Album of the year lists are simultaneously very exciting, and also incredibly divisive. Music is obviously very subjective, like all art is. But for some reason people will absolutely dissect someone's AOTY list like it's a grad school dissertation. It's actually pretty fucking wacky! I'm not gonna say I'm immune to it, I do it too, so I fully expect people to see mine and call me all sorts of words that are only acceptable to use on reddit. So lets get into my top ten albums of the year 2022!
10. Armor For Sleep - "The Rain Museum"
Legendary early 00's emo rock band Armor For Sleep comes back with their first album in 15 years. It was hard for me to have any sort of expectations going into it after so long. Was it going to sound way too different from what I remember, and feel alienating? Or was it going to sound too similar, without any sort of growth? Well luckily its the best of both! This is filled to the brim with that "hopeful sadness" they've made us accustomed to, while also feeling incredibly mature at the same time.
Song highlights: "In This Nightmare Together", "Whatever, Who Cares".
9. Red Handed Denial - "I'd Rather Be Asleep"
This is what melodic metalcore should sound like in the year 2022. It is heavy, and it is melodic, and it balances the two in almost perfect harmony. Which is such a hard thing to do well, even from the most tenured bands. There is this incredible drum work, and a lot of the instrumentals are complimented by these wonderfully technical guitar segments. And Lauren Babic is an absolute vocal MENACE that makes a lot of other vocalists look fucking silly.
Song highlights: "Marked With a Curse", "Carbon Copies"
8. Irama - "Il giorno in cui ho smesso di pensare"
This might be one of the sexiest pop albums I've ever heard in my 30 years on this planet. Italian pop music was certainly not something I ever knew existed, but I'm certainly glad it ended up on my radar. Irama brings something so vitally important, and really something thats missing in a lot of the pop scene. And thats legitimate sex appeal! He has this undeniable swag on all of these songs, and has written some seriously memorable hooks on this record.
Song highlights: "Baby - Capitolo XI", "5 Gocce"
7. Cherie Amour - "Spiritual Ascension"
This band right here...This Band Right Here! They are the future of the pop punk/pop rock scene. They are rock, they are funk, they are RnB, they are hip hop. The band combines so many genres and elements that blend together so well I almost feel like I discredit them by trying to define them with only one genre. The lyricism on this is top notch, and the songwriting is insane as far as debut records go. Also has some incredible vocal harmonies that gave me goosebumps.
Song highlights: "Low n Lean", "Letting Go", "Spiritual Ascension"
6. Muna - "Muna"
Muna is a group that does it strictly for the girls, and the gays, and THATS IT! This album is a beautiful pop experience that is gloomy, groovy, and funky. The way this album goes from partying to utter sadness is jarring, in a good way! You can cry to this album, and you can also shake your ass to this album. Fuck it, you can probably do both if you tried hard enough. And if I can be perfectly honest, any group that can snag the coveted Pheobe Bridgers feature is an AOTY contender in my books. Simply amazing!
Song highlights: "Silk Chiffon", "Solid", "Runners High"
5. Avoid - "Cult Mentality"
Very rarely do you come across an album that is this fun! There is this feeling of joy that just emanates from this body of work. Its seriously infectious! It really feels original in a genre that is so same-y, and often times lifeless. There is this incredible almost Nu-Metal vibe on this thing, from certain vocal passages to riffs that you'd hear in like...1997. And anyone that's ever been around me for longer than two minutes knows how much of a compliment that is.
Song highlights: "Gator Fest", "Blast Off!", "Whatever"
4. Counterparts - "Eulogy For Those Still Here"
Very rarely do you come across an album that is this sad! There is this feeling of depression that just emanates from this body of work. Its seriously heartbreaking! This album is so fucking heavy man, like there are breakdowns on here that are just absolutely soul crushing! I was initally going to do a review for this, but it hit me so hard that it was almost impossible to give it a number rating. Also, Brendan Murphy put on his best vocal performance in his entire career on this record.
Song highlights: "Unwavering Vow", "Sworn to Silence", "Mass Grave of Saints"
3. The Weeknd - "Dawn FM"
This is easily Abel's most narratively consistent album since like...2015's Beauty Behind The Madness. This is a concept album that takes you on this beautiful journey of life and death, about what comes next, and what the concept of an afterlife. While all at the same time, it is incredibly funky, with some stellar features. This album is so god damn groovy, almost to the point where I forgot how sad the overall subject matter is. Also, the record is narrated by comedy GOD, Jim Carrey. So...In the top three it is.
Song highlights: "How Do I Make You Love Me?", "Best Friends", "I Heard You're Married"
2. BIBI - "Lowlife Princess: Noir"
A few years ago, K-pop wouldn't have ever...EVER...made it into my top 10. Nothing against the genre, I absolutely adore K-pop, but it's a genre that is very much mass produced. It's comfort food, y'know? Not this record. This record is incredible. BIBI is the future of her genre, and she is going to change how its perceived in the future. I just fucking know it! Wall to wall bangers on this record! It's this lovely mix of bluesy, poppy, and funky. Her vocals on some of these songs are absolutely massive!
Song highlights: "Animal Farm", "Motospeed24", "Lowlife Princess", "City Love"
1. Coheed and Cambria - "Vaxis 2"
Look...Listen...Hold on. Any year that Coheed drops an album, that's the number one. I'm not an unbiased man! This was a no brainer for me! Look, they could've released absolute dogshit and I'd still put it in like, the top five, y'know? That being said, this album is really incredible. From start to finish this is simply amazing, and is full of memorable songs. I really feel like Coheed released one of the best albums of their career thus far. This is a masterclass in musicianship and in songwriting. Other bands of this genre should be taking notes.
Song highlights: The whole thing, man. Just press play and go on a journey...