Friday, December 23, 2022

Best Of 2022: The Top 25

Another tumultuous year on the world stage, another triumphant year for musicians, who battled seeming impossibilities to deliver an embarrassment of riches to my ears and my life. The first half of the year was so strong that it was a challenge to hone things down to incorporate the albums that came on like a flood in the second half. None of the albums that didn't make the transition from the July list will be forgotten, however - keep an eye on this space for the genre-specific lists to come. And while I agree to a certain extent with those who have said "genre is over," I still believe that you can group albums in a way that allows you to quickly find the experience that most closely matches your taste or mood. As always, this list combines all genres, at least in theory. 

Conspicuous by its absence is hip hop, which has been represented on every "Top" list since 2010. Up until almost the last minute, Pusha T's remarkable It's Almost Dry was a lock for the top 10 but when the rubber hit the road it did not sit well with me to so elevate a record with Kanye West as a featured performer. Irrational as it might seem, if he had just lent his still brilliant production talents to the album I think I could have gone with it. But his continuing hateful idiocy along with recent revelations about praise for Hitler going back a decade or more just made it a bridge too far. So apologies to Pusha, who definitely helmed the hip hop album of the year - watch for it on a future list. 

Since I've already written about all of these albums but one, click through to find the original posts - and also press play on this playlist or below to listen while you read. Numbers 12 and 17 are only available on Bandcamp but I assure you they are worth the micron of effort it will take to hear them. 

1. Florist - Florist 

2. Angel Olsen - Big Time

22. Palm - Nicks And Grazes It's been an eventful four years since Rock Island, their genius sophomore album, with forces both within and without putting immense pressure on the quartet of Eve Alpert, Hugo Stanley, Gerasimos Livitsanos, and Kasra Kurt. But rather than giving up, they took the opportunity to both hone and explode their sound, with instant Palm classics like Parable Lickers (those rhythms! the electro-steel drums!)  sitting alongside the mostly washy Away Kit and almost pure expressions of musique concrete like Suffer Dragon, which itself resolves into a sentimental chord sequence out of a Miyazaki film. Ultimately, Palm's greatest strength may be in converting the outer edges of avant garde sound-making - including both digital and physical manipulation of their instruments - into actual songs that deliver pop satisfaction once you've absorbed all their twists and turns. One of our great live bands, too - hope to seem them again in 2023!

Let me know if any of these brought you joy!

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