The Best Music of 2022
Because Little Simz dropping an album mid-December is worth the wait.
Putting together a “Best of 2022” list on January 3rd, 2023 is so “basic,” “lame,” and “insert zoomer insult here.”
As someone who listens to new music until the end of the year knowing artists could release something incredible in December (see: Beyonce, Little Simz, Lemuria), creating a list for January through November could discount quite a few choice releases. Also, as 56 or so hours have passed without anything of earth-shattering significance happening on a cultural level, surely readers can appreciate a look back at the previous year in music?
With this in mind, I combed through the ~500 albums I listened to in 2022 and selected the best of the best.
Before you get to the list: I’ll be resuming this newsletter at its regular daily pace next week. If you could click the button below and share it with someone who might dig it, that would be pretty cool.
Iceboy Violet — The Vanity Project
Cold and queer hip-hop. Pretty bleak. A great way to start the year!
Horsegirl — Versions of Modern Performance
A bunch of teens making better ‘90s-tinged indie rock than pretty much anyone out there right now — including the revived ‘90s bands.
Muna — Muna
Perfectly crafted queer pop. Every song worth blasting on a JBL speaker while walking down the streets of Fort Greene in the summertime.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Emile Mosseri — I Could Be Your Dog/I Could Be Your Moon
Beautiful electronic/ambient to keep on a loop.
Dawn Richard and Spencer Zahn — Pigments
Yes, one of the members of Danity Kane and Diddy/Dirty Money co-created one of the best electronic/ambient records of the year. Think about that for a second.
caroline — caroline
Is it folk? Is it emo? Is it post-rock? Whatever it is, it’s worth listening to by the ocean or a campfire at dusk.
Sault — Untitled (God), AIR, AIIR, Earth
Sault released six albums this year and an EP. Four of them were note-perfect, and the other two were still pretty fantastic. Music historians will look back at them in the way dudes in Greenpoint bars talk about Big Star.
Little Simz — No Thank You
Essentially the 7th (or 8th?) Sault album of the year, and as good (if not better) than the Mercury Prize-winning Sometimes I Might Be Introvert. Worth waiting an extra few weeks to create this list.
JID — The Forever Story
One of the best new MCs in the game by a country mile. Should be a household name by now, and his talent dwarfs that of everyone else on Dreamville (save for maybe Earthgang).
Sun’s Signature — Sun’s Signature
It’s been 25+ years since Elizabeth Fraser released an actual record, and it’s worth every second of the wait.
Black Thought and Danger Mouse — Cheat Codes
A pairing that only makes sense once you hear it. Black Thought’s late career cemented him as one of the greatest MCs alive.
Queen of Jeans — Hiding in Place
Quite possibly the greatest song of the year (the title track) and a few other great songs, too.
Kids on a Crime Spree — Fall In Love Not In Line
Very much filling the Pains of Being Pure at Heart-sized hole in my heart, but with a very Slumberland spin.
Lady Wray — Piece of Me
Perfectly crafted soul from a mainstay of the scene.
Raum — Daughter
Haunted ambient drones from another realm.
The Beatles — Get Back - The Rooftop Performance
Still haven’t invested the six hours in the documentary, but the rooftop performance holds up to the legend.
The Weather Station — How is It That I Should Look at the Stars
Didn’t dig her last album all that much (which was her “breakout” record), but this one is a subdued beaut.
SRSQ — Ever Crashing
Closer to a classic 4AD than anything released on 4AD in the last 25 years. Absolutely beautiful.
Blood Incantation — Timewave Zero
Ambient metal with infinitely more emphasis on the former genre.
Big Thief — Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You
Like Hurry Up We’re Dreaming for the sweater-knitting crowd.
Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul — Topical Dancer
The funniest and danciest album ever recorded.
Rosalia — Motomami
Cultural appropriation? Pretty much. The best avant-garde, Latin-tinged pop music in years? Absolutely.
Black Country, New Road — Ants From Up There
It’s post-punk. It’s klezmer. It’s clever as hell.
See you next week.