in the wake of the Vietnam War and subsequent American political upheaval. Yearning for a simpler time, that innocence was found through the shows and music stemming from "Happy Days," American Graffiti and That's Entertainment taking over culture.

The 1960s had its comeback moment as well: At the turn of the century, pop had gone fully bubblegum and synthetic, paving the way for a '60s revival. By the mid-2000s, the spirit of the Motown era had returned; GRAMMY-winning artists like Amy Winehouse to Duffy brought soul back to pop radio, and the Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson-starring Dreamgirls revived the Motown story on screen. 

Even as the '70s influence is flourishing now, so is the emo music of the aughts. Elements of pop-punk are sprinkled across Olivia Rodrigo's Album Of The Year-nominated Sour (even sampling genre heavyweights Paramore in the hit "Good 4 U"); Halsey's If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power (up for Best Alternative Music Album) incorporates emo sounds in tracks like "Easier Than Lying."

Like ABBA, a few other veteran '70s acts earned GRAMMY nominations this year. AC/DC — who formed in Australia in 1973 and released a variety of acclaimed albums through the decade — received their first nominations since 2010. The group's 17th studio album, 2020's Power Up, is up for Best Rock Album, while its single "Shot in the Dark" also scored nods for Best Rock Song and Best Music Video.

Powerhouse vocalist Mavis Staples notched her 14th GRAMMY nomination — and her first for Album Of The Year — as a featured artist on the aforementioned Batiste's album, We Are. (Staples got her start in the '70s with family gospel/soul band the Staple Singers, who fully came into their own with a string of nominations in R&B categories from 1971 to 1973.) 

It's been well-documented that GRAMMY voting has continually been a push and pull between new generations of decision makers and the old guard. The nominating of bygone artists is as much about honoring a legacy as it is about a current place in the music landscape. 

Read More: For The Record: How AC/DC's 'Power Up' Continues Their Electrifying Legacy

The same push and pull is happening on a macro level with audiences whose very contemporary love for these past eras translates to streams and album sales. Case in point: AC/DC's Power Up debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album charts, only the third time the band has ever achieved the feat.

Meanwhile, ABBA's Voyage not only enjoyed critical acclaim, but its No. 2 debut on the Billboard 200 marked the first top 10 album of the band's history. It's a long way from the days when ABBA were considered more of a guilty pleasure than icons in the making. Today, they're GRAMMY nominated and widely regarded as legends of the industry, no doubt a result of a changing, nostalgia-loving culture.

While there may be no exact explanation for the '70s making a comeback at this particular moment — even ABBA's Benny Andersson admits "I really don't get it" — Bruno Mars arguably encapsulated the decade's musical revival best in a 2021 Rolling Stone interview about Silk Sonic's process. "I don't know what year it is," he said. "I'm not looking at the charts. So we'd just come here every night, have a drink, and we play what we love."

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10 Songs That Show Doja Cat’s Rap Skills: From "Vegas" To "Tia Tamara" & "Rules"
Doja Cat

Photo: Christopher Polk/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

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10 Songs That Show Doja Cat’s Rap Skills: From "Vegas" To "Tia Tamara" & "Rules"

Doja Cat’s rap skills are often overshadowed by her many other talents. Yet her bars are too solid to be negated, and her inventive vocal stylings worthy of adulation.

GRAMMYs/Jan 26, 2023 - 05:29 pm

Doja Cat is one of the most exciting talents of our time, and it’s partly thanks to her refusal to stick to one sound. A triple threat, the artist sings, raps and dances with a vigor that’s resulted in seven Top 10 hits and 16 GRAMMY nominations.

But due to the overwhelming popularity of her mainstream pop-forward smashes — including the twice-GRAMMY nominated "Say So," the SZA-assisted "Kiss Me More" (which scored the ladies their first win for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance last year) and her feature on Post Malone’s "I Like You (A Happier Song)" — Doja's rap skills often get overshadowed by her other talents.

Yet Doja Cat is no mere pop star. Her bars are too solid to be negated, and she currently has five 2023 GRAMMY nominations to prove it. Doja's Elvis original motion picture soundtrack cut "Vegas" earned a Best Rap Performance nod, while Planet Her single "Woman" (which fuses sensual Afrobeats with sharp hip-hop rhymes) has three nominations including Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Music Video and Record Of The Year.

