Review: albums that made waves in 2022

Trenedy’s picks:

“Dawn FM” – The Weeknd

Top 3: “Take My Breath,” “Out of Time,” “Don’t Break My Heart”

Released on Jan. 7, this album is reminiscent of a radio show in the 80s. Jim Carrey, as the host, guides you through the album while reassuring you that the transition from purgatory into the “AfterLife” will be painless. The first half of the album consists of the introduction into the journey, a story of a man who expresses the regrets in his life, and 80s pop tracks that you can dance to. The second half has about six slower songs that express deep emotions of helplessness and betrayal, a commercial-esque track that offers a “deal” on the “AfterLife” package, and the outro in which Carrey urges you to reflect on your life and whether you passed on as intended. 



Top 3: “Die For You,” “ Dissolve,” “ BLAHBLAHBLAH DEMO”

This is Joji’s fourth studio album under this name, released on Nov. 4. The album has two discs, disc one containing five songs and disc two containing four. The total run time for the album is twenty-four minutes and nineteen seconds. Each song on this album showcases a complex and deep set of emotions. Disc one’s polished sound tells the story of a man who is battling each stage of grief after an ended relationship. Disc twos rougher edged style don’t particularly follow any story, more like each song is a story of itself. Overall, the album feels very raw and emotional and invokes deep emotions from those that listen.


“American Heartbreak” – Zach Bryan

Top 3: “Sun to Me,” “Something in the Orange,” “The Good I’ll Do”

This 34-song album, released on May 20, is a raw, personal process of what we would truly deem an American heartbreak. The tracks are a mix of songs full of hope and others filled with regret and remorse. Listening to two hours of tear-inducing traditional country music and coming out with heart-strings attached is a borderline impossible feat. The album doesn’t particularly follow a story other than one man expressing his thoughts and feelings after a break-up. Even though each song is tailored to his own process, they are still open enough for the masses to relate to. The lyrics are filled with longing, love, and regret are widely different from the cliche love songs that the country music genre is used to. Overall, this album invokes such a raw and emotion filled reaction that I believe it has thoroughly earned its place on this list.


Brooke’s picks:

“Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers” – Kendrick Lamar

Top 3: “N95”, “Crown”, “Auntie Diaries”

Review: The long-anticipated return of Kendrick Lamar came full-fledged with the double LP, “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.” His summer tour for the record, which I was fortunate enough to see, fully cemented the concept of a heavy record that deals with racial violence, the pandemic, LGBT+ issues in the Black community and sexual violence. Kendrick once again proves that he is the greatest rapper of our generation. 


The Hardest Part – Noah Cyrus

Top 3: “Noah (Stand Still)”, “I Just Want a Lover”, “I Burned LA Down”

Review: This is the record that caught me by surprise this year. From “Noah (Stand Still)” a stunningly beautiful tale of her journey through recovery and getting older to the haunting and frail “My Side of the Bed,” Cyrus embraces vulnerability. This record blends pop, folk, country and alternative almost seamlessly and makes for an enjoyable listen no matter one’s musical preferences.


“Harry’s House” – Harry Styles

Top 3: “Late Night Talking,” “Little Freak,” “Matilda”

The world is Harry’s house, and we are all just living in it. Styles’ third solo record was not my favorite release he’s put out, but a sensation nonetheless and enough to land him a Grammy nomination for “Album of the Year.” This record checks all the boxes. When you’re looking for pop bangers, see “Music For a Sushi Restaurant,” “Late Night Talking” and “As It Was.” I saw a theory on Tik Tok that “Little Freak” was written about Caroline Flack, 17-year-old Styles’ famous fling who was nearly double his age. The “Love Island” host committed suicide in 2020, and the lyrics strongly reflect aspects of their relationship. To top it off, “Matilda” is enough to rip your heart out on its own.


Emma’s picks:

“Midnights” – Taylor Swift 

Top 3: “You’re On Your Own, Kid,” “Mastermind,” “Maroon”

Swift’s “Midnights” was one of the most anticipated albums of 2022. Announced via VMA acceptance speech and having no lead single, the contents of “Midnights” remained a mystery until Oct. 21. The tracks tell the stories of many midnights throughout Swift’s life. From track 1 (“Lavender Haze”), Swift takes a stark turn away from the folk music she recorded in her two previous studio albums. Many of the songs are reminiscent of albums past; “Vigilante Sh-t” screams “reputation,” “The Great War” could have been on “evermore” and “Lavender Haze” sounds a lot like “I Think He Knows” from “Lover.” “Midnights” is a modern classic and Swift’s return to pop music is a welcome one.


“five seconds flat” – Lizzy McAlpine

Top 3: “ceilings,” “chemtrails,” “doomsday”

McAlpine’s sophomore album, “five seconds flat,” is nothing short of pure artistry. The album begins with “doomsday,” a moody track likening the end of a relationship to murder and the day of the breakup to a doomsday. McAlpine’s lyricism shines through on songs like “ceilings” and “chemtrails.” My favorite part of this album, though, is the production. This album simultaneously feels like a warm hug and a punch to the gut. Once you start to listen to the lyrics, there is such a deep sadness rooted within them. 


Stick Season – Noah Kahan

Top 3: “Stick Season,” “Homesick,” “All My Love”

Review: Noah Kahan is best described as “country music but New England.” His lyricism is unmatched. His songs are simultaneously simple and complex. Songs like “Stick Season” and “Still” navigate heartbreak while “All My Love” and “She Calls Me Back” show a longing for someone lost. Heartbreak isn’t all he’s good for, though. “Homesick” tells the story of coming to terms with staying in your hometown. As someone who has had a very similar revelation, Kahan leaves just enough cynicism in the song to show that maybe it isn’t something he loves, but something he’s content with. His songs feel similar to that of the aforementioned Zach Bryan. While Kahan has released albums (two of them!) before, “Stick Season” feels like his magnum opus. Like Swift’s “Midnights,” the album feels like a modern classic. There is something timeless about it.