The year 2022 in 23 music albums

“Mom, how was the music in 2022?” “It was hot, it was chilling, it was moving. It was crazy, it was serious, it was vital. It was anguished, it was joyful, it was mixed. Jazzmen doing techno, minimalist crooners, delirious cowboys, flamenco cantaoras on motorbikes.” “But mom, wasn’t the world on fire back then?” “What do you want me to tell you, darling. We are like that, we humans. We love life so much, we would twerk at the stake.”

Astereotypy, No man looks like Brad Pitt in the Drôme (The Beautiful Brute)

Can we live a love story with a 20 euro note? How to react if your tuna contains 40 kilos of cocaine? Did Mickaël Vendetta deserve to win the Celebrity Farm ? Astereotypy, amazing collective formed at the IME, medico-educational institute of Bourg-la-Reine ten years ago, answers all these questions on its third electrifying album.

Bertrand Bellin, Vision Drum (Wagram)

Five months left to find out Vision Drum on stage, somewhere in France. To admire in the flesh this album which is predicted to have a long life, as long as the line of drunkards from which it comes. Mechanical and super chic, guitar set back, he attends his own procession. Never had Belin stripped down his music so muchand this diet suits him madly well.

Big Thief, Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You (4AD)

Impossible title, delirious generosity, the fifth album of Big Thief has established itself, since February, as an essential of the year. Absolutely predictable – we are now talking about one of the major references of US indie rock. Astonishing in fact, the group thwarts all expectations and still, always, surprises, astonishes, in this disc both dazzling with perfection and full of insane excesses.

Burnaboy, Love, Damini (Warner)

The best choruses of 2022 are all on this disc. We are hardly exaggerating, so much Love, Damini made us hum in front of the computer in the summer, in the fall, in the arrival of the cold. Not scalded but warming throughout, this sixth album from the Nigerian is all about love and fusion (dancehall, r’n’b, West African accents), epitome of what is called naija sound or afrobeat, outpost now part of the global mainstream. It’s up to you to sand it.

Louis Cole, Quality Over Opinion (Brainfeeder)

Too good, too dumb, too sad – Louis Cole the Californian, genius drummer, maniacal hard worker on all instruments, pulled out all the stops for us with Quality Over Opinion, concentrate of all that the new electronic jazz funk pop scene can do, which is a hit on YouTube – and IRL – with that je ne sais quoi that is still a little missing from his colleagues, Domi & JD Beck (whose album lacked ‘a hair to end up in this list) or even Thundercat: songs too, too good.

Dry Cleaning, Stumpwork (4AD)

How do you win the day when you tell stories of bouncing balls and body-built skiers in a background of guitars between Magazine and Black Sabbath in a blank voice? Playing genius, suppleness, rains of icy splinters, sinusoidal bass lines and wrapping it all up in the pouch of the year.

Gwendoline, After that, it’s goblet! (Dead Wax)

These two disillusioned Rennes dive into the abyss and come out doing the caterpillar with 4 grams in the blood. It’s scientifically proven: if you listen Audi RTT and that you don’t bellow mechanically “Meet at the PMU at eight in the morning, go on a moped retreat with all your friends”, is that you are Elon Musk.

Hudson Mohawke, Cry Sugar (warping)

Magnum opus of our monster saturated with greases and data, the new great disc of the Scotsman exiled in California Ross Birchard was a peak of fun of the electronic year. A slightly conceptual disc, which intends to embrace “the crazy Technicolor of American decadence” but which gets on board above all with its know-how, futuristic house, gospel trance, fluorescent gabber trap – it’s up to you.

Irreversible Entanglements, Open the Gates (International Anthem)

On the ashes of a past that has not finished consuming us, this group outlines the prospects for a future to be re-enchanted. Anger and spirituality, drums beating the reminder of the ghosts of disunited States and saxophone screaming the cry of all oppressions, the inventory of the contradictory forces present is there only to stimulate a story of tomorrows that break down.

Jack, The importance of emptiness (Research)

We came up against so much total incomprehension in defending this album that it was great relief, two months ago, to discover the fans who had come in large numbers to the Olympia to celebrate this sympathetic singing tonsure passed in a few years from the sample of forks to the weird pop music. Turn, we repeat, damn successful, and show that left more than one baba.

jockstrap, I Love You Jennifer B (Rough Trade)

Coming from the same humus as Black Country, New Road, a post-Pulp prog pop septet whoseAnts Up From There stimulated us all year, Jockstrap is singer/violinist Georgia Ellery’s other band, her secret garden and, if that’s conceivable given BCNR’s sweet madness, her space of freedom. Like a baroque XX jam-packed with ideas, the duo does anything and everything with their electronic rock, especially the best, and the inexhaustible.

