Community’s Top 50 Albums of 2022: 50 – 31

Published: January 11, 2023

50-31 | 30-11 | 10-1 | EP/Live/Compilation

50. CMAT – If My Wife New I’d Be Dead

[Official site] // [Spotify]

CMAT resides in the soft, pillowy safety of a thought bubble, in the sunset hues of daydream and if-only. Hers is a particular longing, and who can blame her, for the tropes born of country denizens Dolly Parton and Glen Campbell — she wants the tall boots with spurs, the rodeos, and the heartbreak that birthed all those lovelorn Foghorn Leghorn country classics. She wants a slice of the adulation reserved only for pop megastars the ilk of Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey. She wants not to be tangled up in the humdrum of abject normality.

If My Wife New I’d Be Dead plays out like a self-exposing fantasy, a simulation as far removed from reality as possible. It’s full of biting humour aimed very much inward — album standout “No More Virgos” frames her failing relationships as being astrologically determined, denying any possibility of her own shortcomings and pithy demands. On “Every Bottle (Is My Boyfriend)”, a bittersweet romp on the subject of over-imbibing in the face of the absence of romance, she geo-locates herself as being very far away from Nashville indeed with a reference to the Gaelic Athletic Association: “Honky tonk girl of the G.A.A., with about the same glamour and half the game.” But ultimately, CMAT’s reality is right in front of us. There’s no character work on display here. She’s a cowboy, baby, and the daydream has manifested itself. –Ashley Collins / anat

49. Everything Everything – Raw Data Feel

[Official site] // [Spotify]

The maximalist nature of Everything Everything’s music is more than implied in their name, and they’re already known for their everything (everything) but the kitchen sink approach to production and songwriting. Dizzying political diatribes are the lifeblood of revered albums Get to Heaven and A Fever Dream, which harbour hatred for the hating, the eggs in suits, and currency-chasers. RE-ANIMATOR proved somewhat alienating — every album prior had positively developed on its predecessor, but this one came across a little tired, toying with ideas without fully exploring them, tethered to a political landscape that few knew how to traverse.

Something different, then, with their sixth endeavour: Raw Data Feel is an album largely concerning itself with the perils of consumerism and the rise of technology, that never stoops to “phone bad” black and white levels of critique. It houses a narrative, even, that elevates it from another AI experiment — moving away from notions of artificial intelligence replacing the human and towards a sort of strange bedfellow collaboration. Its main fault lies in its length, but then it almost has too many bangers for its own good that the more understated material in between becomes a little negated. Still, Raw Data Feel houses a good amount of some of EE’s best tracks to date: “Pizza Boy”, “Teletype”, “Kevin’s Car”, and “Jennifer” all feel quintessential to their wider catalogue. I’m sure that ChatGPT, the overstepping conversational AI, has been listening to this one in preparation for the day it is asked to produce an entire LP. Ashley Collins / anat

48. fleshwater – We’re Not Here to Be Loved

[Bandcamp] // [Spotify]

Are we slowly running out of past? Or are we now living in atemporal times, where everything old has meshed together in a “new” way?

I ain’t no Simon Reynolds, so I won’t destroy what’s left of my brain to try to answer that.

What I do know is that the past decade saw hardcore bands emulate styles and sounds that were mainly reserved for indie darlings or ’90s mainstay acts. Code Orange and Turnstile have amassed Grammy nominations for their respective glitchy industrial metalcore and dream alt-punk propositions. And while maintain a viscerality that lets them go under the “big nü heavy rock” radar, their nu-metal-tinted sound has found a respectful response among a crowd that would’ve classified them as “shit” ten years ago, right next to those dreadful Emmure albums.’s child band, Fleshwater, works on less visceral, but not less efficient areas: their brand of ’90s-era nostalgic alternative metalgaze is full of playful riffs, dual vocals that are given enough space to properly show their melodic knack, and a Ballou-made production that brings the crispiness the genre demands.

