Crowning the Best Albums of the Year

Farooz Khan-Trunnell, Contributing Writer

After the speed bump artists hit in the past few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2022 has seen the triumphant return of acts from across the musical landscape, mainstream and underground alike. Narrowing down the list to just a few is virtually impossible, but below is the best attempt a single writer can muster.

10. Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale and The Big Steppers

Genre: Conscious Hip-Hop

After his long-awaited return from a five-year hiatus, Mr. Morale manages to be K Dot’s rawest album yet, feeling like a half underground theater production, half therapy session. The heart-wrenching narrative touching on the scope of trauma is both fractured and mesmerizing. 

Check Out: United In Grief, Savior


9. Ethel Cain – Preacher’s Daughter

Genre: Slowcore, Indie Pop

Drawing from the murkiest corners of rock and pop, Preacher’s Daughter’s massive scope looms like a dark cloud, as Cain paints a haunting mosaic of trauma, grief, and religion.

Check Out: American Teenager, Family Tree


8. Alvvays – Blue Rev

Genre: Indie Rock, Dream Pop

Alvvays drops an explosion of color into the conventions of indie rock in a project stacked densely with soaring highs that manage to only rise further into the clouds. Blue Rev feels like a sweet burst of nostalgia you can’t let go of. 

Check Out: Pharmacist, After The Earthquake


7. death’s dynamic shroud – Darklife

Genre: Vaporwave, Glitch Pop

Filtering the most emotive elements of pop through a galactically maximalist electronic lens, DDS achieves something truly awe-inspiring on Darklife

Check Out: Judgment Bolt, Fall For Me


6. The Weeknd – Dawn FM

Genre: Synth Pop

The Weeknd digs even deeper into throwback aesthetics, delivering his own stylized take on 1980s synth-pop. Dawn FM’s immersive and cerebral narrative as a radio station for lost spirits plunges the listener deep into its surreal landscape—and doesn’t let go.  

Check Out: Gasoline, Sacrifice


5. Weyes Blood – And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow

Genre: Chamber Pop

Hearts Aglow is perfectly enchanting, fit for a sophisticated and sweeping vista packed with vibrant flourishes. Weyes Blood approaches each chapter with thoughtful introspection, leaving just enough room to fill the margins. 

Check Out: Children of the Empire, Twin Flame


4. Black Midi – Hellfire

Genre: Progressive Rock, Post Rock

The LP embodies its dystopian cover art, with a torched junkyard of sounds miraculously coming together in one of 2022’s most challenging rock releases. The band has quite literally put each of its aesthetics through hell, with both precision and relentless aggression. 

Check Out: Welcome To Hell, Still


3. Denzel Curry – Melt My Eyes, See Your Future

Genre: Alternative Hip-Hop, Jazz Rap

Proving he can wax poetic just as well as make a crowd jump, Curry’s MMESYF is smooth and well-rounded, penned with a nomadic globetrotter’s whimsy and performed with a rockstar’s ferocity. 

Check Out: Walkin, X-Wing


2. Quadeca – I Didn’t Mean To Haunt You

Genre: Hyperpop, Folktronica 

Quadeca ascends from the box of a teenage YouTuber known for doing impressions of rappers to a gloriously ambitious singer, songwriter, and producer extraordinaire on the breathtaking IDMTHY, a soul-crushing concept album studying grief from the perspective of a ghost.

Check Out: tell me a joke, fractions of infinity 


1.  JID – The Forever Story

Genre: Southern Hip-Hop, Neo-Soul

The Atlanta MC translates his witty and hyperactive flows into a dynamic and cohesive accomplishment. TFS packs razor-sharp hip-hop storytelling, rich soul balladry, and an all-star guest list of producers and collaborators into one intensely satisfying punch. An unquestionable instant classic.

Check Out: Crack Sandwich, Kody Blu 3

This article also appears in our December 2022 print edition.