As 2022 comes to the halfway point, the year has already been rich with acclaimed music albums from various genres. Here are some of the best albums of 2022 (so far)!
The Weeknd – “Dawn FM” (January 7)
“Dawn FM” is the latest album by Abel Tesfaye (better known as “The Weeknd”) which reached No. 1 on Billboard Albums Top Sellers Chart shortly after its release. “Dawn FM” is The Weeknd’s first concept album, conveying an eerie sense of humanity’s ultimate demise. The album is billed as a radio show titled “103.5 Dawn FM”, with Jim Carrey as radio host. Carrey’s eerie vocal narrations along with The Weeknd’s classic ’80s sound tell listeners that even though we’ll eventually make it to the end, we should sit back and enjoy the ride. Or in Carrey’s words, “We’ll be here to hold your hand and guide you through this painless transition / But what’s the rush? / Relax and enjoy another hour of commercial-free music on 103 .5 Dawn FM.
FKA Twigs – “Caprisongs” (January 14)
Earlier this year, English singer-songwriter FKA twigs released “Caprisongs”, a mixtape showcasing her avant-garde, genre-warping sound. “Caprisongs” is also host to the most features Twigs have on his musical works, including The Weeknd, Daniel Caesar and Jorja Smith. However, the twigs remain the album’s star, experimenting with new vocals and lo-fi production snippets.
Black Country, New Road – “Ants From Up There” (February 4)
Coming just a year after their highly acclaimed debut, “Ants From Up There” is the second project from English rock band Black Country, New Road. Dropping out just four days after lead singer Isaac Wood tragically announced his departure from the band due to mental health issues, the project has received almost universal acclaim. Praises ranged from the fantastic and dynamic instrumentals, to Isaac’s unique lyrics and delivery, and how creative and refreshing the project was compared to recent rock releases. Isaac’s incredibly aching and tense vocal delivery on standout songs like “Concorde” and “The Place Where He Inserted the Blade” combined with the explosive and evocative percussion, heart-rending strings and flawless horn performances create such a feeling. enveloping desperation and hopelessness that is truly present throughout the album. The band also experiment a bit with the project, like the absolutely manic drumming towards the end of “Snow Globes” and the ever-changing journey that the nearly 13-minute “Basketball Shoes” take you on. “Ants From Up There” is definitely one of the most special projects to come out in recent memory and is sure to stick with you for a long time to come, even though Isaac’s time in the band has been much shorter than fans expect. had hoped.
Big Thief – “Dragon New Warm Mountain, I Believe in You” (February 11)
Three years after giving us two albums in the space of a few months, Big Thief has returned with an album the same length as “Two Hands” and “UFOF” combined, “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You”. Matching their length in versatility, the folk band explore everything from folk rock and alt-country to elements of lo-fi and dream pop in the mammoth 20-track project. What sets it apart isn’t necessarily its innovation, but rather how the tracks come together both individually and collectively, creating 80 minutes of high-quality folk tunes backed by the voice, writing and lyrics of the lead singer Adrianne Lenker. Despite its seemingly daunting length, “Dragon” never seems to drag on, partly because of the quality of the tracks in terms of production and songwriting and partly because of the versatility of genres that Big Thief manages to pull off. integrate into this project while maintaining a certain sense of cohesion. The Brooklyn band’s fifth studio album is undoubtedly one of the best folk albums of this decade.
Beach House – “Once Twice Melody” (February 18)
“Once Twice Melody” is the eighth studio album by dream pop duo Beach House. The duo, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, released the album over a four-month period releasing four “chapters” – essentially, four EPs. While Legrand and Scally are often heavily involved in the production process of their music, this album was produced entirely by themselves. This distinct style can be heard in standout tracks like “Superstar” and “New Romance” which feature shimmering new vocals and instrumentals, while retaining their lush, ethereal signature sound.
Rex Orange County – “WHO’S FAULT?” (March 11)
Unlike his other releases, Rex Orange County’s fourth official studio album, “Who Cares?” focuses on a happier message. Rex presents the duality of being a human and a singer-songwriter which is reflected in the title of the album itself. These 11 independent alternative songs from the album both have consistent messages: change is constant and be yourself. In a new room Vulture, Rex expressed the messages he hopes his fans and audiences will take away from the album. “I’m just trying to spread this message to let people know that it’s okay to be kind to yourself and that you don’t have to change anything about yourself… We only have one life to live, so just be yourself and see how it goes.
Bad Bunny – “Un Verano Sin Ti” (May 6)
Just one year after the release of “El Último Tour del Mundo”, Puerto Rican reggaetón pioneer Bad Bunny has released his fourth studio album. “Un Verano Sin Ti” showcases the rapper’s versatility; it draws on Caribbean influences like merengue, bachata and mambo, and also unveils new sounds through features from indie pop band The Marías and psychedelic cumbia band Bomba Estéreo. These sounds cultivate the story of a lost lover and an ongoing love for Boricua and Dominican culture. From “Ojitos Lindos” which reflects on falling in love again after heartbreak, to “El Apagón” which highlights worries about gentrification in Puerto Rico, the album encompasses many themes. There are also plenty of summer party hits like “Después de la Playa” and “Me Fui de Vacaciones” proving that “Un Verano Sin Ti” is poised to be a summer repeat album.
Kendrick Lamar — “Mr. Morale and & The Big Steppers” (May 13)
Five years after the release of his last studio album, Kendrick Lamar returns with the highly anticipated “Mr. Moral & The Big Steppers. His latest album with Top Dawg Entertainment, the work has 18 songs and covers a range of themes – his childhood , his fatherhood, his religion, and dealing with the pressures of fame.While many fans expected a centralized theme and a sound reminiscent of his past works, Kendrick continues to forge his own path, as expressed most close to the album, “Mirror”: “I choose myself / The pressure’s getting a hold of me, it’s starting to kick in / Better if I spare your feelings and tell you the truth / Lately I’ve been redirecting my perspective / You won’t grow up in me ‘waiting.’