With live concerts pretty much back for most of the year [I went to 17 live concerts as of this writing] and a great release of new music, 2022 has been a great year for music with 4 of the 10 albums on this list I saw the live show for that band.
All of these albums on this year’s list are from my iTunes library. While I did stream some of these albums via YouTube Music, I have all of the albums in digital format that I can sync to my phone or iPods [yes, I still use these classic devices for the car and portable speakers not of the Google Nest variety].
So here we are: I present my list of the top 10 albums released in 2022.
Kendrick Lamar “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers”
– Kendrick’s 5th album, this was a concept album with the songs based on his therapy experiences. There was three singles that came from this album: “The Heart Part 5”, “N95” and “Die Hard”. Unlike the structured finish of the song from 2015’s “To Pimp A Butterfly”, these songs have a varied construction to them. While I liked previous albums more, this one was still a very ornate collection and one that kept me listening well past the release date.
Blancmange “Private View”
– While the last two albums were really good, Neil Arthur stepped it up with this year’s new album. Standout tracks are the title track, “Whats Your Name” and “Chairs” And just like the last few albums, the sound is much different than what we heard in the 80’s. But just as good on a progressive level.
Sammy Hagar & The Circle “Crazy Times”
– Between his solo work, his time in Van Halen and Chickenfoot, Sammy has a good 50 years of material that have been hit after hit. Back in 2014, the band formed out of Sammy and Michael Anthony from Van Halen, with Jason Bonham on drums and Vic Johnson from the Waboritas – another Sammy created band. This is their second album of original material, which normal material played live is a collection of Montrose, Sammy solo, Van Halen and many other covers. The title track gives a nod to the pandemic years, with a cover of Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up” and a somber song called “Father Time” If you are fan of anything that Sammy has done, you should take a listen to this.
– The band took a 9 year hiatus when in 1993 all 4 original members came back together and toured various part of the world. I got to see them in September 2004. Fast forward 10 years and original bassist Kim Deal left the band and Paz Lenchantin came on board and we had the first album of new material “Indie Cindy”. Since then, we have had three other new albums. Each new album of new material has that classic Pixies LOUD QUIET LOUD imprint. Song like the album opener “Nomatterday” “Dregs of the Wine” and “There’s A Moon On” all have that signature sound with a bit of a turn that tells you these are new song. The band is as tight and loose lead by lead vocalist Black Francis.
– I first became a fan of this band in 2009 with their 4th album “Fantasies” and have been a fan ever since. Now with their 8th album out, their sound, the sounds, the lyrics and their stage presence lead by lead singer Emily Haines. I saw them on the Doomscroller tour this year and they were just as good as the last few times I’ve seen them live. The new songs are great with tracks like “All Comes Crashing”, “What Feels Like Eternity” and “False Dichotomy” that are easily listenable many times over.
Tears For Fears “The Tipping Point”
– We got the first hint of the new album with the title track released as a single in October 2021. The lead up to this album before the single was years in the making. While the dark overall theme of the album is centered around Roland’s wife Caroline struggles with substance abuse, the other songs like “Break The Man” and “My Demons” deal with patriarchy and fighting with the demons in our heads. This is the first new album of original material in almost 18 years and Curt and Roland have certainly shown to us fans that they can evolve musically.
NHC “Intakes & Outtakes [EP]”
– A side project featuring Dave Navarro and Chris Chaney from Jane’s Addiction and Taylor Hawkins, the late drummer from Foo Fighters, they only released a 4-song EP right before Taylor’s death. There are other songs released as singles, but this EP contains two originals “One and the Same” and “I Could be Someone Else” And the other two songs are covers “Something About You” originally performed by Level 42 and Pink Floyd’s “Fearless” That last song is a nod to Dave’s guitar mentor. Taylor’s vocals are so good and very focused. And Chris on bass is a natural fit. While it’s obvious this project is done, it would be nice to have a full album come out at some point.
– With his band Myles Kennedy and the Conspiritors, they have released four albums including the latest aptly titled “4” This album was mostly recorded and written during the pandemic, which gave some of the songs on the album a timely theme. Several members of the band ended up getting COVID-19 during the recording process, which took longer than they wanted it to. Also, Slash was on tour with his original band Guns N’ Roses so having to juggle two bands during this process was no easy task. In the end, we get songs like “The River Is Rising”, “Actions Speak Louder Than Words” and “Fall Back To Earth” the album closer. Strong, hard, loud and so much fun, this is another Slash album you will want to hear.
The Smile “A Light For Attracting Attention”
– While Radiohead is on a somewhat permanent hiatus, the band members are off doing their various projects. One of which is this Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood project. They added drummer Tom Skinner from the band Sons of Kemet and we have this album of new and creative material. Songs like “You Will Never Work In Television Again”, “The Same” and “We Don’t Know What Tomorrow Brings” While there is some familiar sounds like Thom’s vocals, this is nothing like Radiohead. And it’s not supposed to be. I saw them live in Lisbon, Portugal this summer and their live set is all original songs, save for one Thom Yorke solo track. If Radiohead ends up calling it quits, this will be the best set of music for Thom and Jonny fans. I know I am a fan.
Ozzy Osbourne “Patient Number 9”
– In the years I have been doing my Top Albums list, I do not recall ever considering adding an Ozzy Osbourne solo album [Black Sabbath’s final studio album made my list in 2013] but this new album kept getting played over and over here. And the guest list – Chad Smith and Taylor Hawkins handling the drum duties for just about every song. And speaking of Black Sabbath, Tony Iommi is the lead guitarist on “No Escape From Now” and “Degradation Rules” Long time guitar god Zakk Wylde handing the shredding on three songs. And Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck show up for a few songs, including the title track.
– I’ve been a fan of Ozzy since his Black Sabbath days on the original 8 albums. Then came his solo career, which was mostly successful. And given his health issues the last 4 years have side lined his live concerts, he found a producer in Andrew Watt to make what I deem the best album of 2022.
And now, for my top choice of album that came out in 2022….
And sometime my album choices don’t always match what my readers like (I’m lucky to get a couple of matches), so if you have something to add, speak up below in the comments below. Give me a shout out on anything you like on my list. What I might have missed this year, I can always go listen to see if it would have made my list.