My favorite albums of 2022

We’re doing it again, folks! Let’s do this year’s list in the format of “fake awards that I just made up”.

  • The Probably My Album of the Year Award and Album that had the Best Live Show of the Year

Natural Brown Prom Queen by Sudan Archives

I played the absolute heck out of this album this year. Absolutely addictive. Each track is absolutely stuffed with ideas—a gorgeous little moment will pass, one that could easily have been enough for a whole song, and you think “surely I will hear that bit again”, but no, the track will take a left turn and you’ll just have to listen to the whole album again later, for the one millionth time. Also the show at the Independent in San Francisco was ridiculously good fun.

  • The No-Hype Album of the Year

liminal spaces by zzzahara

Completely different vibes but I can’t choose between this and Natural Brown Prom Queen as my favorite of the year. Bandcamp put me on to it, and thank god for that because it’s criminally underhyped. Amazing singing voice and “get out of la” is an all-timer.

  • The “Too Good to Just Say ‘Jazz Album of the Year’ Because That Seems Needlessly Dismissive” Award

7th Hand by Immanuel Wilkins

Feels like an instant classic with astonishing breadth and depth. The live show was incredibly powerful—left me feeling exhausted, in the best way. Improvisation of the highest quality; patient, precise, insistent.

  • Guest Feature of the Year

Spell 31 by Ibeyi

Already a top album with great vocals, then Pa Salieu shows up on “Made of Gold” to take it to the stratosphere.

  • Extremely Hard Not to Dance To Award

Electricity by Ibibio Sound Machine

High energy and full of hooks.

  • Man, 2022 was a Long Year Award

Caprisongs by FKA twigs

Released January 2022, which was four years ago.

  • Sometimes You Just Need Guitars Award

Fall In Love Not In Line by Kids on a Crime Spree

Great album name. Good clean fun.

  • Feels Like the 90s Award

Hurray for the Riff Raff by Pierced Arrows

I promise I mean “feels like the 90s” as a compliment. Hooks for days on this record.

  • Feels Like the 00s Award

PAINLESS by Nilufer Yanya

Everything on this album feels so very polished, which for some reason really makes me think of everything that was big in the early 2000s. “stabilise” is a great song.

  • Standout in a Crowded Field Award

Twisted Bases by Crystal Murray

Of all the mildly sleazy R&B I enjoyed this year (lots), I think this is the sleeper hit.

  • Opening Track of the Year Award

Two Ribbons by Let’s Eat Grandma

Shout out to everyone (me) who will play “Happy New Year” this New Year.

  • The They’re Back Award

Cool It Down by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

They make it look so easy, which I’m quite sure it is not.

  • The CRJ Released an Album this Year Award for Best CRJ Album of the Year

The Loneliest Time by Carly Rae Jepsen

Look, it’s never not going to be on my list.

  • The SAULT Award for Being the Most SAULT

11 by SAULT

Look, if they keep releasing a million albums a year in a thousand different genres, they keep getting on the list. Those are the rules.

  • The “Where is my Download Code” Award

Radiate Like This by Warpaint

Typically excellent album by Warpaint that I bought on vinyl but did not come with a download code. Bummer!

  • Last But Not Least Award

Running in Waves by George Riley

See you next year!

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