Trying to determine a list of the best albums of 2022 is not easy. So many fantastic artists have managed to produce some absolute classics, and there’s no point in sticking to just one genre of music. So, sit back and enjoy experiencing a variety of music from this list of the 55 best albums of 2022.
1. Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers – Kendrick Lamar
This is his fifth studio album, and it comes across as Lamar playing around with more thoughtful lyrics. Don’t expect the same high energy as elsewhere as this is way more melancholic than you would expect. However, it spawned one of the biggest songs of the year showing this rapper still has what it takes for success.
Next: The best songs of 2022
2. A Light for Attracting Attention – The Smile
The Smile is a side project for Thom Yorke from Radiohead, and this is their debut album. However, don’t think it’s just a copy of Radiohead, as it’s not. Instead, this album moves through genres from a post punk feel to deep and slow, so it captures everything you could ever hope for in the one album.
3. Ants From Up There – Black Country, New Road
Their second album is better than their first, managing to build momentum leading to an explosive finish. You are carried along with the energy and it’s obvious that this album will stay in your collection for years. Their melodies are outstanding in each track giving you something to hold on to as you listen.
4. Once Twice Melody – Beach House
Covering 18 tracks, this album takes you on a musical journey with hints of folk rock and then explodes into goth rock before slowing down the tempo at the end of the album. It’s a masterpiece of how to play around with sounds, as they build you up then let you down gracefully as it comes to a close. It’s a stunning album to listen to.
5. Dawn FM – The Weeknd
The Weeknd takes his usual R&B vibe and blends it with a whole lot of sampling and 80s-style synth-pop in Dawn FM. It shows his versatility, while the lyrics throughout the album come across as deep, meaningful, and melodic, making it a pleasure to listen to.
6. Crash – Charli XCX
If you love some pop-funk and Eurodance style thrown together chaotically, then this is the album for you. It’s certainly not the type of album you listen to when you want to relax, as Charli XCX brings a whole new vibe to pop. Expect to feel energized by the time it’s all over.
7. Harry’s House – Harry Styles
2022 was a huge year for Harry Styles, and this album showcased his ability to produce some cool songs capable of receiving extensive play on the airwaves. It’s light and melodic and never leaves you feeling bogged down by a sense of sadness in any of the songs. This is pop at its best.
8. Renaissance – Beyonce
Has Beyonce ever produced a bad album? Probably not, and Renaissance certainly shows she remains in top form. This time, she brings some new sounds to the table, but this is primarily a more contemporary dancefloor classics album rather than containing some ballads mixed in. It’s perfect for singing along and for getting your groove on.
9. Sick! – Earl Sweatshirt
The thing that comes across in this album is a sense of confidence in what Earl Sweatshirt is doing. This rapper has managed to produce well-rounded songs, and it’s a real improvement on his first album, which felt fractured and with no real smooth links. Expect songs about the latest things playing on his mind, but without quite the same darkness as before.
10. Dance Fever – Florence + The Machine
This is their fifth studio album, and it’s one of their best. The lyrics are incisive, and she really showcases her talents for producing outstanding pop songs. But look out for songs such as Heaven is Here where she throws in some Celtic influences just to change things up. Then, that’s one of the best things about this band…you never know what they will do next.
11. Blue Water Road – Kehlani
If you are looking for an album that invites you in and then cuddles you with the tunes, then this is the one for you. There is such a tender feel to both the lyrics and her vocals throughout, but don’t think it’s all laid-back and quiet. Songs such as Little Story bring more guitar-laden music to the fore helping show how Kehlani has the ability to pull influences from all over.
12. Sometimes, Forever – Soccer Mommy
The thing that stands out in this album is the lyrics. It sounds as if you are at confession with someone as Soccer Mommy lays bare everything she has to say about life and her thoughts on various issues. The overly catchy melodies she tends to produce are lovable, making this a fun-filled album to listen to.
13. Hellfire – Black Midi
In this album, Black Midi seek to play around with some new sounds resulting in it feeling more like a concept album than anything else. But they do a fantastic job of taking you along for the ride with them at the same time.
14. Midnights – Taylor Swift
What else can we say about Taylor Swift? Ballads, melancholy, big notes and enough singles on one album to keep her in the charts for some time. It’s Taylor Swift; of course, it has to be one of the best albums of 2022.
15. God’s Country – Chat Pile
This metal band from Oklahoma incorporate hard rock with some death metal, so if you want that raw rock feel, then this is the album for you. It’s electric, but expect it to blow your eardrums as there’s only one way to listen to this, and that’s loud.
16. We – Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire is back, and this time the album brings a whole lot of atmosphere to proceedings. It’s only seven tracks, but each song is a standout. They sound quite reflective in their lyrics, but this is some amazing alt-rock music and is an amazing album to listen to.
17. Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You – Big Thief
This album has everything. It’s fun, cheeky, inventive, and pulsating all mixed into one. This four-piece knows how to bounce energy off one another, resulting in an album you will repeatedly play to allow you to fully-appreciate what they do.
