The sheer volume of music right now – full-lengths, EP’s, digital exclusives, singles, B-sides, remixes, extended mixes, reissues – all make it hard to keep up. How do you know if you’ve EVEN HEARD the best albums of 2022 so far with so much noise?
We’re all in this together, so let’s have a look at the best albums of 2022 so far.
To start, let’s just note the year 2022 launched with the final installment and formal release of Once Twice Melody by Beach House. It is an epic dreamwork, one worth the time and scope across all 18 tracks. Once Twice Melody will likely be high on many people’s Best Of Decade lists, not just 2022. Even as I write this and listen to the song “ESP,” I question how rational I am not putting this in my top spot.
Buy this remarkable album and judge for yourself.
Other terrific works this year that will find many Top 10 lists:
- Wet Leg – Wet Leg. Deserving of every bit of blog buzz. You have to work hard not to like Wet Leg
- Dehd – Blue Skies. Latest from Chicago’s utterly charming trio, Dehd. Standout track: “Clear“
- Aurora – The Gods We Can Touch. DO NOT sleep on Aurora. Who cares what your friends think?
- Black Country, New Road – Ants From Up There. Is it Freak Country? Does it really need a label? Everything is so unexpected but still organic. Listen to “Mark’s Theme”
- Just Mustard – Heart Under. The gazey, gothy Heart Under is right in my strike zone
- Young Guv – GUV III. Powerpop at its finest. Ben Cook’s best in years.
Not Feeling It
Next, a few albums that left me underwhelmed.
I buy very little music sight unseen — as in, almost zero. However this year several of my favorite bands released new music and I bought it on spec. Did I not give them enough of a chance? Was I in a bad mood? I don’t know…a friend is persuading me to go back and revisit them. But these albums didn’t change my life.
First among them, as reliable as rain, Spoon. Lucifer on the Sofa is Spoon’s first album since 2017’s Hot Thoughts. I’ve never NOT liked Spoon. Not ever. But this one has not cut through for me. However, I did enjoy single “Wild.” It sounds like a straight up INXS tribute, and I am here for every second of it.
Alright since I’m such a crabby pants about Spoon…a few other big name releases that fell short:
- Animal Collective – Time Skiffs
- Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers
- Cate LeBon – Pompeii
- A Place to Bury Strangers – See Through You
- The Smile – A Light for Attracting Attention
It’s probably me.
Best of 2022 So Far
Sharon Van Etten has been on my radar for years but We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong is the first album that really took me aback. It has everything you could want…inflections of Emmylou Harris… dancier tracks… dense numbers layered like bucolic shoegaze. The thing I love most about this album is the way Van Etten starts many of her songs with the simplest musical ideas — and they grow into these epic, crashing things at the end.
Sit with “Born” for the full five minutes to hear this kind of masterful arrangement.
I think Van Etten has released one of the best albums of 2022 so far, so buy it here.
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