The 10 Best Albums of 2022 (So Far)

  1. Ants From Up There by Black Country, New Road (10/10)

Not just album of the year, but an album to go down as one of the best in history. I think everyone should listen to this incredible piece of art. The album’s central idea of youthful relationships and growing up is incredibly relatable in my senior year. The lead singer Isaac Wood sings about the energy he has put into this relationship, only for it to end, feeling a sense of loss as he spent so much time on someone and it didn’t work out. However, Isaac realizes that although it ends, he still has memories of that relationship. I don’t even have to explain why this is relatable because every high schooler probably has one friend or ex-partner who they used to talk to daily, but now are left with only the memories of that person. In short, this album is a modern masterpiece.

  1. I Love You Jennifer B by Jockstrap (HIGH 9/10)

Upon first listen, this album was close to a perfect 10 for me. Everything about it flowed well except for one or two minor things. However, as I continued listening to this album, the parts I hated became some of my favorite things about this album. While the intro to “Neon” originally felt stale, the way it fades into the rest of the song sounds brilliant. This album was released as I was creating this list, and was originally left off, but Jockstrap’s genius album couldn’t be excluded.

  1. Cheat Codes by Danger Mouse and Black Thought (9/10) 

Danger Mouse is probably the most consistent producer of all time, working on countless classics with the likes of MF DOOM, Gorillaz, and CeeLo Green. On this album, he does no different, collaborating with Roots rapper Black Thought. Black Thought comes through with insightful rhymes and shows he is much more than a band member on Jimmy Fallon. The beats here are incredible too; Danger Mouse shows his beat-making prowess is as good as it has been in decades.

  1. Hellfire by Black Midi (9/10) 

Black Midi is an electric band. They always bring energy, and on this project, they fuse the hard-hitting songs of their first album with the more melodic sounds of their second. The incredible guitar riffs from frontman Geordie Greep mixed with the groovy bass of Cameron Picton and the electric drum fills from drummer Morgan Simpson all come together for one of the hardest-hitting albums I have ever heard. As good as these songs are, the live versions Black Midi played were twice as good. My only problem with this project is the final song, “27 questions.” While the Black Midi fanbase generally adores this song, it’s just okay to me. The song has a few verses that are enjoyable but end with Geordie asking many different questions that, while charismatic, is irrelevant, which I find annoying.

  1. God Don’t Make Mistakes by Conway the Machine (9/10) 

There were a ton of incredible rap albums this year, and Conway the Machine’s Shady Records debut is one of the best. Conway the Machine, who previously worked with Griselda Records with family members Westside Gunn and Benny the Butcher, puts together an incredible project that describes his rise to fame. He speaks about the guilt he feels from his upbringing and the things he had to do and the stress the people in his inner circle put on him. The album ends with a chilling track highlighting Conway’s mom talking to him as he lies in a hospital bed after a shooting that left half of his face paralyzed. My main problem with this album is Keisha Plum’s inclusion; normally I love her on Griselda albums (Such as Pray for Paris and Pray for Haiti), but I did not like her feature here.

  1. DEATHFAME by Quelle Chris (9/10)

I downloaded this song onto my phone before a flight I took to the West Coast. Honestly, I downloaded a couple of albums I didn’t want to listen to, but knew I needed to hear before the year ended. That being said, I was stunned when I heard this. Quelle presents some incredible lyrics throughout this project, but especially on “Alive Ain’t Always Living,” a soft song where Quelle speaks about being thankful for life but acknowledges the way he lives isn’t always ideal. In the album, Quelle raps about the difference between living and surviving.

  1. Giving the World Away by Hatchie (9/10)

The ethereal singing of Australian artist Hatchie shines through in her sophomore project, Giving the World Away. I can’t praise this album enough for how heavenly it sounds. Hatchie has created a much better sound here than in her first project. This is an album that anyone, no matter what they usually listen to, will love.

  1. Aethiopes by Billy Woods (9/10)

From here on out (rankings 8 through 10) we get to the albums that are close to being perfect for me, but one or two things hold them back. This album is a prime example of this. Yes, this album is amazing. It is an incredible rap project from the alternative underground and shows that decades into his career, Billy Woods remains in his prime. Woods brings his superb lyricism alongside great features from artists such as Boldy James, E L U C I D, El-P, and Despot. One name here sticks out to me. While Boldy James, E L U C I D, and El-P have consistently put out music for years, Despot has remained relatively quiet, but he bounces back on this album with one of the best verses of his career. My only problem with the album is the song “Haarlem,” because midway through the song, the beat transitions to a borderline unlistenable piano piece that sounds like it was created by a child.

  1. Diaspora Problems by Soul-Glo (9/10)

Diaspora Problems is easily the best punk record of the year. Frontman Pierce Jordan’s stellar vocals are truly put on display in this album. Although a hardcore punk record, this album also contains some great rap cuts, especially on “Spiritual Level of Gang Sh*t.” This politically motivated album from this year tells listeners that neither party is trying to help them. Electric and hard-hitting guitars fill this album beside crashing drums. It is also interesting to listen for samples on this album, as more often than not, they are hidden behind the instruments and vocals. For example, the  “It Takes Two” by Rob Base sample quietly plays in conjunction with  “Coming Correct is Cheaper.”

  1. It’s Almost Dry by Pusha T (8-9/10)

Look at the lyrics. Look at the title. I probably shouldn’t go in-depth on this album since it will be in the school paper, but I’m sure you can infer. However, I will go in on the incredible beats:

  1. Half of this album is produced by Ye, and the other half is produced by Pharrell, and this album seems like a production competition between two of the greatest producers of our generation.
  2. The Kanye-produced samples on songs like “Dreamin’ of the Past” are beautifully arranged to the point where Donny Hathaway’s voice (artist being sampled) sounds like an instrument.
  3. The Pharrell-produced psychedelic cuts on this album flow in such a unique way. Songs like “Neck & Wrist” contain some of the most unique beats I have heard this year

Both create some of the most memorable beats of the year, which will go down as one of the best in Pusha T’s discography. 

Edited by Eleanor Knight