11 Best Albums of 2022


As someone who was thoroughly disappointed with this year’s Grammy nominations, here are some of my favorite albums of 2022.  


Ravyn Lennae 

Genre: R&B/Soul 

If you could listen to only one of my recommendations, listen to “Hypnos.” Ravyn Lennae feels like a big deal, and so does her debut full-length album. While I love both of her previous EPs, “Crush” and “Mood Shoes,” Lennae finally showcases her confidence. The album is layered with airy, smooth vocals and a soundscape that nods to electro R&B hits and bedroom pop. It feels worn-in, but at the same time, it sparkles. It sounds spacy, futuristic, new—and yet, it still nods to greats like Destiny’s Child and Outkast. With a dream lineup of producers like Steve Lacy and Kaytranada, “Hypnos” is entrancing. One can best enjoy this album dancing, taking a car ride, or simply just for self-care.  

Notable tracks: “M.I.A,” “Light Me Up,” “Skin Tight,” “Cameo” 


Guard Dog  


Genre: Contemporary Folk 

On his first ever-released project, Alec Duckart or Searows, made me cry, hysterically. With an unverified account on Instagram, Searows wrote one of the most beautifully gutwrenching albums of the year. The album itself is extremely stripped down. Structured with simple guitar chords in reverbed, open tunings,  his vocals are highlighted and cut like a knife. The songs, which focus on storytelling, grapple with love, friendship, and self-loathing. Searows monumentalizes the little moments. “Fallout from the glass you broke, there still a piece in my palm” he sings on Coming Clean. It is quiet, and haunting, and yet somehow still comforting. Even while maintaining levels of literary distance, it is still achingly confessionary. “Am I comfortable in silence, or is it eating me alive?” he sings on Keep the Rain. Out of all of the albums, I loved this year, I am most grateful that I stumbled upon this one.  

Notable tracks: Coming Clean, Used to Be Friends, Keep the Rain, Villain 



Brent Faiyaz 

Genre: R&B, Hip/Hop 

Brent Faiyaz is a lot of fun, but he is no poet; nonetheless, WASTELAND  was still high on my AppleMusic Replay. 2022 was a big year for Faiyaz, not only did he release WASTELAND, but he released a more understated EP, Too Late To Die Young, with his musical group, Sonder.  I don’t often listen to WASTELAND all the way through because of the interludes. (They tell the story of Faiyaz almost driving a pregnant lover to suicide because of his lack of time at home- it is honestly a little sickening to listen to.)  Music-wise, it’s a fun culmination of energized samples, big industry collaborators like Tyler, The Creator, and Drake, and sounds that feel cinematic. TikTok made sure that everyone knew the lines “drop the roof and let the smoke clear” from his song Dead Man Walking, and did the same with the redundant “it’s all mine” from his song, creatively titled, All Mine. Still, WASTELAND was one of the only albums my younger brother actually enjoyed when I played it out loud. Faiyaz stated that the making of WASTELAND was fueled by the binging of Quinten Tarantino movies, and it shows. (As well as the reference to the character “Jackie Brown” which I had to look up.) While lyrically it is a step up compared to his past work, his best, and least vulgar, lyrics include “I’m rich as fuck and I ain’t nothing at the same time/ People hate and love me at the same time” on his song Rolling Stone; its one of the first time fans hear Faiyaz in more of a vulnerable, less self-assured state. It looks good on him.  

Notable tracks: All Mine, Jackie Brown, Role Model, Rolling Stone 


i don’t know who needs to hear this…  


Genre: Alternative 

Another mystifying folk rock album from Sarah Beth Tomberlin. This album has a funny way of making you feel everything: anger, happiness, confusion, and peace, and it still somehow has room to make you dance. While some moments on the album and quiet and intimate like her songs sunstruck and unsaid, others are crunchy and raw like on stoned and happy accident; somehow it still feels cohesive. Just like with her previous work, Tomberlin masters honest lyrics that still perplex “I’m not a singer, I’m just someone who’s guilty” she sings on tap. Her influences are evident: Joni Mitchel, Grouper, and even more contemporary lyricists like Lucy Dacus, whom she nods to through lines about a tarot card reading on the song unsaid. Tomberlin is as much of a poet as she is a musician, and her musicianship shines. Not only through the guitar but with percussion and synths, the music is almost as good at telling the story as her lyrics are. i don’t know who needs to hear this… enchants in ways that most contemporary albums lack: the album is a culmination of pure emotions and expression. 

