2022: A Quick Retrospective

This year, I’ve listened to over 106 days, 3 hours, 21 minutes and 14 seconds worth of new music, specifically music that came out in 2022. And that’s not mentioning the older albums I discovered, or went back to; the few 2023 albums I had the chance to listen to in advance; or the unknowable amount of time I’ve spent browsing new music, listening to snippets here and there. This amount of time only represents the albums I’ve kept track of and came out in 2022.

This represents 3,832 albums, EPs or split recordings. To be fair, I didn’t buy the majority of these releases. For most of them, I would listen to them on a streaming service like Bandcamp, Deezer or, God forbid, Spotify. Those that weren’t available for streaming, I’d purchase if I really wanted to listen to them in full, but sometimes the few tracks previewed here and there suffice. This includes all or most of the 17 Tzadik releases this year—which are famously unfriendly for the casual music streamer—and many others. On top of that, I’ve also listened to new music in private Soundcloud streams, in private promo links, and on iTunes for the few album promotions which were impossible to preview before downloading.

Some people ask me how I manage to do this. I’ve got a job, I’ve got hobbies, I make music of my own, I have a life, I have chores and projects and I need to cook and take time to relax and enjoy myself! Let’s be real: in a given year, if you sleep a generous average of 8 hours per day, that adds up to 5,840 waking hours. Listening to music this year thus represented about half of my waking moments. Now, to be honest, I skipped a few tracks here and there, but I think all the unaccounted music I actually listened to more than makes up for that. To achieve this, I’m lucky to have a job that allows me to listen to music while I work. And when I do, I take mental notes if an album strikes me as particularly good. Good enough to be included in a set of mini-reviews; good enough to be on my “best of” list. And I think that’s mainly why I’m able to achieve this.

I’m still curious and always hungry for new music, exciting artists, unlikely genre combinations, and I still want to help them, and share my excitement with all of you. To do this, I’ve moved away from actually reviewing releases to writing shorter recommendations, which I still call “mini-reviews”, but they might be a bit of a misnomer. To be clear, I won’t write about albums I don’t like, there’s just too many albums that deserve to be written about, spread, and recommended to waste time with albums that don’t. And also, it’s not like I had any weight or credibility as a critique, so it’s better to send good vibes, and offer you my recommendations, whatever that’s worth.

At the end of 2021, I wrote 36 “Best Of” posts for as many categories, each (except one) including a top 5 and a list of notable releases for the year, for a total of 791 albums, and that’s not mentioning the superb lists from many of the site’s collaborators, for which I am eternally grateful. Yeah… I might’ve gone a bit overboard with it. Well, that wasn’t as bad as 2019’s “I Can’t Believe This Is Called Music!”, where I ranked 2,019 albums (yes, two thousand and nineteen) admittedly, pretty loosely for the lower part of the list, and published it in 23 posts.

For 2022, I’ll try to rein in things a bit. I have the tendency to flood people with recommendations, to the point where the average music fan feels overwhelmed. And so, these albums will need to be very meticulously selected and researched. These albums, for me, represent the very best 2022 has to offer. As such, I won’t bother to rank them; they are equally essential. I have a spreadsheet with over 3,800 albums from this year (3,854 at the moment of writing this), and so these albums represent the very exclusive top 1% of 2022. If you remember only these albums from 2022, my job here will be done.

Many of you will comment on this post and demand why this or that album isn’t on my list, “How could you forget this album?”, or “Why do your music tastes suck?”. I don’t care, I probably like the album you just wrote in the comments, I just didn’t decide to write about this one in particular. Maybe I’ve already written a mini-review about it, use the search function on the website! It’s also equally likely that I completely missed that album, I’m far from perfect, and so many amazing albums are coming out all the time that I cannot realistically catch them all. Maybe I just didn’t have much to say about it… In any case, let’s pay our respects to 2022, genre by genre.

Atmospheric Black Metal
Avant-Garde Metal
Black Metal
Blackgaze/Post-Black Metal
Classical Music
Death Metal
Doom Metal
Electronic Music
Experimental Rock
Indie Pop
Jazz Fusion
Jazzcore/Avant-Garde Jazz
Math Rock
Noise Rock
Nu Jazz
Nu Metal
Nu Prog
Power Metal
Progressive Death Metal
Progressive Metal (with Vocals)
Progressive Metal (Instrumental)
Progressive Metalcore
Progressive Rock
Sludge Metal
Technical/Brutal Death Metal
Thrash Metal
World Fusion
Closing Thoughts

If you’d rather just have it in playlist format, here you go (keep in mind, some of the #1 picks are not on Spotify, so absent from this playlist).

On February 12 2023, this entry was posted.