My Music in 2022, A Glance
Dec 30, 2022 • terminally online matt • ~ 33 minute read • 5954 words
In many ways, this has been the worst year of my life by a mile. I’ll write about that later; for now, it’s music time.
Note: this is one of those posts that I really just write for myself and for my friends to stalk. There’s no continuity, you don’t have to read all of this.
Table of Contents
- Table of Contents
- Albums of the Year (7)
- Other Albums I That I Liked
- Songs of the Year
- Stats et al
- Other Thoughts on 2022 In Music
- Closing (and random) Thoughts
Albums of the Year (7)
This was just a stellar year of music (particularly for rap!), and it was hard to really zero in on a concise list.
After Dinner We Talk Dreams by MICHELLE
MICHELLE embody the vibes of best friends just having fun; the feeling is infectious.
a few more thoughts…
I've been in many friend groups that suddenly exclaim "let's start a band!". MICHELLE's second album is exactly what we're all romanticizing. You're whisked away to their little corner of the world, enveloped in their emotions and everyday problems - mostly about love. They bring an upbeat and slightly goofy energy to a soundscape that spans pop, alt-rock, r&b, modern soul, and a bit of rap. Beyond that, it's the type of music that actually makes me want to move after staring at a computer for hours. Isn't that what we all want?
Faves: MESS U MADE, EXPIRATION DATE, POSE, SYNCOPATE, TALKING TO MYSELF, END OF THE WORLD
It's Almost Dry by Pusha T
Push on Pharrell and Kanye beats is relentlessly exquisite: actual rap caviar, if you will.
a few more thoughts…
At this point, it's unfair. Kanye and Pharrell are indisputably the two most influential producers in mainstream rap over the past two decades. Push is one of few rappers that's worked with both for over a decade. You just can't compete! Kanye brings a stellar soul sample on Dreamin Of The Past that makes me miss the old Kanye. For any other rapper, Pharrell would steal the show with the beats on Brambleton, Coupes, or Neck & Wrist. Push matches him with his nastiest coke bars. This is a three-chef, three-course meal in ruthlessness.
Faves: Brambleton, Let The Smokers Shine The Coupes, Dreamin Of The Past, Neck & Wrist, Diet Coke, I Pray For You
LOUIE by Kenny Beats
Kenny revives the emotional beat tape, and makes him your favourite producer in the process.
a few more thoughts…
It's rare that a beat tape makes me feel things. Kenny somehow pulls it off with a masterful and unique take on the producer classic. His beats have so much dynamism - when they're allowed to steal the show, they run away with it in a full sprint. LOUIE is a masterful balance of chopped soul, lazy sunday beats, jazzy motifs, and fresh takes on standards. His incorporation of family recordings - primarily of his dad - and vignettes from THE CAVE frequenters creates a unique personality but still puts the instrumentation front and center. I'm so so excited for Kenny to take off.
Faves: Parenthesis, Hold My Head, Family Tree, Still, Moire, Eternal, Last Words, Rotten
Melt My Eyez See Your Future by Denzel Curry
Denzel's foray into the mainstream sees him lose none of his flair.
a few more thoughts…
Fresh off of UNLOCKED, I was both excited and nervous to see Denzel over more upbeat, less noisy beats. After listening to Walkin and Troubles, I can't believe I was ever scared; those two singles are some of the best rap I've ever heard, period. Denzel still raps his ass off over a production ocean, mastering Robert Glasper's jazz beats, absolutely demolishing a slow-burn soul samples on Walkin and Ain't No Way, and bringing his signature energetic noisy flare on Zaitoichi. At this pace, Denzel's seriously challenging the very top of rap, and I'm all for it.