Notable tracks: tap, happy accident, sunstruck, stoned 

Gemini Rights 

Steve Lacy  

Genre: R&B 

Steve Lacy is finally famous, and not its just because Bad Habit was nominated for song of the year at the Grammys. Gemini Right is a perfect median of effortlessness and perfection. It is emotional, theatrical, and somehow still easy to listen to. With a background in production and bass playing, Lacy has fully developed his own R&B style. While Lacy has been known for using his phone to produce his music, as well as allegedly creating Kendrick Lamar’s Pride on his iPhone 6, Gemini Rights is more professional, yet it does not lose its GarageBand feel. The album is centered around expressive melodies, bluesy synths, and energetic guitar riffs. Gemini Rights also offered Lacy’s best lyricism; “Loving you was a hazard, So I got my heart a helmet” he sings on Helmet, clever. Bad Habit was my favorite song of the summer. I love this song so much that I told myself I wouldn’t listen to it for at least a year out of my fear of overplaying it. A future musical visionary no longer, because he is happening now; Steve Lacy is the real deal, and he’s here to prove it.  

Notable tracks: Helmet, Static, Sunshine, Bad Habit 


“Un Verano Sin Ti” 

Bad Bunny 

Genre: Latin Pop and Reggae 

Puerto Rico is known for many things, including being the birthplace of the piña colada, but now it is also known as the birthplace of Bad Bunny, the top musical artist in the world. There is nothing more I could write than what people already know. Bad Bunny swept the world with his Latin-pop-reggae-R&B-infused, sun-soaked album, “Un Verano Sin Ti.” It’s joyous to listen to. Every song is a party. Even those of us who cannot speak fluent Spanish know the lyrics “Titi me pregunto si tengo muchas novias,” the most screamed lines from the song “Titi Me Pregunto.” Since the release of “Un Verano Sin Ti,” Bad Bunny is everywhere: every radio, every playlist, every t-shirt, even a balloon at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Even though I can barely understand the lyrics, it’s fun, airy, tropical, and impossible to avoid.  

Notable tracks: “Moscow Mule,” “Efecto,” “Otro Atradecer” 


“Five Seconds Flat” 

Lizzy McAlpine 

Genre: Alternative Pop 

Thanks to pop powerhouses like Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, and Gracie Abrams, sad-girl pop is officially a genre. Lizzy McAlpine’s “Five Seconds Flat” follows the greats, but in her own artful and mysterious way. On the singer-songwriter’s second full-length album, McAlpine sings of love, loss, metaphorical car crashes, getting dumped on Halloween, and planning her own funeral. Her voice is smooth yet direct, perfect for the grim and clever stories her songs tell. The album’s indie pop amalgamation feels big in every way, especially with help from collaborators FINNEAS and Jacob Collier. On “Five Seconds Flat,” McAlpine masters making specific stories feel universal. Even if we haven’t all fallen in love with someone at 7-Eleven, her song, “All My Ghosts,” makes the listener feel like they have to. Five Seconds Flat is a fun, guilty pleasure that I had on repeat last year.  

Notable tracks: “Ceilings,” “All My Ghosts,” “Orange Show Speedway” 



Charli XCX  

Genre: pop 

Charli is back and better than ever, and her newest album Crash is evidence. Crash is an explosion of futuristic femme, 80’s synths, and what sounds like teenage angst. This album terminates her restricting record deal with Atlantic Records, the catalyst for much of the intensity and vigor in the album. The songs are loud, rave-centric, somewhat sexy, and artificially sweet. On her title track, Crash, she sings “I’m high voltage, self destructive/ End it all so legendary.” Her voice sounds like a carnival. While still youthful, Charli has matured from the artist who sang “I crashed my car into a bridge, I don’t care” which she co-sang with the pop duo Icona Pop back in 2012. It is no surprise her album is titled Crash, Charli XCX is a bombshell ready to regain her future in pop music.  

