Best Albums and Songs of 2022

Returning from our three months plus hiatus, we’ve put together a list of our favorite albums and songs of 2022. It’s definitely been a generous year, so give them a listen and tell us your favorites too!

Adam’s Picks

2022 was an interesting year of slight disappointment from favorites, a few artists I had a passing interest in releasing some remarkable material and, as always, a few cool finds along the way. Genre-wise, much of my listening was taken up by ambient and instrumental as background to my writing/work, and while I did not really explore new genres as I often try to make a point of, great music flowed in and out of my life making for a pretty remarkable 2022 on the music discovery front.

BEST ALBUMS

In no particular order, here are my top 10 albums of 2022.

Princess Chelsea – Everything is Going To Be Alright: I have always enjoyed the output of Princess Chelsea, but have yet to really fully embrace an album of hers in its entirety. However, “Everything is Going to Be Alright” is easily her most accomplished and consistent work of wonderfully catchy bedroom pop from one of the best in the genre.

Earthen Sea – Ghost Poems: “How can you listen to this, it sounds like you are listening to bugs crawling” is my favorite comment on my music tastes this year. Ghost Poems is a peculiar ambient album that has a primal and repetitive nature to it that keeps it from being pushed into the background, it always commands a presence and is perfect for staying alert while writing or snoozing too while getting caught up in its complex layering of sounds. This is, probably, my most listened-to album of 2022.

Rubblebucket – Earth Worship: How are more people not talking about this release?!?! Rubblebucket has been refining their delectably wonderful quirky pop sound since 2007 and this album is their most consistent and catchy release to date. It feels criminal how Wet Leg became indie darlings this year while Rubblebucket went overlooked.

Brothertiger – S/T: just because I am a grumpy introvert, does not mean I can’t get swept up in pop music that transfers you to the beach, cocktail in hand. A wonderful mix of pop and aesthetic music (vaporware) BrotherTiger’s self-titled album feels so warm and upbeat across 10 tracks.

Death’s Dynamic Shroud – Darklife: Controlled chaos, Death’s Dynamic Shroud has certainly developed into one of the most unique electronic groups. Darklife is a remarkably dense album that begs to be picked apart with multiple listens, which was the case for me this year.

The Comet is Coming – Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam: Can I call this a dance album? It certainly got me moving throughout 2022. Much like Darklife above, this album exemplifies a group that is under the control of a chaotic mix of instruments that sways beautifully from jerky dance numbers to slick chillout vibes.

Robert Haigh – Human Remains: I have come to love the piano compositions of Robert Haigh, and “Human Remains” is my favorite release of his since 2017’s “Creatures of the Deep”. The album flows in a naturalistic and beautiful way, slow and nuanced to build up to an ominous electronic fuzz hovering over spacious piano pieces–it truly is divine.

Just Mustard – Heart Under: This was a last-minute find for me, but I was utterly mesmerized by the vocal delivery of Katie Ball. Give “I Am You” a listen and overlook the horrible name choice for the band that does little to elude to the complexity of the music, You won’t regret it.

Toro y Moi – Mahal: This was the ideal album to accompany me throughout the summer, whether it be the upbeat funk of “Mr. Postman” or the warmness of “Deja Vu”, the album embodies the feeling of good vibes. It has been fascinating to follow Toro y Moi’s musical journey and growth which makes every album a unique experience.

Big Thief – Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You: While I said this list is in no particular order, Big Thief’s “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You” is easily my favorite album to 2022, an eclectic mix that captures the brilliance of the group’s ability to push themselves in interesting directions that keeps them fresh while maintaining a sound that is unique only to them. If you listen to any album on my list, make this the one. (Simulation Swarm is also the best song of 2022.)

BEST SONGS

Consider this a custom playlist of the tunes that I found on repeat this year. This also allows some of my favorite artists, who put out my fav songs but fell short in delivering an album I would consider topping the list. 20 songs in total here, links will take you to a YouTube video.

Father John Misty – Goodbye Mister Blue
Karl Vento – Rainbow Nights
Ada Rook – Gravity Weapon
Alex Cameron – K-Hole
Will Sheff – Estrangement Zone
The Garden – Chainsaw The Door
Toro y Moi – Déjà Vu
Everything Everything- Pizza Boy
King Princess – I Hate Myself, I Want To Party
Open Mike Eagle – I’ll Fight You
Big Thief – Simulation Swarm
Rubblebucket – Earth Worship
The Weekend – Gasoline
Carly Rae Jepsen – So Nice
Princess Chelsea – Forever Is A Charm
Orville Peck – Daytona Sand
Florist – Red Bird Pt. 2 (Morning)
Kurt Vile – Like Exploding Stones
Viagra Boys – I Ain’t No Thief
Phoebe Bridgers – Sidelines

Mihail’s Picks

2022 was the year in which I returned to always having something in my headphones while I was working, so I tried to listen as much as I could on both the favorite artist and music discovery fronts.