We’re Not Here to Be Loved does sound like Hum and Deftones playing a different “Everlong” cover at the same time, yes. But while that specific spot in rock now seems so evident that it should’ve happened before, it didn’t because nobody absorbed their influences the way Fleshwater did. The truth is, at a certain point in a genre’s history, the odds get increasingly stacked against innovation because the past starts stacking up. We cannot ask for constant innovation because of that, but we can ask about continuous evolution or: new ways of doing old stuff. Fleshwater did that with We’re Not Here to Be Loved, and that’s already pretty good. Long live new stuff that sounds like the old stuff we used to jam when we were kids and knew nothing about nothing. Long live the retromania. –Erwann S. / dedex

46 (tie). Knoll – Metempiric

[Bandcamp] // [Spotify]

Savage, wildly chaotic and noisy: the music of Tennessee’s experimental deathgrind formation is extreme in every sense. At first glance, everything feels very intense and unpredictably complex: spiraling dissonant riffs along with diabolical howls and shrieks, drastic tempo changes, and some shocking elements as discordant droning and occasional trumpet improvisations might feel… suffocating. But after a deeper dive in this record, it becomes somewhat clear that it’s very well-structured and balanced. The album lets you regain your senses and catch your breath during the slower noise / ambient sections, but just to slam you into the ground yet again and again — most interestingly, you might catch yourself enjoying this treatment. –garas

46 (tie). Daniel Rossen – You Belong There

[Official site] // [Spotify]

Whilst it’s been criticised by some for maybe being a bit uninspired, the album artwork for You Belong There is actually rather emblematic of the album itself. It’s stark, yes, but the adorning typeface is ornate, and those are two descriptors that perfectly sum up what Rossen has offered up on his debut solo effort. With Grizzly Bear as a project on the shelf, dutifully collecting the dust kicked up by fourteen years of enigmatic, tense, wooden musings, Rossen continues with more of the same. His style is unmistakable, and you get a sense of appreciation that Rossen was Grizzly Bear. Like on Yellow House, or Veckatimest, there is so much space on this album within which to reside, to belong. All of its parts are able to stretch out, slowly, like blooming roots searching through soil — inquisitive piano notes, reticent percussion, hesitating plucked guitar, all asking to fill an empty room. “Nothing’s lost when there’s nothing,” he supposes on “Unpeopled Space”, an unnerving selection that leans into the shadows a bit more than anything on a Bear record. You Belong There wants to fill the empty space, so that nothing becomes something. Something tangible. Something loseable. —Ashley Collins / anat

45. Lorna Shore – Pain Remains

[Official site] // [Spotify]

Deathcore? In 2022? Really? Yeah, really good. I’m usually one to shy away from deathcore nowadays because it just feels so bland, empty, formulaic, predictable, insert-whatever-boring-adjective-you-want-here-esque — which is why this comes as a shock. Yeah, “To The Hellfire” was pretty sick and showed off one of the weirdest breakdowns of last year, but surely that just was a one-off sort of thing — deathcore isn’t that great. Well, Pain Remains proves otherwise. Lorna Shore’s ability to craft songs with ridiculous breakdowns alongside well-rounded melodic progressions in guitar riffs and symphonic composition is quite impressive. While the band at times feels like they’re beating a dead horse and trying to recreate the same “shock factor” of their recent highlight, Lorna Shore still show great moments of ingenuity. The record mostly features their signature deathcore sound with elements of symphonic death and techy progressions, which are especially prevalent on the rapid fire sequence of “Into the Earth” to “Cursed to Die”. However, a stand out like “Soulless Existence” ditches the necessity for “brutal breakdown time” and focuses entirely on the melodic depth of the track itself. But the truly outstanding highlight lies in the 20+ minute trilogy “Pain Remains”. Forget everything else I said before this; none of it matters anymore. This trilogy perfectly embodies everything Lorna Shore strive to be. It has the melody, the aggression, the non-human sounding vocals, the intense orchestration… all of it. The finale alone is worth checking this thing out. But yeah, Lorna Shore did what few have done: make deathcore relevant. –Tyler W.

44. The Halo Effect – Days Of The Lost

[Official site] // [Spotify]

Old In Flames and Dark Tranquillity guys make the album that In Flames should’ve done after Colony. The rhythm guitars aren’t as energized as one would hope, but the melodies are particularly great. –zaruyache

Pure gem of an album. “Standout” track / my favorite: “Gateways”. Sometimes simplicity makes everything stick. –Zarticc

It comes across as a more energized, present-day Dark Tranquility playing with a bit more passion and tighter execution. Absolutely not original or groundbreaking in the slightest, but the guitars sound fantastic, the melodies are excellent, and Mikael Stanne sounds solid as ever. –Malcontent