Faves: Melt Session #1, Walkin, John Wayne, Troubles, Ain't No Way, X-Wing, Sanjuro, Zaitoichi
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers by Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick continues to cement himself as the best rapper alive.
a few more thoughts…
For anybody who knows me, this should come as no surprise. Kendrick has been my GOAT for years. I knew The Heart Part 5 was coming. But I could not predict this level of sheer vulnerability from a pop culture icon. I love so much of this album. Kendrick sounds more natural over modern production here than on DAMN. His vocal manipulation is still a roundhouse kick. However, the absolute treat of this album is the risk-taking and novelty. We Cry Together teleports me straight into their argument; it's the most passionate performance I've heard in a rap conversation since Stan and Guilty Conscience. The trio of Father Time, Auntie Diaries, and Mother I Sober is an emotional sucker punch. Never have I seen a rapper (or singer!) so forward about daddy issues and generational trauma; nor explicitly dive deep into transphobia and personal reflection; or sex culture and being sexually assaulted. I don't think all the risks paid off - I'm critical of many of the features, and the standard of TPAB is almost impossible to meet. Yet, there's a reason why every reviewer's video or article on this album is twice its typical length. Kendrick has packed so much of himself into this album and tore down the myth of the perfect cultural icon. It's groundbreaking.
Faves: Die Hard, Father Time, Rich Spirit, We Cry Together, Count Me Out, Savior, Auntie Diaries, Mother I Sober
NOT TiGHT by DOMi & JD BECK
My most listened-to album this year is a technical masterpiece filled to the brim with personality. And it's their first album.
a few more thoughts…
Sometimes, I think I could have gone farther with my piano education. I do a reality check by watching DOMi & JD BECK perform. It's just mind-blowing? The way they pick up almost any style, any standard, any vibe. The way they improv and work together. And just the plain fun that they bring to their music? NOT TiGHT is all of that packed up in a concise album that doesn't wander: each track is absurdly catchy, punchy and fun, and leaves me wondering ... how did they do that? They're also blessed with a gauntlet of stellar features - from Anderson .Paak to Thundercat to Mac Demarco and even Herbie Hancock and Snoop? I'm baffled that this is somehow their first album (even if they've been playing music for over a decade). In particular, TAKE A CHANCE is probably the best song I've heard this year. I give this album rave reviews to everyone I meet; I'm not kidding that it can turn jazz haters into ardent fans. I cannot wait to see what they do in the future, and I'm rooting for the two of them.
Faves: WHATUP, SMiLE, NOT TiGHT, TWO SHRiMPS, U DON'T HAVE TO ROB ME, TAKE A CHANCE, PiLOT
The Loneliest Time by Carly Rae Jepsen
It's CRJ time.
a few more thoughts…
I don't know she does it. Carly continues being the queen of pop. She's still full of playful emotion; powerful, pretty much perfect production; lyrics that are always about entering or leaving relationships, but never just happy. She gives a wonderful face-lift to her sound from Emotion, blending in some instrumental risks with classic synths and the occasional sax. She feels more aloof, joyful, and just going along for the ride. It's exactly what we need in 2022. My only critique? Beach House.
Faves: Surrender My Heart, Joshua Tree, Sideways, Bends, Bad Thing Twice, The Loneliest Time, No Thinking Over The Weekend
Other Albums I That I Liked
2022 was such a good year for music. It was hard to create a concise-ish list of my favourite albums, but here’s the best I can do out of this year’s releases:
Albums Released in 2022
click to expand
- 2000 by Joey Bada$$
- Asha’s Awakening by Raveena
- Beatopia by beabadoobee
- Being Funny In A Foreign Language by The 1975
- Cheat Codes by Black Thought, Danger Mouse
- CRASH by Charli XCX
- Dawn FM by The Weeknd
- DRILL MUSIC IN ZION by Lupe Fiasco
- Duality by Luna Li
- Epistle by Jacob Chung - go JC!!
- Everything I Know About Love by Laufey
- Flood by Stella Donnelly
- GABRIEL by keshi
- Harry’s House by Harry Styles
- HEROES & VILLAINS by Metro Boomin
- King’s Disease III by Nas
- Luv Is Rent by Smino
- NO THANK YOU by Little Simz
- Only Built For Infinity Links by Quavo, Takeoff
- RAMONA PARK BROKE MY HEART by Vince Staples
- RENAISSANCE by Beyoncé
- SICK! by Earl Sweatshirt
- SOS by SZA
- Surrender by Maggie Rogers
- The Forever Story by JID
- Vinyl Days by Logic
- Wet Leg by Wet Leg
A few quick highlights & notes:
- if I had to pick one more album to enter AOTY contention, it would be Surrender. Love love love Maggie Rogers. The Forever Story is probably a close second.
