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The Best Albums of 2022: 30 – 21

You know what time it is! Time for… We Plug Good Music’s Best Albums of 2022

As another crazy year is nearing its end, we are looking back at what it brought us or took away. Life went back to normal (or as normal as it can get) after the pandemic and we were lucky to be able to go to a pub with our friends, take our families on vacation or attend an event at a stadium packed with people. This normalcy was unfortunately quickly taken away in some parts of the world as conflicts arose, however people have shown enormous amounts of solidarity, strength, bravery and most of all, hope.

Our Christmas wish for this year is for people to never lose hope, to spend their precious time with the people they cherish the most and do what they love. We must say we are lucky enough to be able to do what we love, as music is all around us, so let’s see what happened in the music industry.

Thankfully, live music events came back everywhere, from your local punk band playing in a bar to the highest grossing tours of the year, Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres World Tour, Bad Bunny’s World’s Hottest Tour or Harry Styles’ Love on Tour. TikTok has continued its reign above all other social media, especially when it comes to creating viral songs and giving new upcoming artists the chance to explode.

Pop and rap music remain the pillars of the industry, 2022 however brought a surprising comeback of emo and pop punk, with My Chemical Romance bringing their hits back on tour, Avril Lavigne going back to her roots and Tom Delonge rejoining Blink-182. Other established artists have given us amazing things to be excited about, from Kendrick Lamar bringing Helen Mirren as a therapist for his music video to Beyoncé dropping an album without a notice for everyone to go crazy over. Taylor Swift took a break from re-recording her old material to bring us a new album and star in a movie.

Newer artists are also making their mark on the industry with Nova Twins using their chance to open for Bring Me The Horizon to the fullest and releasing a new rock album this year, Muna coming out with their best work yet on their self-titled album and SZA not only releasing an album, but also proving she can make anything sound good with a Twitter favourite Saturday Night Live skit.

Overall, this has been a great year for the comeback of music, so let’s have a look at We Plug Good Music’s Best Albums of 2022, from #30 to #21 below, and you can revisit our list so far here.

30. Pusha T – It’s Almost Dry

A veteran in the rap game, Pusha T, released his final album with Def Jam and G.O.O.D Music, It’s Almost Dry. The album was freed in April and became love at first listen with his fans. Pusha stuck with the “coke rap” approach on this album, and it’s evident in the intro track “Brambleton”. He says, “laid up countin’ a million, we daydream / ’til the plug took back his half, that’s they change

The album screams Kanye West, Pharrell and 88-Keys production. These are some of the elite in the industry and it’s clear with a song that was loved by a large majority of Hip-Hop lover, Diet Coke. The beat production allowed Pusha T to deliver a flawless flow with a hint of aggressive rants on a couple of bars.

“I Pray For You” featuring Labrinth and MALICE is a favorite from this album. The style of production on this one is clean, and the build up is faultless. Labrinth’s vocal in the beginning is remiiiniscent of Hip-Hop songs in the 2010s. I appreciate Pusha matching the Pharrell-produced uniform beat. It’s Almost Dry is solid and nostalgic. A good contender for the best albums of 2022.

29.   Soccer Mommy – Sometimes, Forever

Picture this: It’s nearly midnight, you put your headphones on and play Sophie Allison’s (Also known as Soccer Mommy) latest album, Sometimes, Forever, and you drown yourself in your thoughts while Sophie Allison’s melodies and lyrics seep through. Is life good when darkness is forever?

Soccer Mommy released their third album Sometimes, Forever in June under Loma Vista Recordings. Let us get this out of the way: This album is hauntingly beautiful. From the shoegaze-esque sounds, melancholic atmosphere, wonderfully written lyrics, it is a great album to cry to whilst in the dark.

This album is what happens after the moment you close your curtains from your audience. The soundtrack of a twenty-something young adult trying to navigate through the bumpy road that is the long way home after a really tough day.

The album’s lead single “Shotgun” is what I would picture myself dancing to if I were in my own world as the cool hipster girl with short hair and combat boots in an old classic coming of age movie.

