The best music albums of the last year

Last year 2022 brought back not only concerts and festivals, but also releases by famous musicians and all kinds of comebacks of heroes of the past. The industry seems to have recovered from the pandemic, which means it’s time to release material recorded during the downtime. Many artists seem to have had a productive period, so the past 12 months will be remembered for albums from stars like Kendrick Lamar, Rosalia, Taylor Swift and Arctic Monkeys, as well as promising Little Sims and Sudan Archives. More details in this article. If you are not a fan of modern music, then we can offer you another interesting entertainment – betting on the 22Bet Nigeria platform.


Kendrick Lamar Morale & The Big Steppers

As predictable as it may be, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers is truly the best hip-hop album of the year. And the best in this case does not mean the loudest (hello to last year’s Donda), but rather impressively detailed – so much so that, it seems, the only complaint against him can only be Lamar’s excessive frankness. In his fifth and first full-length release since 2017, the artist really spills a lot, because of which Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers are often compared to a psychotherapy session. The analogy is obvious, but not entirely accurate. Firstly, the list of topics and pain points touched upon in the album will not fit into any session, and secondly, insights and revelations come from more than one musician – listeners also get a lot of food for thought. From the hypocrisy of society and toxic masculinity to the problems of the African American community and religion, Lamar talks about it all directly, impetuously and loudly, slightly teaching the audience and repenting to himself. And it doesn’t matter if his voice is followed by elegant piano arrangements or restless drums (the album has both), Kendrick’s lyrics are still as absorbing as a good book.


Rosalia – Motomami

In 2022, Rosalia teased her new album so powerfully and stubbornly that Motomami caused a slight annoyance in advance – and the thought that the noise around him would certainly be unjustified. As a result, doubts about the skill of the Spanish star, who managed to break into all the charts and top lists of the year, turned out to be unjustified. And even though Motomami is only her third work, Rosalia is already allowing herself wild experiments instead of adjusting to the expectations of the fans. Although it would be more accurate to say that no matter what predictions loyal fans make, they all came true: the latest release contains bachata and reggaeton, audacity and lyricism, allusions to Patti Smith, Pedro Almodovar and Andrei Tarkovsky, and also James Blake and The Weeknd . Nevertheless, the most surprising thing is not this motley bouquet, but the fact that almost every track manages to take the listener by surprise: everywhere there is a surprise, a sudden twist, a distortion or a dance note that jumped out of nowhere. Let’s not analyze what all this says about the path of Rosalia – in the track SAOKO she already said everything herself:

Yo soy muy mía, yo me transformo (“I am very much myself, I am very transformed”).


Arctic Monkeys

For the second album in a row, the heroes of the British indie scene annoy fans with their unpredictability and glossiness. While rebellious energy is expected from them, in the meantime they give out aesthetic clips, elegant jazz arrangements and such ornate lyrics that sometimes doubts creep in whether frontman Alex Turner himself understands them. It seems that he does not care at all if someone does not cope with the interpretation of new songs – in The Car, the musician does not really try to please someone, but rather recognizes a personal crisis and slightly teases those who still see him as young guy from the bar. In fact, on AM’s seventh album, there is almost nothing left of that guy: now we have a saddened musician who likes to build cinematic universes, nostalgic for the past and wear velvet suits. And it’s damn interesting to watch these transformations, because no matter how softened and lounge the fresh tracks of Arctic Monkeys may seem, you can’t blame Sheffield rockers for the stagnation.


Sudan Archives – Natural Brown Prom Queen

Now many people remember the times of general quarantines, if not with nostalgia, then at least with warmth – and the Californian singer Britney Parks is no exception. Isolated in the studio, the artist recorded her second release, Natural Brown Prom Queen, which fully reflects the rich list of her skills and sources of inspiration. To describe the record briefly, one could do with something like the phrase “freaky R&B”, but for the full picture, all these trends are worth mentioning. Moreover, their list is quite long: there is a collaboration with the hip-hop label Stones Throw, and a passion for playing the violin that has been going on since childhood, and a love for the experimental club Low End Theory, and an erotic sound, because of which she is compared to Donna Summer and Janet Jackson. True, in 2022 it’s hard to surprise with stylistic diversity alone, and here Sudan Archives pulls out another trump card – adventurous lyrics that have both bold empowerment and vulnerability (“Sometimes I think that if I were white / Then I would go to all the parties / Win all the Grammys, make the boys happy”). For most of the recording, Parks’ ego is (so far) ahead of her list of credits, and the singer is clearly hinting that Solange and Kelele will soon have to move – because the ghetto violinist is about to take her place next to them.



Fred again.. – Actual Life 3


Pitchfork has dubbed British producer Fred Gibson the Ed Sheeran of house music—that is, apparently, a sincere and at the same time rather primitive musician. It is difficult to argue with both statements, but in the case of the artist’s third full-length release, the combination of these qualities does not seem to be something bad. Actual Life 3 is a really pretty simple recording, mostly made up of voice messages from Gibson’s friends and various samples. It does not surprise and does not pretend to anything, but becomes the very album that we all need in 2022 – warm, honest and friendly. Well, to satisfy his career ambitions, Fred again.. will always have an impressive list of collaborators from Ed Sheeran to FKA Twigs.


Danger Mouse & Black Thought — Cheat Codes

A collab between producer Danger Mouse and rapper Black Thought, seasoned with a generous portion of famous guests, is the case when the album was recorded as a hip-hop classic long before its premiere, and the release itself demonstrated production so lush and rich that it seems that they could enjoy Cheat Codes even listeners far from rap. There is simply nothing to complain about here – and this is quite expected. After all, Danger Mouse’s biography includes the Black Keys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Norah Jones, and Esquire’s list of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century. As for the talent of Black Thought, the whole history of The Roots speaks about it. Except that here it was highlighted by such impressive guests as A$AP Rocky, Joey Bada$$, Raekwon and Michael Kiwanuka.


Taylor Swift

By far the loudest pop work of 2022 is Taylor Swift’s tenth album, Midnights. Only Renaissance Beyoncé can compete with him, but, despite the fact that both performers have long been in the status of world stars, I don’t want to compare them at all. Moreover, no one can catch up with the achievements of Mignights yet: the album set several records, becoming the most popular release on Spotify in the first day after the release and being the fastest-selling vinyl record in the United States. In addition to Swift’s not sickly fan base, such a sensation is explained by the fact that the singer has finally made a U-turn from indie folk to lyrical pop, while retaining touching, easily shifted to her own experience texts and the unchanging image of a simple girl. Nearly every track on Midnights turned out to be a bid for a sticky hit, and Jack Antonoff’s somewhat monotonous production made the release more uniform. And even if after these 13 tracks it seems that the soundtrack to a cloying romantic comedy has finished playing in headphones, we have to admit that Swift’s music is very good.


Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Cool It Down

The last 12 months have been marked by a whole list of comebacks, but the first album of Yeah Yeah Yeahs in nine years seems to be something special against this background: no attempts to do something radically new or rewrite old hits – only the drama, sound intensity and charisma of Karen Oh, erected into a square. These are all the same familiar Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but with a different scope and a list of topics – from the ecological crisis to the despair reigning in the world. Synthesizers are still more than enough, but somewhere the arrangements can be confused with Hans Zimmer – there is so much heaviness and melancholy in them. Dance motifs also remained, but now they are no longer the wild dances of youth in a smoky concrete box, but something more hysterical and majestic. I really hope that in the future Cool It Down will have successor albums, because the rebirth of Yeah Yeah Yeahs should definitely get no less bright continuation. In the meantime, we put Lovebomb, Wolf and Burning on an endless repeat.



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