In 2022, music from the golden age of synthpop came roaring back in delightful and unexpected ways.
The end of Covid meant concerts returned in force, and I attended two of the biggest festivals of the year. At Cruel World fest in Los Angeles, I witnessed performances by legends like Bauhaus, Blondie, Devo, Psychedelic Furs, and many more. And at Cold Waves Chicago, I watched industrial titans Front 242 give one of their final US shows and Nitzer Ebb perform a blistering, career-defining set.
But one of the biggest music stories of the year was the phenomenal return of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” thanks to its presence in the Netflix show Stranger Things. It was nice to see a groundbreaking artist like Kate Bush get picked up by a new generation of music fans.
None of this is new, of course, for our synthpop scene. We’ve been carrying the ’80s torch for decades, and most of the artists I write about here are heavily influenced by ’80s synthpop and new wave. In fact, each year finds another bumper crop of cover songs that typically includes classics from that era. Below, I’ve assembled 25 synthpop covers that were released in 2022. Note that these aren’t ranked. Rather, they are in alphabetical order by artists’ names.
PS: I really wanted to include a cover of “Running Up That Hill,” and I swear I heard several new ones this year. But I had trouble finding one. If you know of a version released in 2022, let me know.
Apoptygma Berzerk – “Enjoy the Silence” (original song by Depeche Mode)
Ashley Bad – “Erotica” (original song by Madonna)
Atlantic Popes – “Little 15” (original song by Depeche Mode)
Cold Cave – “GodStar” (original song by Psychic TV)
CZARINA – “Cities In Dust” (original song by Siouxsie and the Banshees)
Eloquent – “Bette Davis Eyes” (original song by Jackie DeShannon, popularized by Kim Carnes)
Eminent Sol – “Enola Gay” (original song by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark)
Gulf Blvd – “Mr. Brightside” (original song by The Killers)
Hexheart – “The Funeral Party” (original song by The Cure)
Indelible Scars – “Goodbye Horses” (original song by Q Lazarus)
Izzy Perri – “Toxic” (original song by Britney Spears)
Lunikk – “Video Killed the Radio Star” (original song by The Buggles)
Mareux – “The Perfect Girl” (original song by The Cure)
Mercury Machine – “Swamp Thing” (original song by The Chameleons)
Mint Julep – “Shout” (original song by Tears for Fears)
Panic Priest – “Self Control” (original song by Laura Branigan)
Provision – “The Great Commandment” (original song by Camouflage)
Psy’Aviah feat. Mari Kattman – “Monoculture” (original song by Soft Cell)
Rio Noir – “Shake the Disease” (original song by Depeche Mode)
Robyn feat. Mapei – “Buffalo Stance” (original song by Neneh Cherry)
Rohn-Lederman – “Pets” (original song by Porno for Pyros)
Tenderlash – “Zombie” (original song by The Cranberries)
Tragic Impulse – “Just One Fix” (original song by Ministry)
Trevor Something – “Lovesong” (original song by The Cure)
welle: erdball – “Space Oddity” (original song by David Bowie)