- my mainstream runner-ups are CRASH, DAWN FM, and RENAISSANCE; interestingly, all throwbacks in some sort of way!
- if SOS came out earlier in the year, there’s a very good chance it makes the AOTY list for me
- NO THANK YOU sounds like Introvert loosies, which is amazing.
- Everything I Know About Love was in constant apartment rotation; it’s so danceable and just … lovely!
- I feel like we got many great mature and laid-back rap albums - 2000, DRILL MUSIC IN ZION, King’s Disease III, RAMONA PARK BROKE MY HEART, The Forever Story came to mind.
- always love Metro; however, if he dropped the Chris Brown verse on Superhero and trimmed a few of the Travis tracks for something with the Migos / Gucci / James Blake, instant AOTY contention!
EPs Released in 2022
click to expand
- Brightside by Rich Brian
- Hip Hop 50: Vol. 1 by DJ Premier
- jams 2 by Luna Li
- Maggie Valley by Weston Estate
- Nisemono by Ginger Root
- SMITHEREENS by Joji
- THE RENEWAL PROJECT by Tiffany Day
- wood tip by Zack Fox
Honestly, I don’t have too much to say here - other than I’m super super excited for Hip Hop 50, and SMITHEREENS is definitely an EP and not an album.
Albums Released Before 2022
click to expand
- Beware of the Dogs by Stella Donnelly
- Friends That Break Your Heart by James Blake
- King’s Disease II by Nas
- Magic by Nas
- rapunzel by dhruv
- Titanic Rising by Weyes Blood
- Voyager by Moonchild
- What’s Your Pleasure? by Jessie Ware
For this section, I have something to say for each item:
- Stella Donnelly is one of my favourite finds this year, between Beware of the Dogs and Flood!
- James Blake is absolutely killer; I was only a little late to including him on my AOTY for 2021!
- Nas and Hit-Boy continue to blow me away on KD1, 2, 3, and Magic!
- I love love love dhruv!
- Weyes Blood, Moonchild, and Jessie Ware were all lovely genre benders in their own way; particularly excited for new Jessie!
Albums I Will Get Around To Soon
I came up with this section last year. I ended up listening to about a third of the albums. Yikes.
Since this was such a great year for music, the to-do list has ballooned. From this year:
click to expand
- 10 by Westside Gunn
- Ants From Up There by Black Country, New Road
- Blue Rev by Alvvays
- Dirt Femme by Tove Lo
- Every Shade of Blue by The Head And The Heart
- God Don’t Make Mistakes by Conway the Machine
- HERBERT by Ab-Soul
- HYPNOS by Ravyn Lenae
- hypochondriac by brakence
- Laurel Hell by Mitski
- Natural Brown Prom Queen by Sudan Archives
- Once Twice Melody by Beach House
- Preacher’s Daughter by Ethel Cain
- rising by mxmtoon (this is embarrassing given that I … went to this concert)
- Simple. by IDK
- The Elephant Man’s Bones by Roc Marciano, The Alchemist
- World Wide Pop by Superorganism
Particularly excited for Alvvays, BNCR, and The Elephant Man’s Bones!
And the ones from last year’s list:
click to expand
- Caroline Polacheck’s Pang
- clipping.’s Visions of Bodies Being Burned
- Dave’s We’re All Alone In This Together
- IDK’s USEE4YOURSELF
- Lady Gaga’s Chromatica
- Lake Street Dive’s Obviously
- Remi Wolf’s Juno
- Snail Mail’s Valentine
- Spelling’s The Turning Wheel
- Still Woozy’s If This Isn’t Nice, I Don’t Know What Is
- Terrace Martin’s DRONES
- Thundercat’s It Is What It Is (this is my most painful one!)
Songs of the Year
I quite liked doing this section, so continuing it from last year!