Notable tracks: New Shapes, Good Ones, Every Rule 




Genre: Alternative Indie Rock 

The album cover was enough for me to love Beatrice Kristi Laus or beabadoobee’s second album. The cover is an eclectic scribbled masterpiece of playful and childlike characters and colors- much like the album. The album, inspired by a dream fantasy beabadoobee had when she was seven, sounds like you think it would. It is light, sweet, and somehow punky and tough. While the songs Pictures of Us and Lovesong make me smile instantly, some of the others are harder to listen to. For example, halfway through Fairy Song, the song is flooded with a grungy, scratchy guitar similar to a 2000s edgy pop rock amalgamation. Its unexpected, yet it feels natural to what beabadoobee is all about. Her lyrics are compassionate, her guitar is crafty, she is evocative of a mean girl on Disney Channel, and she sings about tinkerbell. What could be better? 

Notable tracks: Pictures of Us, See you Soon, Lovesong, Broken CD  


Natural Brown Prom Queen 

Sudan Archives 

Genre: R&B/Soul 

Natural Brown Prom Queen is dipped in gold. Its no surprise that the multifaceted artist, Brittney Parks or Sudan Archives, would create something memorable, yet its safe to say the Natural Brown Prom Queen surpasses all forms of expectations. As a self taught violinist, Sudan Archives brings a unique twist to beloved afrobeat infused R&B. Recorded in her home studio in LA, the album showcases daring and honest lyrics, warm vocals, and a mix of afrofusion and contemporary R&B sounds. She’s proud of who she is, and she isn’t afraid to sing about it. Just like contemporaries, Beyonce and HER, Sudan Archives is an activist in her lyrics. “Sometimes I think that if I was light skinned/ Then I would get into all the parties/ Win all the Grammys, make the boys happy” she sings on NBPQ (Topless). The accompanying music video for the song is reminiscent of something David LaChapelle would photograph: psychadelic, colorful, perplexing and artful. Her song, Omg Britt, is heavy and seductive, yet a declaration of independence. Ciara sounds effortlessly catchy and melodic. Selfish Soul is a colorful anthem to self love. “I’m not average/ I’m not average/ I’m not average” she repeats on NBPQ (Topless); it sounds like she’s manifesting, but really, its a celebration of what she already knows.  

Notable Tracks: Ciara, Selfish Soul, ChevyS10 




Genre: Pop Latina 

She’s hard to categorize, but one thing is for sure: Rosalia is so much fun. Honestly, I was late to the hype. As I passed her poster for her debut Miami performance at III points music festival everyday on the highway, I never thought I would enjoy her music as much as I do. Motomami is latin pop imbued with flamenco, dance electronica and R&B. Along with collaborators like Pharrell Williams and The Weeknd, the album has extremely energized moments and expertly emotive ones. Songs like Chicken Teriyaki, and Bizochito are electric, revved up and high charged. (Bizochito quite literally reminds me of pinball machine.) There are also some heavy hitting ballands like Hentai, a rather sexual ode to X rated Manga comics. Her collaboration with The Weeknd on La Fama is a cautionary tale about fame. She sings about being taken for granted as a celebrity and the trust issues it imbues: “Sabe que será celosa, yo nunca le confiaré/ Si quiere’ duerme con ella, pero nunca la vayas a casar” (“You know she’s the jealous kind I’ll never trust/If you want, sleep with her but don’t tie the knot”.) Saoko is an expertly crafted nod to Daddy Yankee’s past reggaton hit Saoco, and its evidence of one thing: Rosalia is ready for something new. She sings “Me contradigo/ Yo me transformo/ Soy to’a’ las cosa/ Yo me transformo” (“I contradict myself/ I transform/ I’m everything/ I transform”) Rosalia needs you to know that she is transforming, in more ways than imagined. Her fusing of genres and musical styles is just starting, and Motomami takes us along for the ride. If you want to sing along, better learn Spanish.  

Notable Tracks: Saoko, Candy, La Fama, Chicken Teriyaki