In celebration of Doja Cat’s rap prowess, we’ve gathered her best rap songs, from solo album cuts to unforgettable guest features.

"Vegas" (2022)

What makes Doja Cat’s artistry so mesmerizing is the ease in which she floats from singing to spitting. On "Vegas," the surefire highlight from last year’s Elvis soundtrack, her delicate vocals play a supporting role in amplifying her fiery bars. Her rapping is the star of the show as she unleashes fury at an ex-lover who did her wrong: "Had your ass sittin' first class with your burnt ass out in Abu Dhabi / Coulda been what we shoulda been but you lost a bet."

"Vegas" is a perfect marriage of historical homage (it chops up Shonka Dukureh’s cover of Big Mama Thornton’s original rendition of "Hound Dog") and millennial s— talking that led to a Best Rap Performance nomination at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

"Do It" Remix - Chloe x Halle (2020)

Chloe x Halle gathered an all-star lineup of women rappers for the remix to their sultry hit single "Do It." While the City Girls and Latto brought their own heat, Doja Cat stole the show. Appointed the opening verse, the artist rides the twinkling beat effortlessly but also brings her signature cheeky energy (she literally coughs in the middle of the verse). It leaves you wondering why Doja wasn’t secured for the original version in the first place.

"Tia Tamera" feat. Rico Nasty (2019)

What makes Doja Cat so endearing is that she isn’t afraid to get weird. So when she called upon fellow rapper Rico Nasty for "Tia Tamera" — a track on the deluxe edition Amala, her debut album — we knew we were going to be in for a wild ride. The pair balances their kitschy flows and sheer silliness (Doja is comparing her breasts to the iconic ‘90s twins) with impressive wordplay ("Dug in the guts and I skeet her") to remind you how much they take their rapping seriously.

The Roxana Baldovin-directed video revs up the raucous factor with a neon-colored, ‘90s-inspired explosion featuring homages to "Sister, Sister," Lisa Frank and Nickelodeon’s "Double Dare" game show.

"Rules" (2019)

Doja Cat’s rapping often gets compared to Kendrick Lamar for her ability to twist her vocal stylings to invent new effects. On "Rules," Doja Cat’s timbre creates an earworm rollercoaster, leaping from a helium-like tone to velvety seduction.

The Hot Pink song is also one of her most serious, which forces you to pay attention to her lyrical adaptability. "Said play with my p—y/ But don’t play with my emotions," she commands over a Western-inspired production. And better believe listeners obliged. 

"Need To Know" (2021)

The GRAMMY-nominated Planet Her was an adventure into Doja’s kooky world, and "Need To Know" was the spaceship to launch us into the stratosphere. Doja Cat transforms into a full alien as she rides on icy synths and crashing snares. It’s maddening how she confidently jumps from cocky ("I don’t play with my pen / I mean what I write") to erotic "Oh, wait, you a fan of the magic? / Poof, p—y like an Alakazam" while never losing her sense of humor. It comes as no surprise that "Need To Know" earned a Best Melodic Rap Performance nomination at the 2022 GRAMMYs.

"Up And Down"  (2021)

Doja Cat loves teasing her fans on social media, often sharing songs that she’s working on but likely won't release. Luckily, she gifted listeners with "Up And Down," which she first previewed during an Instagram Live in 2018. She recorded the song in real time, but fans had to hold their breath for three years to hear the official version on the deluxe edition of Planet Her. The wait was worth it, of course, as Doja’s staccato flow and signature cheekiness ("Y'all ain't s— but I flush") still sounded fresh.

"Pu**y Talk - City Girls (2020)

City Girls and Doja Cat are all known for unapologetic praising the power of the woman, so it was only a matter of time when they linked up for this raunchy banger. There is nothing subtle about the song, as Miami-based City Girls explicitly stating how wealthy they need their sexual partners to be. Doja Cat holds her own, dishing a platter of R-rated afterhours innuendos that would make Lil Kim' proud.