Favorite songs:

Usually I look for memorable songs first – it takes me a while before I listen to an entire album. These are the songs I had on repeat this year – I tried to balance many genres but realized that’s just impossible. My 110 (?) picks for 2022, in no particular order (I didn’t have the heart to cut any track – I am always amazed by everything in here and glad that I was able to listen to a lot of great music this year)

Lacuna Coil – Swamped XX
Let’s Eat Grandma – Happy New Year
Against the Current – Blindfolded
Flume feat. Oklou – Highest Building
Tomberlin – Happy Accident
King Princess – Let Us Die
Taylor Swift – Karma
glaive – minnesota is a place that exists
Karl Frid – Confutatis feat. Caroline Gentele (from Pleasure OST)
Marlon Williams – River Rival
Amber Mark – Darkside
yeule – Bites on My Neck
Ethel Cain – American Teenager
Fawn – Anemone Tattoo
Foxes – Growing on Me
deadmau5 – My Heart Has Teeth feat. Skylar Grey
William Orbit – The Diver feat. Natalie Walker
Alice Merton – Vertigo (with Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra)
Oliver Sim – GMT (jamie XX Remix)
Highasakite – Autopsy
Gretel Hänlyn – Motorbike
Alvvays – Easy on Your Own
Rubblebucket – Earth Worship
Skullcrusher – They Quiet the Room
A.O. Gerber – For
Chloe Moriondo – cdbaby (underscores remix)
SZA feat. Phoebe Bridgers – Ghost in the Machine
aloboi – Paranoid
Hyd – Only Living For You
Sunflower Bean – Who Put You Up to This
Sarah Kinsley – Cypress
Nilufer Yanya – The Dealer
Caroline Polachek – Sunset
Wet Leg – Ur Mom
Tiesto feat. Ava Max – The Motto & The Motto Part II
Son Lux – Come Recover (Empathy Fight) (from Everything Everywhere All At Once OST)
Ada Rook – Gravity Weapon
beabadobee – Talk
Empress Of – Dance For You
Ethel Cain – A House in Nebraska
Niko Rubio – Dream Girl
Ava Max – Million Dollar Baby
Suki Waterhouse – Devil I Know
Anomalie – Lune feat. Mateo Asato
Warpaint – Hard to Tell You
Tennyson – Feelwitchu
Eugenie – 4D
Mother Mother – Hayloft I & II
Burial – New Love
Olivia Rodrigo – Brutal (Driving Home 2 U version)
Kimbra – replay!
Sinead O’Brien – Like Culture
yune pinku – DC Rot
Yumi Zouma – In the Eyes of Our Love
Art Moore – Muscle Memory
The Smile – We Don’t Know What Tomorrow Brings
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith & Emile Mosseri – Green To You
Cristobal Tapia De Veer – Renaissance (Main Title Theme) (from The White Lotus season 2 OST)
070 Shake – Skin and Bones
millennium parade – Secret Ceremony
Brooke Annibale – Better By Now
Loviet – Star Treatment
Softcult – Francis Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle
beabadobee – See You Soon
Let’s Eat Grandma – Insect Loop
070 Shake – History
Soccer Mommy – Bones
The Range – Urethane
Mothica – Last Cigarette feat. Au/Ra
Chloe Moriondo – Hell Hounds
Kailee Morgue – End of My Life
Moses Sumney – Me In 20 Years
Sofia Carson – It’s Only Love, Nobody Dies
Chloe Moriondo – Celebrity
Hyd – No Shadow
cryalot – See You Again
Labrinth & Zendaya – I’m Tired
Ece Era – Chero
Haru Nemuri – Shunka Ryougen
Blu DeTiger – Hot Crush Lover
FKA Twigs – Killer
Akiko Haruna – Yakusoku
Maude Latour – Trees
Bloodmoon – Disarm
IJALE – No Weapon
ODESZA – Light of Day feat. Olafur Arnalds
Misa – Angels
Kuedo – Infinite Window
Simina Oprescu – Journey For A Form (1)
Machine Gun Kelly – More Than Life feat. glaive
Alison Wonderland – Safe Life
Rone x (LA)HORDE – Ghosts
Fever Ray – Carbon Dioxide
Luna Li – What You’re Thinking
Tegan and Sara – I Can’t Grow Up
Floating Points – Someone Close
Taylor Swift – Anti Hero
Andrew Bird – I Felt a Funeral in My Brain feat. Phoebe Bridgers
The Matthew Herber Big Band – Credits (from The Wonder OST)
Phoebe Bridgers – Sidelines
Foudeqush – Con La Brisa (from Wakanda Forever OST)
Portugal. The Man – What, Me Worry?
Rone – Opening (from Paris 13th District OST)
Alison Wonderland – Loner
Samora Pinderhuges – Masculinity
Vitesse X – Us Ephemeral
暴徒 – Eve MV
Softcult – Uzumaki
Lacuna Coil – Heaven’s a Lie XX
Vitesse X – Potential Energy (death’s dynamic shroud remix)
FKA Twigs – darjeeling feat. Jorja Smith & Unknown T
POOLCLVB & Woodes – Till The End

