Top 20 Albums of 2022 (20-11)

20. Florist: Florist

Almost exactly three years to the day after the Brooklyn indie folk band Florist released Emily Alone, an album consisting mostly of songs featuring singer Emily Sprague and her acoustic guitar, the band dropped their excellent self-titled full-length record. Florist’s latest work features 19 songs that range from woozy and atmospheric to folky and poppy. The entire album was recorded on a screened in porch so the unpredictable sounds of nature, including crickets and gentle breezes, appear sporadically and enhance the group’s serene musical style that pairs well with Sprague’s lyrics that deal largely with the experience of living. Florist’s eponymous fourth album will be easily loved by longtime fans while simultaneously offering an accessible entry point for new devotees. – Andy Mascola

19. Aldous Harding: Warm Chris

New Zealand folk-pop artist Aldous Harding’s fourth studio album, Warm Chris, offers up a solid collection of ten sweet, quirky tracks beautifully produced by John Parish. Harding’s excellent songwriting is on vivid display as her idiosyncratic melodies are brought to life with the frequent accompaniment of piano and a playful horn section. Although Aldous’ expressive vocals are sometimes reminiscent of Aimee Mann and Chrissie Hynde, stylistic touches exclusive to Harding are ever-present. Warm Chris makes for a wonderful set of songs that showcase a generous abundance of artistic originality and unique ideas. – Andy Mascola

18. Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Cool it Down

The first new studio album from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in nine years didn’t disappoint. While there is revisiting of the indie sleaze which the band is most associated with, Cool it Down plays with profundity and emotion. There is plenty to dance to with a healthy amount of yearning and unrest. – Adam Tercyak-Morgan

17. Bjork: Fossora

The ever-evolving artist’s tenth album, Fossora, makes for a challenging-yet-rewarding listen that pairs instrumentation that includes clarinets, oboes, and violins with choir arrangements and spastic beats. The lyrics on Fossora deal largely with love, nature, and the passing of Björk’s mother. If 2022 found you searching for a lush, immersive audio experience that pulled you into the gorgeous and unusual universe of one of the world’s most continuously forward-thinking creatives, you’d have been hard-pressed to find a better album this year than Björk’s Fossora. – Andy Mascola

16. Wet Leg: Wet Leg

Isle of Wight duo, Wet Leg garnered a Grammy Nomination for their 2021 debut single, “Chaise Longue.” The quirkiness of the lyrics and the virality of how it spread made it seem almost inevitable that when their debut album was finally released it would be a let down. The opposite was the case, the 12-songs on their self-titled album show that the tongue-in-cheek, referential style of “Chaise Longue” was no error. Songs like “Ur Mum” show a band able to be strong and feminine while being insouciant and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. – Adam Tercyak-Morgan

15. Famous Mammals: Famous Mammals

Famous Mammals’ lo-fi, noisy, yet remarkably catchy art punk debut includes more than a few unidentifiable sounds. The Oakland, California fluxus trio recorded their self-titled full-length using some of the most unexpected objects as instruments. “It took some time to get the proper effect and tone of the chairs dragging through the long corridor of our empty studio hallway,” vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Stanley Martinez explained to The Blog of Roland. The band initially self-released their record in late 2021, and it was subsequently picked up and distributed by the French indie labels Arvo Disques and Utilité : Zéro in 2022. In addition to dragged chairs, sirens, whistles, and even a dustbuster vacuum can at times be discerned amongst the more conventional instrumentation. If you like your pop jangly, experimental, and extra weird, you need to hear Famous Mammals’ stunningly original first album. – Andy Mascola

14. Pusha T: It’s Almost Dry

Pusha T‘s fourth solo album, It’s Almost Dry, shows that the coke rap genre still has more to give. On the album’s lead single, T raps “you ordered Diet Coke, that’s a joke, right?” in a way that sounds both venomous and playful. On “Hear Me Clearly,” he drops one of his best similes “left my elbow in the pot, à la Vince Carter.” It is rare that 20 years in a rapper can still be rapping about the same subject with no drop in quality but Pusha T manages to continually improve. – Adam Tercyak-Morgan

13. Osees: A Foul Form

If you have twenty minutes and a penchant for fast, raw punk rock, then you, my friend, have just hit a street called easy. This past August saw Osees (one of the many monikers of Los Angeles garage rock renaissance man John Dwyer’s band) release A Foul Form, an homage of sorts to the quick and dirty hardcore records of the 70s and 80s. Dwyer and company pull no punches as they strike quickly and with little to no moments for rest between the ten short, noisy tracks herein. Dwyer’s shredded vocals have him at times sounding like a wild animal struggling to speak English. Osees 2022 record is a scum-punk masterpiece. – Andy Mascola

12. Carly Rae Jepsen: The Loneliest Time

The Loneliest Time is obviously Carly Rae Jepsen‘s pandemic album. Like any good lockdown album, there is plenty of self-reflection but done in a style of Jepsen’s heart-on-sleeve lyrics and ear for retro pop. While there is no euphoric pop songs like “Call Me Maybe” or “I Really Like You” on The Loneliest Time, melancholic tinged jams like “Western Wind” and “Talking to Yourself” are just as catchy and carry more emotional weight. – Adam Tercyak-Morgan

11. Bas Jan: Baby U Know

London experimental post-punk band Bas Jan’s sophomore full-length album, Baby U Know, has the group’s lone founding member, Serafina Steer, joined by new members Emma Smith, Charlie Stock, and Rachel Horwood to create a collection of ten upbeat songs that draw inspiration from genres as disparate as avant-funk and ambient pop. On the record’s overtly political opener, “Progressive Causes”, the ladies get into a call-and-response à la the Backstreet Boys’ “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”. The moment makes for a surprising and cheeky callback that shows Bas Jan aren’t without a sense of humor. The songs on Baby U Know tackle love and sexuality, political ideologies, and prospects for a hopeful future. Baby U Know promises an optimistic vision of the world as it could be, and it’s all delivered via creative musicianship, buoyant cheeriness, and a bit of levity. – Andy Mascola

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