43. Petrol Girls – Baby

[Official site] // [Spotify]

Let’s avoid the lazy comparison: if one could say that the Petrol Girls’ music is typical riot grrrl, it would be forgetting that the band has been able to forge its own identity over the albums. The London-based band distinguishes itself by mixing post-hardcore riffs, math-rock rhythms, and post-punk angularity. A snide attitude, coupled with a real sense of formula and full-blown drums, strengthens the band’s discourse to the same level of intensity as their music. This duality is wonderfully embodied by singer Ren Aldridge, who can count on the support of a band that performs from one end of the record to the other a smooth job of managing rhythmic changes without sacrificing the groove.

When such technical mastery is put at the service of topical subjects, we find ourselves faced with an album whose power is deployed on all fronts and in all forms. Let’s note the appearance of the British activist (and former singer of Dream Nails) Janey Stirling on “Fight for Our Lives” and its raging “You don’t own us” dealing with femicides, or “Violent By Design” which tackles police violence. But where the balance between a political stance and epic songwriting finds its perfect balance is in “Baby I Had An Abortion”. Co-written by Stirling, the song manages to talk about abortion amid the Roe v Wade controversy (Aldridge wrote a great article about it in Kerrang! magazine) while offering an upbeat rhythm and a catchy chorus. In moments like these, as festive as they are raucous, the balance between impudence and sincerity makes Baby such an irresistible record.

While it may seem (too) obvious to evoke the ethics and tactics of the riot grrrl movement when discussing Petrol Girls, the fact remains that modern feminist punk often finds itself in the same breath as the women’s punk movement of the early ’90s. This is understandable: punk energy coupled with eloquent discussions of issues such as body autonomy, disenfranchisement, and exploitation have lost none of their power or relevance thirty years on. Quite the contrary. –Erwann S. / dedex

42. 40 Watt Sun – Perfect Light

[Official site] // [Spotify]

40 Watt Sun have bored me before, as well as enthralled me, so going into this new album was a mixed bag of feelings — especially given how their fanbase adores the boring stuff just as much as the profound. However, I was actually greatly surprised that this time around all of my previous gripes and reservations have been mostly improved upon. No longer is the band muddled by their long-winded songwriting, but they use it greatly to their advantage in crafting these patient, gentle melodies that you don’t actually mind going on forever. The drawn-out songwriting is the key here, not the detriment. –someone

I don’t know what it is about this album, but there’s a strangely nostalgic feeling I get from it. It definitely sounds out of place in 2022, but that’s kinda the charm of it. It really does recall a lot of that sentimental ’90s indie rock magic, but then it has that sprawling post-rock touch to it… honestly, I just love the whole vibe of the album. –Koris

I am feeling that this record is excellently structured. I really dig the progression of intensity in the first three tracks, from the entirely acoustic “Reveal” to the soft/undistorted electric “Behind My Eyes” to the (still pretty softly) distorted electric guitars and harder acoustic strums of “Until”. Then “Colours” is an excellent “short” and lighter reprieve before the return to longer and more intense songwriting in the second half. –TheBoneyKing

41. An Abstract Illusion – Woe

[Bandcamp] // [Spotify]

Progressive metal was always meant to inspire. The plot was lost when that meant recycling the past and the genre actually obtained a sound of its own, which seemed kind of contradictory to the whole point of the thing. The peaks of the category have not changed, however; when something special shatters the monotony and gradually accrues relevance, there’s usually something compelling buried under the ensuing wave of enthusiastic praise. From its humble beginnings — delicate ambiance, gentle piano notes, electronic noise in the background — Woe subtly introduces a sense of anticipation, teasing something greater in the distance that’s gradually gaining momentum. Once the triumphant riff of “Slaves” enters the fray, the thrill ride begins; for nearly an hour, Swedish collective An Abstract Illusion provide an absolute spectacle of shimmering melodies and mountainous, larger-than-life soundscapes that tower above a given listener with their imposing strength. Operating inside a blend of progressive and melodic death metal, Woe is sufficiently brutal as its arrangements shift and alter course.

