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Silence & Sound's 22 albums of 2022

It's time for an end of the year round up!



2022 has been a huge year for new music; so many great new bands have emerged with their hotly anticipated debuts, whilst many others have dropped follow-ups to their previous full-length releases. It was also the year that live music properly made its comeback with tours being announced left, right and centre. Festival season was one to remember, with Paul McCartney’s legendary Glastonbury headline slot (which was also the festival's return following a 3 year break), Arctic Monkeys’ UK live return at Reading & Leeds festival following a hiatus, and Sam Fender proving himself to be a future hero of the bigger stages with his huge headline show at London’s Finsbury Park.


So, in reflection of a great year for music, particularly the indie scene, it’s only right to rank some of the best records that were released this year. And what better way than to list 22 records that (if you haven’t already) you need to check out from 2022.


Whilst it has been near impossible to rank these all incredible records in their own rights, and this list has undergone many, many many revisions over the course of the year, the rankings are based mostly on factors such as cultural impact, production, themes explored on the album, previous releases from the artists and ultimately how heavy in rotation these albums have been here at Silence & Sound.



22. Change The Show, Miles Kane



Miles Kane made his return in 2022 with his first record in four years, Change The Show, at the beginning of the year. Album opener, Tears Are Falling, is a soaring ballad that really sets the tone for the rest of the record, whilst Nothing Ever’s Gonna Be Good Enough, featuring Corrine Bailey Rae, is a nostalgic pop-rock highlight. However, a lot of the record very quickly gets lost in all its 60s and 70s-esque cliches and isn’t memorable in its entirety. Undeniably, though, this is a record that sounds different to anything else going on in modern rock at the moment, and it suits Kane’s style so well!


Essential Track: Nothing’s Ever Gonna Be Good Enough (feat. Corrine Bailey Rae)





21. Dance Fever, Florence + The Machine



2022 was an important year because it brought us the return of Florence + The Machine. Lead single, King is a confident, dramatic opener produced by Jack Antonoff, complete with swirling vocals and atmospheric percussion. Equally, Free is an intensely euphoric depiction of resilience that provides a catchy, danceable chorus, whilst My Love feels like a big, dance anthem. It’s a record packed full of emotion, yet still holds the power to move. And that is why Florence + The Machine’s latest full length earns its space on the list.


Essential Track: King





20. C'mon You Know, Liam Gallagher



Liam Gallagher is an absolute legend and an icon who has without a doubt paved the way and had a huge influence on the artists and bands featured in this post, so it’s only right that he claims a spot on the albums of the year list. C’mon You Know, his third solo studio album, is a record that shows off LG’s identifiable stage presence, attitude, swagger and iconic artistry. Opener, More Power, is an emotionally charged tune complete with a choir before going into Diamond In The Dark, a catchy track with an upbeat and memorable chorus. Undeniably, lead-single, Everything’s Electric, is the highlight of the record. Co-written and featuring drums from legendary Foo Fighters’ frontman, Dave Grohl, it’s an amplified and anthemic piece of heading-banging enduring indie-rock music that is, put simply, completely electric. It does what it says on the tin. However, whilst C’mon You Know features some compelling and high-energy moments, it completely lacks on the song-writing and lyricism front (“Come on/I’m shining like a diamond in the dark/I’m walking round in circles through the park”), and makes for a collection of songs whereby only around half of them are memorable once you have reached its anticipated end. It’s certainly not Gallagher’s strongest work to date, but all in all, C’mon You Know is an album that sounds good on a hot day whilst you’re wearing a bucket hat…or if you’re a sixteen year-old attending Reading festival for the first time.


Essential Track: Everything’s Electric




19. GULP!, Sports Team



When it comes to chaotic releases, Sports Team are the band that you can without a doubt always rely on. Known for not ever really taking themselves seriously, Sports Team elicit just that on their second full-length, Gulp! (an apt title that really shows their incredibly self-assured side, poking fun at the “difficult second album” cliche). It’s a record filled with laid-back, mundane observational lyricism, turning every day occurrences into fun, anthemic guitar songs. Opening track, The Game, features big, sing-along aspects sure to get the crowds going and sharp, stomping guitar riffs. R Entertainment features the same distorted guitar goodness which runs throughout the record, but features one of the more memorable melodies on the album in comparison to some of the other tracks. However, in short, it feels as though Gulp! is lacking something in comparison to the band’s incredible post-punk heavy debut, Deep Down Happy, and at times, feels as though the same idea has been recycled multiple times. Sports Team are undoubtedly having a great time, though.