"Best Friend" - Saweetie (2021)

You know the musical chemistry is undeniable when it scores you a GRAMMY nomination for Best Rap Song. That’s the case for Saweetie and Doja Cat, whose "Best Friend" was filled to the brim with feel-good energy. The single is all about celebrating friendship and sisterhood, and the song poses the two in an unofficial competition on who can give the other the most compliments. Doja Cat serves double-duty on the twerk-friendly chorus and a verse that shows she’s a ride-or-die friend: "That's my best friend, if you need a freak / I ain't dumb, but motherf—er, she my Tweedledee."

"Make That Cake" Remix - LunchMoney Lewis (2019)

LunchMoney Lewis’ "Make That Cake" single didn’t gather much attention when it first dropped in the summer of 2019, but that all changed when he called upon Doja Cat for the remix not too longer after. Often credited as the artist’s most underrated guest features, it’s the best showcase of her clever and technical wordplay. "Mark my words, hit a billion like I'm Mark Zucker / Big news, Takanawa, Tom Tucker," she spits, making a handful of pop culture references (the Facebook CEO’s wealth, Family Guy news reporters and "zucker" translating to "sugar" in German) in a single bar.

"Get Into It (Yuh)"  (2021)

Nicki Minaj is a big influence on Doja Cat’s love for rap. After their "Say So" remix earned both of them their first No. 1 hit, Doja Cat continued to pay homage with "Get Into It (Yuh)."

Minaj is known for her frenetic and unpredictable style, and on the Planet Her highlight Doja Cat channels her inner Barb. Her quickfire flow is downright dizzying, taking brief pauses to catch her breath before hopping right back into her quirky wordplay. "Thank you, Nicki, I love you," she sweetly exclaims in the song’s outro. There’s no doubt she made the millennial Queen of Rap proud.

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The Soundtrack Hit Makes A Comeback: How 'Encanto,' 'Top Gun' & ‘Black Panther’ Went From Chart-Toppers To GRAMMY Nominations

Photo: RgStudio via GettyImages

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The Soundtrack Hit Makes A Comeback: How 'Encanto,' 'Top Gun' & ‘Black Panther’ Went From Chart-Toppers To GRAMMY Nominations

The once-golden bridge between Hollywood and Billboard has been quiet in recent years, perhaps due in part to the pandemic. But over the past 12 months, that trend has been truly broken.

GRAMMYs/Jan 23, 2023 - 04:15 pm

It’s the kind of development even an animated fortune teller voiced by John Leguizamo couldn’t have predicted.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2021 animated film Encanto was all-conquering, and its success also touched the Billboard charts. The film's "We Don't Talk About Bruno" entered the first Hot 100 chart of 2022 at No. 50, quickly becoming a record-breaking, multi-million-selling phenomenon. It also led to the renaissance of a particular crossover: the soundtrack hit.

With the domestic box office now showing signs of returning to pre-COVID days, the soundtrack single has, once again, become a key marketing tool and chart staple. The nominees for Best Song Written For Visual Media at the 2023 GRAMMYs are proof: Four of the six nominated songs charted on the Billboard Hot 100, with "We Don't Talk About Bruno" sitting at No. 1 for five weeks — the highest tally for a soundtrack release in seven years. (Aladdin favorite "A Whole New World" is also in the exclusive club of Disney animation No. 1s.)

2022 spawned five Top 10  hits from film soundtracks — a feat last achieved in 2018 via Kendrick Lamar’s Black Panther collabs with the Weeknd ("Pray for Me") and SZA ("All the Stars"), Swae Lee and Post Malone’s "Sunflower" (Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse), Khalid & Normani’s "Love Lies" (Love, Simon), and the A Star Is Born cut "Shallow." Yet the once-golden bridge between Hollywood and Billboard was quiet in the intervening years, perhaps due in part to the pandemic.  Not one TV or movie tie-in graced the Top 10 in 2021 or 2020. And although Oscar-winning “Shallow” reached pole position in 2019, it began its chart trajectory the year previously.

Over the past 12 months, however, this drought has been well and truly broken. And for a while, single-handedly by Encanto.

The Encanto OST picked up three GRAMMY nominations — Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media, Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media and Best Song Written For Visual Media for "Bruno" and spawned seven Hot 100 singles, including another Top 10 smash, "Surface Pressure." Not bad for an album which in its first week entered the charts at No. 197.

