Top 20 Albums of 2022!

Top 20 Albums of 2022!

Following the musical drought brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the past 3 years have showcased a steady increase in music releases, both in numbers and in quality. As much as we thought that 2021 delivered us so many great releases and comebacks from artists of all genres, the year 2022 has fed us with so much more. Almost every month of this year had a great album or two churned out, with some musicians also releasing phenomenal singles that teased potential greatness to come about for 2023.

From mainstream acts like Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Harry Styles to a variety of fresh names and faces whom we'd like to introduce you guys to, the quality of releases for this year could be described as absolutely mind-blowing. Whether it's through the use of catchy hooks or sublime & transcendental artistry in music, the albums we're about to present to you are all highly recommended. So in continuation with the same number we did last year, we are excited to present our top 20 picks for 2022's Albums of the Year!


#20: Wet Leg by Wet Leg


Wet Leg's self-titled record is a smash hit in our books––marking an impressive debut that's sprinkled with an infectious joy that punches through the first hooks. Every aspect of this record was well worth the hype that the initial singles delivered, giving it a well-earned top placement for albums sold in the UK.

The group focus on making the record sound fun, while attaching a dry sense of humor that ripples throughout the entire album. They've described the record as  "sad music for party people, and party music for sad people", which is simultaneously cathartic, joyful, punk, scuzzy, and above all, very fun. Highly recommended!

Purchase it here.

Favorite Tracks: Chaise Longue, Wet Dream, Angelica


#19: Fossora by Björk



Björk is back and better than ever with the release of Fossora––her latest album after five whole years. Putting her ingenuity and innovation at full display, the 56-year-old musical legend is pushing the sonic boundaries from neo-classical to industrial noise within the album's 13 tracks. The one-of-a-kind nature of Björk's sound builds its own fantastical universe in Fossora that immerses listeners with it's tectonic gabber beats, bass clarinet, craggy melodies, and otherworldly arrangements that are true to her artistry over the years. 

Even described by Björk as her "mushroom" album, the alien aspects of Fossora are what really make this a unique listen that may very well be the sound of the future. As it is, Björk herself is a pioneer who finds herself ahead of the trends. Highest of recommendations for this one!

Purchase it here.

Favorite Tracks: Ovule, Ancestress, Atopos


#18: MUNA by MUNA




Following their signing with Phoebe Bridger's music label Saddest Factory, LA-based musical trio MUNA have finally released their self-titled album, MUNA––a stunning album that served as one of June's last hurrahs for Pride Month.

MUNA is an album filled to the brim with queer joy, inviting its listeners to an ideal world that feels much brighter than the bleak reality in which we're currently living in. The trio wasn't wrong when describing MUNA as their masterpiece, considering how well they've managed to craft pop perfection throughout the entirety of the record. Whether it be synth-pop, electro-pop, country, pop-rock, or some hyper-pop,––all these facets were combined together masterfully to make a record that is "all killer and no filler" (David Cobbald, The Line of The Best Fit).

Through this collection of bangers, slow tunes, and refreshing melodies, MUNA's music is bonafide dynamite which we've been spinning on repeat. It's a bright space well worth celebrating, and it comes with the highest of recommendations from us at Acetate Music.

Purchase it here.

Favorite Tracks: What I Want, Anything But Me, Kind of Girl, Silk Chiffon


#17: The Car by Arctic Monkeys



Arctic Monkeys released their new album, entitled The Car, after 4 years out of the spotlight. The band’s seventh studio album, The Car features ten new songs written by Alex Turner, produced by James Ford and recorded at Butley Priory, Suffolk, RAK Studios, London and La Frette, Paris. Following 2018’s Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino, The Car finds Arctic Monkeys running wild in a new and sumptuous musical landscape and contains some of the richest and most rewarding vocal performances of Alex Turner’s career.

Although not everyone may enjoy the softer sounds of the group, we personally appreciate the shift in sound as it further highlights Turner's dedication to crafting a unique soundscape in every record they do. If anything, The Car continues off into uncharted territory which not many contemporary artists delve into––which in turn proves how focused the Arctic Monkeys are in evolving their artistry. And with how phenomenal this effort turned out, we can only look forward to what else they have in store for their next record.

Purchase it here.

Favorite Tracks: Body Paint, The Car, There'd Better Be A Mirrorball, Hello You


#16: SOS by SZA



As the last major release of the year, the long-awaited sophomore follow-up to 2017's phenomenal CTRL comes in the form of SOS. Despite having 20+ tracks that have a runtime of a little over an hour, every minute of SZA's SOS is worth your full attention. What SZA continues to excel in is how universally she manages to make her personal feeling and experiences hit hard or relate with her listeners––whether it's feelings of angst or heartbreak. The album only solidifies her position as a generational talent, an artist who translates her innermost feelings into an indelible moment that resonates with so many.