Essential Track: Cool It Kid




18. Homesick, Sea Girls



In 2020, indie quartet, Sea Girls released their debut, arena anthem pumped debut record in a feat that later saw them become a must-see live band and festival staple-piece. This year saw their return with second full-length effort, Homesick, a 14 track record fuelled by pure euphoria and hooks upon hooks upon hooks. With strong storytelling elements (Paracetamol Blues), big, guitar-induced power anthems (Hometown, Sick), cathartic crowd sing-alongs (Lonely) and softer more vulnerable moments (Sleeping With You), it’s a record crammed with strong, classic indie tunes from beginning to end, and one that only thrives further in live settings.


Essential Track: Paracetamol Blues




17. Wet Leg, Wet Leg



Following support tours with the likes of Declan McKenna and Inhaler in 2021, this past year has been even bigger for Wet Leg, and well, they really stole the show. Rapidly blowing up and tearing apart the indie scene from the release of captivating, humorous first single, Chaise Longue, Wet Leg brought a new found fun and strong sense of identity to the scene in a self-aware manner that stood out from the rest. However, not every track on this record is consistently strong, and after a while, it feels as though you’ve been listening to the same few songs on a loop, which really affects the cohesion of the album, halting the creativity. No doubt is it a carefree and breezy album, though.


Essential Track: Ur Mum




16. Maybe In Another Life, Easy Life



Back in April, experimental indie-pop five-piece, easy life, teased their sophomore record, Maybe In Another Life (eventually released on 7th October) with the buzzy, predominantly synth-led BEESWAX. Whilst it lacks thematically in comparison to 2021 seaside references galore concept album, Life’s A Beach, the band’s second record is another breezy, conversational and natural release. Dear Miss Holloway, featuring Brockhampton’s Kevin Abstract, is a stand-out moment with all its optimistic hooks and Murray Matravers’s definitive spoken word vocal style. It’s definitely an album featuring some of their strongest material to date showcasing a slightly new musical direction that easy life are going in. Furthermore, it’s a record that has a really interesting stance on the indie-pop genre, taking the bedroom pop, lo-fi vibe that has been so popular for the past couple of years and reinventing it into a slightly more distinctive sound, weaving in samples of voice notes and phone ringtones, and bringing in some huge collaborations. It’s sincere, honest and so undeniably easy life.


Essential Track: DEAR MISS HOLLOWAY




15. The Overload, Yard Act



From the first listen, it was absolutely certain that Yard Act’s debut, The Overload, would make an appearance on the albums of 2022 lists… and that was back in January! Packed full with sharp, satirical lyricism, it’s a debut album that makes a statement and contemplates the bleak future of humanity with a hint of sarcasm. Whilst it very much sounds like a lot of the other releases circulating on the post-punk scene, and Yard Act are a band that have taken their Talking Heads influences and made sure it was obvious on every track, whilst vocalist James Smith dons a very Jarvis Cocker-esque image (basically, it’s not anything groundbreakingly new), The Overload is still a relatively innovative in terms of debut albums, and features some of the most compelling spoken-word storytelling of the year. It’s definitely a must a listen from 2022.


Essential Track: Pour Another



14. Faith In The Future, Louis Tomlinson



On Faith In The Future, it is clear that Louis Tomlinson is beginning to find himself personally as well as musically. Having always been a champion for new music and bringing up-coming indie bands to the attention of his dedicated fanbase, this is a record that really stands strongly alongside his passion for all things indie rock. Introducing more guitars alongside improved, gritty vocals, it’s an energetic collection of up-tempo tunes that will without a doubt thrive on the bigger stages Tomlinson is now playing solo.


Whilst the record doesn’t bring any new ideas to the scene, nor does it reinvent Tomlinson’s influences in new and refreshing ways, Faith In The Future has set the groundwork for Tomlinson to continue to experiment with his sound and further find himself as a musician, setting him up in the right direction. It’s interesting to watch how Tomlinson has evolved over the course of his career spanning nearly two decades, and how he is breaking away from the boyband stereotypes and making music that he is genuinely passionate about. Following this album, there’s a strong feeling of faith in the future for what Louis Tomlinson will pull next.


Essential Track: Chicago




13. Garageband Superstar, Lauran Hibberd



Hailing from the Isle of Wight, Lauran Hibberd is one of the most exciting rising-star’s on the indie scene at the moment. Mixing slacker-pop with indie-rock and pairing the sonics with humorous, self-deprecating and incredibly relatable and self-aware lyricism, GarageBand Superstar, is a confident and impressive debut bursting with some incredible collaborations with some huge names (*cough* Wheatus *cough*) and heaps of personality.


