The Best and Worst Albums of 2022


Courtesy of Pitchfork

2022 brought a range of new albums from impressive to mediocre.

2022 was a great year for music. Many artists released their magnum opuses and brought music to a whole new level. Although some artists served us a prime rib, others served us a heaping load of crap. We’re counting down the five best and worst albums of 2022.

#5 Best album – God’s Country – Chat Pile

The fifth best album of the year was a gargantuan metal album by the band Chat Pile. God’s Country is the debut album by the Oklahoma band and I was blown away on first listen. Songs like “Slaughterhouse” and “Why” discuss the horrors of the meat packing industry and homelessness across the U.S. while crushing your eardrums with sludgy riffs and heavy percussion. Some moments do get a little too edgy for my liking, such as the song “I Don’t Care If I Burn” which knocks it down a few points for me. Chat Pile handles important topics of discussion tastefully while simultaneously tearing it up musically which lands it at number five on the list.

#4 Best album – Fear of the Dawn – Jack White

Jack White takes the fouthspot with his first of two albums he released this year, Fear of the Dawn. The legendary blues rocker pushed the boundaries of rock without going completely off the deep end. Songs like the title track “Fear of the Dawn” and “Taking Me Back” blow the roof off with pounding drums and riffs that take no hostages. The only downside to the project is that some songs do sound a little underproduced, but the knock is negligible because of the creative sound play that Jack White indulges in on this project.

#3 Best album – Once Twice Melody – Beach House

Beach House placed at number 3 with the longest album on this list coming in at an hour and a half with Once Twice Melody. Beauty is the name of the game on this four part project. Songs like “Only You Know” and “Through Me” really exemplify dream pop, perfect for falling asleep or dancing while listening, and songs like “Pink Funeral” you really can’t do anything other than just sit and fall through the bottomless pit of colors and bliss that the song paints. It’s beautifully produced and I can’t wait for the next album that this Maryland duo release.

#2 Best album – Hellfire – black midi

The sound of Black Midi’s Hellfire lives up to the name of the album. The progressive rock trio craft an album that balances story telling, odd time signatures, and weird riffs to create a hellish sounding album with a good message. Songs like the lead single, “Welcome to Hell” and the 7 minute epic “The Race Is About To Begin” tell the story of army private Tristan Bongo being discharged from the army and coping with the horrors of war with gambling and alcohol. The album’s pacing is perfect by giving us time to breathe with poppier songs like “Sugar/Tzu” and the country sounding “Still”. If hell is anything like black midi’s Hellfire, then it doesn’t seem like such a bad place.

#1 Best album – Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers – Kendrick Lamar

I feel like everyone saw this coming. Of course Kendrick Lamar’s Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers takes the number one spot. Kendrick had to deal with a mountain of expectations after winning the Pulitzer Prize for his previous album, DAMN. and I am ecstatic to say he lived up to the hype. The double album is a cathartic expression of trauma as seen on “Father Time”, a song about how he never lived up to his dad’s expectations as a child, or on “Mother I Sober” where he talks about his mom’s sexual assault and his own addictions. His reflection doesn’t end there though, “We Cry Together” is a terrifyingly powerful song where guest features Taylor Paige and Kendrick simulate an ugly and violent argument between a couple which comments on toxic relationships and how those couples cope from nasty arguments. Savior is a commentary on the idolization and deification of celebrities. The most important message is in the song, “Auntie Diaries” where he details the story of his former aunt’s transition from a woman to a man and how he had to grow as a person, letting go of his transphobia and sticking
by his uncle. These messages are well written and sometimes hard to listen to because of how raw he goes.

He takes a sonic turn from DAMN. which was full of high energy trap influenced beats to a more laid back, piano centric style. There aren’t a lot of bangers, but the ones that are like “N95” and “Silent Hill” keep the energy going through the whole album.

Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers is almost a perfect album. It is a masterpiece that mixes social critique with enjoyability. The album had a lot of effort put into it and it shines through every song. This album is definitely not for everyone, but it is an important piece of art that explores a lot of topics that many people are scared to discuss. It is the album of the year.

