If you’re discussing music from the 2010s, it’s impossible not to bring up Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, the duo behind hits like “Thrift Shop,” “Can’t Hold Us,” and “Same Love.” 2022 will mark ten years since they took the industry by storm with their Grammy-winning album The Heist, and they’re plotting the ultimate comeback with their first collaboration in five years, the hopeful “Next Year!”
Lewis produced and co-wrote Macklemore’s new track, which also features writing credits from Brian Wall, Sam Hollander, and Macklemore himself. With vocals from Californian singer-songwriter Windser, the song takes an optimistic approach to new opportunities and a new year, which is the energy we all need going into 2022. Mack and Windser take turns insisting that “next year’s gonna be better than this,” making it the perfect track to close out 2021 with bravery and confidence.
“Ryan first played this for me in his car as a rough demo, but it immediately stood out,” Macklemore shares. “I then wrote a bunch of verses quickly and went down to LA to record. And with the time that had passed, I felt a little apprehension at first. However, once we started the creative process, it felt like we hadn’t skipped a day.”
To see if “Next Year” was set to live up to the hype, Macklemore asked his daughter for his opinion and she didn’t hold back on asking why artists like Adele, Camila Cabello, and Taylor Swift couldn’t hop on for a feature. While we’d love to see a collab between Mack and any of those talented artists, “Next Year” has a sound and message that’s uniquely his.
With “Next Year” setting up a new era of his career, Macklemore’s music has the potential to reach a whole new audience and soundtrack another generation’s memories. Here are five of our favorite tracks from his previous work, as either a refresher for his longtime fans or a recommendation for new listeners!
- “Thrift Shop” (feat. Wanz)
Starting with the duo’s breakout hit, “Thrift Shop” is a playful track describing some low-budget retail therapy. Macklemore mentions trying out looks like “gator shoes,” a “dookie brown leather jacket,” and even “flannel zebra jammies” to experiment with his personal style and impress those around him. After making one of the biggest songs of 2012, there’s no doubt he can buy out several thrift stores by now.
- “Make The Money”
An ode to staying true to yourself even after finding success, it feels prophetic that “Make The Money” appeared on the duo’s 2012 record The Heist, which also housed hits like “Thrift Shop,” “Can’t Hold Us,” and “Same Love.” Macklemore insists that he’s “meant to be a warrior” and refuses to compromise who he is, making “Make The Money” a celebration of confidence and unwavering dedication.
- “Bolo Tie” (feat. YG)
Ironically the least-streamed track from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ This Unruly Mess I’ve Made, “Bolo Tie” is one of the project’s most introspective songs. The track documents Macklemore’s rise to stardom, starting from his elementary years when people said he “wouldn’t amount to anything” before transitioning to a world of fame that’s full of a “lot of backstabbers and some actors.”
- “Growing Up” (feat. Ed Sheeran)
It’s a wonder why such a high-profile collab didn’t become one of the duo’s biggest songs, but it’s also special that an ode to Macklemore’s daughter, Sloane, didn’t get spread among the masses. The track describes his fears about being a good parent, while Ed Sheeran’s guest chorus offers a perspective on feeling like you have your own growing up to do while expecting a child.
- “Good Old Days” (feat. Kesha)
What better way to close a walk down memory lane than with “Good Old Days?” This reflective collab with Kesha appeared on Macklemore’s 2017 album Gemini, his first album without Ryan Lewis since the two took over the music scene. The song discusses the importance of living in the moment and considering how your actions will impact your future, making it one of Macklemore’s most moving singles to date.