Unlike the inescapable "Let It Go" from 2013's Disney juggernaut Frozen, the success of "Bruno" happened more organically. Its chart and streaming dominance wasn't steered by record executives, but by the public who deemed it more stream-worthy than any other track from the film. The biggest soundtrack from a live-action film, Top Gun: Maverick, told a similar story.

Lady Gaga’s power ballad "Hold My Hand" was primed to replicate the chart-topping, Academy Award-winning success of Berlin’s "Take My Breath Away" from the 1986 original. But while Gaga's lead single received a Best Song Written For Visual Media nomination at the 65th GRAMMY Awards, its chart peak was overwhelmingly eclipsed by OneRepublic’s "I Ain’t Worried."

The uptempo Peter, Bjorn and John-sampling track played over key scene where Tom Cruise, Glen Powell and Miles Teller play football shirtless on the beach, and became Ryan Tedder and co.’s biggest hit since 2013’s "Counting Stars" (No. 6 on Hot 100, over 660 million streams). The synergy between moviegoers and OneRepublic fans caught the band's record label off guard; Interscope pulled promotion of then-current single "West Coast" to capitalize on all the buzz.

2022 also witnessed a return-to-form from pop music-savvy director Baz Luhrmann, whose expert curation helped Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby spawn radio hits. Luhrmann was never going to give his Elvis Presley biopic a traditional soundtrack; instead he favored a mix of nostalgia and anachronism.

Elvis is peppered with songs performed by The King himself, as well as covers sung by former teen idol/lead actor Austin Butler and a host of newcomers and established artists. Yet the film's sole Top 10 hit was contemporary: Doja Cat's "Hound Dog"-sampling "Vegas." For Luhrmann's vision, Elvis was nominated alongside Encanto, "Stranger Things," Top Gun: Maverick and West Side Story for Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media GRAMMY Award.

Even Rihanna came out of self-imposed musical retirement for a film soundtrack, releasing the lead single from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in late October. While the dramatic balladry of "Lift Me Up" might not have been the floor-filling banger many fans hoped for — the song is Rihanna's first solo single in six years — it still returned the Barbadian to the upper echelons of the hit parade, reaching No. 2.

No stranger to the film soundtrack, Taylor Swift’s contribution to haunting drama Where the Crawdads Sing, "Carolina," is also nominated in the Best Song Written for Visual Media category alongside "Nobody Like U" — Turning Red’s fictional boyband song co-penned by Billie Eilish. And while the monolithic state of the comic book universe has rarely translated to the singles chart, The Batman’s use of Nirvana’s "Something In The Way" catapulted 1992's Nevermind up the charts.

As movie hits were abundant, so were songs featured in big-time TV shows — bringing new songs and decades-old hits back into public consciousness. Chief among these small screen-to-chartoppers was  Kate Bush's 1985 single "Running Up That Hill," which played over a significant moment in the mammoth fourth season of Netflix’s "Stranger Things."

The song was the British singer/songwriter's first Top 40 hit in the U.S., peaking at No. 30 on the Hot 100 in the '80s. Nearly 30 years later, without any label backing, the majestic synth-pop classic enjoyed a much-deserved second wind, shooting all the way up to No. 3 faster than you can say "flesh-eating Demogorgon."

The sci-fi nostalgia-fest also gave another, although much heavier, ‘80s gem a new lease of life when Joseph Quinn’s Eddie Munson shredded Metallica’s "Master of Puppets" in its season finale. The thrash metal favorite subsequently enjoyed a belated chart debut at No. 35, returning the headbangers to the Hot 100 for the first time in 14 years.

Elsewhere, video game adaptation "Arcane" spawned the first TV theme hit in eons with unlikely dream team Imagine Dragons and JID’s "Enemy," while "Euphoria" regular Labrinth scored a chart hit with "I’m Tired," a gospel-tinged song he performs in the second season's fourth episode as Zendaya's Rue imagines entering a church. The new golden age of television combined with the return to multiplexes ensured that 2022 was a banner year for the OST.

