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The best albums of 2022



The best albums of 2022

If the past six months have taught us anything, it’s that life can change in the blink of an eye. But one constant remains (at least for now): good melodies as a soundtrack for just about any mood we’re in (and we’re pretty moody these days).

Below are 10 albums that disturbed, delighted, destroyed and made us feel like we were alive when we needed them most: from FKA twigs’ world-famous debut mixtape to the best technically non-Radiohead Radiohead record we’ve ever heard.

Angel Olsen, Big Time

Last year, Angel Olsen introduced her quirky partner to the world on Instagram. Shortly after he told his mother and father, they both died within two months of each other. These are the kind of big C changes that can take decades to complete, but the songwriter wasted no time getting back into the studio to record her sixth album, which draws on Tammy Wynette’s vintage twang and Dusty’s cinematic soul. Springfield heralds her deep loss and the relief that only new love can bring. It’s impossible to hear lines like “I saw you grow old / I saw who you would become” and not wonder if Olsen is talking about former flames, her dead parents and herself. —Jason Lamphier

Best Songs: “All the Good Times”, “Big Time”

The Great Thief, New Hot Mountain Dragon I believe in you

On the indie rock quartet’s fifth album in six years, they refine the beautiful and sad folk of their early records, but Big Thief now has bigger ideas. Backed by violin and bouncy harp, “Spud Infinity” name-checks Potatoes and Garlic Bread by reminding us elbows can’t be kissed (it’s about accepting our limitations and practicing compassion, it seems). Meanwhile, the Hootenanny “Red Moon” (“Open the screen door / Talk to Diane Lee / This is my grandma!” Roars vocalist Adrianne Lenker) is easily the most joyful and uninhibited thing of the group. During the more than 20 songs you will hear flute, electric guitar, tambourines, accordions and someone playing popsicles. Eva bites an apple. Hearts are broken. The days pass quickly. Time has stopped. Dragon tells everything. – JL


Best Songs: “Change”, “No Reason”

Branches FKA, Caprisongs

Unfortunately, the name of the FKA twigs lockdown-inspired mixtape is no nod to the beloved juice bag. However, you could also see how Caprisongs (referring to their sun sign in Capricorn) manage to transform the sweet rush of pop into strange new forms. Drawing from a network of international cohorts (including the Weeknd, the Nigerian singer Rema, the British rapper Shygirl and the Spanish producer El Guincho), the British iconoclast cut his way through 17 tracks and as many genres. – all dancehall, afrobeat, choral and glitch music. He is motivated by a desire for connection inside and outside the club and the results are convincing as soon as you press the PLAY button. – JL

Best Songs: “Meta Angel”, “Papi Bones”

Fontaines DC, Skinty Fia

They come from Ireland (“D.C.” stands for Dublin City, not the District of Columbia), but the third album by the young five does not fit in any country: the Disunited State of Post Punk. Bringing what it desperately needed in 2022, Skinty’s urgent cut-off from spiral vocals and jagged guitars – which debuted at No. 1 in the UK – swept away the cobwebs of a dying genre dominated by body rock and jaded retro revivalists. The Irish moose, from which the album takes its name, is sadly extinct; the guitars, God bless them, are not quite ready yet. — Leah Greenblatt

Best Songs: “In ár gCroíthe Go Deo”


Leikeli47, In good condition

Her flow and puns can rival her peers Cardi and Megan, but to call Leikelin47 a rapper right now is failing her — and you don’t want to be short of a woman who spews jokes like, “You need my check.” , n —- / Are Gone.” On his third album, the anonymous Brooklyn Fire brand shows his confidence that times will change when he tells exes to piss. The sonorous “Free to Love” flirts with doo- wop, assisted by Miss J “Jay Walk” is a stylish piece of home ready for the runway and the painful “Hold My Hand” is reminiscent of the touchstone of ’90s soul. Mary J. Blige “I don’t cry”. Maybe we don’t know who Leikeli47 is, but we know who she isn’t: someone we should never underestimate.- JL

Best Songs: “Secret Service”, “Carry Anne”

Mitski, Laurel Helle

“We walk cautiously in the dark,” whispered singer Mitski Miyawaki in Hell’s haunting opening salvo. Attention is not the magic word in an album so soundly adventurous and lyrically open that it sounds less like a record than a manifesto. Songs crash and ripple from hypnotic travel hymns (“Valentine, Texas”) to the wailing of the Velvet Underground (“Heat Lightning”) and glittering nightclubs of the stars (“Stay Soft”). -LG

Best Songs: “Working for the Knife”, “Love Me More”


Pusha T, it’s almost dry

To a man who smashes cocaine, what Drake is to memes, a new record is an event. And Dry, which comes four years after the last, Daytona, sounds epic from the very first notes: shiny synths and rattling basses that rumble under equally old scales (or Clipse). It’s Kanye humming over Donny Hathaway’s “Dreamin ‘of the Past” break from “Jealous Guy” and Jay-Z and Pharrell swapping limbs during the liquid twist “Neck & Wrist”; Kid Cudi, Lil Uzi Vert and Don Toliver also make their appearances. They are excellent party hosts, but it is still the home of Pusha T, the “book of punch / know they are Genesis” of the Bible. -LG

Best Songs: “Neck & Wrist”, “Diet Coke”

To know what to expect with Motomami, it’s all in the first chapter. “Soak” is a raucous and relentless fusion of jazz, dirty industrial and deconstructed reggaeton, where the Spanish phenomenon declares: “I am in conflict with myself / I am changing / I am everything / I am changing”. In her next epic journey, Rosalie will not be captured. It could really be anything: a depressed mistress, a lonely bachata pop star, a spiritual goddess, a cyberpunk apprentice Björk, a sexy kitty who sings that she wants to ride her bike like a bicycle. Though he enlists The Weeknd, Dominican rapper Tokischa and producers Pharrell Williams and Michael Uzowuru (Frank Ocean, Beyoncé, SZA) to blow things up, he stays behind the wheel, changing lanes whenever he wants, always out of reach. – JL

Best songs: “G3 N15”, “CUUUUuuuuute”

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A smile, a light attracts attention

If really it’s just Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood with jazz drummer Tom Skinner. But six years after A Moon Shaped Pool, it’s hard not to consider Smile as the runner-up, even if Light lands in a much grittier and more spacious place. Thom is undoubtedly Thom, the ruthless chronicler of all our modern misfortunes, but here he seems looser and less tied to expectations. And in songs like the furious garage rock thrasher “You Will Never Work in Television Again” and the Wizard King “Thin Thing”, he sounds freer (maybe even happier?) Than he has in years. -LG

Best Songs: “You’ll Never Work on TV Again”, “The Smoke”

Wet foot, wet foot

Their name sounds like an unfortunate disease to sailors of yore, but Wet Legs are actually Hester Chambers and Rhian Teasdale, two college friends from the Isle of Wight in England who produce some of the funniest, most vulgar and joyful of the world. Recent memory. (If there’s justice, “Is your muffin buttered?

Best Songs: “Chaise Longue”, “Wet Dream”

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