Albums of 2022 Poll Results: 25-1 15

Albums of 2022 Poll Results: 25-1

Today we reach the culmination of our albums of 2022 poll, we bring you our top 25 albums of the year as voted for by our editors and writers (read about the rest of the 100 here).

An eclectic and unique list of records from global names to independent artists, it might look slightly different from other lists because each of these was voted into its position by a writer who loved it. But we hope you will find an artist or record to love too.

Thank you to all of our writers, readers, and all of the artists and labels who worked with us this year. Thank you to anyone who liked or shared anything we put out into the world. Times may be tough, the world may be in turmoil inequality continues to yawn and musicians still fight to survive in an increasingly difficult environment but music can still provide solace, hope, and joy. Thank you for another huge year for us; here’s to 2023!

25. Craig Finn – A Legacy Of Rentals

We used to post up for days at this place in the flats / and she’d stare off into space and draw smokestacks on her placemat / She had a dwindling grace and a faith in the industry / that never really made sense to me.”

This is the spoken word verse that immediately follows the melodic chorus “Sunrise, I feel like I’m riding a train I’m not on” on ‘Messing With The Settings‘ and immediately, within seconds of The Hold Steady frontman’s fifth solo album, I am filled with intrigue. This is what Craig Finn does best. (Loz Etheridge)

24. Sorry – Anywhere But Here

Whilst there are more pop flourishes on the new LP, Sorry have always existed on the peripheries, hiding in the shadows and observing life, more often than not, nightlife. However, this time around the lyrics are much more introspective and personal. They’re still making the most interesting music out there, no genre is off-limits. The most exciting thing is what comes next. (Jim Auton)

23. Lambchop – The Bible

“The older you get you say, “Jesus, how much I got?” I got 35 summers left.” These are the words of Benny – played with a sardonic, world-weariness by Tom Waits – in the film Rumblefish. On ‘The Song Is Sung’ – the opening track on The Bible – Kurt Wagner sings “now these days are measured by the number, thirty summers from today.” And the concept of time does connect Francis Ford Coppola’s 1983 movie and Lambchop’s 17th album, but whereas Rumblefish marks both a coming-of-age for its central characters and the realisation of an end to a particular period in their lives, for Kurt Wagner it merely signals a new beginning. (Simon Godley)

22. Enjoyable Listens – The Enjoyable Listen

Who knew the world needed a 21st Century Neil Hannon?!? Whether deliberate or not, there is certainly a resemblance to The Divine Comedy frontman and all the better for it. This is his debut LP, following on from 2019’s EP A Professional Selection, but he came to a wider audience after his stage-stealing performances at SXSW. Fundamentally, Enjoyable Listens are, or rather, is, Luke Duffett, blessed with the kind of pipes only given out by the God of Music to Brian Ferry and Father John Misty, but he was also responsible for the majority of the instrumentation on this record. (Jim Auton) 

21. Arcade Fire – WE (Columbia)

Arcade Fire‘s sixth album WE is split into two parts that express polar opposite approaches on how to deal with the current world crises – not just Covid but climate change et al. The first chapter focuses on the mindset of being inward-thinking, alone and individually fearful.  A mentality that could be comparable to the doom-fearing characters in the end-of-the-world film Melancholia, while the second half brings forward the idea that if “I” becomes a “WE” then problems can be solved as a collective union. It also embraces the idea that pain is just part of the cycle of life. (Matt Hobbs)

20. Johnny Marr – Fever Dreams Pts 1-4

Lyrically, Fever Dreams Pts 1-4 is a triumph and that’s down to Johnny Marr’s decision to stray away from releasing an album that’s predominantly based on the events of the last couple of years. Some of his most poignant lyrics to date lie in the beautifully redemptive closing track, ‘Human’. Accompanied by an acoustic guitar, the track sees Johnny take a more stripped-back approach as he insists that “better’s got to come”. Though renowned for his status as a guitar icon, Fever Dreams Pts 1-4 illustrates Johnny’s versatility and talents for songwriting, production and vocals. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that his guitar work is any less impressive than his previous offerings and we’re continually blown away by the exhilarating guitar on ‘Hideaway Girl’ alone. Released in just the second month of the year, we’re confident that this is an album that we’ll be seeing a lot of in ‘End of Year’ lists. (Laura Dean)

19. Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers

As his ascendance into greatness continues, Kendrick Lamar’s fifth studio album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers is one full of honesty, and the cover art, which sees Lamar adorn the Nazarene crown of thorns, is entirely symbolic of the pressure in which the Compton Rapper bears.