#5 Worst Album – GOD DID – DJ Khaled

Despite GOD DID’s popularity, I don’t think the album is particularly noteworthy overall. Everything in the album sounds produced like it always has been and the music is quite predictable. Don’t get me wrong, there are some solid songs like “GOD DID” and “USE THE GOSPEL” that are good, but overall the album never takes off. My analogy for this album is it’s like riding a rollercoaster; sometimes it’s thrilling, other times it’s horrible, and by the time it’s over, you’re ready for it to be over. DJ Khaled references his hip-hop roots to reaffirm his position as the most connected person in rap. Although he does have some good lines in this album, my favorite line being,“Please, don’t hate me just to hate me. Before they overrate me, they gon’ underestimate me Funeral and wake me, bury me and excavate me.” The album just has too many songs that you would listen to once, and never want to listen to again. If he would remove half the songs that are in and kept the ones that are worth your while, this album would be much easier to listen to.

#4 Worst Album – Baby on Baby 2 – DaBaby

DaBaby should have dug a little deeper in his reflective backpack. I think he has overdone the cocky songs, despite the fact that he discusses his cancellation that happened a while ago quite a bit on this album. I would also change a number of the songs when DaBaby tries to sing super fast for almost no apparent reason. While I occasionally like his melodic raps, I find that a lot of stuff just doesn’t resonate with me and doesnt even feel like I’m listening to DaBaby. While his colorful appeal was highlighted by the cartoonish aesthetic of that album, it also had a shallow vibe. He hasn’t improved in any way after two years, and “Baby On Baby 2″ has essentially turned into a parody of his prior work while endlessly pursuing shock value and pouring tea like there’s no tomorrow. This album never really gets going and I wouldnt suggest adding this to your playlist

#3 Worst Album – Elevation – Black Eyed Peas

The Black Eyed Peas historically have lyrics that bring everyone together, but unfortunately this album does not match its past success. In this album they have a ton of auto-tuned vocals, and it feels like an awkward delivery. They go for a Latin Pop feel, creating bland, boring and sometimes outright terrible songs. A standout terrible song is “DOUBLE D’Z” which references the text messages that Adam Levine sent while cheating on his wife earlier this year. I mean that should not be in a mainstream album or any album for that matter. The Black Eyed Peas go even further away from today’s current hip-hop and adopt a blander sound, with’s production serving as the album’s cherry on top for how bad the album is.

#2 Worst Album – Donda 2 – Kanye West (Ye)

Kanye West returned with Donda 2, a sluggish follow-up to his masterwork Donda, which was only recently released. The artist now known as Ye self-released it solely on the $200 Stem Player, a customized gadget developed by Yeezy Tech and Kano that enables fans to interact tactilely with his previous three albums. To me, Donda 2 felt hurried, incomplete, the album is something that many people would not add to their playlist. Kanye promised an album release on February 22 (2.22.22) in Miami, but unfortunately he was late dropping it. The following day he released four tracks under the Donda 2 moniker. This album in general felt rushed and could’ve had great potential, but it definitely does not reach that. Unfortunately, this album is one of the most disappointing albums of 2022 because of how hyped up it was before it was released.

#1 Worst album – Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2 – Calvin Harris

For a while, Calvin Harris seemed to have no ceiling when making his music. He could make international tunes, work with numerous superstars to form collaborations, or could even write solo successes; everything would be wildly popular and earn certification. Katy Perry briefly returned to the mainstream charts as a result of her features on Calvin Harris 2017 album Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, and Calvin Harris even received some recognition as a top-40 performer. After waiting for a new release for five years, we finally got Vol. 2 in the series, and we were left wondering what had happened to his past music, because this one was horrible, to put it respectfully. The entire album of Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 is anchored in this upbeat mid tempo rhythm, and there isn’t much bounce. Perfect moods and a range of sounds resulted in a light and airy pop confection in the first volume. The grooves in this new edition overlap, making it impossible to tell which track is whose and wasting the talent of all the contributors. Surprisingly, it appears that Charlie Puth, who channels Michael McDonald on “Obsessed” with the help of rapper Shenseea, is the one who comprehends the mission the best. Although it suits the mood, a great album is not made up of only one noteworthy track. I think that it’s disappointing that Calvin Harris has finally found his ceiling.