Top 100 Music Albums of 2022 by JamesMowbray

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Buy album United States
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One of my favourite things about music as an artform is the weird way in which forces that seem contradictory can be made to work together. This is definitely the case with Jockstrap's beautiful, twisted and unnerving brand of avant-pop. It took a little while for this to completely sit right with me, which is kind of surprising because I'd loved the duo's 'Wicked City' EP for some time before this. Maybe that record had given me slightly the wrong idea of what to expect, there was a euphoric smoothness to some of the tracks, but nothing that comes close to indie rock, when I first heard this and a track like 'Glasgow' came up I really wasn't sure what to make of it. A bit over a year on most of the pieces have fallen into place for me. The more guitar led tracks on the record allow a freedom from Georgia's vocals which is kept boxed in by the more rhythmic electronic tracks. It leads to an ebb and flow across the record as these almost disparate tracks just about hold together. The soaring vocals at the end of 'Neon' suddenly fall flat and the beats of the title track cut them off and warp them. The unsettling rush of lines that conclude 'Angst' give way to the open soundscape at the start of 'Debra' before that too becomes a structured pop tune with some incredibly wonky electronics. It's genuinely exhilarating stuff, especially when it all takes place on one track, like with 'Greatest Hits' which sounds like pop music from the future. Ideas just completely overflow from this track, the kind of thin sounding synths allow for massive vocal flourishes but work just as well for spoken word sections, the warped vocal constantly repeating the same two unintelligible syllables should be annoying but instead it's a key part of the track's rhythm, the backing vocals sound just that bit off as they reinforce the chorus before disappearing. It's the best of a number of highlight tracks which sometimes manage to be so good that they make decent tracks seem boring. There's nothing that wrong with 'Lancaster Court', but sandwiched between 'Glasgow' and '50/50' it just feels like it kills the momentum. With 'I Love You Jennifer B', Jockstrap set the bar so high, that anything short of a revolutionary pop track feels like a let down, it's not a bad problem for a record to have. [First added to this chart: 09/13/2022]
Year of Release:
2022
Appears in:
Rank Score:
623
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Buy album United States
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[First added to this chart: 04/16/2022]
Year of Release:
2022
Appears in:
Rank Score:
75
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Buy album United States
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[First added to this chart: 02/05/2022]
Year of Release:
2022
Appears in:
Rank Score:
5,493
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Buy album United States
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Forget Your Own Face brings out the extremes in Black Dresses' music. The duo have, for some time now, been able to merge brutal noise and dreamy off-kilter pop not just into the same albums but into the same songs and these elements, with the addition of some hip hop influences, are distilled and then arranged together in more stark contrast than ever. 'Let's Be' stands out as the key example of this, there's one moment where Rook's screamed vocals are cut short and within a second Devi is singing over dreamy synths. I don't know who else could pull this off. The project also sees Rook and Devi push their vocals to totally new places, allowing for wild shifts in the tone of the songs. It's been fascinating seeing this evolution rub off on Rook's solo work in particular, most of here material these days wouldn't have seemed possible before she formed Black Dresses with Devi, whose work before that point wasn't particularly heavy either. Amongst the chaos in the tracklist there are moments where you can take a breath and just take in what's happening. These can be brief sections of songs, particular lines or whole songs, like on 'doomspiral' which feels like a bedroom pop song containing too many of Black Dresses' quirks to ever seem normal. As on previous releases, the duo's sincerity is at the centre of everything that works. Lyrics and wild instrumentation that might seem overblown on other releases are kept in the context of an unfiltered expression of self. It also allows simpler lines to carry their full emotional weight. This all comes together on the final track 'nightwish', where apocalyptic visions of the future "stars shooting overhead as everything in the world falls apart", are concluded with a line like "let's just still try to have fun". [First added to this chart: 02/25/2022]
Year of Release:
2022
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Rank Score:
26
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Buy album United States
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[First added to this chart: 08/21/2022]
Year of Release:
2022
Appears in:
Rank Score:
878
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Buy album United States
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[First added to this chart: 11/15/2022]
Year of Release:
2022
Appears in:
Rank Score:
248
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Buy album United States
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[First added to this chart: 02/25/2022]
Year of Release:
2022
Appears in:
Rank Score:
2,251
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Buy album United States
