2022 was a kick ass year for music. It seemed like a backlog of music conceived and recorded during the OG Pandemic was released in a deluge this year. A musical hurricane of tunes where the levees (our Spotify accounts) could barely contain all of the tunes flooding our eardrums. And when the levee breaks, mama, you got to move…Ultimately it was hard to narrow down my best albums of the year list, but here goes.

Top 30 Albums of 2022:

30. Bruce Springsteen, Only The Strong Survive

29. Plains, I Walked WIth You A Ways 

28. Bartees Strange, Farm To Table

27. SZA, SOS

26. Toro y Moi, MAHAL

24. Mitski, Laurel Hell

23. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Unlimited Love

25. Lizzo, Special

22. The Weeknd, Dawn FM

21. Sylvan Esso, No Rules Sandy

20. The Frightnrs, Always

19. Soccer Mommy, Sometimes, Forever

18. Hurray For The Riff Raff, LIFE ON EARTH

17. The 1975,  Being Funny In A Foreign Language

15. Jack White, Fear Of The Dawn

14. The Smile, A Light For Attracting Attention

16. Robert Glasper, Black Radio III

13. Perfume Genius, Ugly Season

12. Wilco, Cruel Country

11. Angel Olsen, Big Time

My Top 10:

10. Harry Styles, Harry’s House

The sad and sorry truth is I am an old ass man listening to Harry Styles. The mighty hath fallen. But you’ll be hard pressed to find a pop song as perfect as “As It Was”, the ultimate earworm that dominated playlists and made young girls, and half century old men apparently, week in the knees.

9. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Cool It Down

I wasn’t sure they still had it in them – an epic indie motherload of killer tracks, cutting riffs and grand gestures.

8. Spoon, Lucifer On The Sofa

Is there a band out there that is more dependably awesome than Spoon? The “mailmen” of indie rock – rain or shine, they never fail to deliver.

7. Sharon Van Etten, We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong

A master class in gorgeous brooding. Seeing SVE on tour with Angel Olsen and Julien Baker was a highlight of the summer concert season.

6. King Princess, Hold On Baby

There is something about the yearning passion of Mikaela Mullaney Straus aka King Princess, that rewards repeated listenings. She seems like she’d be cool to hang out with. “Let It Die” is, um, dying to be used in a series finale that ends in a slo mo scene of epic proportions.

5. Beyoncé , RENAISSANCE

The queen’s nonstop dance party. Nothing but a party y’all, let’s get it on.

4. Arcade Fire, WE

Feels like people are sleeping on this album; I urge you to not unsubscribe. Reminds me of mid-70s Pink Floyd classics like Wish You Were Here or Animals, with anthematic multi part suites.

3. Wet Leg, Wet Leg

There are few things as exciting as a buzz band that not only delivers on all of their pre-release hype, but actually exceeds it.  Wet Leg follow in the footsteps of Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend, bands whose debut albums opened up a can of indie rock whoop ass that put them on the map for good. I see a similar future for Wet Leg, who receive bonus points for a killer band name.

2. Kendrick Lamar, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers

The weird thing is that Kendrick delivers another classic hip hop statement, yet it isn’t heavy on big anthems. There’s no “Alright”, or “Humble”, but that doesn’t negate the fact that he’s the best rapper in the game, and whom, more than any other artist out there, can take their fans on a musical journey and everyone is going along for the ride. Seeing him perform live back in September was a religious experience.

1. Big Thief, Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You

The first time I listened to DNWMIBIY – a mouthful of an album title, to be sure – I was driving home on a Friday afternoon. It probably would’ve been quicker to take Ventura Blvd or the 101, but I decided to take Mulholland. [Insert The Californians joke here.] It was one of those afternoons in Los Angeles that makes the rest of the world hate us even more than they usually do – Santa Ana winds winds blowing hot from the north, a time to roll down your windows, crank up the music baby, and don’t let the music stop. Nothing on that winding roadway could have prepared me for this album. Filled with music that makes your heart ache in appreciation, Dragon New Warm Mountain is an Indie Folk White Album, the soundtrack to my year and a masterpiece that will stick around longer than Adrienne’s grandma, though I sincerely hope she’s with us for a long time.

Dadrock has you covered for all of your year in review listening needs

THIS IS 2022 – 100 Essential Tracks [1 per artist]
Best of 22 Trax – A couple tracks from just about every album released in 2022
2022 – The Motherload – Almost every album that came out in 2022