BAUGHN: Ranking the top 5 best albums of 2022

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Photo by Lily Werner

As 2022 comes to a close, it’s time to take a look back at an incredible year’s worth of music. This list counts down my top 5 projects of 2022. 

5. A Light For Attracting Attention – The Smile

If there is one band that has consistently challenged rock’s conventions it’s Radiohead. Given that The Smile is made up of two Radiohead members, Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, it’s no surprise that “A Light For Attracting Attention” has become the defining art rock album of the year. The album highlights the musical relationship between the two frontmen and plums the depths of what we’ve come to expect from Radiohead. Yorke’s voice is as haunting and angelic as ever, and Greenwood accompanies it with a range of musical flourishes. This project is a testament that Radiohead is not done changing music. 

Best Track: “The Same” 

Rating: 9.5/10 stars

4. Melt My Eyez See Your Future (The Extended Edition) – Denzel Curry

Denzel Curry cemented his status as one of rap’s most talented stars with the release of “Melt My Eyez See Your Future.” What elevated this project was the more recent release of the extended edition, which features two stunning bonus tracks and eight re-recordings featuring live soul-jazz instrumentals. The album is self-reflective and deliberate and is Curry’s most focused project yet. The project includes a diverse range of production and features that culminate to create a near-perfect album. The cherry on top is the re-recorded “Cold Blooded Soul” versions of eight of the album’s tracks. 

Best Track: “Chrome Hearts [Feat. Zacari]” 

Rating: 9.5/10 stars

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

Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers has some significant issues, yet it remains a powerhouse of a project. Instrumentally, the album is stunning. The producers craft a unique sound for the album that uplifts the central instrument, Lamar’s voice. Thematically, his album touches on some heavy topics. “Mother I Sober (feat. Beth Gibbons of Portishead)” is a song that quickly became one of my favorite tracks from Lamar, is a song about healing from the trauma of sexual assault and breaking free from the cycle of generational pain, two topics that hit incredibly close to home for me. This album is by no means perfect, but it’s a powerful reminder of an individual’s power to change for the better despite overwhelming odds.

Best Track: “Mirror” 

Rating: 9.5/10 stars

2. Once Twice Melody – Beach House

From the opening seconds “Once Twice Melody” is stunningly beautiful, transporting you to another world entirely. Beach House is at the top of its game and takes you on a journey through a panoramic world that stuns the senses. Beach House produced this album entirely themselves, a first for the duo, and it reflects in the expansion of their already billowing trademark dream-pop sound. “Once Twice Melody” is truly a sensory experience and one of the rare albums that you can fully immerse yourself in without breaking cohesion. My favorite track is “New Romance.” I’d rate this album 10/10 stars.

1. The Forever Story – JID

What makes the best album of the year? In the case of “The Forever Story” its expert craftsmanship sets it apart. From the ground up JID has meticulously crafted a record that has it all: Unique production, staggering technical ability, incredible features and so much more. JID solidifies himself as perhaps the most skilled rapper of our generation with dozens of flow switches, complex wordplay and vocal inflections. Thematically “The Forever Story” is JID’s origin story, exploring his family background and relationships. No feature misses on the project, with standout verses from 21 Savage and EARTHGANG. JID’s ambition could’ve easily overwhelmed this album, but it succeeds in both scope and volume, solidifying its spot as my album of the year. 

Best Song: “Raydar”

Rating: 10/10 Stars

You can read more about my top albums of the year by checking out the full article on MarquetteWire.org.

This story was written by Sam Baughn. He can be reached at [email protected]