Essential Track: Hot Boys




12. If My Wife New, I'd Be Dead, CMAT



CMAT is the emerging pop star that we don’t deserve, but we NEED. On her spectacularly fun debut record, If My Wife New, I’d Be Dead, she proves just that. Packed full of character and staying true to her country music roots that make her music stand out from other circulating releases, it’s a breath of fresh air. Every song is anthemic and oozes with confidence, whilst offering self-deprecating and crystal-clear storytelling. If this is a mere introduction to the world of CMAT, the prospect of her next releases is exhilarating.


Essential Track: I Don’t Really Care For You




11. Unwanted, Pale Waves



On their third album, Pale Waves opt for a heavier sound, venturing into pop-punk territory. Unwanted is confident and self-aware, yet it’s also the most vulnerable and transparent the band have been in their song-writing to date. Tracks such as Jealousy and Lies demand and crave the attention, especially in live settings, whereas The Hard Way is a moment on the record that truly showcases the extent of both front woman, Heather Baron-Gracie’s vocals and the maturity in the music on this album.


However, whilst the band seem to be finding their sound, and along the way, their own identities as musicians, Unwanted is an album that brings very little in the way of new ideas to the pop-punk scene, and instead, seems to only blend past ideas into new releases. By no means does it make it any less fun and energetic listening, though.


Essential Track: Clean




10. Gold Rush Kid, George Ezra



Nobody can write a pop song as feel-good and catchy as George Ezra can. After listening to his third full-length effort, you will have a smile plastered across your face and be craving a holiday in a European city. In short, Gold Rush Kid, is a joyful listen from start to finish. However, at times it does feel like another major record-label influenced, chart position hungry album whereby Ezra is playing the music a little bit too safe. But hey, sometimes a bit of radio-friendly pop music is just what you need.


Essential Track: Manila




9. Midnights, Taylor Swift



Amid the releases of re-recorded versions of her entire discography spanning 3 decades, 2022 was the year that pop royalty, Taylor Swift, returned with brand new material: her 10th studio album, Midnights. Previously reinventing herself artistically and releasing acoustic folk sister records, Folklore and Evermore within months of each other in 2020, it appears Swift has returned to making pop music in a record that sounds much more like 1989 and Reputation, rather than the latter.


Whilst it doesn’t contain the same level of poetic lyricism and careful craft as her previous two records, Midnights is an album full of pop fun that doesn’t take itself seriously, but still puts Swift in a position that means she is free to experiment with her style in whichever way she desires next, leaving her next steps ambiguous.


Essential Track: Anti-hero




8. Guitar Music, Courting



Debuts are always daunting. But this is a debut done right. Experimental, fresh and a bit different to the other noise buzzing around it, Guitar Music stapled Courting as a band worth keeping an eye (or an ear) out for in 2023. Jumper is a track that whilst sounding suspiciously like The 1975’s Me And You Together Song offers a sweet and breezy indie-pop moment on the record, whilst tracks such as Loaded, Tennis and Crass (Redux) contain witty and sarcastic lyricism galore. The main moment, however, comes from the experimental, Uncanny Valley Forever, which as crazy as it sounds, is an eight-minute love confession for a CGI Instagram influencer. But really, it is the epitome of everything that makes Courting such a great and exciting new band on the scene, especially considering they can keep you hooked and captivated during an almost ten minute song in the era where most people find new music through snippets on TikTok. Guitar Music is an intense and essential piece of listening.


Essential Track: Uncanny Valley Forever




7. Five Seconds Flat, Lizzy McAlpine



2020’s Give Me A Minute, Lizzy McAlpine’s debut record, was a sweet, mellow and soothing trip through indie-folk and acoustic sonics. It was a delicate, stunning debut made up mostly of McAlpine, her guitar and honest, pure storytelling. On her sophomore visual album, Five Seconds Flat, she takes a slightly new musical direction. Stepping away from the minimalistic production and swapping it with intense instrumentals that really elevate the stories in the lyricism and McAlpine’s tender vocals, it’s an album that is cohesive, heartfelt and incredibly emotional at points.


