OPINION: Albums of the Year


Harper Wicker-Lenseigne (he/him), Staff Writer

2022 has been full of impressive and important albums in every genre. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite albums that were released this year. 

Favorite Hip-Hop Album(s)

Hip-hop is probably one of my favorite genres, and there’ve been plenty of impressive releases in 2022. However, there’s simply too many to list, so I’ve chosen the three albums that stuck with me the most this year. 

Note: Albums are not listed in any specific order.

Denzel Curry – “Melt My Eyez See Your Future”

Denzel Curry’s Melt My Eyez See Your Future is his 5th studio album. It was released March 25, 2022, with an extended edition that came in late September of 2022. Curry’s tracklist includes many features from other prominent hip-hop figures such as JID, T-Pain, and Slowthai. MMESYF is Curry at his best, with incredible flow, conscious lyricism, and high-quality production. Walkin, John Wayne (feat. Buzzy Lee), and Zatoichi (feat. slowthai) were especially impressive. This was the first Denzel Curry album I’ve listened to, and it’s easily become one of my favorite albums of the year. 

Favorite track: Zatoichi (feat. slowthai)

Kendrick Lamar – “Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers”

The double album Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers marked a new era for Lamar, as he had not released a studio album in 5 years. It was released on May 13, 2022. Lamar starts out very strong, with side one feeling very powerful. United In Grief, N95, and Father Time (feat. Sampha) were especially impressive. However, it takes a steep decline in side two, where none of the songs really stuck for me. Kodak Black’s feature in Silent Hill and Auntie Diaries were extremely off-putting for me. However, I still found this album extremely enjoyable, albeit still overshadowed by previous albums To Pimp A Butterfly and good kid, m.A.A.d city

Favorite track: Father Time (feat. Sampha)

Honorable mention: Avantdale Bowling Club – Trees. Avantdale Bowling Club (real name Tom Scott) delivers an impressive sequel to his self-titled album. One of the most unique jazz rappers out there. Favorite track: Rent 2 High

Favorite Rock Album(s)

Rock is a genre that encompasses many, many subgenres, so it’s especially difficult to choose a favorite. Quite a few of the highest rated albums on rateyourmusic (a music cataloging/rating website) for 2022 fit in the larger rock genre, so it’s been especially popular this year.

Black Midi – Hellfire

English experimental/prog rock band Black Midi released Hellfire on July 15, 2022. It features a lot of narrative lyrics, something that I’m unfamiliar with, but nevertheless enjoyed. The jazz elements blending with the storyline comes together really well. I felt some songs were a bit too slow-paced or some weren’t particularly interesting, but the other tracks strongly made up for these duds. Eat Men Eat, Welcome to Hell, and Sugar/Tzu were by far my favorites.

Favorite track: Eat Men Eat

Niños del Cerro – Suave Pendiente

Chilean indie rock/neo-psychedelia band Niños del Cerro (Children of the Hill) follows up their 2018 album, Lance, with Suave Pendiente, which once again delivers. Spanish-language music has always been enticing, but I’ve never found an album that still feels meaningful even without having to know the language. The ethereal sounds and powerful vocals truly make this album for me.

Favorite track: Sulamita

Honorable mention: Big Thief – Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You. While it’s not my personal “cup of tea,” so to speak, it’s clear that Big Thief are very skilled and I can see that DNWMIBY is objectively very good. Favorite track: Simulation Swarm

Favorite Pop Album(s)

Pop is also extremely general, so it’s hard to place my finger on which albums fit into which genre. I’ve never really been a fan of pop music, but this year I’ve explored it a bit more. 

Taylor Swift – Midnights

Admittedly, this is the first of Taylor Swift’s albums I’ve listened to. Of course I’d heard snippets and tried to like her music a few times, but I never found it very intriguing. However, I enjoyed Midnights a lot more. There weren’t really any songs on this album that I felt were skips, but Karma, Anti-Hero, and Lavender Haze were my favorites. But there are some elements of her music that are sort of repetitive, as quite a few songs sound very similar to each other. 

Favorite track: Lavender Haze

Asian Glow – Stalled Flutes, Means

Stalled Flutes, Means isn’t necessarily a pop album, but I feel that it falls into the “noise pop” category. Korean musician Asian Glow (real name Gyungwon Shin)’s fourth album Stalled Flutes, Means was released June 13, 2022. It features Korean vocals, like my favorite album of all time,To See the Next Part of the Dream by Parannoul, and it improves upon Cull Ficle, Asian Glow’s previous album. 

Favorite track: Faltering Waver

Favorite Overall Album

Although it’s difficult to choose, I have to say Denzel Curry’s Melt My Eyez See Your Future is my favorite album of the year. It’s the one I’ve listened to on loop the most, so, in my mind, this is the best album of the year.