Jarrett Fuller


Favorite Albums of 2022

Favorite Albums of 2022

  1. Midnights - Taylor Swift
    I mean, obviously. Of course the new Taylor Swift album was going to top my list — it’s also, I think, the album I listened to more than any other this year. This is not my favorite of records (I’m generally bored with Jack Antonoff produced records lately) but it does feel like a mature 1989, an album which I still believe is a perfect pop album.

  2. Feather River Canyon Blues - Pigeon Pit
    I stumbled upon Pigeon Pit — via Bandcamp, I think? — by accident right as the weather was warming at the beginning of Spring and this album became my Spring/Summer soundtrack. Sorta folk, sorta punk, sorta…emo? I don’t know how to describe it but it was fun and weird and hit me just right.

  3. Caroline - caroline
    I was introduced to caroline via the always reliable Sasha Frere-Jones, in his newsletter a few years ago. The debut album finally arrived this year and was on repeat for a few months immediately after. It’s soft but intense, and like so many favorite albums of the year a blend of various genres from folk to emo to classical to dance. Each listen showed me something new.

  4. Ants From Up There - Black Country, New Road
    Probably my favorite new discovery this year is the “post-punk” band Black Country, New Road. But — and now I’m just repeating myself — that is an oversimplified description of another genre-bending supergroup. Just listen to it.

  5. Back to the Radio - Porridge Radio
    Another new-to-me band that was both quiet and anthemic. The first single, “Back to the Radio,” knocked me out the first time I heard it and I kept coming back for more.

    I’ll listen to everything Brian Eno makes so I was eagerly awaiting this new album — the first with his vocals in years — and found the droning, elegiac themes a perfect soundtrack to my fall.

  7. Poster Paints - Poster Paints
    Poster Paints is a new group made up of some former Frightened Rabbit members. I adored Frightened Rabbit and was eagerly awaiting this shoegaze-driven debut.

  8. A Light for Attracting Attention – The Smile
    The first single from The Smile — made up of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Tom Skinner — left me unimpressed, especially after 15 years of Radiohead fandom. But the whole album? It grew on me almost immediately.

  9. Jarnnatter - Civilistjavel!
    Another Sasha Frere-Jones recommendation. Sorta drone-y, sorta Buriel-esque. Sorta danceable. Basically all the things I love.

  10. CHAOS NOW - Jean Dawson
    Another genre-bender that feels like pop and punk and rap all wrapped up. Each song is different, every turn unexpected. Each listen better than the one before it.

Honorable Mentions

  • Fossora - Bjork
  • Chapter - Collapsing Stars
  • Together - Duster
  • Bleed Out - The Mountain Goats
  • Mr. Morales and the Big Steppers - Kendrick Lamar
  • Break Me Open - S. Carey

A Spotify Playlist

As always, I collect all my favorite songs into a best-of playlist. This year’s — a bit shorter than usual — clocks in (as of today) at 99 songs and six hours and 31 minutes.

New Music vs. New-To-Me Music

This year’s top ten list was the hardest to put together in recent memory. It’s not that I don’t love the albums on this list — I do. A lot. — as much as these albums are really a small percentage of my listening habits this year. In 2022, I feel like I listened to a lot less new music than I usually do.

Some of this was nostalgia: returning to old favorites and finding comfort in music that meant a lot to me years ago. Looking over my top ten most streamed artists this year, I’m not surprised to see that half of them are artists that didn’t release new music this year but were rather bands that influenced me five, ten, even fifteen years ago (Great Lake Swimmers, The Cure, Radical Face, Lewis & Clark).

I love streaming music and I love how easy it is to find new music but I also feel like I’m drowning in choices, always skipping from one to the next without repeated, deeper listens like I used to. I thought a lot about this essay from Colin Marshall in The New Yorker from a few months ago about listening to entire discographies:

Some of us will hear this trend reflected in our listening habits. My own musical life in this decade offers an extreme example, dominated by the likes of the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan. This resoundingly un-idiosyncratic list is the result not of an ossified musical incuriosity but of a deliberately undertaken project: whereas Gioia listens to two or three hours of new music every day, I’ve made a daily habit of listening to “old” music—music by artists who began their careers in the nineteen-sixties and have made the largest, most obvious marks on popular culture. Working my way through their entire studio discographies, I take one album per week and play it once every day, straight through. This method (which I used most recently to navigate the nearly half-century-long catalogue of David Bowie) requires both an obsessive streak and a certain degree of patience: the studio albums of Dylan alone, which number thirty-nine as of this writing, took up most of a year.

I’m drawn to this concept and have followed it a bit, although much less militantly. This year, I spent a lot of time deepening my love for artists through listening through their discographies again, specifically with Bob Dylan, Brian Eno, The Beatles, and David Bowie. In many ways, this prompted a return to old listening habits of mine, going down rabbit holes to see bands that influenced other bands, picking a genre and then listening to all the sub-genres.

This started a search not just for new music but new-to-me music. This began right at the beginning of the year when I started listening to black metal, a genre many of my friends adore but that I never got. An old album from Wolves in the Throne Room clicked for me and set me down a black metal rabbit hole discovering bands Botanist and Liturgy and Lustre.

I deepened and diversified my love for what I loosely call post-punk (with glam rock, new-folk, and gothic mixed in). I discovered through this, that the music I love the most is the post- music: post-punk, post-metal, post-rock, post-emo, post-hardcore, etc etc. Genre, in many ways, has fallen out of favor but it’s still how I navigate and make sense of the music I listen to.

In many ways, this year was a corrective year in listening: filling gaps in my interests, filling out genres I’ve long been interested in, and deepening the love I have for artists I don’t give enough time to. If anything, this year was a reminder of how important music is to my life.