The album is intimate and emotional, with Lamar combing through the pain and trauma that he has been dealt, as well as the pain he has dealt out too. The song ‘Purple Hearts’, which features Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah, is all about the labour of love, and the well-meant,  albeit loose, an attempt at trans allyship in ‘Auntie Diaries‘ demonstrates much of the sincerity and introspect that makes this album one of the best of the year. (Josh Allen)

18. Taylor Swift – Midnights

Taylor Swift promised that Midnights would be informed by “self-loathing, revenge, what might have been, falling in love and falling apart.”  She looks back at various Midnights throughout her career and allows herself a new perspective on subjects and themes many of her fans will recognise. The album has the same elegantly understated production, which served her so well on folklore and evermore but buffed up with an added electro-pop sheen.  

There’s dark humour and typical Swiftian comebacks such as “did you hear my covert narcissism I disguise as altruism?” on the shimmering single ‘Anti Hero’ in response to critics’ reactions to her good deeds. Whilst ‘Snow on the Beach’ features an appearance from a barely there Lana Del Rey it proves subtlety and nuance can be far more effective in conveying emotion than powerhouse showboating. Subtly may be the order of the day but she does summon some 24-carat pop bangers such as on the insanely catchy ‘Bejeweled’ or the gleeful ‘Karma.’ With a huge tour lined up for 2023, it’s probably time to put your ill-advised indie trousers away and accept she’s an artist at her creative zenith and there’s no escape. You’ll be a happier person for it. (Andy VonPip)

17. Crows – Beware Believers

Beware Believers follows Crows‘ critically acclaimed debut Silver Tongues released in 2019.  Their second album has had a drawn-out gestation period due to the tumultuous impact of the global pandemic. The enforced stop on this momentum was initially difficult to come to terms with, especially with the curtailment of live shows which is oxygen to this band.  However, acceptance came with the realisation that lockdown was the new reality albeit temporarily.

The final track ‘Sad Lad’, is a longer brooding song which perfectly closes out this album, indeed make sure you listen to the very end and sense how much it means to Crows to have finally produced this album. They deserve to as Crows may produce a darker version of post-punk than the majority of their contemporaries but the variety throughout Beware Believers demonstrates their versatility.  This is not 11 tracks simply repeated but the shifts in pace, atmosphere and subject matter exist. (Julia Mason)

16. Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – Backhand Deals

The record is a mixture of the influences Tom has so engrained and the pop hooks he wanted. As the protagonist, Rob the Record Shop owner in High Fidelity attests, the trick with mixtapes is to kick off with a killer and take it up a notch but you don’t want to blow your load, so you need to take it down a notch, cool it off. This is how Backhand Deals begins.

Progress isn’t always better and this order has the peaks and troughs in mood and tempo that perfectly depicts a night of drinking, dancing, sitting, chatting and sloping off home in the wee small hours, with a tinge of regret in the air. (Jim Auton)

15. Hurray For The Riff Raff – Life On Earth

The album works in a myriad of restrained and intelligent ways. It’s a record that takes some fairly bleak, troubling topics and creates bold musical statements that are hopeful, or at the very least offer a roadmap for navigating these strange times. There’s a sense throughout Life On Earth of looking around at the world, of watching the news and reading dire headlines and of allowing that sense of despair to wash over you but somehow finding a way to carry on. There is a simple, understated kind of defiance running through the tracks on this album; a defiance that doesn’t seek to hide from how bad things are but that turns looking after yourself and your loved ones into a form of personal activism. As Alynda Segarra sings on the title track Life On Earth: life on earth is long” with the implication perhaps being that we had better make the best of it that we can, in whatever form that manifests. (Bobby Gant)

14. Weyes Blood – And In The Darkness Hearts Aglow

Living in the wake of overwhelming changes. We’ve all become strangers. Even to ourselves”. Natalie Mering a.k.a Weyes Blood pours out her personal experience of the global Covid-19 disaster with the aim to connect with the recent tribulations of her listeners on the 5th record. Produced like its predecessor alongside Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado, lyrics are expressed by Natalie Mering’s invariably coherent harmonizing over her brand of ecclesiastical and arty piano folk, with touches of the cinematically unsettling. (Matt Hobbs)

13. Alvvays – Blue Rev

Alvvays turned to celebrated producer and fellow Canadian Shawn Everett to navigate the sessions which would ultimately shape the album. Everett had recently taken control of well-received efforts by The War on Drugs and Kacey Musgraves; his approach not only forced them out of their comfort zones but inspired a nuanced change of direction. Used to fastidiously demoing tracks and making maps of new songs like an obsessive detective trying to crack the case, Everett urged the band to rip up their own rule book and embrace a live and more spontaneous approach. (Stephen Birch)