Yet it isn't just the lyrical content that sticks to us listeners, but rather her vocal prowess (that seems to have only gotten better over time) and stylistic, varied production styles showcase that she delivers so much with regard to talent. At its core, SOS is an assured, genre-defying listens that hits home to many of us, and is well worth repeated listens as time goes by. 

Stream it here.

Favorite Tracks: Kill Bill Paint, Snooze, Ghost in the Machine, Nobody Gets Me


#15: Beatopia by Beabadoobee



Formed in the imagination of a 7-year-old beabadoobee and carried with her ever since Beatopia is a fantastical yet deeply personal world that houses her most impressive work to date. Marking a huge progression, in 14 songs she traverses fuzzy rock, classic singer/songwriter, psychedelia, Midwest emo, and outright pop whilst remaining undeniably herself throughout. 

In comparison to her previous extended plays and debut album, Beatopia is more of a love-bound record, focusing on physical intimacy, and poppy euphoria. To those looking for a swell coming-of-age type of record, then look no further than immersing yourself into the world of Beatopia.

Purchase it here.

Favorite Tracks: the perfect pair, lovesong, Pictures of Us, See You Soon


#14: Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers by Kendrick Lamar



Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers marks K-Dot’s first full-length solo studio effort since the Pulitzer Prize-winning DAMN. in 2017 and is confirmed to be his final release with Top Dawg EntertainmentAs someone who was never afraid to get political, Kendrick Lamar excels in crafting important messages within his craft to showcase awareness of pressing matters in society. 

The 18-track project features guest appearances from Blxst and Amanda Reifer on “Die Hard,” Sampha on “Father Time,” Taylour Paige on “We Cry Together,” Summer Walker and Ghostface Killah on “Purple Hearts,” Kodak Black on “Silent Hill,” Baby Keem and Sam Dew on “Savior,” Tanna Leone on “Mr. Morale and Portishead’s Beth Gibbons on “Mother I Sober.” Highly recommended!

Purchase it here.

Favorite Tracks: Die Hard, N95, The Heart Part 5


#13: Dance Fever by Florence + The Machine



As one of the more mystical artists of our time, Florence Welch is a musician who's never failed to immerse listeners into a unique musical landscape with every album she's put out. Her latest, Dance Fever, is no exception to the rule––as it surpasses the boundaries of her previous outputs in going further to breathe life into every lyric she's lovingly crafted. 

Produced alongside Jack Antonoff, the album is a cohesive journey that delivers the most profound + poetic lyrics of Florence to date, while trying out new sounds that make for the most explosive & exuberant expressions that sonically make sense. The world Dance Fever has crafted invites audiences to experience the lush & magical aspect of what makes Florence + The Machine's music so special, which serves as more than enough reason as to why we love every bit of this fantastic album. Highest of recommendations! 

Purchase it here.

Favorite Tracks: Dream Girl Evil, Girls Against Good, King, Daffodil


#12: Melt My Eyez See Your Future by Denzel Curry



Melt My Eyez See Your Future arrives as Denzel Curry's most mature and ambitious album to date. Recorded over the course of the pandemic, Denzel shows the world his growth as both an artist and person. Born from a wealth of influences, the tracks in Melt My Eyez highlight his versatility and broad tastes, taking in everything from drum n' bass to trap. To support this vision, he enlisted a wide range of collaborators and establishes himself as one of the most groundbreaking rappers in the game. Highly recommended!

Purchase it here.

Favorite Tracks: Mental, Walkin', Zatoichi, X-Wing


#11: Harry's House by Harry Styles



Harry Styles' latest album, Harry's House, is finally here, and the two year wait was definitely worth it. One could have assumed that Styles would have become accustomed to putting out a number of half-baked pop hits, but he never fails to impress us as time goes by considering the amount of effort he puts into his craft––specifically with this record. 

Harry's House sees the British pop/rock star tackling themes of domesticity and introspection with more depth than ever before, putting his songwriting talents as the highlight of the entire project. Each track envelops it's listeners with a warm hug that's both reassuring as it is familiar, especially with the warmth and intimacy that his music delivers. Yet despite the comforting nature of the record, it's still smooth as hell + filled to the brim with top-tier synth-layered earworms.

With a solo career that continues to impress the world at every turn, there's definitely no doubt that Harry Styles is one of the best artists out there today. Harry's House is an impressive feat that may very well be his finest album to date, and for that it comes with the highest of recommendations from us at Acetate Music!

Purchase it here.