2023 looks promising, too: Dua Lipa is rumored to be contributing to Barbie’s long-awaited cinematic debut; Disney is set to give The Little Mermaid the live-action treatment featuring Chloe x Halle’s Halle Bailey; and several franchises that previously spawned No. 1 soundtrack songs have new installments on the way (The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Fast X). Regardless, expect the soundtrack hit renaissance to continue growing like the "grapes that thrive on the vine."

Watch The 2022 Nominees For Best Song Written For Visual Media Nominees At The 2023 GRAMMY Awards

Press Play On GRAMMY U Mixtape: New Year, It’s Poppin'! Monthly Member Playlist

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Press Play On GRAMMY U Mixtape: New Year, It’s Poppin'! Monthly Member Playlist

The GRAMMY U Mixtape is a monthly, genre-spanning playlist to quench your thirst for new tunes, all from student members. GRAMMY U celebrates new beginnings with fresh pop tunes that will kickstart 2023.

GRAMMYs/Jan 6, 2023 - 12:17 am

Did you know that among all of the students in GRAMMY U, songwriting and performance is one of the most sought after fields of study? We want to create a space to hear what these students are creating today!

The GRAMMY U Mixtape, now available for your listening pleasure, highlights the creations and fresh ideas that students are bringing to this industry directly on the Recording Academy's Spotify and Apple Music pages. Our goal is to celebrate GRAMMY U members, as well as the time and effort they put into making original music — from the songwriting process to the final production of the track.

Each month, we accept submissions and feature 20 to 25 songs that match that month’s theme. This month we're ringing in 2023 with our New Year, It's Poppin'! playlist, which features fresh pop songs that bring new year, new you vibes. Showcasing talented members from our various chapters, we felt these songs represented the positivity and hopefulness that GRAMMY U members embody as they tackle this upcoming year of exciting possibilities.

So, what’s stopping you? Press play on GRAMMY U’s Mixtape and listen now on Spotify below and Apple Music.

Want to be featured on the next playlist? Submit your songs today! We are currently accepting submissions for songs of all genres for consideration for our February playlist. Whether you write pop, rock, hip hop, jazz, or classical, we want to hear from you. Music must be written and/or produced by the student member (an original song) and you must be able to submit a Spotify and/or Apple Music link to the song. Students must be a GRAMMY U member to submit.

About GRAMMY U:

GRAMMY U is a program that connects college students with the industry's brightest and most talented minds and provides those aspiring professionals with the tools and opportunities necessary to start a career in music.     

Throughout each semester, events and special programs touch on all facets of the industry, including the business, technology, and the creative process.

As part of the Recording Academy's mission to ensure the recorded arts remain a thriving part of our shared cultural heritage, GRAMMY U establishes the necessary foundation for music’s next generation to flourish.

Not a member, but want to submit to our playlist? Apply for GRAMMY U Membership here.

2022 Year In Review: 7 Trends That Defined R&B
(L-R) Mariah Carey, FKA Twigs, Mary J. Blige, Wizkid, SZA, Kehlani

Photo: (L-R) Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images for BET, Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy, Scott Dudelson/Getty Images, Timothy Norris/Getty Images, Erika Goldring/WireImage, Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Grey Goose Essences

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2022 Year In Review: 7 Trends That Defined R&B

From the return of beloved mainstays to unexpected collaborations, revisit some of the year's biggest moments in R&B.

GRAMMYs/Dec 26, 2022 - 05:24 pm

2022 was a glowing year for R&B, with newcomers and legends alike shattering claims that the genre is on the brink of losing its popularity. It was quite the opposite, actually — newer R&B stars like Flo helped revive '00s nostalgia, and veterans like Babyface showed that there's strength in collaboration.

As the world re-emerges from the pandemic, artists channeled a brighter energy in their music, using more upbeat melodies and lyrics that emphasized fun and romance. Chlöe provided the twerk-friendly anthems, while FKA Twigs' Caprisongs mixtape featured a song for every kind of party imaginable.

There were plenty more R&B stars new and old who contributed to the genre's shine this year. Below, revisit some of 2022's biggest moments in R&B.