12. Ynys – Ynys

When Welsh indie outfit Race Horses went their separate ways, Dylan Hughes largely took a break from music-making. Life and adulting took over, but creativity is a stubborn beast and quietly nudged at him. He took note of the ideas, words, and phrases mounting up, storing each carefully on his phone, here and there, all for later. With this album, we find an artist who emerged confident and assured in his role as a singer, songwriter, and performer. Emboldened by the experience of creating it. His band, working out how to tell his stories, how he wants. Taking time to breathe, each ingredient just right. It is the Ynys way, and we are absolutely here for this most perfect music brew. (Cath Holland)

11. Arctic Monkeys – The Car

Whatever people say they are, that’s what they’re not. They aren’t teenagers from Sheffield, they aren’t your favourite worst nightmare. They aren’t the arty types with long hair. They aren’t Josh Homme wannabees with slicked back ducks arse hair, sunglasses, leather jackets and Elvis poses. They aren’t intergalactic hoteliers either. They are whatever they, or Alex Turner, wants to be. This year the ’70s soul, lounge, smooth, cool and horizontal, thinking about what might have been, what could have been, what should have been, and what is.

If you want one type of Arctic Monkeys you’re better off sticking to listening to the old records and reminiscing because Alex and the chaps aren’t going to do what you want them to do. Not that it matters as they still sell out stadiums by the truckload. (Jim Auton)

10. Björk – Fossora

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Björk has made albums that had an eye on the dancefloor, but those looking for an album full of hits or bangers (or whatever label ver yoof are using these days) should pick a different Björk record. Whilst she doesn’t do concept albums in the way that some might understand it, there are themes running through this record. Fossora is derived from the Latin for “digger.” This is an album that focuses on the earth and earthiness: life and death, pleasure and pain, and romantic and parental love. At once, typically Björk and yet like nothing she’s done before.

It’s a carefully considered album of great beauty. The four singles that have been released ahead of the album – including the rather lovely title track – have given an insight into the album, but hearing it all together as nature, well, Björk intended is fantastic. (Ed Jupp)

9. Tallies – Patina

Tallies Patina

Tallies, though indebted to all of those British indie bands of the 1980s, are, somewhat surprisingly, Canadian. Sarah Cogan‘s vocals are undoubtedly enormously close to those of Harriet Wheeler‘s, and the band even take the time to acknowledge this fact themselves by giving away a postcard that resembles a smaller version of The Sundays’ 1989 classic ‘Can’t Be Sure‘ artwork. Patina is simply a bloody great album! The perfect summer soundtrack, it conjures images of sandy beaches and people laughing and drinking under bright blue sunny skies. Nourishment for the soul.

Patina might not be breaking any barriers down and Tallies may not exactly be pioneers of a new sound, but who cares when the music is this infectious? (Loz Etheridge)

8. Real Lies – Lad Ash

Real Lies Lad Ash

Real Lies have documented London’s youth culture and impromptu dance parties in a heady wave of music that simultaneously sounded like The Streets and Friendly Fires, and a nod further up north to the music of the early 1990s Madchester scene (Real Life). Laddish but with a reflective and emotional depth; it was also evocative, relatable and touching. Since then, their country’s capital has undergone changes brought upon by Brexit and Covid that include the termination of many of their beloved nightclubs, while the Holloway-formed trio has had a change themselves by becoming a duo, with the departure of Tom Watson. (Matt Hobbs)

7. Adwaith – Bato Mato

Adwaith - Bato Mato (Libertino Records) 2

For this, their second record, we join a train ride to outer Russia on the Trans-Siberian Express – the longest railway line in the world – with Welsh trio Adwaith. Their guide Bato Mato, after whom the album is named, points out a frozen-over Lake Baikal whipping past the windows as they head to the cold city of Ulan-Ude. The songs that make up Bato Mato are infected by this sense of movement and disconnection of place, a confusion with the world, travelling further into the darkest depths of Eastern Europe for a festival, a long way from the band’s Carmarthen roots.

Together they have produced a sound rich with fascinating detail, exploring new depths and expanding the textures of Melyn making the intensely personal widescreen, it’s framed in a kind of atmospheric reverb and grit that threads these tracks together, blurring the boundaries between art pop, indie, krautrock and psychedelia. Each intricate detail reveals itself further upon each listen, like all great albums it’s unmistakably Adwaith, and distinctively Bato Mato.(Bill Cummings)

6. Johanna Warren – Lessons for Mutants

Johanna Warren Lessons for Mutants

A celebration of human imperfections, Johanna Warren‘s sixth album (and second for Wax Nine), Lessons for Mutants, continues her cathartic journey of self-transformation.