If you’re not familiar: my music rotation involves listening to 42 songs on repeat in a playlist called amperes. Here is my “amperes for 2022”, limited to one song per 2022 album. I’ve noted the songs not coming from a fave album/EP with (*).
click to expand
- Blur by dhruv (*)
- BREAK MY SOUL by Beyoncé
- Budget by Megan Thee Stallion, Latto
- Cash In Cash Out by Pharrell Williams, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator (*)
- Coast by Hailee Steinfeld, Anderson .Paak (*)
- Coming Back Around by MONEYPHONE, Monsune (*)
- Daisies by Weston Estate
- Dreamin Of The Past by Pusha T
- END OF THE WORLD by MICHELLE
- Family Tree by Kenny Beats
- Father Time by Kendrick Lamar, Sampha
- Feel The Fiyaaaah by Metro Boomin, A$AP Rocky, Takeoff
- First Time by Nas
- Free Yourself by Jessie Ware (*)
- Glimpse Of Us by Joji
- HENTAI by ROSALIA
- I’m In Love With You by The 1975
- Just In Time by JID, Kenny Mason, Lil Wayne
- Kill Bill by SZA
- Look Out! by Peach Pit (*)
- Magic by Vince Staples, Mustard
- MS. MURAL by Lupe Fiasco
- Music For a Sushi Restaurant by Harry Styles
- One Mic, One Gun by Nas, 21 Savage (*)
- Out of Time by The Weeknd
- Persuasive by Doechii (*)
- Piece Of Shit by Wet Leg
- SAN FRANCISCO SIDEWALK by Tiffany Day (*)
- Shatter by Maggie Rogers
- Silver Into Rain by Luna Li, beabadoobee
- Softly by Arlo Parks (*)
- Surrender My Heart by Carly Rae Jepsen
- Survivors Guilt by Joey Bada$$
- TAKE A CHANCE by DOMi & JD BECK, Anderson .Paak
- The Heart Part 5 by Kendrick Lamar (*)
- The Root of All by DJ Premier, Slick Rick, Lil Wayne
- This Is Why by Paramore (*)
- TV by Billie Eilish (*)
- Walkin by Denzel Curry
- You’re here that’s the thing by beabadoobee
- Yuck by Charli XCX
- 90 Proof by Smino, J. Cole
- I actually feel like there’s less bangers here?
- SOTY is probably TAKE A CHANCE, with The Heart Part 5, HENTAI, Free Yourself, and SAN FRANCISCO SIDEWALK rounding out the top 5?
- I think the most obscure song here is definitely Coming Back Around; I’ve always got to support my boy Monsune
- Cash In Cash Out has the best music video I’ve seen in years!
- I felt like we were spoiled by power ballads from mainstream stars: Billie and Joji’s are in this list, and The Weeknd, Harry, and SZA all also had solid ones!
Other Songs Released in 2022 (favourite albums non-inclusive)
Most of my songs of the year are already covered in the albums that I’ve mentioned, but there are a few others that are either standalone singles or come from albums that I didn’t love front-to-back (or hadn’t listened to). This has duplicates with the 42 list.