Favorite Tracks: Late Night Talking, Satellite, Music for a Sushi Restaurant, Love of My Life


#10: Hold The Girl by Rina Sawayama



Rina Sawayama's latest album takes things to a different level––one which serves as a more personal and therapeutic outlet for one of pop's rising auteurs. With a country backbone that's infused with Y2K and 90's pop influences, it's difficult to describe the singular sound of Hold The Girl. Rina herself stated that the album was inspired by many country greats, with a stronger emphasis on storytelling and lyricism this time around. The end result is one which is highly addictive, with tracks meld sounds from influences all over the pop spectrum––and with good reason!

Longtime collaborator Clarence Clarity is back to produce once again with Rina, this time with the assisted efforts of renowned industry producers Paul Epworth, Stuart Price, and more. At it's core, Hold The Girl is fun, fresh, and filled with bops all over––which is why it comes with the highest of recommendations from us at Acetate Music.

Purchase it here.

Favorite Tracks: Your Age, This Hell, Frankenstein, Imagining


#9: Being Funny In A Foreign Language by The 1975



The 1975's latest album is probably their best work since their self-titled debut, given that Being Funny In A Foreign Language is their most cohesive and full bodied set of work to date. The record is fun, fresh, and filled with more than enough good hooks that really demand the listeners' full attention––which steps forward as a major improvement over the group's past few albums. 

In Being Funny In A Foreign Language, we see Matty Healy pulling back on the curtain that hid him from the public eye, given his more introspective and tongue-in-cheek lyricism that he's penned for all the tracks in the record. To aid with the sounds crafted for this era of the band, producer of the moment Jack Antonoff lends his hand to give his musical midas touch for the album. The end result is perhaps one of the most captivating records of the year, which once it sinks it's teeth on you, you're bound to spin this on repeat over multiple sessions. Highest of recommendations for this one!

Purchase it here.

Favorite Tracks: Part of the Band, All I Need To Hear, About You, I'm In Love With You


#8: Crash by Charli XCX



As her last album under Atlantic Records/Asylum Records, Charli XCX goes all out in finding the perfect balance between her signature style as a hyper-pop trailblazer alongside a more approachable and mainstream pop sound in CRASH. The final result is one of her finest & most cohesive records to date, filled with catchy hooks that manage to take ode to the best of Charli's previous material over the years. Even at a runtime of only 34 minutes, the entirety of CRASH is a polished set of bop-worthy pop tracks that are worth listening to over & over again.

With guest features from Rina Sawayama, Caroline Polachek, and Christine & The Queens, the album is one listening is experience that's a non-stop ride as it cements Charli's presence as one of the modern pop greats. With it's content of hit singles "Good Ones", "New Shapes", and "Baby"––all of them are bound to be played on "Constant Repeat" the same way we've done throughout the whole year. Highest of recommendations!

Purchase it here.

Favorite Tracks: Good Ones, Used To Know Me, Lightning, Yuck


#7: Gemini Rights by Steve Lacy



Despite his many overlooked (and understated) contributions to the R&B genre, Steve Lacy is finally garnering the recognition he deserves with Gemini Rights. Whether it be recognition through his numerous sold-out shows worldwide, his one or two placements on the Billboard Hot 200, or his viral fame sensation from the TikTok platform––anyone could say that 2022 was definitely the year of Steve Lacy.

Yet when it comes to the album itself, Gemini Rights is a tight collection various genres, which include rock, R&B, funk, jazz, psych and hip-hop, all of which were neatly wrapped into one sonic package that is as inventive as it is pleasant to listen to. It's fearlessly funky in nature, with a significant amount of polish and finesse that shows that the record is indeed a labor of passion, time, and effort. Highest of recommendations for this one!

Purchase it here.

Favorite Tracks: Amber, Bad Habit, Sunshine, Helmet, Static


#6: Natural Brown Prom Queen by Sudan Archives



Sudan Archives' sophomore studio album, Natural Brown Queen, is a lush and gorgeous set of tunes that stands as one of our freshest finds of 2022. Fittingly for a record named for a homecoming event, Natural Brown Prom Queen is all about home – both Sudan’s adopted hometown of L.A. and Cincinnati, where she was raised. The album takes in themes of race, womanhood, and the fiercely loyal, loving relationships at the heart of Sudan’s life with her family, friends and partner.

Over 18 tracks spanning hip-hop, disco-influenced R&B, Afrocentric soul, and much more, Sudan gets into character as Britt, the girl next door from Cincinnati who drives around the city with the top down and shows up to high-school prom in a pink furry bikini with her thong hanging out her denim skirt. While Sudan is unafraid to be vulnerable, tender and open about her insecurities, the record is also about finding pleasure – after all, this is the artist who played violin upside-down on a pole in a music video. On Natural Brown Prom Queen, Sudan Archives invites you to join in and embrace that shared joy. Highest of recommendations!

