I wrote more about music this year than I ever have before. And while mostly none of that was on the Everything Ecstatic blog, it all feeds into EE’s 42 Best Albums of 2022.
For the most part, I documented the pulse of pop culture at Uproxx and the best new releases of each week for the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle. In the end, that yielded features like this Uproxx post about some of this year’s more slept on releases (many of which appear in this list) and my final entry after over two years as a columnist for the SF Chronicle on the Best Songs of 2022 by Bay Area artists.
In a way, that all coalesces here on the 15th annual Everything Ecstatic albums of the year list. This year’s entries are unranked for the first time ever and are instead presented in alphabetical order (granted my favorite album of the year just so happens to be the final album listed alphabetically.) Selections from almost all of these 42 albums can be found on my playlist of favorite songs of the year below. Press play for a soundtrack to this post, subscribe to it and hit me up on Twitter too! So enough babble, these were the albums that moved me through the waves of 2022. Much love.
Alex G – God Save The Animals
His latest, his best.
Alvvays – Blue Rev
Probably the last album I really got into this year and it shows an excellent rock band unafraid to take risks.
Atalhos – A Tentação Do Fracasso
Brazilian psych pop band I connected with at Treefort Fest comin’ straight outta Birigui, São Paulo!
Bad Bunny – Un Verano Sin Ti
I love how Bad Bunny brought in indie Latinx artists like Bomba Estéreo, Buscabulla, and The Marías along for the ride here.
Beyoncé – Renaissance
Every ounce of hype is warranted.
Big Thief – Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You
Adrianne Lenker’s songwriting is limitless.
Bonobo – Fragments
“Shadows” featuring Jordan Rakei is a perfect song and might finally net Bonobo that elusive Grammy win.
Built To Spill – When The Wind Forgets Your Name
Doug Martsch is a sweet man, one of my favorite guitarists of all-time and this band will never cease to make me smile.
Cola – Deep In View
From the ashes of the disbanded Ought, this post-punk debut blew me away.
Combo Chimbita – IRE
A spiritual, world-sweeping sound from the Colombians.
Domi & JD Beck – NOT TiGHT
No emerging act excited me more this year than Domi & JD Beck, who represent the exciting future of jazz music. Read my interview here.
Ela Minus & DJ Python – ❤
Three beautiful IDM love songs from Ela and Python.
FKA Twigs – caprisongs
A shapeshifting queen who continues to push the envelope on a range of musical styles.
FKJ – Vincent
More vibes from the multi-instrumentalist in an album I loved listening to on vinyl.
Free The Robots – Kaduwa
The SoCal beatmaker’s latest has three songs with Salami Rose Joe Louis and I’m extremely here for it.
George Fitzgerald – Stellar Drifting
The British producer literally synthesized the sounds of the cosmos on this release and it’s a sublime listening experience.
Gold Panda – The Work
A heady IDM drop from Gold Panda whose music continues to inspire my creativity.
Greentea Peng – Greenzone 108
A bright face in British trip-hop.
Horsegirl – Versions Of Modern Performance
Young Chicago indie trio are schooled in the classics and put down one of this year’s most impressive debuts.
Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers
Best rapper on the planet does it again.
Khruangbin & Leon Bridges – Texas Moon
The second half of the super-Texan collaboration series dropped and it meant to much for me to dig deep with them about it all for an Uproxx cover story.
Kurt Vile – (watch my moves)
First album Kurt recorded at his new Philadelphia home studio.
Lady Wray – Piece Of Me
Now the first lady of Big Crown Records with this throwback soul masterpiece produced by Leon Michels.
Larry June – Spaceships On The Blade
Larry has officially cemented himself as the best rapper in San Francisco and his hustle is unmatched. I talked to him about exactly that in this Uproxx interview with photos from EE’s own Justin Yee.
Lil Silva – Yesterday Is Heavy
If you like Sampha, you’ll dig Lil Silva.
Little Simz – NO THANK YOU
The last great album released in 2022 and it sounds like a Sault record with Simz killing it on every track.
Makaya McCraven – In These Times
My favorite jazz album of the year is much more than just that.
Momma – Household Name
The SoCal born, Brooklyn-based indie duo channeled the spirit of the 90s.
Nia Archives – Forbidden Feelingz
A challenging and spectacular vocal based drum and bass release from the Brit.
Panda Bear & Sonic Boom – Reset
Panda Bear’s latest is a playful gem that makes me happy to listen to.
Pusha T – It’s Almost Dry
He easily belongs in the conversation as the best pound-for-pound rapper on the planet.
Rosalía – Motomami
A world-smashing collision of Latin music styles from a bonafide star. I went deep on it here.
Saul Williams – Unanimous Goldmine (Soundtrack to ‘Neptune Frost’)
An afrofuturist jazz companion to the mind-blowing film.
Steve Lacy – Gemini Rights
“Bad Habit” was my song of the year, but Gemini Rights has soooo much to offer beyond it.
Televangel & AJ Suede – Metatron’s Cube
I’ve grown to love anything that Televangel produces since the Blue Sky Black Death days and he matches up so well with Seattle rapper AJ Suede here.
The Range – Mercury
Another one of my favorite IDM releases this year.
The Smile – A Light For Attracting Attention
Just a new Radiohead album in disguise. Yes please.
Thee Sacred Souls – Thee Sacred Souls
Your new go-to lowrider soul trio.
Tim Bernardes – Mil Coisas Invisíveis
My top Brazilian music album this year is equal parts folk and psychedelic Bohemia with uniquely poetic lyricism.
Toro y Moi – Mahal
Chaz does it again with this nod to 70’s global funk, soul and psych.
Wet Leg – Wet Leg
Lighting in a bottle? This is it. The Isle of Wight duo totally rip.
Widowspeak – The Jacket
No album comforted me and grounded me in 2022 quite like Widowspeak’s The Jacket. I also spent a considerable time with their gorgeous six album discography all year long.