click to expand
it's my fault* by WILLOW
- all i ever wanted (was you) by mazie
- Anxiety by Megan Thee Stallion
- BIBI Vengeance by BIBI
- Big Steppa by Flo Milli
- Blur by dhruv
- Budget by Megan Thee Stallion, Latto
- Car Crash by eaJ
- Cash In Cash Out by Pharrell Williams, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator
- CEO OF MY ASS by Dev Lemons
- Coast by Hailee Steinfeld, Anderson .Paak
- Come On, Let’s Go by Tyler, The Creator, Nigo
- Coming Back Around by MONEYPHONE, Monsune
- Conceited by Flo Milli
- Dat Way by Barely Legal, Jay Browne
- DEAR MISS HOLLOWAY by easy life, Kevin Abstract
- dirty dancer by Orion Sun
- Do What I Want by Kid Cudi
- DON’T SAY NOTHIN’ by Saweetie
- Drown by Weston Estate
- Feelin’ Sexy by KenTheMan
- Free Yourself by Jessie Ware
- Figure You Out by Djo
- Gotsta Get Paid by Rico Nasty
- Hard Drive Gold by alt-J
- HENTAI by ROSALIA
- hollaback bitch by Mura Masa, Shygirl, Channel Tres
- Home Maker by Sudan Archives
- I Fell in Love Again by Kid Bloom
- Industry Baby (Cover) by Noga Erez
- Johnny P’s Caddy by Benny The Butcher, J. Cole
- Look Out! by Peach Pit
- LORD FORGIVE ME by Tobe Nwigwe, Fat Nwigwe, Pharrell Williams, EARTHGANG
- Nights in December by Tkay Maidza
- NO TRENDS by Mike Dimes
- October Passed Me By by girl in red
- One Mic, One Gun by Was, 21 Savage
- Persuasive by Doechii
- Picture in my mind by PinkPantheress
- Power Power by Duckwrth, Shaun Ross
- PUSSY by Latto
- SAN FRANCISCO SIDEWALK by Tiffany Day
- STAR WALKIN’ BY LIL NAS X
- Soccer Dad by Schoolboy Q
- Softly by Arlo Parks
- Stick by JID, J. Cole, Kenny Mason, Sheck Wes
- Talk About Me by Dot Da Genius, Denzel Curry, Kid Cudi, JID
- Timeless by Ambar Lucid
- The Heart Part 5 by Kendrick Lamar
- This Is Why by Paramore
- TV by Billie Eilish
- Twin Flame by KAYTRANDA, Anderson .Paak
- Wild Child by The Black Keys
- some stellar smaller artists: dhruv, Dev Lemons, Orion Sun, Sudan Archives, Tkay, Ambar Lucid
- I was pleasantly surprised by the prolific output from PinkPantheress, who definitely isn’t a one-hit wonder!
- I feel even more hooked by dhruv and Weston Estate
- I love the new direction of Tiffany Day’s single - I hope she can keep it up!
- Anderson had a killer feature year?? (Twin Flame, TAKE A CHANCE, Coast in this list, plus others)
- Noga Erez’s Industry Baby cover is the best cover I’ve heard this year
- The Heart Part 5 is an absolutely nuts loosie
Songs Released Before 2022
For a song to qualify here, I listened to it (and added it to a playlist) for the first time this year. These ones tend to be slightly more notable, or the list would be a bit too long!
click to expand
- うっせぇわ by Ado
- CAN’T TOUCH THIS by BIA
- could you love me while I hate myself by Zeph
- Final Form by Sampa the Great
- In Camera by Yumi Zouma
- Instant Crush by Daft Punk, Julian Casablancas
- KAZINO BY BIBI
- Keep Livin by Jean Grae
- Listening to Me Sing by Jacklen Ro
- Mad by Solange, Lil Wayne
- racecar by Imani
- Rom-Com Gone Wrong by Matt Maltese
- Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush
- Romeo by Jungle, Bas
- Sweat by BAD
- You’re Kinda Perfect by FIG
Some quick tidbits:
- holy, Ado’s vocal range and production energy is nuts. Can’t believe she’s so young
- BIA has perfected the lazy flow
- Zeph has perfected internet simping
- I fell in love with Instant Crush after listening to RAM like 20 times. How had I not loved this before?
- racecar is stellar bedroom pop
- Mad is a sleeper emotional hit
- shoutout to some of the live music I saw this year (Jacklen Ro, FIG!)
Stats et al
Monsune has been ousted! He surprisingly doesn’t make an appearance here. Kendrick’s dominance makes perfect sense for me. The Avalanches’ Since I Left You has been on constant repeat in my new apartment, so that’s no surprise either. slowthai and Vince are carried by their songs (see the next paragraph). Kanye is … tough. As much as I’ve loved and continued to love his older music, it’s just so hard to like him now. More on that in a bit.
As for the songs, there’s no easy way to say this: each of the top 5 are songs about suicide. In particular, I listened to i tried over 200 times in the past 3 months. It’s been a rough year.