Oan Kim and The Dirty Jazz, Oan Kim & the Dirty Jazz (self produced)

Smoky cabaret atmospheres and chiaroscuro hues, shreds of jazz and snippets of post-rock, this soundtrack produced during confinement is one of the most UFOs of the year. Fifteen vignettes which, each, tell a fragment of history, but whose end-to-end produces a form of self-portrait in the singular of the suggestive.

Khali, He doesn’t look like me either (self produced)

Nothing heard here more leaden and furious in cé-fran rap in recent months than this Khali’s second album. A dive into the damaged psyche of one’s own, a mirror held up to all the others – not difficult to recognize oneself in it a little, a lot. Also a welcome alternative to the big disappointing machines of the year – underground rap is growing, getting richer, never ceases to amaze us with its richness and diversity.

Bireli Lagrene, Solo Suites (Peewee!)

Far from any pyrotechnic stunt, far from a banal ego trip, the guitarist from Bas-Rhin lays down his first solo collection at over 50 years old. A masterstroke where, between a handful of covers and melodies of his pen, he improvises on the moment, for eternity.

Lisa LeBlanc, chic disco (Bonsound)

If there was only one pop album to keep the old, tired heart of disco alive with electroshocks over the last two years, it would be this one. Because he is not elegant but rowdy, he knows how to hide in the most earth-shattering acoustic simplicity just like deploying the great funk artillery, and that he teaches us all about the food in the depths of New Brunswick.

Tumi Mogorosi Group Theory, BlackMusic (Mushroom Hour Half Hour /New Soil)

With this second disc, the South African drummer pursues the exploration of a polyphonic jazz where, rather than rolling boxes, he plays in collective mode and signs superlative arrangements. All at the service of a Great Black Music, from which spring magnetic songs.

Orville Peck, Broncos (Sony)

With his second album, the first for a major, the masked gay cowboy had two options: to continue chaining the nebulous bluettes and to caress in the direction of the hair the fans of Lana Del Rey, Morrissey, David Lynch and Chris Isaak, or to finally make some real service-station country, popular, grandiloquent, full of baroque coos and colorful rhinestone costumes. He makes the right choice.

Apple, Consolation (Universal)

If only all the variety were like that… It’s the little music that resounds every time we put the latest Apple back on the turntable, a victory for French music that nevertheless required Apple to take off until the Quebec and reinventing itself far from the pressures of the industry, with Flavien Berger, it is not to be forgotten. Limpid, moving, intimate, raw, even cruel, never intimidating, Consolation console, and that’s something.

Pusha-T, It’s Almost Dry (Universal)

Deal legends, Pharrell on top, thick nostalgia: It’s Almost Dry is an incredible machine for making you nod and regret your faded youth. Do we mope under an old-school duvet to love it so much? Not at this level of invention and power. Pusha-T, ex-half of Clipse and rapper extraordinaire, has never been so masterful, sure of what he wants and what he’s become, there’s nothing to throw in It’s Almost DryAmerican rap at its most sovereign.

Rosalia, Motomami (Sony)

While Billie Eilish reigned over the year 2021 with tears in her eye, assuring us in a pale voice that no, really, it’s fine, the year 2022 was noisily flown over by Rosalia at the controls of a weapon of massive seduction fueled by an adulterated mixture of diesel, sweat and teriyaki sauce. Very large disc of a double transformation, that of its author, and that of globalized pop.

Vald, V (Echelon)

V of Victory or Vendetta, the fourth feature of Valentine Le Du stole our hearts, made us laugh, cry, broke and troubled us. An amazing disc and partly neglected since its release in February – it’s the rap game that wants to impress than being partly disposable – but whose feeling it gave us coming out of a umpteenth confinement is unforgettable: a delight.

Weyes Blood, And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow (Sub-Pop)

It’s the soundtrack of the world collapsing in real time. It’s ageless music, which could have been recorded in 1925 as in 1969. It’s a pure Californian record, like Love, the Doors, X, Jane’s Addiction, Tupac or Kendrick Lamar did. It’s as much Carpenters as Gershwin. This is probably the best Natalie Mering has written, more ambitious, more dizzying.

Wu Lu, Loggerhead (warping)

A distant cousin of Gil Scott-Heron who would have made it his mission to take over the complete Stone Roses accompanied by Deftones under the supervision of Mica Levi? A cannibalistic Tricky who would have swallowed DJ Shadow and would try his hand at the jungle by sampling the Bad Brains? There are lots of ways to describe the debut album of Wu Lu, but none that really does justice to this stunning and indefinable record, between deconstructed rock and electric soul.

The year 2022 in 23 music albums