The lyric “Cold Beer and Ice Cream is all we keep; the only things we really need” sums up what I think someone’s twenties are mostly like, filled with alcohol and ice cream. Depression at its finest.

Going into this album, I wasn’t expecting it to hit harder than it did. What? Was it a rollercoaster of emotions? Not really. For me at least, because it was steady, and I was somewhat – for some reason – ready; you knew you were going to tap into the long time inner angst that you have from the get go.

You know the one, the angst that you have been suppressing since the dawn of time; and that is just what I needed. Maybe it is something you need to.

It has you beyond the edge of a cliff, where you should have been falling, but you are not. For some reason, I want to describe it as music that keeps you suspended in mid air – it keeps you from falling down the rabbit hole.

My personal favourite line from Sophie’s lyrics is “22 going on 23, I’m already worn down from everything” from “Feel It All The Time”. Because honestly — and no pun intended — most of us really do feel it all the time. As a twenty-something, it’s nice to not feel alone.

That’s the thing, it is a very angsty, relatable record, but the difference between this record and other angsty records is the fact that this one doesn’t feel like you’re whining and on edge, it feels like you’re floating peacefully, just getting by. Sometimes life is just like that; and sometimes is forever. That is what makes this record brilliant.

Soccer Mommy’s Sometimes, Forever is a raw guitar-driven documentation of one person’s take on a whole generation’s collective sigh.

28.   Sudan Archives – Natural Brown Prom Queen

27.   JID – The Forever Story

Another Dreamville Records artist delivered on of the best projects of the year, genre put aside and his name is JID. JID’s ability to be a rapper one minute, and a songwriter in the next, and all in one, is why he’s Dreamville’s treasure.

The Forever Story is sensational and an engaging story that unfolds on each track. A continuation from his 2017 debut album The Never Story.

JID is the coolest guy we have in the Hip-Hop scene right now, and deservedly so. The manner in which the album begins, is an indication that he understands what to offer a listener. You see it when the conversion from the intro into the second track, “Raydar” occurs. It’s like, he’s saying, “hey you really should see how I am recording in the studio“, and I’m genuinely curious, and want to find out how his minds functions.

Anyways, “Raydar” flexes his artistic abilities with the flow he spits out, but also when he said: “Dark at night, I’lll drop a log on the fire / wander in the woods out in the cold / I got the shit you could play for your mama / I got the shit you could play for the hoes / I got the sit you could sell to the trappers”.

This is one of my favorite tracks on the LP just for the effortless blend of fast-rapping flows, beat switches and pen game on each bar.

The Forever Story is the ideal sequel to The Never Story and if you will recall he once told Complex earlier in the year that the recent project is “a good piece of [my] origin story.”

26.   Kae Tempest – The Line Is a Curve

25.   Loyle Carner – Hugo

24.   Shygirl – Nymph

23.   Leikeli47 – Shape Up

RCA have an impressive alignment of female rap artists on their roster. One of which is, Leikeli47. The performative NYC rapper dropped Shape Up months ago, and it’s still on full rotation on streaming service. The album is playful, sonically well-made, and memorable.

My favorite element from the Shape Up album is how the rapper arranged “Chitty Bang”, “Secret Service”, and “New Money” altogether. The use of similar beat production and flow is like one long song with copious sections.

Shape Up is the final installation of the Trilogy she started back in 2017. The other installations, Wash & Set and Acrylic were all the beginning of this magnificent build-up of artistry and offerings.

This end of the trilogy had us witnessing the growth Leikeli has amassed from the beginning. Oddly enough, it feels like an emergence of the artist. When the project released she admitted, “Shape Up truly feels like my first album. I feel like this is my first time out and no one knows me.”

22.   MUNA – MUNA

21.   Lil Silva – Yesterday Is Heavy

Click HERE for a full list of our Top 50 Albums of 2022!

Words by Tereza Bittnerova, Ruby Adele, Melissa Nyk, Sinalo Bambeni, Abigale Du Plessis, Kim Nina and Zeze Maseko // List curated by Ayo Adepoju

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