The minutes listened continues its downward trend. Maybe life is just getting busy?
This is year four of last.fm. Most of this section is me adding some context on the data that’s publicly available (give it a look!).
- I listened to 1345 unique artists this year, which is about 150 more than last year - nice!
- Kendrick overtakes the BROCKHAMPTON boys as my most-listened to artist, with 622 scrobbles; this is both ~ 200 more than BH last year, and the runner-up (The Avalanches with ~ 445).
- The top ten is:
- Kendrick Lamar
- The Avalanches
- Vince Staples
- DOMi & JD BECK
- Pusha T
- Baby Keem
- Kenny Beats
- Little Simz
- 4 of the top 10 (Kendrick, The Avalanches, BROCKHAMPTON, Baby Keem) retained a spot from last year.
- Technically, 7 artists dropped new albums (Kendrick, Vince, DOMi & JD BECK, BROCKHAMPTON, Push, Kenny, Little Simz); but, I didn’t listen to either BH tape more than once, and Simz’s record was too late in the year to make a big dent.
- Few artists in the top 50 are new to me this year. They are MICHELLE (24), Luna Li (28), and Stella Donnelly (44)
- About a quarter of my top 50 didn’t release projects this year. It was both a big year in music, and also I’m sure new releases influenced my patterns more this year (compared to last year)
- I did actively avoid Honestly, Nevermind, Her Loss, both BH Tapes, and haven’t listened to Donda 2
- The tracks scrobbled clocks in at 18435, compared to 20410 songs last year. I average 51 scrobbles a day.
- I listened to 5335 unique songs.
- My most-listened to month was September (the lowest last year!); my least was December (makes sense given my travel issues).
- The top ten:
- i tried by slowthai
- Jump Off The Roof by slowthai
- u by Kendrick Lamar
- Suicidal Thoughts by The Notorious B.I.B.
- Heavenly Father by Isaiah Rashad
- a lot by 21 Savage
- Going Bad by Meek Mill, Drake
- Dreamin Of The Past by Pusha T, Kanye West
- TAKE A CHANCE by DOMi & JD Beck, Anderson .Paak
- The Games We Play by Pusha T
- Dreamin Of The Past and TAKE A CHANCE are the only songs that came out this year in the top 10. In the top 50, they are joined by Walkin, NOT TiGHT, PiLOT, WHATUP, Father Time, Let The Smokers Shine The Coupes, Come On, Let’s Go, and BOWLiNG. Both ratios are 20%, which seems too consistent!
- In contrast, only two songs were released before I was born: Suicidal Thoughts and N.Y. State of Mind. Since I Left You was released the day after I was born!
- No song carries over from last year.
- There’s probably some weird undercounting with duplicate albums, but I couldn’t see any in the top 50.
- My top ten is:
- NOT TiGHT by DOMi & JD Beck
- TYRON by slowthai
- The Melodic Blue by Baby Keem (note: undercounted because of the deluxe, which is a “separate album”)
- To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar
- LOUIE by Kenny Beats
- Since I Left You by The Avalanches (note: undercounted because of the anniversary edition, which is a “separate album”)
- Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers by Kendrick Lamar
- Nectar by Joji
- It’s Almost Dry by Pusha T
- (tied 10th) Sometimes I Might Be Introvert by Little Simz
- (tied 10th) After Dinner We Talk Dreams by MICHELLE
- TYRON is carried by i tried, which comprises about 75% of its streams.
- I think Since I Left You is being undercounted? I’ve definitely listened to it front to back at least 30 times.
- 12 albums in the top 50 came out this year, which is only slightly more than last year (10).
- Carry overs from last year are the cousins: To Pimp A Butterfly and The Melodic Blue.
- SZA’s SOS remarkably breaks the top 50 even though I only had 20 days to listen to it. Partially because the album is so long!
Other Thoughts on 2022 In Music
I did really like this year in music. I felt that the return of touring brought out so many albums that we were waiting for so long: TDE’s crown jewels of Kendrick and SZA; rap darlings Denzel and JID; beat tapes from Kenny and DOMi & JD BECK; mainstream powerhouses like Beyoncé and Harry; and so much more that I could just keep going.