The skill on display is enough to ensnare travelers into the titanic interiors of the group’s sophomore record, but the atmosphere employed here is the band’s most notable asset. Many acts under the progressive metal umbrella are capable of soft textures, yet their inclusions are almost always to serve the instrumental complexity alone — desires for an explosive moment are too transparent, and the calm never lasts long enough. An Abstract Illusion are certainly capable of dazzling with technicality, but the heart of the release lies in its ability to restrain itself, preferring to let the melodic tones of the leads construct the scenery as stray electronic elements insert additional layers. The audience can truly rest and take in the sights (read: sounds) of a monstrous tune such as “In Heavens Above, You Will Become a Monster”, devoutly following its progression from uncompromising intensity to surprising calm. Using their dystopian aura as a centerpiece for their identity, the Swedes are able to emphasize their lush timbres and commendable restraint, which inevitably grants Woe its intimidating ability to stun and bludgeon with fearsome musicianship. Put prejudices against tags aside; this is one of the good ones. –M. Worden / MarsKid

40. Peregrine (USA-MA) – the awful things we’ve done

[Bandcamp] // [Spotify]

If you haven’t heard of Peregrine before, don’t worry, I won’t blame you. Their fanbase is quite small and they don’t have many listeners… they just haven’t quite broken out yet. And honestly, I’m at a loss for words trying to explain how they haven’t. To give some background, Peregrine is an emo band. Alright, good enough background. the awful things we’ve done is easily one of the best emo/post-hardcore/whatever-you-name-it albums in recent years, and no one knows about it. From the energetic and powerful opener, to the dark and haunting “exorcism USA”, to the emotional and beautifully crafted closer, the record has everything one could ever hope from the genre. The vocals are endearing and emotional while also being filled with passion and fury. The guitar work is outstanding, crafting impactful melodic progressions mixed with intricately woven leads and supporting chords working together in cohesion with the complementary bass lines and grooves. The drumming never tries to take the spotlight, acting as a foundation for every track to guide each individual piece as it forms one big picture. All of this chemistry between Peregrine exudes through every track as the emotional storytelling and passionate playing all resonate through each and every minute. While I don’t blame you if you haven’t heard of Peregrine before, I can’t stress enough how much you need to listen to the awful things we’ve done–Tyler W.

39. Persefone – metanoia

[Official site] // [Spotify]

Carlos Lozano Quintanilla is the unsung wizard of progressive metal. His playing is unique — an incredible phenomenon in and of itself considering the general stagnation of all things labeled prog — and the distinctive guitar tone he applies to every Persefone record is immediately recognizable. Throughout all eras, ranging from the Opethian days of Truth Inside the Shades to this modern, highly-technical iteration, Quintanilla’s distinctive style has endured, creating an inseparable link between records that defines the collective’s sonic identity. Whereas innumerable acts are content playing the hits of yesteryear, Persefone continue to carve out a unique path that has never earned the proper credit it deserves (illustrated by a criminally low placement), whether they’re illustrating the beauty of a classical Greek tragedy or constructing a lengthy journey centered around their deeply-rooted spiritualism. On musicianship alone, these unsung Andorran heroes can school the best of ’em, and when put under further scrutiny, their ability to craft a memorable and cohesive full-album experience is unrivaled.  

To say that the veteran act has “done it again” feels somewhat cheap; it rings out like more of a knee-slapper, a “Well shucks, those darn Andorrans!” sort of saying. But there’s a truth to it in the sense that, on any given record, it’s guaranteed Persefone will deliver. On metanoia, they’re again found elevating their sound to new heights, capturing the atmosphere of the preceding Aathma and plunging into its vast possibilities. It’s an artful blend of both progressive metal and progressive rock, taking the dramatics of both and tying them together with inspiring virtuosity, allowing the audience to sink into its rich textures and immersive ambiance. Everything about the group’s sixth LP feels particularly beautiful — which isn’t to diminish the equal exquisiteness of [insert literally any Persefone record here] — due to its commendable restraint, meticulous cohesion from track-to-track, and how it can easily go for the jugular via explosive, serpentine riffing. Front to back, this is an astoundingly fulfilling and special release — the very kind progressive metal craves right now. Dive in and soak in the wonders. –M. Worden / MarsKid

38. Wormrot – Hiss

[Bandcamp] // [Spotify]

Grind at its best ought to sound like a mad circus, what with its penchant for unrelenting speed, runaway dissonance, and musicianship so fierce it becomes nearly imperceptible. Every song is a minute-or-less shot of adrenaline straight to the skull that deftly cycles between different motifs, all while the listener is bombarded by any manner of shrieks, squeals, growls, shouts, yells, yelps, and whatever else. There was thankfully plenty of that bedlam to consume in 2022, but of the ringleaders parading about in the mayhem, Wormrot’s ruthless brand of chaos emerges as the one of the most captivating. It’s a somewhat bittersweet affair due to the departure of longtime vocalist Arif, but ultimately a rewarding one; the grind outfit are operating at their pinnacle of ability here, featuring an extensive repertoire of influences and a chameleon-esque ability to switch styles on a whim without tripping over their ambitions. The Singaporean act can and will do whatever they— 

Is that a violin? 

