Standout Music of 2022
All of the albums you need to hear before the year is over
With the year slowly coming to a close, now is the time to catch up on all the great music that may have slipped through the cracks. 2022 was a very successful year for popular artists like Beyonce, The Weekend, Bad Bunny, and Taylor Swift—with all of those artists releasing record-breaking albums. It was not just a successful year for the seasoned pros, as many new artists made their mark in the industry, like Wet Leg, Nilüfer Yanya, and Angel Olsen. From spoken word indie to soulful country, in no particular order. Here are all of the standout albums from 2022.
- Omar Apollo – Ivory
Omar Apollo’s captivating debut full-length, Ivory, is beautiful, making the listener believe it’s effortlessness despite its complex production choices and rich sonic flourishes. Apollo’s sense of maturity roots the project even when it is branching out in several directions, and the songs remain playful yet tender, free yet concentrated.
- Big Thief – Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You
The beloved Brooklyn band explores their own backyard with their indie-folk sound on its 20-song double LP, Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You, in search of fresh nuances and insights. Big Thief indulges in the traditional, mythical, and arcane, but their music is finest when they overlap eras and historical map points. This album is full of reckless, try-everything ambition.
- Father John Misty – Chloë and the Next 20th Century
Father John Misty’s fifth and most recent album, Chloë and the Next 20th Century, is his least Misty-like one yet. Chloë has intricate, expansive orchestral arrangements, tying together with characters including Chloë, Simone, and a deceased Turkish Angora, as well as an overarching theme of Hollywood—the same one he entered on 2012’s Fun Times in Babylon. Josh Tillman’s songwriting is adaptable and has the power to go beyond its time. The songs are more than accurate imitations of classic styles—they are methodically flawless.
- Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers
In Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, we find Lamar in more vulnerable territory than ever before, despite the fact that he figuratively presents himself as Jesus on the album cover. Lamar’s longtime partner Whitney Alford serves as the narrator as they take us on a journey through his mind. Lamar, who is constantly influenced by jazz, is diligent in following the sonic development in his mind. The album finds a middle ground between purposeful dissonance and hurriedness. Since most songs are divided into one or three different beats, each song has the kind of narrative texture you’d anticipate from an entire album.
- FKA Twigs – Caprisongs
Part of what makes the unbridled avant-pop on her new mixtape, Caprisongs, such an epic thrill is the rawness of FKA Twigs’s previous work. FKA Twigs is still going through some pain, but she is unrestrained. Instead, she chooses to center herself, her friends, and her joy as she finds release in the sounds of euphoric dance floors and cavernous clubs from London to Jamaica. Twigs has transformed R&B wisps and electronic abstractions into highly visual concept art throughout her career. Although Caprisongs is her most lighthearted album to date, she is able to maintain her creative nonconformity and intimacy.