Looking Forward to…
Similar to last year, let me shout out some things I’m really excited about - and people you should definitely check out if you haven’t already heard of!
- Despite the controversy, I think this was a stellar year for women in rap. Megan had some absolutely killer cuts on her album (the trifecta of Plan B, Budget, Anxiety), and I’m excited to see her mature. Flo Milli, BIA, Latto, KenTheMan, Rico Nasty, and Chlöe all made their mark with club bangers. And I can’t overstate just how great Little Simz is. Doechii may be my one to look out for next year, but I’m just generally more excited for more!
- I’m definitely in an English speaking bubble. I want to spend more time listening to multilingual songs; some highlights from this year are Ado, BIBI, Stromae (ofc),
- Seeing Arlo Parks live was definitely a concert highlight. Softly (and so many others) hit so different, and I think she can’t do any wrong.
- Even though we didn’t get a big project from Tkay Maidza, Nights In December is absolutely stellar. Need more!
- I’m a bit surprised that Coast didn’t absolutely blow up; to me, it’d be one of the songs of the summer. I think Hailee is actually still really underrated!
- If Nas follows up with yet another stellar album, I think he has a serious claim to being a dominant four-decade GOAT. Unheard of (Eminem and Jay are close).
- More broadly, I’m curious if we’ll see a returning trend to more introspective rap - I do feel like Travis and Migos are on their way out, and I don’t think anybody has really replaced their dominance. I’ve loved so much of what I’ve heard in this domain though!
- On the indie/alt-ish side of things, there’s so much to look forward to after some great teasers (in various levels of popularity): Men I Trust, Sudan Archives, PinkPantheress, U.S. Girls
- I am so so so excited for new Paramore :))
2022 Wishlists and Predictions
Let’s see how I did!
Almost certain: Kendrick drops his album. Right? Right??
Pretty likely: we get another big Blueberry Faygo-style hit, blowing up off of Lyrical Lemonade.
I think Central Cee’s Doja technically fits the bill here, but it’s not the same level of success. Surprised that Bieber is getting eclipsed by BabyTron.
Likely: Doja Cat drops a rap album and features either Megan or Lil Nas X.
Surprised that she didn’t release, tbh!
50/50: we get another classic Madlib collab album; Gunnlib seems the most likely.
nope on Gunnlib :(
Unlikely: BROCKHAMPTON drop two albums in one year, fulfilling their label contract.
I guess this did technically happen?
Pretty unlikely: JID drops a legendary album and sweeps the charts, critics, and award shows; the album features two of Drake, Kanye, Kendrick, and Cole.
None of the features ended up happening :(
Moonshot: Kanye and Taylor make up, and one features on another’s single, which is co-produced by Jack Antonoff and Kanye. They host a joint concert.
Well … Kanye definitely isn’t doing great.
And for pop:
Almost certain: rap will continue to make its way into the mainstream; Post Malone is somehow involved.
We did get Twelve Carat Toothache!
Pretty likely: Elton John continues to release new music!
Hold Me Closer with Britney racked up numbers!
Likely: Megan will rack up another feature on a huge pop song, and it’ll need to be censored/people will complain.
Sweetest Pie ended up being on her album, not Dua’s. Absolutely feel for her given all this Tory Lanez drama :(
50/50: We get a new Weeknd album.
Apparently I wasn’t online enough to realize it’d happen within two weeks of me writing my post!
Unlikely: After Olivia Rodrigo’s success, we get yet another meteoric rise to fame from a previous child star. Happens more frequently than you think!
Alas, I think it’s a no on this one.
Pretty unlikely: Given Kavinsky’s (and Swedish House Mafia’s?!) return, I’d love to see more synthwave / synths make it way into pop. I could easily see Dua or Charli taking the reign here, as could The Weeknd. Calvin Harris would be a funny but welcome addition.
We did get Vol 2 of Funk Wav Bounces, but I don’t think it was enough.
