It’s that time of year again!
Here are my top albums of the year + close calls, honorable mentions, and a Spotify playlist of my top 100 tracks of 2022:
10. Noah Kahan, Stick Season
In his third album, Noah Kahan seems to have truly settled into his artistry. Raw, passionate vocals paired with relatable, heartbreaking and timely narratives is what you find in Stick Season. Listen to this one on the way to a cabin in the fall 🍂
Best Tracks: Northern Attitude, Stick Season, She Calls Me Back, Orange Juice, Halloween
9. Lizzy McAlpine, five seconds flat
I first discovered Lizzy McAlpine when I had several people send me songs from her first album saying: “I thought this was you!”
So is it narcissistic to put her in my top 10? Idk. When this album came out, I wanted to love it as a whole more than I did, BUT it has to make this list because of how much I love the handful of songs that I do: I think “reckless driving” is one of the best songs of the year that shares two dueling perspectives of a toxic relationship bound to crash. McApline is a great storytelling songwriter.
Best Tracks: all my ghosts, reckless driving, hate to be lame, chemtrails
8. Beyoncé, RENAISSANCE
My bar is always set incredibly high when it comes to Queen Bey.
The vocals are absolutely insane on this record, and the height of the “Break My Soul” popularity came at the perfect time of year for me, when I needed an anthem to combat some incomprehensible things going on in my world. “Cuff It” is a new go-to getting ready bop. However, it’s not in my favorite Beyoncé albums ever. I seem to be in the minority on this though! And happy to be.
Best Tracks: CUFF IT, BREAK MY SOUL, VIRGO’S GROOVE
7. Sigrid, How To Let Go
Sigrid! My girl. Her album Sucker Punch was my top of the year in 2019.
This one didn’t hit quite as hard, but there are still many bops and bangers to be had here: the celestial metaphor in “It Gets Dark,” the rock-feel of “Burning Bridges,” the confidence-boosting “Mirror” and the earnestness of “Bad Life” secured How To Let Go in my top 10 for 2022!
Best Tracks: It Gets Dark, Burning Bridges, Mirror, Bad Life
6. Blessing Offor, Brighter Days
Blessing Offor has been such a wonderful discovery this year.
I don’t know if Brighter Days technically even counts as a full-length album (it’s only 7 songs, and that includes a radio version) but I love every one so we’re counting it. Blessing has the most incredible story, and it seeps in and shines through every song he writes.
Best Tracks: Tin Roof, Brighter Days, Believe
5. MUNA, MUNA
MUNA is my favorite girl band (and one of my favorite bands in general) of the past few years.
The trio pairs infectious production with brilliant songwriting— singing about running so fast and far away from pain that it feels like false euphoria in “Runner’s High”), or reimagining the results of a relationship if both had stuck it out, putting one foot in front of the other in “Home By Now.”
Best Tracks: Silk Chiffon, Runner’s High, Home By Now, Solid
4. Amber Mark, Three Dimensions Deep
This album is one I had been anticipating for awhile.
I had heard “Lose My Cool” back in 2017 and instantly fell in love with Amber’s unique blend of pop and R&B, as well as her insane production ability. Three Dimensions Deep feels a BIT too long (it features 17 tracks), but the standouts are some of the songs I listened to the most this year and last. Don’t sleep on Amber Mark!
Best Tracks: What It Is, FOMO, Turnin’ Pages, Worth It
3. Ella Mai, Heart On My Sleeve
Ella Mai has this amazing ability to recall the 90’s R&B vibe in its entirety, while simultaneously making it all feel fresh and new. This is one of those albums where every song I played, I loved: refreshing hooks and relatable lyrical phrases all over the place. Bops and bops on ballads and ballads.
Best Tracks: Trying, Didn’t Say, Break My Heart, DFMU, Leave You Alone
2. Harry Styles, Harry’s House
My friend said the following about this album when it came out and I couldn’t agree more: “I feel like this is the album he’s always wanted to make.”
I didn’t love Harry’s debut, I liked Fine Line a lot, but I truly love Harry’s House, and I think it’s because it’s the first album of his that doesn’t feel overly derivative. His first two efforts felt like a lot of trial and error: this one feels like an arrival.
This is also hands down my favorite artwork of the year. SZA’s is a close second.
Best Tracks: Music for a Sushi Restaurant, Daylight, Cinema, Daydreaming, Satellite
1. Taylor Swift, Midnights (3am Edition)
Tay does it again.
I described Midnights on Twitter as an earned, slow-burn: it takes several listens to acclimate. In the past, Taylor’s diversified the producers she’s collaborated with for her projects and my original hang up for this album was that I had wished she hadn’t only worked with Antonoff on Midnights.
However, the more and more I listened, I realized this choice was a necessity. This record is its own world and the production is intentionally sparse to let the lyrics be the focal point — which are incredible.
Best Tracks: All
Conan Gray, Superache
Charlie Puth, CHARLIE!
Elevation Worship, LION
The 1975, Being Funny In A Foreign Language
The Weeknd, Dawn FM
Kendrick Lamar, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers
Penny and Sparrow, Olly Olly
Bad Suns, Apocalypse Whenever
FOXES, The Kick
Maverick City Music x Kirk Franklin, Kingdom Book One
Kehlani, blue water world
Jensen McRae, Are You Happy Now?
Maren Morris, Humble Quest
Caitlyn Smith, High
Sasha Alex Sloan, I Blame The World
Arlie, BREAK THE CURSE
Florence + The Machine, Dance Fever
Jordy Searcy, Daylight
Kristene DiMarco, The Field
Sabrina Kenney, emails i can’t send
itsjustrand, space age
Marcus Mumford, (self-titled)
Death Cab for Cutie, Asphalt Meadows
ODESZA, The Last Goodbye
COIN, Uncanny Valley
Berlue, A Flooding Within You
Fickle Friends, Are We Gonna Be Alright?
The Lumineers, BRIGHTSIDE
Dermot Kennedy, Sonder
Lecrae, Church Clothes 4
Carly Rae Jepsen, The Loneliest Time
Davy Flowers, I Was Loved
Sylvan Esso, No Rules Sandy
Madison Cunningham, Revealer
Soccer Mommy, Sometimes, Forever
Spoon, Lucifer on the Sofa
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Cool It Down