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Black Midi's move towards jazz fusion creates a couple of new issues but opens up far more opportunities for one of the most exciting bands active today. From their debut, the group's technical ability has been beyond question and Hellfire is another doubling down on these talents. The force of tracks such as 'Hellfire', 'Sugar/Tzu' and 'Welcome to Hell' go beyond anything else you're likely to hear these days and hearing this kind of power in this new genre and the instrumental choices it opens up creates a new creative avenue that the band explore completely. Across these tracks Geordie Greep's vocals soar higher than ever before, with 'The Race is About to Begin' in particular showcasing a range of styles that aren't just technically proficient, but that sound great too. The two tracks that Cameron Picton lend vocal to are amongst the best here. 'Eat Men Eat' is wildly ambitious and manages to cram more into three minutes than you'll find in many albums, it somehow manages this without ever sounding rushed. 'Still' allows the band to explore an emotional range that Greep's vocals can't, it's another example of how effectively the record brings out the best in the band's individual members. I think the album might have had a nicer flow if there was just one more of these tracks on the second half of the record which is mostly stuck in the shadow of the earlier half, there's an almost breathless feel after 'The Race is About to Begin' like every idea's been exhausted. I definitely prefer Hellfire to the band's previous album Cavalcade, but would have liked to have seen something on this record match the bizarre intensity of a track like 'John L'. I've mentioned how successful the jazz fusion direction is across the record, but by the end it does seem to slightly dampen the experimental edge of the group. However, the constant shape shifting of the band's energy seems bound to lead to many more promising records in future. [First added to this chart: 07/19/2022]
Year of Release:
2022
Appears in:
Rank Score:
1,334
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Buy album United States
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Glitch Princess is one of the most varied, creative and well structured pop albums I've heard. The PC music adjacent release, which sees production credits from Danny L Harle, Mura Masa and Yeule herself among others, contains a set of distinct and eerie tracks, with vocals and lyrics from Yeule that present and build on downbeat themes as the record progresses. My Name Is Nat Ćmiel is a fantastic opener. With its minimalist sound and direct approach in its lyrics, it sets up the emotional core that the record builds from. I'm amazed it's so low rated on here, the distorted vocals and withdrawn background electronics might have a repetitive feel to them, but they bring to the foreground lines like "I like to eat, but I don't like when it lingers on my body, I like to take up as little space as possible". From here the production gets much bigger, but Yeule's personality and struggle remain at the centre of the music. 'Don't Be So Hard on Your Own Beauty' and 'Bites On My Neck' stand out as the albums highlights. The former is built around an acoustic guitar, helping the track find a strange kind of peace as the vocal delivery sees one line come quickly after another, almost turning into a blur, the latter is one of my favourite tracks of the year, the euphoric feeling as the instrumental builds is phenomenal and they manage to pull it off twice. However, between these big tracks, you get something like 'Fragments' a track whose emptiness and distortion slows the middle of the album. These frequent changes of pace allow the individual tracks to shine for their own qualities without any risk of becoming overpowering or samey in the tracklist. Ending with the repetitive and dissonant 'Mandy' lets the album finish with a driving non-conclusion and is the unsettling opposite of the opener. In a thought provoking and sometimes harsh album it refuses to offer an ending that neatly ties everything together. [First added to this chart: 02/05/2022]
Year of Release:
2022
Appears in:
Rank Score:
168
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Comments:
Buy album United States
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Grand and imposing, Ugly Season stands out as my favourite Perfume Genius album because of how effectively it showcases a tension and vulnerability in Mike's vocal delivery. This grandeur can feel very open like on 'Just a Room' or imposing like on 'Hellbent', but by sticking to the same principles of minimal vocals, long droning notes and withdrawn percussion, Ugly Season ties a group of tracks that often vary in tone together into one collective unit. The songs here connect like the same thread passing through different materials. The individual construction of each song is also fantastic. Longer tracks go through a range of movements and stand out as the album's highlights. In 'Herem', Mike's ethereal vocals feel enmeshed with the variety of instruments that slowly move in and out of the song, 'Eye in the Wall' pulls these elements much further apart, creating a dense soundscape where you can pay close attention to any given instrument in the mix, with the song being driven by a mix of energetic drums and slow guitar work. 'Hellbent' goes even further by having a distorted drone break apart the silence that closes its predecessor 'Photograph'. This breaking with the flow of much of the album allows each element to let loose more than on the previous tracks, with Mike's vocals and lyrics building as the tension of the track amps up to a breaking point. The much quieter closer 'Cenote' follows this, allowing for some kind of resolution as softer elements in the mix surround a relaxing piano melody. The other shorter tracks often do a similar job in terms of the albums construction, building paths between the three major tracks to give the record a unified feel. [First added to this chart: 06/27/2022]
Year of Release:
2022
Appears in:
Rank Score:
294
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Total albums: 100. Page 1 of 10

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Top 100 Music Albums of 2022 composition

Country Albums %


United States 41 41%
United Kingdom 31 31%
Australia 6 6%
Canada 5 5%
Ireland 3 3%
Sweden 2 2%
Mixed Nationality 2 2%
Show all

Top 100 Music Albums of 2022 chart changes

Biggest climbers
Climber Up 19 from 20th to 1st
I Love You Jennifer B
by Jockstrap
Biggest fallers
Faller Down 1 from 1st to 2nd
Crest
by Bladee & Ecco2k
Faller Down 1 from 2nd to 3rd
Ants From Up There
by Black Country, New Road
Faller Down 1 from 3rd to 4th
Forget Your Own Face
by Black Dresses

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Top 83 Music Albums of 2024 by JamesMowbray (2024)
Top 100 Music Albums of 2023 by JamesMowbray (2024)
Top 100 Music Albums of 2021 by JamesMowbray (2021)
Top 100 Music Albums of 2020 by JamesMowbray (2021)

Top 100 Music Albums of 2022 ratings

Average Rating: 
87/100 (from 2 votes)
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10/25/2022 18:53 DJENNY  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 4,408100/100
  
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06/08/2022 10:24 Purplepash  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 1,30788/100

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