100 Favorite Albums of 2022
Ok! Hello and happy Making It To The End Of The Year. The first thing you might notice this time around is that I have, for the first time, hit 100. After dropping down to 83 last year, and after hitting a high of 93 in 2020. The reason for this is that I, finally, used actual math to figure out a number, instead of just kind of whimsically approaching it. I listened to more albums this year than I ever have. Some of that was through intention, some of that was through simple logistics. I planned to listened more widely, to seek out stuff more eagerly, to put down albums that weren’t working for me sooner and pick up ones that might do the trick. The logistical part is that I spent most of this year editing a book, and I listen most intently while editing. So, picking through hundreds of thousands of words four hours at a time definitely added to the album numbers. 100 is still less than ten percent of the total albums I listened to in 2022 (it’s about 8.7% — though, as mentioned, I didn’t make it to the end of every album I started, at all.) I felt like that was a fair place to begin, with intention. But also, because I listened to so much more this year than I had in previous years, this was still immensely challenging.
And so, with the annual disclaimer: I’m not saying that these are the objectively “best” albums, these are just my personal favorites, ranked in order (because, of course, even among things I loved, some I loved a bit more.) This is the best picture of the year in listening I could paint, but of course, there are some albums I liked a lot that aren’t here. There are some albums I maybe didn’t love as much as someone else might have loved them that aren’t here. I think having a musical landscape so vast that we can all find unique pleasures within it is a real gift. And so, if you don’t see an album you liked, I hope that’s ok and I hope you find another one here that you did like. Or, even better, I hope you discover one that you hadn’t heard yet and dive into it. Usually, when people ask “why isn’t (insert album) here?” I don’t have much to say other than “I maybe didn’t enjoy that album as much as you did, and I hope that’s alright.”
One last thing to mention — I start the process of re-listening and re-assesing in the first week of December, and so December releases usually aren’t included here and carry over into the next year (I haven’t been the best about that carry-over in the past, but will be next year.)
As always, let’s start with some EPs.
EPs I Loved, In No Particular Order:
Crown The King — Groundhog Day
Knuckle Puck — Disposable Life
Babehoven — Sunk
Nia Archives — Forbidden Feelings
Nathan Bajar — Joyride
girlhouse — the third ep
Mysie — Joyride AND gin + juice (both of these combined make one incredible LP, but I am, of course, honoring the form they were released in.)
Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers — Pretty Good For A Girl Band
Farrah Fawx — The Hopeful Cynic
Poster Paints — Blood Orange
Blood Orange — Four Songs
Retirement Party — Retirement Party (Long live Retirement Party, hell of a band. Glad we got them for a bit.)
Empress Of — Save Me
Left at London — Transgender Street Legend, Vol. 3
Flo — The Lead
Doechii — she/her/black bitch
Lifeguard — Crowd Can Talk
Thanya Iyer — rest
Ginger Root — Nisemono
Jenevieve — Rendezvous
Joyce Wrice — Motive
Tigers Jaw — Old Clothes
Fusilier — Treason
Ok! Now on to the albums. As always, Bandcamp links where applicable (most places,) and also as always, I’ve linked to some good writing from peers if you wanna read along while listening:
100. Elzhi & Georgia Anne Muldrow — Zhigeist
99. SB the Moor— In Babylon!
98. Martha — Please Don’t Take Me Back
I really enjoyed this piece.
97. Adria Kain — When Flowers Bloom
96. Nicfit — Fuse
95. Defcee & Boathouse — For All Debts Public And Private
94. Sudan Archives — Natural Brown Prom Queen
Great Song Exploder Episode.
93. Open Mike Eagle— Component System With The Auto Reverse
Great Passion Of The Weiss interview here.
92. Saint Abdullah— Inshallahlaland
91. Honestly Same — Audio Adults
90. Harry Styles —Harry’s House
Honestly the best Harry interview I read this year was this one in Better Homes & Gardens.
89. Say Sue Me — The Last Thing Left
88. Fade ’Em All — Houston Riots
87. Omar Apollo — Ivory
Good piece here and will also say that seeing Omar Apollo play through this album live really brought it to life for me. Sent me back to it with a heightened appreciation. Extremely gifted performer.
86. Robert Glasper — Black Radio III
Enjoyed this Ringer interview.
85. Porridge Radio — Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky
84. Jeezy & DJ Drama— Snofall
Not about this album, but I did like this oral history of The Recession.
83. Rhys Langston — Grapefruit Radio
82. Goth Lipstick — I Paint You, I Paint You, I Paint You
81. Mozzy— Survivor’s Guilt
80. Kokoroko —Could We Be More
Good NME piece here.
79. Bob Vylan — Bob Vylan Presents The Price Of Life
Really good Kerrang piece on the duo here.
78.Did You Die — Thirteen Moons
77. Kehlani — Blue Water Road
I liked a lot of writing about this record! Specifically this NYT piece, and this piece — I also really enjoyed seeing clips of their tour, which was like a video essay, of sorts.
76. Zora —Zi
75. Clouds In A Headlock — Breakfast In Phantasia
74. Kno & Sadistik —Bring Me Back When The World Is Cured
73. Leyla McCalla — Breaking The Thermometer
72. Ravyn Lenae — HYPNOS
Promise to only put something of mine here one time, but on Object Of Sound, Ravyn and I dug really deep into the making of this record.
71. A.A. Williams —As The Moon Rests
70. Julia Jacklin — PRE PLEASURE
I enjoyed reading this piece.
69. Yaya Bey— Remember Your North Star
Enjoyed this piece, and also this piece.
68. Bad Breeding—Human Capital
This is a really good, insightful primer on the band’s political and artistic aims.
