The best albums of 2022
Senthur Shanmugarasa explores the best of the best albums released this year.
As the nights get darker quicker and as everyone’s favourite time of year (deadline season) rolls around, various newspapers, magazines and other media outlets compile their albums of the year. As somewhat of a music narc (by that, I bring up my Spotify at every given opportunity) I thought I would throw my hat into the ring. 2022 has been a very successful year for music as we emerge into somewhat normality. Artists are back on full tours showcasing their talents to their adoring fans. This is by no means a complete list and it’s subject to change, depending on what mood I’m in. Enough dillydallying, let’s dive in:
Black Country, New Road – Ants from Up There
Describing the music of BCNR is rather difficult. Post-punk? Art-rock? Experimental? Maybe they’re *gasp* just indie? Whatever the genre is, Black Country, New Road knows how to make a generational album. A move from the rather eclectic sound of their first record proved to be a success as BCNR produced an album to navigate your 20s to. Songs such as ‘Concorde’ and ‘Basketball Shoes’ (the live version is godly I must stress) have cacophonous ending which will have you screaming at the top of your lungs. The Place Where He Inserted the Blade is an emotional masterpiece. It’s rather a shame that frontman Isaac Wood left the band meaning we won’t get to hear the album live.
Best Track: ‘The Place Where He Inserted the Blade’.
Fontaines DC – Skinty Fia
Chances are there if you had any conversation with me I would have brought up this band within the first 15 minutes of talking. With good reason too, Grian and his merry men have produced their best and mostt mature album to date. There is no waning of the heavy post-punk sound of previous records but there’s still room for exploration of new sounds (‘How Cold Love Is’ and ‘Nabokov’). What makes Fontaines DC stand out from the litany of post-punk bands from the British isle is the stunning lyricism of the frontman. Brian might not appreciate these comparisons but surely he must be the descendants of the great Irish poets of Keats and Heaney. His ability to tackle crucial issues such as Irish identity and politics, combined with catchy bass lines proves he is the voice of the lost generation. His lyricism especially shines through in ‘I Love You’ (one of the songs of the year) as he breaks into a politically charged tirade. Skinty Fia has surely cemented Fontaines DC’s status as a generational band.
Best Track: ‘I Love You’
The Big Moon – Here is Everything
From the outside, The Big Moon seem like a carefree and cheery band producing indie-rock hits that easily fill the indie dance floors. The arrival of Here is Everything marks somewhat of break from this as they produced their best and most emotional album to date. This record revolves around the experiences of the lead singer’s pregnancy and the impact motherhood had on her relationships with the other band members. Universal maternal issues such a sleep deprivation and breastfeeding are covered brilliantly by lead singer Juliette Jackson. There’s no loss of the upbeat drums and excellent basslines that came with previous records. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the topic of their album its their most rich and emotional one to date. 11 beautifully crafted songs that showcase their excellent indie-pop sound.
Best Track: ‘Satellites’
Yard Act – The Overload
The British pop-punk scene has seen a large resurrection in the last few years. At the core of this revival is the German word ‘Sprechensang’. To summarise it, it’s where bands tend to talk-sing. While many post-punkers are trying to perfect this rather difficult art, few do it better than this Yorkshire quartet. Their comedic and wry take on the post-Brexit state of the nation recalls the 90s witticism of prime Jarvis Cocker. The album is full of cheeky one-liners and a niche pop culture beat set to a fun disco drum beat. There’s no wonder that this is every Radio 6-dad’s favourite band.
Best Track: ‘100 % Endurance’
Wet Leg – Self Titled
The Isle of Wight duo’s rise to stardom has been nothing short of meteoric as they went on from supporting Declan McKenna in front of 200 odd people to a sell-out headline UK tour as well as kicking off Glastonbury with a bang. Their first album proves that their first song ‘Chaise Lounge’ was not a one hintt wonder. In 36 minutes they provide an infectious album with catchy hooks and basslines. The no frills and no-fucks-given approach (simultaneously shedding of the industry plant taglines) has meant they have produced a modern classic. The lyrics are sardonic and humorous. Who’d thought that making music about having a quarter life crisis with your best friend could be so fun? I had the pleasure of seeing them live last week and I can assure the vibes we’re immaculate with their guitars sounding even better in the flesh/ Whether you like it or not, Wet Leg are here to stay.
Best Track: ‘Ur Mum’
Rina Sawayama – Hold the Girl
Courting – Guitar Music
Alvvays – Blue Rev
MUNA – Self-titled
Porridge Radio – Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky
Sunflower Bean – Headful of Sugar
Soccer Mommy – Sometimes Forever
Florence & the Machine – Dance Fever