2021 was an incredible year for music, boasting standout hits from a diverse range of music — from hyperpop to industrial rock to experimental rap. Established artists such as Lana Del Rey, Black Midi, JPEGMAFIA and Beach House proved that they were capable of keeping up with their impressive discography. Newer artists like Black Country, New Road, Slowthai and PinkPantheress demonstrated their talents and cemented themselves as main contributors to 2020s music as we know it. With 2022 ringing in the new year, will the music live up to expectations? Will it bring an even better year for music?
Early in January two amazing albums have already been dropped: The Weeknd’s “Dawn FM” and Gunna’s “DS4EVER.” These albums are great additions to these artists’ discography. The Weeknd took a heavier 80s-influenced pop, synth route on his newest release — something he tested the waters with on his 2020 album “After Hours.” Gunna’s newest release is an extremely fun listen, each song bringing a new intensity. The features are incredible, with standouts from Young Thug, Future, Kodak Black and 21 Savage. So now I present to you my most anticipated albums of 2022.
The remaining weeks of January plan to deliver new albums from some of my favorite artists of all time. What I am most excited about is Earl Sweatshirt’s “SICK!” Earl’s last album, “FEET OF CLAY,” was released in 2019. While “FEET OF CLAY” isn’t the biggest standout out of all of Earl’s discography, it still won me over. The album features “EAST,” a classic Earl song: the lyrics are confusing, and the rhythms and beats in the background bring about an energy difficult to describe in words. One of my favorite features to date, Earl featured MAVI on “FEET OF CLAY.” Earl released these three tracks from “SICK!” before the full release of his album: “2010,” “Titanic” and “Tabula Rasa.” The album features hip hop disc jockeys Black Noi$e and The Alchemist as co-producers. “SICK!” dropped on Jan. 14 and it is incredible.
British singer-songwriter FKA twigs posted on Instagram in early January to share the news of her newest mixtape “CAPRISONGS.” She described the aura of the mixtape in her Instagram caption, “…it’s bronzer in the sink, alco pop on the side, a cherry lolly, apple juice when ur thirsty, friends in the park, your favourite person, that one sentence somebody said to you that changed everything, a club pre-game, your bestie who is always late but brings the most to the party, meeting a friend at the airport, just togetherness.” The mixtape dropped on Jan. 14 and is a breathtaking work of art. Twigs has proven her diverse range of vocals and collaborations yet again.
Dream pop duo Beach House’s third chapter of their album “Once Twice Melody” dropped on Wednesday, Jan. 19 I have loved everything on their newest album so far, which has been released in “chapters” that each consist of a couple tracks. My favorite track thus far is “ESP,” which is part of the album’s second chapter, but the third chapter just released yesterday was incredible; my favorite track from the third chapter has to be “Illusion Of Forever.”
February will be host to a ton of new albums. A new album from Animal Collective titled “Time Skiffs” is supposedly on the horizon for February’s music releases. The band already dropped two singles off the album — “Prester John” and “Walker” — both of which have that quintessential Animal Collective sound. Based on these two tracks, “Time Skiffs” may feature a sound most similar to a blend of their previous albums “Merriweather Post Pavilion” and “Strawberry Jam.”
Upcoming English rock band Black Country, New Road is set to release their second studio album titled “Ants From Up There.” After the band’s highly enjoyable 2021 album, “For the first time,” the album is one to look forward to.
Indie rock artist Mitski is dropping her highly anticipated sixth studio album titled “Laurel Hell,” featuring tracks such as “Working for the Knife” – released in early October 2021 – and “The Only Heartbreaker,” which dropped in November 2021.
Indie rock band Big Thief is set to release “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You” in February as well. On the band’s Bandcamp they describe the album as, “… an attempt to ease back into life as Big Thief after a long stretch of Covid-19 related isolation.”
Spiritualized is set to drop their ninth studio album titled “Everything Was Beautiful,” something I’m very eager for considering the single “Always Together With You,” released in November 2021, was a masterpiece in and of itself. The track is reminiscent of the band’s 1997 song “Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space,” a song that truly changed my life the first time that I heard it. The introductions of these two tracks from the English psychedelic rock band are almost identical, and many fans (myself included) are itching to see what the band does next in their 2022 album.
In the spring of 2022 we are supposedly getting a new album from Charli XCX, the queen of hyperpop titled “CRASH,” and a new album from Father John Misty titled “Chloë and the Next 20th Century.”
There are also rumors that Irish alternative rock band my bloody valentine will release a new album sometime this year — although this is something they have been teasing for a long time.
I’m hoping that this year in music will live up to my expectations, and I am very excited to see what other artists are going to release new albums this year!