Doomsday is an intense, and slightly darker sounding, recollection of heartbreak, setting the tone for the rest of the album, as well as the short film released alongside the record under the same title. However, All My Ghosts, takes on a much more indie-pop stance in a more light-hearted, breezy and up-tempo tune. Although, one of the most enjoyable and interesting moments of the record comes in the form of Reckless Driving, a song featuring Ben Kessler, containing stunning harmonies and an intensity that builds and builds before reaching a climax that we never come down from. By the time you reach album closer, Orange Show Speedway, the absolutely perfect joyous end to a seamless and perfect album, that’s exactly how you’re left feeling; as if you’ve reached a height you’re yet to come down from. In short, Lizzy McAlpine has produced another beautiful record that truly showcases her immense talent for songwriting and careful craft in storytelling, that deserves a lot more recognition.


Essential Track: reckless driving



6. The Car, Arctic Monkeys



Back in 2018, Arctic Monkeys returned from a five year hiatus with a brand new album, Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino. Swapping the indie rock anthems complete with raucous drumming and clean, memorable and addictive guitar riffs for a piano and Alex Turner’s newfound crooner vocal style, it was a record that completely divided their fanbase and casual listeners of the band alike. However, it was remarkable how a band of that scale and success could dare to step out of their comfort zone, push their own boundaries and venture into new waters. And honestly? Tranquility Base truly seems to be one of their greatest releases to date.


Following up from their previous, experimental record, Arctics plummeted back down to earth, making their comeback with seventh studio album, The Car, this year. Just like its predecessor, it’s a record that is unafraid of trying out something new. The Car features the same intricate attention to detail, yet experiments with cinematic, soaring orchestral sonics, giving the record a wide-screen, panoramic elevation and visual touch. From start to finish, it sounds like a movie-score, packed with quiet confidence and subtlety. Opening with lead single, There’d Better Be A Mirrorball, a twinkling, strings induced ballad, the tone is set from the very start, and gets the listener in the mood, especially with Turner’s notably immense lyricism and vocals. It’s a calm, yet powerful beginning. Body Paint is a culmination of everything that makes Arctic Monkeys so great, and features a grand, intensifying and incredibly seductive guitar riff, whilst I Ain’t Quite Where I Think I Am is funky and sounds reflective of the vibe on 2013’s breakthrough, AM, especially in the groovy riffs and reinforced backing vocals.


However, on tracks such as Big Ideas and Hello You, the songs translate as almost too ambitious, and when you think the track is going to reach a climax and ultimately end in a satisfying release, it never does, leaving you grappling for more. At points, it lacks memorable melodies, and it feels like upon reaching the album’s end, you can’t recall how every track listed goes anymore. But, on the songs that get it right, they have really got it right, and it’s a record that holds some of the band’s best pieces of music produced so far. It might just take a bit more growing…


Essential Track: There’d Better Be A Mirrorball




5. Mellow Moon, Alfie Templeman



When we caught up with Alfie Templeman backstage at his headline show at Bristol’s Thekla, Mellow Moon was yet to be released. “There’s a lot of mental health on there, obviously just like talking about things like anxiety and depression” he explained when asked to outline the record’s main themes. Whilst lyrically it’s pretty… well, mellow, in moments, the album features some truly euphoric highs. “[There’s] also just really fun songs; like songs that I genuinely just enjoy that put me in a good mood”


On Mellow Moon, there is a definite shift in confidence from the young indie-pop talent in comparison to previous releases, making it a really strong debut from one of the most exciting rising stars of the past few years. With its pop-culture references galore (see opener A Western with its nods to Tarantino and Elton John, as well as Colour Me Blue, which weaves references to 2000s indie-rock heroes The Strokes) and infectious 80s synth pop sonics, Mellow Moon is a must-hear 2022 record.


Essential Track: Leaving Today




4. Cub, Wunderhorse



2022 was a strong year for debuts, but one that really stood out from the others was Cub, the first full-length release from Jacob Slater, under the alias Wunderhorse. It’s a record best heard in order, start to finish and at full volume. Its gritty, grungy edge, angsty lyricism and themes of youth and coming of age make it an impactful album that speaks volumes and evokes genuine emotion in its listeners. A real stand out moment on the forty minute ensemble is the indie-rock induced Purple, with its steady tempo and soaring melodies on the chorus which remain ingrained in your head for days after you last listened to it. This really is a record that will only get better with time.


Essential Track: Purple




3. Harry's House, Harry Styles



What’s a top albums of the year list without a certain Mr Harry Styles? Following up from his critically acclaimed 2019 sophomore record, Fine Line, Harry Styles released his third album, Harry’s House, in May of this year. A month later, he took it on the road, playing to packed out stadiums across the world where every single person, dressed in flamboyant outfits and donning feather boas, already knew every single note of the new tracks.