18. Motomami – Rosalía
Motomami allows Rosalía to show off her vocal talents, and she does that. Also, the tracks have a refined feel to them before they erupt in new directions that you just do not expect. It blends Latin sounds with influences from the Caribbean, giving you a fresh vibe to listen to.
19. Caprisongs – FKA Twigs
This album feels like a mixtape rather than anything else because it has such a playful feel to the songs. FKA Twigs brings in choral influences with lyrics that combine a sense of adventure while also remaining familiar at the same time. It’s the sort of album that makes you wonder what she will do next.
20. Chloë And The Next 20th Century – Father John Misty
Strings, glitz, timelessness, this album has it all. One thing this guy knows how to do is to tell a story, and this album is full of them. It’s not meant to be taken seriously, but expect some vintage inspiration blended with tunes that will just grab you tightly.
21. Lucifer on the Sofa – Spoon
In this album, Spoon has produced more of a low-tempo rock album but is still packed full of their usual power. This is loud and yet comes across as a bit soulful at times. Some say it could be their best album yet, and we agree.
22. Wet Leg – Wet Leg
This album is full of fun and has so many hooks you won’t be capable of stopping yourself from listening to the whole album. This UK indie rock group incorporates humor into their songs, making this a joyful experience for all.
23. Un Verano Sin Ti – Bad Bunny
24. Nothing To Declare – 700 Bliss
This album intends to confront you with meaningful lyrics complete with an electronic vibe. It’s full of mischief and angst, while there’s a sense of comfortable craziness throughout each track. It’s one of the funkiest albums of the year.
25. Labyrinthitis – Destroyer
This album has a dizzy feel, which is exactly how you will be after listening to it. This sort of dance-rock combo includes groovy bass with funky melodies and loops that spin you around in your mind. It’s great fun.
26. Skinty Fia – Fontaines D.C.
This post-punk band has created something that must be their most audacious album yet, and it works for them. It’s emotional at times and a shift away from their origins, so if you expect something angry and punkish, this won’t be a hit for you.
27. Tremblers And Goggles – Guided By Voices
This album full of power pop will blow you clean out of your boots. But then, they do something crazy, like throwing in some horns and strings to keep you on your toes. The album flows effortlessly from song to song, resulting in one of the year’s best pop albums.
28. Angel In Realtime – Gang Of Youths
This album is an atmospheric ride from start to finish, packed full of thought in each song. It feels anthemic but also intimated at the same time, which is an incredible and rare combination. If you are new to this band, you will become a huge fan instantly.
29. Valentine – Snail Mail
This stunning second album by Snail Mail shows what’s possible with indie rock. All about love, it quickly takes you through a range of emotions in a carefully constructed manner. It’s honest and raw yet has such a mellow feel throughout the album.
30. Feeding The Machine – Binker & Moses
Filled with huge melodies and inspired by jazz sounds and some superb drumming, this album is the best they have produced. The music tends to explode out of your speakers, filling you with joy and anticipation as each track unfolds. This is one fantastic album.
31. To Hell With It Pink – Pantheress
The best way to describe this album is the songs build you up and then drop back like a musical rollercoaster. It blends slow and sensual with more power and energy leaving you pleasantly exhausted by the end.
32. Time Skiffs – Animal Collective
This is one of those albums that offers you peace by exploring different sounds and how they can potentially work together. At times it feels surreal and dreamy before it brings you back to the real world until it lets you drift off into that spaced-out feeling once again.
33. Remember Your North Star – Yaya Bey
This album blends jazz, soul and some R&B for good measure resulting in a unique sound that is completely Yaya Bey. She spends the album searching for answers to life, but your search for a gorgeously smooth album is over thanks to this.
34. Hugo – Loyle Carner
With this album, Carner brings a sense of poetry to proceedings blended with a sense of chaos throughout. However, it remains soulful and carries a whole sense of meaning in each song. It’s the kind of album that plays with your emotions and allows you to take out of it what you want.
35. 28 Reasons – Seulgi
With influence from R&B, soul, and darkness behind the songs, thus album may be short, but it is packed full of everything you could want in an album. It’s elegant yet has a sense of mystery leading to a unique sound of 2022.
36. Warm Chris – Aldous Harding
This folk-pop album takes you on one of those psychedelic trips throughout the songs without sounding over-complicated at the same time. The entire album is soft and playful, simultaneously showing how Harding can bring so much fun into his music.
37. Ephemeral Camera Feed – Astrid Sonne
This progressive electronic album brings a sense of chill to the harmonies that lead you by the hand through the songs. It knows how to grab you, spin you around, and then set you off on your way with the tunes ringing in your ears. This album is different from anything else, which makes it fun.
38. Running with the Hurricane – Camp Cope
With a tendency to gallop along through the songs, it feels like this album is over instantly. Each track has depth to it, but it does come across as the perfect album for warm evenings where you just let yourself go and allow the music to take you over.
