I listened to 114 (& counting) full-length albums that were released in 2022. So: Not everything. It’s a dopey endeavor to try to select the ones that were freshest, most distinctive & original, best.
And so for the fourth year, I continued the project where I try to listen to (& keep track of) every complete album I hear, regardless of release dates.
I love the album format and recognize that most listeners no longer access music this way. We are a singles, playlist-oriented society. And even then, who has the time & inclination to listen anyway?
This year, my total diminished markedly. In 2019, flush with enthusiasm, I reached 778 full albums. Then down to 711 and 702 over the next two years. In 2022, it’s way down to 515 & counting)).
What’s happening here?
Could be that I was listening to less music overall. But there were two other contributing factors: 1) an effort to repeat listens more often, less content to listen once and move on; 2) on the flip side of that same coin, I more easily gave up on the “full album” task, more willing to ditch an album halfway through if it wasn’t working for me; I didn’t push to completion the way I had in the past, eager to check off some box. Maybe that’s a positive thing. The whole concept is Schrodinger’s cat anyway, altered simply by being observed. I think I’ve gotten better at that, not thinking about the result as much as the moment, though a pure record of what I listen to will never be possible so long as I keep track of it.
Here goes . . .
TOP 20 (in alphabetical order)
Big Thief: Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You
Binker and Moses: Feeding the Machine
Bill Callahan: Reality
Danger Mouse, Black Thought: Cheat Codes
Dehd: Blue Skies
Delines: The Sea Drift
Alabaster DePlume: Gold
Dry Cleaning: Stumpwork
Alex G: God Save the Animals
Hurry for the Riff Raff: Life on Earth
MJ Lenderman: Boat Songs
Kevin Morby: This Is a Photograph
Beth Orton: Weather Alive
Sadies: Colder Streams
The Smile: A Light for Attracting Attention
Spiritualized: Everything Was Beautiful
Kurt Vile: (watch my moves)
Wet Leg: s/t
Immanuel Wilkins: 7th Hand
HONORABLE MENTIONS (35)
EXPERIMENTAL, AMBIENT, NEW MUSIC
Caterina Barbieri: Spirit Exit
Laura Cannell: Antiphony of the Trees
Floating World Pictures: Twenty-Three Views
Johann Johansson: Drone Mass
Carolyn Shaw/Attaca: Evergreen
Sean Shibe: Lost & Found
Sam Gendel: Superstore
Makaya McCraven: In These Times
Simora Pinderhughes: Grief
Daniel Villareal: Panama ’77
Black Country, New Road: Ants from Up
Elk City: Above the Water
Ethel Cain: Preacher’s Daughter
Enumclaw: Save the Baby
Father John Misty: Chloe & the Next 20th Century
Aldous Harding: Warm
Momma: Household Name
Tomberlin: I Don’t Know Who
Weyes Blood: And In the Darkness . . .
AMERICANA, FOLK, COUNTRY & ALT-COUNTRY
Nora Brown: Long Time to Be Gone
Jake Xerxes Fussell: Good and Green Again
Nina Nastasia: Riderless Horse
Orville Peck: Bronco
Plains (Waxahatchee, J. Williamson): I Walked With You a Ways
Joan Shelley: The Spur
Wilco: Cruel Country
HIP HOP, R & B
Yaya Bey: Remember Your North
Little Simz: NO THANK YOU
Saba: Few Good Things
Earl Sweatshirt: SICK!
Pusha T: It’s Almost Dry
Nilufer Yanya: Painless
After too much consideration, Big Thief’s Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You is my album of the year.
Hopefully you find something enjoyable here that you might have missed otherwise.