It’s an album full of fun and breezy tunes that sound like summer. Lead single, As It Was, sonically could be a tune by Ah-ha in the 80s, whilst also incorporating more current sounds on the indie-pop/bedroom-pop scenes alike, and could pass as a track produced by rising multi-instrumentalist, Alfie Templeman. However, pop bangers and radio ready singles aside, Harry’s House includes some of Styles’s most vulnerable and emotionally crafted lyrics and tracks to date, revealing a different side to his artistry that hasn’t been shown before. Matilda is a beautifully tender song which, when played live, leaves not a single dry eye in the house, and provides some of Styles’s most stunning vocal delivery so far. Equally, Little Freak, Boyfriends and album closer, Love Of My Life, provide slower moments on a record buzzing with easy-going pop glory. It’s a joy to listen to and a collection of songs that will be around for a long time.


Essential Track: As It Was




2. Being Funny In A Foreign Language, The 1975



Admittedly, and this is coming from someone who was excruciatingly obsessed with The 1975 throughout their early teenage years, the previous two records from Manchester quartet, The 1975, were a bit of a let down. This led to a feeling of somewhat anxiety and disappointingly low expectations for the band’s fifth studio album, Being Funny In A Foreign Language. However, leave your opinions on all prior The 1975 albums at the door, because this one really is their greatest to date. And it reaffirmed my love for them once again.


The record includes everything that The 1975 have ever got right; 80s induced pop anthems (Oh Caroline, Looking For Somebody (To Love), Happiness), pretentious, yet equal parts clever, lyricism (Part Of The Band), and beautiful, end credits of a John Hughes movie-esque, coming-of-age tunes (About You), making for a positively unexpected surprise. Consequently, it was then played over. And over. And over again.


Essential Track: About You




1. Skinty Fia, Fontaines D.C.



Currently, there is no band out there doing it like Fontaines D.C. The Dublin quintet returned in 2022 with their third record, Skinty Fia, a powerful and noisy album with a punch. Skinty Fia, translating to ‘the damnation of the deer’ is an old Irish saying, making it a fitting overarching title for a record that explores identity, what it is to be an Irish person living in London, and deals with the emotion and guilt that comes with change and moving away from your roots. And within this record, the band seem to do the latter, offering up an intimate collection of songs that take on a slightly more experimental approach, yet still have something impactful to say. Arguably, it’s their strongest release to date.


Opening with the haunting In ár gCroíthe go deo (translating to ‘In our hearts forever’), a track that took its inspiration from a story in the Irish Post, about the late Margaret Keane, whose family wanted the eponymous phrase engraved on her gravestone. However, the Church Of England challenged the family’s decision as they claimed that the Gaelic phrase could be interpreted as political without the accompaniment of the English translation. The track, therefore, presents itself as the band’s response to the story, in a delicate and powerful opening number that really sets the tone for the forthcoming tracks.


Lead single, Jackie Down The Line, is a properly indie-rock tune with a big, anthemic chorus that thrives in live settings. Grian Chatten’s vocal delivery is definitive and instantly recognisable through his singing that doesn’t attempt to cover up his thick, gritty Dublin accent.


The record features angry and brash, yet still immensely captivating songs such as closer, Nabokov, as well as some of the band’s darkest sounding songs to date. Titular track, Skinty Fia, sounds as though it could feature in a scene of Peaky Blinders during a slow-mo walking shot, and Bloomsday boasts richly addictive sliding guitar riffs and bags full of angst.


However, contrary to the bulk of the album, Skinty Fia also has its tender moments; The Couple Across The Way is a song that stands out on the record sonically, but not in a way that halts the cohesion of the track listing. Comprised simply of just Chatten’s vocals over an accordian, it tells the evocative story of love gone dry, a relationship desired to be salvaged. It’s more experimental than anything that they’ve done before, but it’s still undeniably them and a really delicate moment on an otherwise high energy and riled up collection.


The main moment of the album, however, comes in the form of I Love You, the band’s first overtly political track. Lyrically, it reads as a love song and starts slow and poetically, before the claustrophobic number builds into an frustrated and explosive expression of emotion before the big release. It’s a poignant listen with an intense voice of urgency.


On the whole, Fontaines D.C.’s Skinty Fia is an emotionally captivating collection of songs filled with intensity and punch which are distinctive in sound. It’s a work of art and truly set to be a timeless classic.


Essential Track: I Love You



Listen to all of the essential tracks listed in the post on the Silence & Sound's 22 Albums of 2022 Spotify playlist here:






KATIE HILLIER



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