I used to do this every year, but it’s been a minute. But after a 5-ish year hiatus, let’s dive in again. 2022 seemed to be particularly good year for music. In no particular order, here’s the music released in 2022 that I really enjoyed:
Alvvays – Blue Rev
This one will probably show up on a bunch of lists this year. A more or less perfect indie-pop confection with not a single miss on it, it felt like a classic from first listen. According to Apple Music, my 2nd-most listened to album, bested only by my perennial favourite Boxer by The National.
Danger Mouse & Black Thought – Cheat Codes
I’m not sure Danger Mouse has put out a project I haven’t liked, but working with Black Thought, of The Roots, this album is really special. There’s not a lot of albums whose lyrics sending me to and endless rabbit hole of learning, but probably I should expect this from Black Thought. I only knew him from The Roots, but the best thing this album did is send me down a rabbit hole of his stellar solo work too.
Wet Leg – Wet Leg
Chaise Longue was deservedly everywhere for a bit, and the whole album works. It’s bleak and funny, and both makes me feel old and makes me wish I lived in a shitty flat in London just trying to figure life out.
Jockstrap – I Love You Jennifer B
I heard this for the first time only a month ago, but I can’t get it out my head. It’s got a sort of tongue-in-cheek retro-vibe. It might be a little bit too smart, in that it’s clear the band knows their music, but it’s a great listen.
Harry Styles – Harry’s House
Chosen almost entirely for how perfect a pop song As it Was is, but the whole album holds together. I remain suspicious of most heavily manufactured pop music, but this is good.
SZA – SOS
I appreciate SZA’s commitment to short album names. Coming after Ctrl, this is a lo-fi masterpiece that deepens her control over the mood & tone. It feels like a post-breakup, but post-anger when she’s just done much of the time. Well worth a close-listen on headphones for some really incredible production.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Cool it Down.
I can’t believe that it’s been nearly a decade since their last and this comes out and just.. picks up like nothing changed. Somehow feeling both nostalgic for that early 10’s Indie rock scene but also just moving past it, this album was a kind of safe place to revisit the sounds I love. Which.. maybe doesn’t sound like praise? But it is. Karen O can do no wrong.
The Smile – A Light For Attracting Attention
Sure, it might be the best bits of Radiohead channelling pre- OK Computer brit-rock Radiohead but man is it it GOOD. I’m a big Sons of Kemet fan, and is often the case, the drumming by Tom Skinner here really sets this apart, and pulls this out of early-Radiohead nostalgia into something deeply contemporary and of the moment.
Maggie Rogers – Surrender
Do you remember that video clip of a music-school kid who really impressed Pharrell? That was Maggie Rogers, 6 years back. This album, recorded while in pandemic isolation, as a sort of musical companion to her masters of Divinity? anyway. it’s gorgeous, subtle, electronic folk.
Big Thief – Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You
An album as maximalist as the title, this album has a folk-rock heart and a sort of scrolling-through-TikTok kaleidoscope of sounds, feelings, imagery. It’s a big album, from a band at the top of their game and was on repeat for most of the first half of the year for me.