Pretty Good Year: My Top Stories of 2022

From heart-wrenching journalism to moving music profiles, Managing Editor Liza Lentini creates an end-of-year roundup of some of her favorite stories she worked on this year
Sinead O'Connor performs at the O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire on December 16, 2019 in London. (Credit: by Gus Stewart/Redferns)

From the moment it launched nearly four decades ago, SPINhas become synonymous with groundbreaking editorial and cutting-edge stories. We work hard every day to honor the SPIN legacy, while creating space for all generations of readers to discover new music and critical culture profiles. If I were to include all of the great editorial we published in 2022, this collection would be too damn long. So here are a few choice favorites that I personally brought in, most I edited and a few I penned myself. From the written word to Instagram Live, it’s been an incredible year for editorial.

 

January 

I kicked off the year with my second annual open letter to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and, in this case, you might say hindsight was 2022. The purpose of these letters is to highlight an artist who’s undeniable musical and cultural relevance hasn’t earned them a nomination—yet. While the Rock Hall inductions don’t define artistry, I feel it’s important to recognize true trailblazers of merit, especially if not fully appreciated during their time. Before I knew about the documentary Nothing Compares, I posted a heartfelt letter as to why the incomparable Sinead O’Connor deserved to be inducted into the RRHOF.

 

February

We did some incredible video editorial this year (visit our newly revamped YouTube channel, and keep an eye out for videos on our Insta @spinmag). While continuing with my getting-to-know-you, behind-the-scenes “A Day in the Life…”features, I also conducted InstaLive interviews. In February, Pixies drummer Dave Lovering stopped by again to perform some magic tricks for us, blow our minds, and help perform a little giveaway. (Oh, yeah—and also promote the band’s new box set, Live in Brixton, which is definitely one of the best live albums ever made.)

 

(Credit: Loren Haynes)

 

March

In honor of the Lemonheads headlining our SXSW showcase, I launched a new series called SPIN DNA, revisiting the key editors and contributors of SPIN’s editorial past. The first was this interview with photographer Loren Haynes, about his iconic 1993 French-kissing cover, featuring Lemonhead Evan Dando and actor Adrienne Shelly. Subsequent articles featured Rory Nugent, who reported on the IRA after embedding with them, and Jim Greer, a legendary Senior Editor and writer at SPIN.

And in December, to tie in with World AIDS Day, we talked with SPIN founder Bob Guccione, Jr.  about the magazine’s famous and groundbreaking AIDS column, which ran for 10 years.

 

April

In April, I spoke with Jewel about her new album, Freewheelin’ Woman, and what I got was a history lesson on the industry—and few life lessons along the way. The article is called Jewel Sets the Record Straight, with an apt subhead that reads: “Jewel on her new album, her commitment to happiness and the power of telling someone to fuck off.” All hail Jewel, I say.

 

May 

In his first feature for SPIN, The Front Line of War, Harper Simon recounts traveling to the border of Ukraine and Poland to help with the relief efforts. The article, an excerpt from his upcoming book, is an astounding piece of reporting.

 

Beri loading a cargo plane Kabul. (Credit: Jeffrey Beri)

June

Every year, thousands of dogs are slaughtered and eaten in the name of China’s Yulin festival. I interviewed Jeffrey Beri, founder of the heroic nonprofit No Dogs Left Behind, on his dangerous, heartbreaking and often triumphant life devoted to rescuing man’s best friend and his quest to end the dog meat trade.

 

July 

In July, I launched an ongoing series highlighting some phenomenally talented musicians. The series is called The Kids Are Alright and these kids are much more than that—they’re already certifiable rock stars. It doesn’t get more feel-good than this.

 

August 

Candace Hansen’s fantastically-crafted profile of Queer feminist punk poetry troupe Sister Spit reminds us all what it means to be underground and on a mission.

 

September 

When Dropkick Murphys released their eleventh studio album, This Machine Still Kills Fascists,  inspired by Woody Guthrie’s lyrics, on September 30th, I did a double-interview feature, first speaking with Nora Guthrie, Woody’s daughter and co-founder of the Guthrie archives. DKM frontman Ken Casey is always a great interview (this was our third for SPIN), but Nora was an unforgettably sage and kind presence, definitely one of my favorites of the year.

 

 

October

Lily Moayeri’s article on Iranian musician Googoosh transcends music writing, blending personal account with current events. As Lily explains on her podcast, I greenlit the story before Mahsa Amini’s murder and before the protests that broke out around the world. An Iranian-American, this story was, of course, personal to Lily. The result is something that should be required reading: timeless, important and powerful.

Also in October, Steve Hochman penned a profileof Simple Minds frontman Jim Kerr, one of the most beautiful pieces of music journalism we published this year.

 

November 

Once in every lifetime… comes a short-lived TV show like The Young Ones, which celebrated its 30thanniversary in November. Naturally I wrote a tribute called Don’t Blame Us, We Were Raised By The Young Ones. (Read this and it’ll explain everything… you bastard!)

 

December 

The Artist POV: feature essays about topics that are important to artists, written in their own words. Developing this Op-ed series was one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve had all year. I’ve shed tears reading through these powerful pieces. We launched with Jessica Boudreaux sharing her account of rethinking her life on tour after her breast cancer diagnosis. Imen Siar wrote about being a Muslim woman in pop culture, and Jessy Wilson tells us about the heartbreaking journey to her recent Grammy nomination. Every single story is moving and remarkable.

IMPACT

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