67. Staples Jr. Singers — When Do We Get Paid
There’s a really fascinating and beautiful story behind this group, these songs.
66. daddy’s boy— GREAT NEWS!
65. Vinnie Paz — Tortured In The Name Of God’s Unconditional Love
64. Leikeli47— Shape Up
Good video interview here.
63. BLACKSTARKIDS— CYBERKISS*
62. Frances Chang— support your local nihilist
61. Chat Pile — God’s Country
I really appreciated so much of the writing at Bandcamp Daily, and the discoveries that afforded me. Great piece on the band here.
60. Maro — can you see me?
(I loved this album! but it is also very very sad, as a gentle warning!)
59. Holy Fawn — Dimensional Bleed
(also a Beautiful But Devastating Album!)
58. DEHD —Blue Skies
Good read on DEHD here.
57. Beyoncé — Renaissance
There is a lot to read — not about the album, but about house music and dance music, written before this year. Here is a good starting point, I think.
56. A.O. Gerber — Meet Me at the Gloaming
55. Carly Rae Jepsen — The Loneliest Time
Sorry, I lied back there…putting something of mine on here a second time. I did have a good conversation with Carly earlier this year.
54. Rachika Nayar— Heaven Comes Crashing
53. Kids On A Crime Spree — Fall In Love Not In Line
52. PUP — The Unraveling Of Puptheband
Enjoyed reading about this band and this album lots this year. Here, here, here.
51. Psalm One & Custom Made — Bigg Perm
50. Honey Dijon— Black Girl Magic
49. ELUCID — I Told Bessie
48. AKAI SOLO — Spirit Roaming
47. Gospel— The Loser
46. Moor Mother — Jazz Codes
I love a Moor Mother interview. It’s like sitting in on the best class. Here are a few I loved this year.
45. Shamir — Heterosexuality
44. Tove Lo — Dirt Femme
Dug this piece, but moreover, I thought this album was a thoughtfully crafted statement of vulnerability.
43. Ithaca— They Fear Us
42. foxtails — fawn
41. Westside Boogie —More Black Superheroes
Tiny Desk! but also a really good interview here.
40. The Reds, Pinks and Purples— Summer At Land’s End
My only note on this album is “Let’s Pretend We’re Not In Love” is, like, top tier “indie romantic film” soundtrack bait.
39. KAINA— It Was a Home
38. Quelle Chris — Deathfame
Good FADER piece here, great interview over at Passion of The Weiss.
37. Fly Anakin —Frank
36. Emily Wells — Regards To The End
I had the absolute pleasure of digging into this record with Emily when she came through Columbus in the fall. The stories woven into not just the songs, but the making of the songs, are really beautiful, immensely important to understanding the album. Some good starting points: Here, Here, and here.
35. iblss— raja’s sun
34. Samora Pinderhughes — Grief
Good Bandcamp Daily piece here.
33. Oceanator — Nothing’s Ever Fine
32. Camp Trash—The Long Way, The Slow Way
Really great piece here.
31. Smino — Luv 4 Rent
Nice lil piece about going on a museum trip.
30. Gabriels — Angels & Queens, Part I
29. JID —The Forever Story
28. Santigold — Spirituals
Another Tiny Desk! — But also, I loved talking to Santigold on Object Of Sound about the unsustainable nature of the music industry, and the high rate of production/demand. A lot of those thoughts are echoed here.
27. Future Teens — Self Help
26. MAVI — Laughing so Hard, it Hurts
I thought MAVI did a Tiny Desk this year, but I think I simply imagined it after reading this good NPR piece.
25. Camp Cope — Running With The Hurricane
Very good Pitchfork piece here.
24. Contour — Onwards!
23. Pinkshift— Love Me Forever
Not too many bands I love more than this one. Here’s a good piece.
22. Aloe Vera & Steel Tipped Dove — Days Pass Strange
Good piece here from the good folks over at Matter News.
21. Loraine James — Building Something Beautiful For Me
Good piece on this one here. I’m endlessly impressed by both the variety and precision in the work of James.
20. Sunni Colón — JúJú & The Flowerbug
19. The Wonder Years — The Hum Goes On Forever
18. Zeal & Ardor—Zeal & Ardor
17. Bartees Strange — Farm To Table
Was really happy to see the year Bartees had. One of the easiest folks to root for. Here’s a good piece.
Sometimes I check out college publications for straightforward album reviews, since it’s so hard to get those in a lot of other places. Anyway, here’s one that I liked for this record. (Also, this was maybe the best non-Brooklyn Academy Of Music live show I saw this year — I’m naturally biased towards the BAM shows, so they exist in a tier all their own.)
15. Jake Blount — The New Faith
Have always been a Jake Blount fan, but the leap they took on this record is really impressive. Dug this piece.
14. The Brother Moves On — $/he Who Feeds You...Owns You
13. Enumclaw —Save The Baby
I thought this local “tour of their hometown” piece was kind of funny and good.
12. Nick Hakim — COMETA
11. billy woods —Aethiopes
Really dug this piece.
10. MICHELLE — AFTER DINNER WE TALK DREAMS
9. unruly — Black Graffiti
“War Mongers” is, very easily, one of my favorite rap songs of the year.
8. Say She She — Prism
7. Big Joanie — Back Home
6. Jacob Banks— Lies About The War
In addition to an obsession with this album, I also got obsessed with the work of the cover artist, Tariq Oliver.
5. Soul Glo — Diaspora Problems
Great Ringer piece here.
4. Special Interest — Endure
3. Vel Nine — Freakjet
This was the best rap album of the year for me, ran away with it.
2. Sweet Pill — Where The Heart Is
- Syd — Broken Hearts Club
Until next time! Be good to yourself.