Yeah, it is. 


Don’t ask questions. 

—want in order to convey their hectic style of grind. String instruments indeed make an unexpected appearance, although their haunting tone meshes amicably with the suffocating sound surrounding it. Elements of powerviolence, mathcore, hardcore, and even punk crop up in the group’s songwriting, leading to a consistent diversity that makes Hiss exciting to experience. There’s no telling what awaits around a given corner; there’s a loveable level of unpredictability that’s both shockingly cohesive and almost hilariously unhinged, occasionally dipping into different musical realms so quickly it can be missed in a blink. And, in true grind fashion, Wormrot can assail all comers with blistering guitar riffs that seem to weave endlessly around a song, a percussion kit that sounds possessed by an octopus, and a practically insane vocal performance, and be done in time for supper in a breezy 32-minute runtime. There’s no shortage of delightful grind pleasures throughout Hiss, and its replay value makes it a reliable rollercoaster when it’s time to get weird and absolutely crazy. –M. Worden / MarsKid

37. Black Midi – Hellfire

[Official site] // [Spotify]

With the slow season in full swing and not much to do, my coworkers and I were all gathered around the front counter at the office, sitting around and evidently bored to tears, having neither fuck all to do nor the will to do fuck-anything-else. Among our numbers were born-and-bred blue-collar folks, standard suit-and-tie corporate types, some emo vibes, and a spoonful of millennial energy. Quite the cocktail mixture of generations! Our boredom was entertained by engaging in idle conversation and listening to a plethora of albums whose ranges included metalcore, funk, jazz, old-school West Coast rap, pop… but nothing was truly sticking. Regardless of approach, the group wasn’t satisfied. That was until, however, a suggestion came from across the room:

“Play that one weird band. Black something.”

“Play Black Midi.”

Cue a sudden phenomenon of coordinated head-nodding.

It was as if I had entered the Twilight Zone. Here I was, positioned in the middle of a veritable potpourri of personalities, interests, and personal backgrounds, and the common ground discovered in this clutter was a strange U.K. band that seemingly out of nowhere achieved overnight indie fandom. But that was the request, and as preposterous as it seemed in the moment, the group immediately scored points in a crowd that shared precious few things together. What happened here?

Black Midi being accessible was never something I considered despite their rapid ascension to internet stardom — a rise plenty have scrambled to decry with any manner of insults. The Brits were a touch too unconventional, they didn’t quite fit into a particular mold of the mainstream as I understood it, their vocalist was Britain’s answer to Microsoft Sam if he got drunk and spoke only in thesaurus — but then, it clicked. Their progressive rock influences appealed to the old-school, whereas their more esoteric callbacks to avant-garde artists of old and their elaborate, zany jazz forays ensnared dedicated audiophiles. Sprinkle on an apathetic aesthetic and lyrics drenched in modern-age sarcasm and cynicism, and voila, there it is: a conglomerate of strange enough and familiar enough traits that, when imbued with an infectious energy, could be a hit to the youth and to elders alike. The group lost the plot when Cavalcade scrubbed out the abrasive, rough, and fun edges of their work, trading them in instead for squeaky-clean performances sans-emotion. The magic of their live performances — a colorful, frequently messy bash of instruments and unbridled passion for musical craft — felt shockingly absent.