The Ladies Seduced Us

R&B has always maintained a sensual core, and the women of the genre confidently reminded listeners of that fact throughout 2022. On her second album Age/Sex/Location, ​​Ari Lennox explored the ebbs and flows of lust with songs like the NSFW "Leak It" (featuring Chlöe) and the flirtatious "Hoodie." Chlöe also continued to unleash her seductive goddess on her solo single, "Surprise."

Two years before SZA dropped her long-anticipated second album, SOS, in December, she showed off her pole-dancing skills in a 2020 Instagram post teasing single "Shirt." (And when lead single "Good Days" arrived in March, she continued her seduction in the outro of the music video.) The LP details the journey of post-lust heartbreak and how to regain one's confidence, from the sneaky affair of "Low" to feeling empty on the punk rock-inspired "F2F."

Peacock's Bel-Air star Coco Jones proved her singing ability was equally as strong as her acting skills, as she captured hearts with her debut EP, What I Didn't Tell You, including the yearning single "ICU." Amber Mark, also a fellow newcomer, released her debut album Three Dimensions Deep. The LP features an array of genres, but songs like "Softly" are what really entranced listeners.

Singers From Across the Pond Ruled

The appreciation for R&B spans shores, and British artists delivered fresh spins on the genre. Cheltenham's FKA Twigs set the energetic tone with the January release of her first mixtape, Caprisongs, which is filled with a kaleidoscope of sounds from drum and bass to trap. Leicester's Mahalia navigated heartbreak with her Letter To Ur Ex EP. Southampton native Craig David tapped back into his '00s style with his nostalgic eighth album, 22, which opens with an interpolation of fellow R&B star Jon B.'s 1998 classic, "They Don't Know."

After winning over stateside fans in 2018 with her GRAMMY-winning single "Boo'd Up," London-born Ella Mai returned with her sophomore album Heart on My Sleeve — a self-described "therapy session" that highlighted the artist's diaristic songwriting. London also spawned a new girl group this year with Flo, a trio who channeled the heydays of '00s pop&B with their debut EP, The Lead.

Afrobeats Trickled Into The Genre

Afrobeats' international popularity has surged over the past few years, so much so that other genres are now borrowing its infectious groove. This year, R&B singers infused the genre into their own sounds, further showcasing Afrobeats' versatility.

FKA Twigs' Caprisongs features "Jealousy," a mellow collab with burgeoning Nigerian artist Rema. Two months later, Rema dropped R&B-infused music of his own on his debut album, Rave & Roses, which featured guests like 6lack and Chris Brown.

The month of June gave way to sweltering summer collaborations. Diddy paired up with Bryson Tiller on the brooding "Gotta Move On," which scored the music mogul his 11th No. 1 on Billboard's Adult R&B Airplay chart. And in true Diddy fashion, he dropped a "Queens" version featuring Yung Miami and Ashanti.

Not long after, Chris Brown and Wizkid joined forces for "Call Me Every Day." Marking their third collaboration, the sultry smash illustrated just why they're crowned the princes of R&B and Afrobeats, respectively.

Artists Took It Back To The Club

R&B is not always about love songs and heartbreak. Rather than dwell in their feelings, a handful of singers opted for a more lighthearted approach in their music. After jumpstarting her solo era with last year's booty anthem "Have Mercy," Chlöe kept the ode to curves going with "Treat Me." Built atop a sample of Bubba Sparxxx and the Ying Yang Twins' 2005 hit "Ms. New Booty," "Treat Me" is a self-confidence anthem.

Baby Tate also borrowed an Atlanta crunk staple from the same year for "Ain't No Love." Featuring fellow Georgia native 2 Chainz, the bouncy tune samples Ciara's "Oh" collaboration with Ludacris, spinning the '00s classic into a modern-day jam.

On the opposite coast, Los Angeles' own Blxst solidified his signature laid-back style with his debut album, Before You Go. Lead single "About You" is best served with a cold one and a two-step.

Kehlani then took listeners to their native Bay Area with April's Blue Water Road album (where Blxst also makes an appearance). The Slick Rick-sampling "Wish I Never" is the ultimate '90s house party jam while the upbeat "Up At Night" with Justin Bieber will do just what its title implies.

