Saturday 31 December 2022

Favourite Albums of 2022

It’s the end of the year, so now seems the appropriate time to publish my list of favourite albums of 2022.

I'm not a fan of top 100 lists. To be blunt, if an album is only your 82nd favourite, it’s not really that much of a favourite at all is it? Even if your top 100 is a poll of a larger group of people, 82nd still doesn’t make me want to rush off and listen to it.

Which brings me to my list. 10 favourite albums of 2022. All killer no filler. In my opinion. Obviously. Yours may be and probably will be vastly different. 

Of course the other issue with these lists is knowing how many albums I’ve actually made my selection from and listened to. If these 10 have been selected from 11, it doesn’t really say that much about the tenth does it?

This year I’ve kept a list of every new album released this year that I’ve listened to in its entirety. Yes I know that's pretty geeky, but my memory is terrible; although generally I remember the ones I really like, as I tend to play them lots. There are a handful I didn’t manage to get all the way through as well; no names mentioned, but at least one of them has ended up being number 1 on a handful of critics polls, which demonstrates how varied opinions can be. So for full disclosure, I’ve listened to 78 newly released albums in full (excluding compilations) in 2022. Most of them had multiple listens. Some had just 1. These are my top 10, in order.

1st Rosalia – Motomami

The most inventive, exciting and (in places) bonkers pop album of 2022. There might be some obvious singles, but delve beyond those and you’ll find huge amounts of genre hopping experimentation delivered by an artist who seems to becoming bolder the more successful she gets. The musical version of the best tapas you've ever had. Superb.

2nd CMAT – If My Wife New I’d Be Dead

Witty, clever and full of acoustic country hooks. If My Wife New I’d Be Dead marks the full arrival of a hugely talented singer songwriter. She's dead funny and entertaining live as well, but that's not what this list is about.

3rd Amanda Tenfjord – In Hindsight

The Greek / Norwegian singer capitalised on Die Together, my personal favourite song from Eurovision 2022 with a very intimate and gorgeous collection of songs that might even make the tears well up a little. This is an album for those quiet, alone moments. A headphones album. She tours in 2023.

4th Wet Leg – Wet Leg

Isle of Wight caulkheads serve up the biggest dollop of cool, fun, firm and surprisingly nuanced scuzzy indie. The 2nd choice here that last year featured on my Ones to Watch 2022 list (the other being CMAT).

5th Warrington Runcorn New Town Development Plan – Districts, Roads, Open Spaces

Infrastructure design by way of Vangelis and The Orb, all wrapped up in a spacious electronic ambience – the best of the 3 albums released in this series. 

6th Suki Waterhouse – I Can’t Let Go

Ignore the actress / model tags. Suki Waterhouse made an album that almost out-Lanas Lana Del Rey and then some. Seems to have been missed by all the critics. Shame on them.

7th Kathryn Joseph – For You Who Are the Wronged

The 3rd record from the Scottish singer songwriter is a hushed thing of minimalist beauty. The musical equivalent of a single flickering candle offering a glow of warmth in a dark room. 

8th Just Mustard – Heart Under

The second Irish album in my top 10. A powerful, industrial, art-goth noise of a record that also contains layers of dreamy and ethereal sound. Not an easy listen, but then who said good things came easy? A rewarding record for those who dare.

 9th Suede –  Autofiction

The Suede renaissance that started with Night Thoughts then grew further with The Blue Hour continues to even higher realms with Autofiction, their best since Coming Up from 1996. A classic Suede record. One for the fans, but maybe they’ll grab a few new ones as well. (It also topped the recent #5albums22 poll on Twitter as well).

10th Plastic Mermaids – It’s Comfortable Not To Grow

The second record on this list from an Isle of Wight band, It’s Comfortable Not to Grow mixes some deep sorrows with uplifting tunes with a hint of Grandaddy and The Flaming Lips in the air.

If you really do want a longer list, I've relented a little on my refusal to acknowledge the bottom parts of long lists, and listed my 30 favourites (remember the one at 30th is 30th of of 78, so it's certainly not a 10/10 record, but then sometimes flaws and imperfections are good, right?)  on a Spotify playlist, with 1 track from each. You can find the full playlist by clicking here.

Rosalia - La Fama (Taken from Motomami)

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