Warren’s songwriting may have changed in 10 years, but it’s always been grounded in hard reality. Clues may be found on the closing track ‘Involvolus’, a song simply executed and yet overflowing with unexpectedly complex metaphors. Reaching deep into the soul through the ill-fated love story of Orpheus and Eurydice‘Involvolus’ is starkly perfect in every way and a fitting conclusion to this brief but wonderful album. (Trev Elkin)

5. Wet Leg – Wet Leg

Wet Leg Wet Leg

Whilst Wet Leg’s upward trajectory may have got the goat of the sort of dreary folk who bang on endlessly about “authenticity” most of us just sat back and enjoyed the ride.  Arguably Wet Leg arrived with their relentlessly catchy single at just the right time to capture a certain spirit after Covid lockdowns. ‘Chaise Longue’ had a real sense of joyous fun, a sense of release almost, with Rhian Teasdale’s deadpan vocals juxtaposed with a killer guitar riff.  However, their debut album had enough variety and a sense of fun to provide proof positive that there was more to Wet Leg than a song about a piece of reclining furniture. 

Will it stand the test of time?  Well, that probably depends on what the band do next, but for now, the eponymous debut provided some light relief and a playful sense of fun after some seriously dark times. (Andy VonPip)

4. Fontaines DC – Skinty Fia

cover Fontaines D.C. Skinty Fia

Where to begin with Fontaine D.C.‘s third album Skinty Fia?  As with Dogrel and A Hero’s Death, it’s produced by Dan Carey and released on Partisan Records.  However, that is where the similarities end.  This band defy convention.  They follow their own rules in relation to the music they make. The themes are far-reaching and there are moments of both loud and quiet.

With an extensive tour across America supporting the Arctic Monkeys next summer, Fontaines D.C. are on an upward trajectory.  It’s impossible to predict what music they will produce next, and that is an exhilarating prospect. (Julia Mason)

3. Yard Act – The Overload

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It’s a record that’s truly born of the north of England, channelling so much from the last 40 years or more, not in terms of it being record collection rock, but the spirit. The characters and observations bridge the gap between The FallHalf Man Half Biscuit, and Pulp.

It may not connect with everyone, given there isn’t necessarily much by the way of singalong anthems, though that may be a strength. Given some of the songs that haven’t been out on the album, there’s been a development in songwriting that I hope will continue. A second album will have to up the ante or be wildly different, but this is a very solid debut. (Ed Jupp)

2. Hatchie – Giving The World Away

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“This album really just feels like the beginning to me, and scratching the surface – and even though it’s my third release as Hatchie, I feel like I’m rebooting from scratch.”

Harriette Pilbeam aka Hatchie talking about her awesome second album Giving The World Away which sees her finding her power, expanding the scope of her 2019 debut Keepsake, painting a widescreen vista of sound, showcasing her knack for melody and deepening the emotional connections in her songs. This is Hatchie pop: at once familiar yet unmistakably her, each couplet beating with a melodic and self-reflective heart.

In this era where chart pop can sometimes be a little insubstantial, can sound a bit tinny and synthetic, with her fantastic second album Giving the World Away, Hatchie offers a majestic and towering contrast, blending her influences and hitting a rich vein of knowing pop music with artistry, brimming with neon hooks, layered intricacy and self-aware, emotional depths, that you can return to again and again. (Bill Cummings)

1. Stella Donnelly – Flood

Stella Donnelly Flood

Grace, stillness and self-awareness: underrated qualities in music, and in our attention-deficit culture fuelled by doom-scrolling and hyperactive streaming platforms, they are scantly observed.

Stella Donnelly‘s songwriting aches with grace and swims in a self-awareness forged over the last few years, a pandemic that darkened our lives and separated us from the ones we love: our connections to the world. She spent that time contemplating her next move, exploring nature, the rainforests of Bellingen where she spent days bird spotting with her partner.

Stripping away the artifice of being a musician, taking time to breathe and reassess. On her superlative second album Flood, Donnelly displays a voice of rare clarity that can crystallise her emotions investing her deft songs with previously uncharted depths: exploring her inner child, her place in the world and the boundaries of her and others’ relationships, capturing moments of brevity in songs that reveal themselves over multiples plays. In the process, with Welsh heritage and based in Perth, Donnelly offers a gentle arm on the shoulder a guiding light out of the dark, in a time of uncertainty and fear.

As well as being sophisticated and layered, Flood is also a vulnerable and empathetic record. More subdued but no less powerful, there are fewer instant hooks than her debut, but it’s actually better for it. The arrangements have a subtle openness that stretches out like a warm embrace; this is a tapestry, produced by a new perspective of experimentation and thoughtfulness forged with her band. These are living breathing moments you want to return to over and over again. I agreed with a friend recently when we discussed Self Esteem, that the music that lasts, that actually connects in this era where there is a deluge of choice and music has become devalued, has something to say, has a personality and heart and Flood is overflowing with both. It’s simply a gorgeous record, drink in every moment, it’s positively a revelation. Astounding. (Bill Cummings)

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.