13. Syd - 'Broken Hearts Club'
Syd Bennett from the premiere R&B group The Internet branches out on her second solo album but crafting a well-paced batch of synth-driven pop and intimate R&B jams.
Highlights: 'Fast Car,' 'Right Track,' 'Out Loud,' 'BMHWDY'
12. Mary J. Blige - 'Good Morning Gorgeous'
With another strong entry for album #14, the Queen of Hip-Hop Mary J. Blige rises once more above the other legacy artists of the 90s hip-hop world for a great 2022 album.
Highlights: 'Here With Me,' 'Good Morning Gorgeous,' 'Enough,' 'Need Love'
11. Gang of Youths - 'angel in realtime.'
With clear and remarkably meaningful lyrics attached to their pristine-sounding music, Gang of Youths is not a band to sleep on. Their ambition in incorporating weighty themes is enough to put them on the map, but the intimate, honest family connection elevates it even further. Even with some drag in Angel In Realtime's length at 67 minutes, the entire listening experience is emotionally real.
Highlights: 'In The Wake Of Your Leave,' 'The Angel of 8th Ave.,' 'Goal Of The Century'
10. Alt-J - 'The Dream'
The Dream announces to the world and the members themselves that a march down this new pathway can still head to a future masterpiece, where the line between focused and blurred strikes the perfect chord with fans and skeptics alike.
Highlights: 'Bane,' 'The Actor,' 'Chicago,' 'Philadelphia'
9. Soul Glo - 'Diaspora Problems'
Hardcore punk rockers from Philadelphia that blend in some funk, hip-hop, and jazz to pay tribute to African-American music traditions.
Highlights: 'Gold Chain Punk (whogonbeatmyass?),' 'Driponomics,' 'Spiritual Level of Gang Shit'
8. The Weather Station - 'How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars'
From the hushed, inviting atmosphere of the opening track 'Marsh' to the piano jazz fluidity of 'Loving You,' Tamara Lindeman's 2022 effort maintains a mood and sonic sparseness from beginning to end.
Highlights: 'Endless Time,' 'Taught,' 'Ignorance,' 'Loving You'
7. Warpaint - 'Radiate Like This'
Radiate Like This is another great chapter in Warpaint's discography, both evolving and sticking to their core ideology. It's more spare and less hazy than before, but the softness gives Warpaint's music more intimacy than ever.
Highlights: 'Champion,' 'Hard To Tell You,' 'Stevie,' 'Melting'
6. Charli XCX - 'Crash'
With the first three extremely catchy singles filling out the first half, the album could have stopped there and still probably received acclaim and success. However, Charli XCX has never seemed content with filler on her records, and “Baby,” “Lightning,” “Yuck,” and “Used To Know Me” make for a nearly-as-good second half.
Highlights: 'Crash,' 'New Shapes,' 'Good Ones,' 'Baby,' 'Lightning'
5. Mitski - 'Laurel Hell'
Adorned with just enough melodic frill to highlight a few tracks, Laurel Hell churns along to the end, musically transcendent while heavily grounded in raw emotion.
Highlights: 'Working For The Knife,' 'Stay Soft,' 'The Only Heartbreaker,' 'Love Me More'
4. Pusha T - 'It's Almost Dry'
The hardcore king from Clipse has carved out a wildly successful solo career, and his 2022 release It's Almost Dry shows that he has not lost his touch at all.
Highlights: 'Dreamin of the Past,' 'Diet Coke,' 'I Pray For You'
3. CMAT - 'If My Wife New I'd Be Dead'
Going for an at-once classic and modern vibe, If My Wife New I'd Be Dead is just about as ideal of a debut as one could manage in 2022. It's a prize listen for fans of Irish music (always praised for its unique take on pop music), and many listeners around the globe will find something worth taking here.
Highlights: 'Nashville,' 'I Don't Really Care For You,' 'I Wanna Be A Cowboy, Baby!'
2. Confidence Man - 'TILT'
For 2022 dance music, it doesn't get much better or more universally appealing than Confidence man, period.
Highlights: 'Feels Like A Different Thing,' 'Luvin U Is Easy,' 'Holiday,' 'Push It Up,' 'Break It Bought It'
1. Coheed & Cambria - 'Vaxis II: A Window of the Waking Mind'
Even if Vaxis II is the sequel to the band's revival of their five-album-long concept series with two prequel albums, this version of Coheed & Cambria is a uniquely strong entry. Melding pop production and more economic songwriting than ever, Claudio Sanchez and co. hit every great aspect of their signature prog-pop-punk sound.
Highlights: 'Comatose,' 'Ladders of Supremacy,' 'Rise, Naianasha (Cut The Cord),' 'Window of the Waking Mind'