Purchase it here.

Favorite Tracks: ChevyS10, Home Maker, Selfish Soul, Yellow Brick Road


#5: Dawn FM by The Weeknd



The Weeknd's latest album Dawn FM marked a terrific start to 2022, with the record showcasing the sound which Abel Tesfaye has always wanted to do. Rooted in synth-pop, Dawn FM leans towards funk, new wave, disco, and city-pop alongside elements of the R&B and techno genres.

As a concept album that tackles themes like limbo & states of purgatory via a radio station-like format, Tesfaye enlisted the help of Max Martin, Oneohtrix Point Never, and Jim Carrey to contribute to this record of his. The end result is probably one of his finest albums to date, which is absolutely perfect for the dance floor, radio and your turntables. Highest of recommendations for this one!

Purchase it here.

Favorite Tracks: Out of Time, Sacrifice, Less Than Zero, How Do I Make You Love Me, Take My Breath Away


#4: And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow by Weyes Blood



As the second installment that began with 2019's Titanic Rising, Weyes Blood's latest album And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow is a phenomenal follow-up that easily matches up to it's predecessor. An album that is just as heartbreaking as it is gorgeous, the lush production combined with Natalie Merling's distinct vocals make for an enveloping auditory experience that captivates all senses of the listener.

Weaving intricate melodies together with emotional lyricism, the album brings back the special nature of the baroque pop genre. And with Merling's vocal charm that evokes the very best of legends like Karen Carpenter & George Harrison, it's safe to say that there isn't anyone else doing music in the same vein as her. Highest of recommendations for this one!

Purchase it here.

Favorite Tracks: Children Of The Empire, Twin Flame, God Turn Me Into A Flower, A Given Thing, It's Not Just Me, It's Everybody


#3: The Loneliest Time by Carly Rae Jepsen



Following 2019's Dedicated era, Carly Rae Jepsen is back and bigger than ever with a diverse & introspective collection of sounds with The Loneliest Time. A masterclass in pop perfection as always, the record sees the Canadian pop princess embracing a variety of musical styles that range from the saccharine bubblegum style which we've come to love, alongside folk-inspired tunes which charter newer territory than what audiences expect.

The end result of The Loneliest Time is one which makes for a phenomenal listen that is cohesive from start to finish. It captures the spectrum of loneliness on both it's joyous, celebratory aspects alongside the quieter and more solemn bits that the theme is associated with. And yet with Jepsen's pop excellence, she manages to strike the balance in crafting a record which is meant to celebrate it in the best possible of ways. Highest of recommendations for this one!

Purchase it here.

Favorite Tracks: The Loneliest Time, Go Find Yourself or Whatever, Talking To Yourself, Bends, Surrender My Heart, Sideways





The highly acclaimed Spanish songstress Rosalía is back with her most ambitious and experimental record yet with MOTOMAMI–– a record that falls within the genres of flamenco, reggaetón, left-field pop, and glitchy R&B. It's a completely unique sound which sets itself apart from most genres due to it's abstract sound exploration which results in a provocative and highly creative means of output.

With MOTOMAMI, Rosalía is sure to join the ranks of artists like MIA & Madonna who've successfully integrated a more niche sound into the mainstream music scene. Even months after it's release, the album's replay value and variety of hooks are still a wonder well worth listening to. Currently standing as the highest rated album of the year on Metacritic so far, it comes with the highest of recommendations!

Purchase it here.

Favorite Tracks: Saoko, Hentai, MOTOMAMI, Delirio De Grandeza, Chicken Teriyaki, Bizcochito, Sakura


#1: Renaissance by Beyoncé



Six years following the release of the cultural milestone that was 2016's Lemonade, Beyoncé splashes her way back onto the scene and is back and better than ever with Renaissance. Planned as the first installment of a trilogy, the album pays tribute to a number of Black artists from the underground scene post 70's that wholeheartedly embraces black culture.

Renaissance's stellar production comes from collaborations with Honey Dijon, A.G. Cook, Syd, Beam, Nova Wav, Tricky Stewaert, BloodPop, Skrillex and various others who contributed a role in making this Queen's Bey's best album yet. With it's seamless set of 16 tracks, this club-inspired masterpiece incorporates an upbeat disco and house sound that features some of her most experimental and nuanced vocal performances to date. With Renaissance, anyone could tell that Beyoncé's enjoying herself and ensures that her listeners are having a great time too ––  delivering bop after bop with every track.

As it stands, listening to Renaissance was probably the most fun we've had listening to any record this year alone, which is why we can proudly state that this modern classic comes with the highest of recommendations. It's a gorgeous release that is definitely a must-have for anyone's record collection!

Purchase it here.


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