39. Pompeii – Cate Le Bon
If you want an album that leaves you feeling like you are in a dream, this is the one for you. From gorgeous bass lines to sax music breaking through randomly, expect to be taken on an exciting dance with each song.
40. FROM HOOK – Hook
This hip hop album has experimental written all over it, but that’s part of the fun. Based on cloud rap, it takes you on a joyful journey as Hook tells you all about what’s wrong in their world. This album certainly opens up the door for a whole lot more to come.
41. Classic Objects – Jenny Hval
This Norwegian star brings together electronica with a softer approach and tones, resulting in something full of mood and yet not too offensive. This album slowly seduces you and reveals more of itself through the tracks giving you a sense of having been to therapy with it.
42. Gifted – Koffee
This album makes everything else for you. It has such an uplifting breeze to each song, with this reggae star helping you skip through each track with a lightness you hardly experience.
43. Boat Songs – MJ Lenderman
With a focus on guitar-laden songs that make you sit and listen to every word, Boat Songs stirs up various emotions and sentiments with each track. With hints of alternative country and even some folk-pop, the album has ups and downs like the waves.
44. The Boy Named If – Elvis Costello & The Imposters
The way Elvis Costello erupts with energy in the album is lovable, only to then switch it down a few levels with a sense of tender affection in the tracks. No song is lacking in punch here, and any Elvis Costello fan will love what he has produced over these 13 songs.
45. Palomino – Miranda Lambert
This album would probably win votes for the most sass in 2022. In her ninth studio album, Lambert takes us down some familiar roads with a blend of up-tempo songs and then some slow ballads. It just feels as if she strikes the perfect balance showcasing how accomplished she is as a singer.
46. Three Dimensions Deep – Amber Mark
This debut album is impressive and comes packed with tracks that show how Mark is a stunning vocalist. Three Dimensions Deep is like what modern R&B should be, with just enough funk in the tunes to allow it to reach deep into your soul and massage it until the album is over.
47. Big Time – Angel Olsen
The thing that stands out with this album is a single word…emotion. Big Time is clearly inspired by country music, but it feels like it digs deeper than you would expect. It’s a completely different direction from her previous album, showing she’s not afraid to try something new.
48. Fear of the Dawn – Jack White
Jack White continues to display his skill of throwing different genres together in ways you never imagined. This time, it’s a blues-rock fusion with a sense of a carnival atmosphere, while songs combine guitar with synth-pop to keep you feeling alive. As always, you never know what to expect from Jack White, and this album doesn’t disappoint.
49. Laurel Hell – Mitski
When trying to label this album, an indie-synth-pop vibe is the only thing to come up with since Mitski appears to take her influences from every conceivable direction. However, it’s not all pop, as she’s not afraid to throw in some emotion now and again, bringing you back to earth with ease.
50. Diaspora Problems – Soul Glo
Think punk, metal, and hip hop undertones all blended, and you still don’t come close to what’s on offer here. This is one of those albums that makes you stop and wonder what you listened to, and the fact it’s their debut makes this album all the more astonishing.
51. Few Good Things – Saba
Saba does this incredible thing where he uses virtually no samples in his tracks but ultimately allows himself to work on creating layers of sounds to make each song unique. This is soulful, and it’s an album that will take you away to your happy place while the lyrics make you feel everything in the world is perfect.
52. God Don’t Make Mistakes – Conway The Machine
This rap album gives a tough vibe to it, but don’t let that put you off. Instead, he makes it feel as if you are talking to your friends when you allow them to grumble and then carry on with life. It’s moody and sometimes dark, but the impact it has on your mind cannot be doubted.
53. The Overload – Yard Act
This album comes bundled with a lot of fun and offers a light-hearted look at the world. Their ability to calm any tension in their songs and life is clear, while the dark humor that bounds out of their tracks may be lost the first time of listening. However, give them another chance, and so much will become clear.
54. Fossora – Bjork
This is her tenth album, and you still get her customary funky beats and that familiar chill to her voice that manages to break through tension in the air like a knife. It’s invigorating, and Björk is still clearly adept at producing not only music, but also art.
55. Hygiene – Drug Church
This hardcore band has an insane ability to build up a track while it drags you along for the ride. Hygiene is just crammed full of impressive hooks, while they keep everything precise and perfect through the melodies. They keep things simple and tight, resulting in an album that will excite you for years.
Barry has worked as a freelance writer for over a decade and has developed an eye for detail when it comes to unearthing cool and interesting facts.
His love of music stems from his student days checking out up and coming bands playing in the darkest corners of bars and clubs in Edinburgh.
The love of uncovering something new also remains with him. With an appreciation for music that’s best described as eclectic, his musical tastes range from Eric Clapton to Eminem through to Snow Patrol and Incubus. The memories that music can bring back to the fore is something he tries to portray in his writing.
For him, the voyage of discovery and unearthing something new is what makes this task of writing for MusicGrotto.com so interesting.