I’m proud to announce that, on the act’s third record, Hellfire, Black Midi learned to be silly again. The cascading keys on “Welcome to Hell” sounding like cheap fireworks? That’s silly. The finale of “27 Questions” ending by reciting fewer than 27 questions? That’s silly. NOW LISTEN TO THIS! Silly. It seems equally inane to focus on relatively miniscule aspects for a record of such esteem, but instances like those mentioned are wonderful reminders that, hey, there are real dudes behind these virtuosic flourishes! How Greep’s guitar and Cameron Picton’s bass intertwine, racing ahead on as they do “Sugar/Tzu”, is consistently entertaining, offering both inspiring technical skill and addicting passages to appreciate. Morgan Simpson’s drumming remains the bedrock from which everything else branches off of, and his oft-discussed mastery is brilliant enough on its own to warrant a passing listen of Hellfire. When all three are playing off of each other’s energy, it’s impossible to ignore their entrancing combination of sounds, and –cover your eyes, pearl-clutchers — they belong on this list. –M. Worden / MarsKid

36. Moon Tooth – Phototroph

[Bandcamp] // [Spotify]

If this album doesnt cause the band to blow up, or at least exponentially grow, then maybe rock music deserves to die. –DavidYowi

Who knew you could make thrash, blues, prog, and stoner rock sound so epic and refreshing? I sure goddamn didn’t! Every track explodes with groovy scales, great drum work, some of the best vocals, and badass determination. If you’re having your doubts, then wait for “Nymphaeaceae”, probably the best song on this masterpiece. This could very well be AOTY. –Vinnymcscoop

Every song shreds. And man dude can sing! Loved their previous albums, but this one’s next level. –ADLutz

34 (tie). Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers

[Official site] // [Spotify]

What’s your deepest, darkest secret? After a thorough navigation of every bar of Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, it would be easy to assume that Kendrick Lamar doesn’t have any of his own left. While he has certainly stepped away from the jazzy and occasionally experimental production of To Pimp A Butterfly in favor of more mainstream beat construction, Mr. Morale completes the transformation of his lyrical focus from macro to micro, societal to introspective, suicidal and anxiety-ridden to reborn and fearless. The record darts frenetically across the timeline of Lamar’s life and publicly scrutinized career, tracing the origins of his addictions, unresolved grief, and personal shortcomings (“United In Grief”, “Worldwide Steppers”) all the way back to the turbulent horrors of his childhood (“Father Time”, “Mother I Sober”). What makes this storytelling method so effective, and the record so controversial, is Lamar’s simultaneous exposure and chastisement of a hip-hop scene and larger culture so desperately attempting to hide its flaws. The venom of tracks like “N95” and “Savior” cannot be understated, despite their harmless exterior; Mr. Morale is K.Dot’s endeavor to hold a mirror up to the world that broke him and countless other young black boys, come to terms with the survivor’s guilt he’s been rapping about since 2015, and pick up the pieces of his grief-stricken life. –YoYoMancuso

34 (tie). JID – The Forever Story

[Bandcamp] // [Spotify]

Alright, bear with me here. For those of you who know me, y’all know I sorta stick to talking about metal and whatnot, but I still really enjoy checking out hip-hop and rap if it catches my attention. I don’t talk about it much — not because I don’t have opinions on it, but because I don’t know how to exactly put it into a written review. So the fact that I am currently writing this right now should say enough about just how amazing The Forever Story is. This entire thing is filled to the brim with infectious beats and smooth melodies and rhythms, bringing the heat with every track and never faltering once. Yet the main star of the show is JID’s flow and lyrical wordplay. Overtop the wonderfully constructed beats and grooves, JID’s voice glides perfectly across the soundscape, sometimes matching the rhythm and other times experimenting with unique changes to the timing and phrasings of each verse. Moreover, with this flow, his lyrical wordplay crafts a story within each track, stacking words like blocks to make a foundation for The Forever Story.

It’s really hard to highlight specific tracks because everything flows perfectly, but to provide a framework for what we’re working with here: “Crack Sandwich”. That’s the highlight. The darker lead work gives a cool sounding rhythm that JID uses to experiment with his wordplay expressing a tough story of growing up. It features multiple beat changes and flow switch-ups that truly excel within the song (as a side note, I highly suggest checking out the music video for “Crack Sandwich” — probably one of the coolest transitions I’ve seen from the year). I could go on and on about the album, but you have quite a few more albums to go so I’ll keep it simple: The Forever Story is easily at the top of the genre, not just for 2022, but for the last couple years. I might be ignorant in saying that, but this record from JID is truly a standout in my eyes and a must listen! –Tyler W.