Other club genres also came into play, with Ravyn Lenae experiencing house euphoria on Hypnos' "Xtasy" and FKA Twigs going full dancehall alongside shygirl with Caprisongs' "Papi Bones."

There Were Many '90s Celebrations

The '90s still has a tight grip on R&B's current sound, and the artists who ruled that decade proudly reminded us of that fact in 2022. For the 25th anniversary of Mariah Carey's transitional Butterfly album, the icon released a special re-edition that features an updated version of "The Roof" (with added vocals from Brandy) and "Whenever You Call" (with Brian McKnight), a live version of "My All" from VH1 Divas Live, the "Amorphous Anniversary Club Remix" of the title track and more.

Usher also got in the commemorative spirit, releasing My Way (25th Anniversary Edition) — which happens to share the same Sept. 16 anniversary as Carey's Butterfly. The new edition included reimagined versions of three tracks: "My Way (Ryan James Carr Remake)," "Nice & Slow (Ryan James Carr Remake)" and "You Make Me Wanna… (Ryan James Carr Remake)."

To commemorate another 25th anniversary, Erykah Badu celebrated her GRAMMY-winning Baduizm debut with a pair of shows at London's Royal Festival Hall.

Other '90s celebrations came from R&B quartet Xscape, who received the Lady of Soul honor at the 2022 Soul Train Awards, and new artist LAYA, who honored Missy Elliott with a cover of the rapper's 1997 single "Sock It 2 Me" for Women's History Month.

Alt-R&B Girls Made A Return

The beauty of R&B is in its sonic diversity. Alternative R&B has blossomed in popularity over the years, and 2022 saw the return of some of the subgenre's leaders.

Santigold made a thrilling return with Spirituals, the singer's first album in six years. An emotional journey through lockdown, the LP fuses gospel, electronica, punk and pop, all tied together with Santigold's signature yelps.

Another long-awaited comeback came from Kelela, who re-emerged in September after a five-year hiatus. Her single "Washed Away" is the launchpad to her second album Raven, which will be released next February. "Raven is my first breath taken in the dark, an affirmation of Black femme perspective in the midst of systemic erasure and the sound of our vulnerability turned to power," Kelela shared in a press release.

Although Solange didn't give fans new music in 2022, the singer was honored with the 2022 NYU Global Trailblazer Award for Creative and Artistic Excellence in March. And ever the ever-unpredictable star, she composed a score for the New York City Ballet that came to life with a performance at the Lincoln Center in September.

Old School Met New School

This year, there was no separation of generations. Rather, the "legend vs. newcomer" hierarchy was completely dismissed, as artists from the '60s to today joined forces in the recording studio.

Ronald Isley and Beyoncé wooed soul fans with their rework of "Make Me Say It Again, Girl," which originally appeared on the Isley Brothers' 1975 album, The Heat Is On. Isley's wife/manager Kandy told Billboard that Beyoncé's mother Tina Knowles-Lawson was integral in the collaboration, marking a full-circle moment for the star, who grew up listening to the group. "The fact that they are giving us permission to put it out at this time is just overly special," Kandy said.

Ciara and Summer Walker's lilting vocals complemented each other on "Better Thangs," while  SZA (whose stage name pays homage to Wu-Tang Clan member RZA) featured the late Ol' Dirty Bastard on SOS. Elsewhere, PJ Morton's latest album is a celebration of collaboration, with guests Stevie Wonder and Nas on "Water," and Jill Scott and Alex Isley on "Still Believe."

In October, Babyface passed down his GRAMMY-winning torch to the women of R&B with his collaboration album, Girls Night Out. Solely featuring the new generation of female singers, from Muni Long to Ari Lennox, the album showed that romance has no age.

Mary J. Blige donned her Queen of Hip-Hop Soul crown on her latest album, which features rappers like Dave East and Fivio Foreign. On the opposite end, Toronto R&B duo dvsn teamed with male R&B group Jagged Edge on "What's Up" from the former's Working on My Karma album.

Whether it was R&B's legends or promising newcomers making waves, this year had plenty of proof that the genre is still thriving — and never going anywhere.

R&B Isn't Dead: Listen To 51 Songs By Summer Walker, Josh Levi & More Artists Who Are Pushing The Genre Forward