Look, I know I’m late to the party. Everyone shares these lists in late December when there’s nothing going on and everyone is reflecting on the past year. It’s mid-January, and no one cares about my favourite albums of 2022. They’re looking forward to what the new year has to offer. In my defence, life was busy and then I got Covid. I didn’t have the time or energy to do this in December.
The other problem is that I hate writing about music. Do I tell boring stories about my personal connection to these albums? Do I provide info you could easily look up like the genre of the record? Should I pad out the description about the albums I vibed with but have little to say about? Sometimes the music just sounds nice.
I don’t think that matters though. Not a lot happens in January and February. There will be a couple of great albums released in the next couple of months, but things really pick up in the spring. And no one reads the text of lists like these. They just want to see the list so they can complain about it.
So here are my favourite albums of 2022. In alphabetical order because I don’t want to give them a score or a rank. With only three sentences of exposition each because you don’t want to read them.
God Save the Animals – Alex G
I’m a big fan of the weird vocal effects on (almost every song on) this record. It’s all so different and, to me, shows that a lot of thought went into the production of each song. I didn’t know much about Alex G before 2022, so God Save the Animals, an album full of religious imagery, was a sort of come-to-Jesus moment for me.
Blue Rev – Alvvays
I put off listening to Blue Rev for weeks because there was no way, I thought, that Alvvays could top their 2017 album Antisocialites or their 2014 self-titled debut. I have never been so glad to be wrong. Sure, this list isn’t ranked, but Blue Rev is my album of the year.
Farm to Table – Bartees Strange
I felt disappointed when I first heard this album because it seemed like just an extension of 2020’s Live Forever, and I wanted to see how Bartees Strange’s sound would evolve. Then I realized all I was really missing was the novelty. No one is blending genres and styles the way Bartees Strange does, and more music like that is wholly a good thing.
Ants From Up There – Black Country, New Road
2022 was a great year for bands from the British Isles with a talk-singing vocalist and tracks that are usually over 4 minutes long, and I think Black Country, New Road is the best band doing it. Ants From Up There offers multiple moments per song that make you stop and think, “wait, did he really just say that?” It’s also home to some of the most beautiful music on this list.
Preacher’s Daughter – Ethel Cain
Preacher’s Daughter is a well-done concept album, so I was always going to fall in love with it. It adopts a ton of moods and styles, which demonstrates Ethel Cain’s incredible range, from goth and horror vibes to pop songs. Fair warning though, it can be dark, and the story it tells is certainly a tragedy.
I Love You Jennifer B – Jockstrap
Jockstrap’s singer, Georgia Ellery, has an incredible voice and range, and she’s a big part of why I love this album. Though it’s also an impressive balancing act between minimalism and maximalism, loud and quiet, high art weirdness and pop-music approachability. And on some tracks, it’s easy to convince yourself you’re listening to radio-friendly music; unfortunately, Kiss FM could never.
Laurel Hell – Mitski
I don’t need to try to persuade you that Mitski’s music is excellent. You’ve heard the hits on TikTok and Instagram, and you already know Laurel Hell is full of bangers. I really dig the 80s influences and dancy vibes that come through on it.
Sometimes, Forever – Soccer Mommy
Soccer Mommy basically made the perfect record for me with Sometimes, Forever. It has hooks galore, but experiments with shoegazey sounds and industrial influences to give it just the perfect amount of weirdness. Soccer Mommy is also one of my favourite lyricists, so there was no way this wasn’t going to make my list.
Wet Leg – Wet Leg
This album is so fucking horny, crude, and hilarious. It’s feel-good music in every way that it is possible to feel good. Wet Leg is kind of a pop rock answer to talk-singing British bands like Black Country, New Road, which is a comparison I’ve seen no one make and which I’m sure will anger a lot of music nerds, but it is also a correct opinion upon which I will not elaborate.
90 In November – Why Bonnie
Several songs from 90 in November have gotten stuck in my head since this album came out in August. I really wanted to shout this one out because it’s criminally underrated. This is a band that you’ll be able to brag about discovering before they got huge, but only if you listen to them soon.
Some final thoughts on year-end lists
One weird thing about lists like these is that, in time, my favourite albums of 2022 will expand and change. I know that in 2023, I’ll fall in love with more albums from last year. If I were to make a list like this for 2021 or 2020, I’d have a handful of records to talk about that I didn’t hear the year they came out. I’m just a person listening to music in my free time. I’m guaranteed to miss things.
That’s where you come in. Let me know what albums you loved that weren’t on my list. There’s a good chance I haven’t heard them!