33. yeule – Glitch Princess

[Official site] // [Spotify]

All cards are laid down on the table with the opening number “My Name is Nat Ćmiel”. As their voice disintegrates into the digital nightmare quietly developing in the background, our album’s protagonist details their interests, their likes, their dislikes, their thoughts on sexuality and how they view themselves, their beliefs, their insecurities, their — well, short of a social security number, I think all the bases are covered here. What proceeds is an odyssey through minimalistic electronic numbers that disguise their uneasy, glitch-infused landscapes within a recognizable pop framework that’s both addicting in its own right and an ideal shield for an artist attempting to hide themselves. The runtime of Glitch Princess features wavering synths, somber piano notes, cloudy electronic noise, and a serene ambiance that perpetually lingers in the distance, all of which combines to form stunning, understated arrangements that are easy to get lost in. It’s an incredibly vibrant, albeit despairing landscape, frequently juxtaposing its soothing tone with an underlying theme of self-hatred that’s both overt and somewhat cloaked.

Glitch Princess is based around that contradiction: its paradoxical relationship between its written word and compositions. Yeule, despite revealing their conscious mind for any to hear, is saying nothing at all; their voice, soft and bending from the weight of its subject matter, is filtered through the omnipresent electronic noise — not truly their voice, which the hazy atmosphere similarly assists in concealing. Our protagonist wishes to share everything with no details spared, but there’s a hesitation as their identity unravels over a technological hellscape of a production. It’s the ideal soundtrack to a world that is becoming terminally online, be it for employment, for a necessity — hell, an addiction, perhaps. Plenty is left in the public sphere despite a lurking fear of how always-wandering eyes will perceive the baggage. Nat Ćmiel is putting all cards on the table until, maybe, they aren’t, and now the table is in pieces and something buried deep in one’s body doesn’t feel comfortable anymore. Yeule’s words and impressive compositions can claw their way in and reveal whatever itches underneath. With patience, Glitch Princess can unfurl a truly powerful, emotional tale. –M. Worden / MarsKid

32. Gang of Youths – angel in realtime.

[Official site] // [Spotify]

I had the privilege of seeing Gang of Youths live in Chicago in May 2022. In a setlist mainly comprised of angel in realtime.’s tracklist, “brothers” stood out to me in a way it never had before. Despite its stirring and maudlin lyricism (frontman David Le’aupepe is pretty much batting 1.000 over his career in terms of wordplay), its musical arrangement always struck me as stagnant and it remains my least favorite song on the record. However, sharing its performance as a memory with both the band and the packed venue gifted me with the opportunity to witness a small fragment of the emotional journey that the angel in realtime. album cycle has taken the group on. Within a project of intercontinental and intergenerational scope, it’s these contained and intimate moments that make the strongest emotional impression; for every bombastic refrain of “in the wake of your leave” or “the angel of 8th ave.”, there is a contrasting deep exhale like the gradual winding down of “tend the garden” and “forbearance” or the unforgettable coda of “goal of the century”. While I wouldn’t necessarily consider it ‘better’ than the seminal Go Farther In Lightnessangel in realtime. showcases Gang of Youths’ exceptional artistic progression amid a smattering of Polynesian percussion, passionate piano balladry, and a healthy serving of straight-up infectious stadium rock bangers. –YoYoMancuso

31. Carly Rae Jepsen – The Loneliest Time

[Official site] // [Spotify]

It grooves, Carly sings, it’s fun. It’s definitely not the most substantive record but it’s a blast. It ends on a strong note, with “Go Find Yourself or Whatever” — a genuinely fantastic ballad — and the title cut, the peak of sentimental sweetness on an album full of it. –Project

If a 3.8 was available this would probably be it. On the whole this is a bit of a step up from the last record if not just a bit more inconsistent. There is hardly an unpleasant moment here and some truly beautiful ones (“Bends”, “Bad Thing Twice”, “The Loneliest Time”) and while “Beach House” might just be a bit blunt and cheesy, when was Carly ever not including a few tracks like that on her albums? It’s just carefree fun. I was admittedly skeptical that this would be just another pop record, but Carly has proven me wrong and I am happy to see her thriving in the post-Emotion part of her career. I would say I am optimistic about the next stages of Carly’s career given her vocal style and knack for writing songs. –cjbizzlebizzle

Emotion 2: This Time With Feeling — Carly continues her insane streak with another album that will reward her pop aficionados with another heaping helping of ear worms from a true student of the game. –Odal

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