Albums

While  I consider the album somewhat of a dying art form, I always realize how wrong I am in the end because great dying albums keep popping up (and also because some also consider that rock is already dead). Here are five albums I didn’t get to mention because of the hiatus.

Ethel Cain – Preacher’s Daughter

11f6d723d90be97975289f3c4232b276.1000x1000x1

It took me some time before I listened to the whole of Preacher’s Daughter as a horror album. I sat down, opened a different genius.com tab for each song (it seems Hayden Anhedönia is a valued contributor there) and it was simply the best audio experience of the year. Of course, I had already been an Ethel Cain fan, having memorized a few of the songs on the album and seen the Pitchfork festival appearance, but nothing compares to the storytelling (both eerie and extremely personal), the cumulative effect of the songs, the something is very wrong gut feeling…I don’t know whether I’ll ever listen to it as a continuous story ever again (some things are best experienced once), but Anhedönia has succeded where many (musicians and horror directors alike) have failed, making me think “this is extremely messed-up, but also beautiful and tragic” every time I listen to any individual song, knowing where the character ends up, and it would be such a cliche explaining why. My favorite album of 2022 and also favorite artist.

PS. It’s nice that Cain posted a song inspired by the movie Bones and All, because she definitely did most of everything good in that movie first.

Lacuna Coil – Comalies XX

R-24877910-1666266269-4921

In 2022, Italian metal band Lacuna Coil surprised long-time fans by dropping what many film aficionados would call a “requel” to their iconic 2002 album, Comalies. That’s right: Comalies XX is not a remaster, not a remake, not a redo, it’s a much darker side, with new/revamped melodies over old ones, a different style and updated production values. XX is not meant to replace the original, it’s the band reflecting over twenty years of changes (not just their sound either – at one point you can hear a pandemic announcement on one of the tracks) and rendering an apocalyptic mirror for their most famous works. It’s not always perfect, it sounds overproduced in places, some songs shine and some don’t (while the originals were consistently great), but I’m just so happy this exists and that I discovered it on Christmas Eve while I was feeling nostalgic.

Alvvays – Blue Rev

Blue_Rev_Alvvays

Alvvays’s Blue Rev is no doubt one of the most cohesive rock albums of the decade, the evolution of the band’s sound surprising me from the first second and never letting go – it’s so good that I don’t even bother classifying it (shoegaze? power pop? who cares?) The lyrics range from nostalgic to confrontational – so powerful, yet so separate from my own experience that I appreciate and remember Blue Rev a lot more for this mood whiplash effect after repeated listens.

Chloe Moriondo – Suckerpunch

ab67616d0000b273d74280254c00f2da58c36bd4

The Blue Rev of DIY super-pop. Chloe Moriondo creates iconic track after iconic track, switching genres, ironically deconstructing fame and fantasy with hooks that are out of this world and a surprise-filled production style. I’m a more recent fan (converted by Hell Hounds of all things), but I’m still sucker-punched by how much this album offers, the sudden shifts and turns & how many references Moriondo seems to have included for my ears only (including a Kitty-sounding verse on my favorite track Celebrity).

Tegan and Sara – Crybaby

Tegan_and_Sara_-_Crybaby

Some considered this album a step back, but I was always more of a Sara Quin fan, and in that respect, Crybaby offers at least five amazing, complex tracks with her signature style + I can’t get enough of I Can’t Grow Up.

Everything already reviewed or referenced on AEB monthly retrospectives:

FKA Twigs – Caprisongs
Sevdaliza – Raving Dahlia
Luna Li – Duality
Vitesse X – Us Ephemeral
Real Lies – Lad Ash
Alison Wonderland – Loner
Flume – Palaces
The Smile – A Light For Attracting Attention
070 Shake – You Can’t Kill Me
Kuedo – Infinite Window
William Orbit – The Painter
cryalot – Icarus
Foxes – The Kick

Featured Image is The Orchestra Plays by Maria Bo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s