Moonshot: Kero Kero Bonito enters the mainstream with their next album, and Ed Sheeran brings them on to a song that also features 2 Chainz for some reason?
Next year, KKB fans. Next year.
2023 Wishlists and Predictions
Same idea, but hopefully a better success rate.
- Almost certain: Megan drops another banger that drags her haters.
- Pretty likely: another famous rapper’s estate releases loosies that harm their image :(
- Likely: Baby Keem drops another album and becomes pgLang’s front-and-center!
- 50/50: one of the BROCKHAMPTON boys drops an album that’s an “instant classic” for BH fans but is critically panned.
- Unlikely: one of Griselda reaches further commercial success with a Grammy nom and crossover feature.
- Pretty unlikely: Jack Harlow wins the Grammy for Rap Album of the Year, causing a rapper to announce that they’ll retire.
- Moonshot: season 4 of The Cave has Kenny mediate Kanye (or a Kanye beef).
- Almost certain: at least 20% of the Billboard Hot 100 has trended on TikTok.
- Pretty likely: Zendaya hops on another song for Euphoria S3 with an indie darling and it does numbers.
- Likely: Paramore’s return gives them another #1.
- 50/50: PinkPantheress continues to dominate and gets a main-mainstream feature.
- Unlikely: we get a successful pop supergroup/duo (think Silk Sonic, LSD, or Boygenius).
- Pretty unlikely: French pop starts to see the same American success as Spanish pop; Stromae racks up even more streams.
- Moonshot: Kero Kero Bonito enters the mainstream with their next album, and Ed Sheeran brings them on to a song that also features 2 Chainz for some reason? (I like this one quite a bit).
This year felt like lots of artists throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks. I think most of the experimentation was good, but there were some misses - perhaps more than normal.
This time, I want to separate them into two categories.
The first are when I’m whelmed. These weren’t bad - they just weren’t as good as I was hoping. I still enjoyed each of these albums in some way or the other, and I’ll certainly be listening to their next project!
- chump change by AUDREY NUNA, Deb Never
- Funk Wave Bounces Vol. 2 by Calvin Harris
- Hold The Girl by Rina Sawayama
- Nicole by NIKI
- $oul $old $eparately by Freddie Gibbs
- The Car by the Arctic Monkeys
In contrast, there were just a few albums where … I think something went catastrophically wrong.
- I still think Drake is coasting, and Honestly, Nevermind and Her Loss are in the same boat as CLB, Views, Scorpion, etc. I hope we see a hungrier Drake in 2023, though I doubt it.
- DJ Khaled continues to produce nothing and also somehow waste an absurd amount of talent? GOD DID feels like a Drake album in the worst way possible.
- all the songs promoting crypto. very disappointing.
- Donda 2. Just … come on.
I don’t really have a strong enough of an opinion on Taylor to put Midnights in either of these buckets.
Artists/albums that did not technically release a new project this year, but deserve a shoutout:
- Mac Miller’s estate continues to be a shining example. The I Love Life, Thank You’s remaster is great!
- The Baby Keem deluxe was stellar. Also huge huge shoutout to the hooligan music video.
Closing (and random) Thoughts
I wished I didn’t procrastinate these!
In reflection, I think I did accomplish some of my listening goals. Some things I want to try for this year:
- Above all, I want to listen to more non-English music. This is getting much easier, particularly due to the global success of Spanish music + Asian pop. I feel like I’ve only been impressed so far, so I should keep digging!
- DOMi & JD BECK and Laufey are really motivating me to listen to more jazz-adjacent music. Makes me wish I did this more when I was younger.
- I did set aside more time to listening to music, but I feel like I’m not digesting dense works as much as I should. So, I want to listen to more new music - interruption free.
This year’s list of new new (not a typo) music recommenders is a bit smaller than last year. Nevertheless, shoutout to Christine, Diantha, Edmond, Hannah, Lee, Sav, Shanley, and Youngbo! At this point, the entire circle is > 50 people. Lovely :)
I’m a bit burned out on playlists right now. I might make 2022 (Matt’s version) eventually, but not today.
Until next time!