As we say goodbye to 2022, it gives us time to reflect on a pretty tumultuous year. An awful lot of shit went down over the past twelve months! But in the world of music at least, there were some moments of joy that we could cling on to, during both the gleeful and triumphant times, as well as the frustrating and down-right miserable times.
The return of Glastonbury and other glorious music festivals brought us together again across the land, postponed tours from some of our favourite artists finally went a head, and a host of glorious new records dropped, bringing us some beautiful opportunities to escape, if only for a short while.
Here, are our favourite records of 2022….
Caitlin Rose – CAZIMI
Listening to Cazimi, it’s like Caitlin Rose never went away, but ten years of contemplation have allowed the Nashville singer-songwriter to become liberated from genre restrictions and expectations; unshackled, the record soars before the brilliant ‘Only Lies’ affirms this shift when she sings, “My tune was changing, though I hadn’t touched the dial.” A confident, mature return from a musician we dearly missed.
Julia Jacklin – Pre Pleasure
This year’s follow-up to the brilliant Crushing is an equally ruminating affair but the more gregarious sonic canvas of this album has been replaced on Pre Pleasure by something more demure and intricate, despite a penchant for a vibrant rocker on the brilliant ‘I Was Neon’ and the multi-layered genius of ‘Lydia Wears a Cross’.
Anaïs Mitchell – Anaïs Mitchell
Anaïs Mitchell’s songwriting can be made into a movie. The stories she tells, with her unmatched and uniquely beautiful vocals, make up a true mastermind of songwriting craft. ‘On Your Way’ may be one of the best songs written in recent history and the sky is the limit for this absolute perfect songwriter.
Big Thief – Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You
Releases of this length normally have padding and dead-weight that makes you wonder why they decided to release something this long in the first place. For Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You, this was not the case. Normally you hear about artists making tough decisions and cutting songs that don’t fit the album flow or sound. Here, Big Thief have been able to hold together a bundle of disparate and expansive, original and cohesive wheat, without any of the chaff.
Memorial – Memorial
From cathartic opener ‘Mother To A Flame’ right the way through to gentle closer ‘Half Light’, Memorial’s first full album provides a salving comfort to its listener, forcing them to stop and take stock of a wild and turbulent world. At its core, Memorial’s album is about friendship and the comfort it brings – and who better to sing about that than two long-time friends, doing what they love, together.
Angel Olsen – Big Time
Big Time reflects on a significant phase and new bearing in the thirty-five year old’s life; Olsen was coming out as gay as she was writing the record, generating a sense of new beginnings, but this attitude was tragically offset by the loss of both her parents who passed within weeks of each other in 2021. This has resulted in an album wrought with a melancholy cadence, but with compassionate, optimistic eyes fully on the road ahead.
First Aid Kit – Palomino
Klara and Johanna Söderberg may be finally escaping the grip of ‘Emmylou’ on their latest record because Palomino is rammed with songs that are more than equal to their signature track. Not only are the nods to their heroes a joy to observe but on tracks like ‘A Feeling That Never Came’ there’s a recipe for positivity that feels a distinctly Söderberg affair.
Soccer Mommy – Sometimes, Forever
In the latter part of the album the darker and experimental tracks take a larger share, as they do generally on this album compared to its predecessors. There are many references to fire, old flames and regular flames, alluding something all-consuming and destructive. Alisson herself has said “I didn’t want to make something super depressing without any sense of magic,” and I’d say she’s done exactly that.
Courtney Marie Andrews – Loose Future
This may not be the hard-hitter that CMA has delivered over recent years, but perhaps she’s read the room. Hasn’t life thrown a couple of unplayable knuckleballs recently? When this happens we seek out sources that can balance the calamity. Here is a record that will do exactly that. Sweet, timeless and even jaunty. This may not be the total reinvention of Courtney Marie Andrews. It was probably not intended to be, but Loose Future should at least make you feel good.
Orville Peck – Bronco
There was a spare, nightmarish quality to debut Ponyat timesbutsophomore effort Bronco is a flamboyant, cinematic affair that still benefits from the mysterious Canadian’s narrative flair. Traditional country infused with the spirit of Elvis may not be for everyone but the heady mix of brisk rockers and lonesome ballads provide vivid moments to savour.
Jessie Buckley & Bernard Butler – For All The Days That Tear The Heart
There is a reason why this album was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. Simultaneously crushingly emotive and upliftingly beautiful – a real rollercoaster for the heart and soul.
Bonny Light Horseman – Rolling Golden Holy
The sounds on this album reflect every mood a human can possibly be in. Sadness, happiness, existentialism. It’s all in here in a perfect indie folk-rock record. The voices and instruments on this album are beyond amazing and the lineup of all-stars doesn’t get much better than this.
Carson McHone – Still Life
There’s a stylistic fluidity to Still Life that surprises on every listen. Not being content to be placed on the alt-country shelf, Carson McHone’s follow up to Carousel flirts with traditional folk, a Laurel Canyon vibe and Springsteen-esque brusqueness which results in a mystical, uninhibited album that twists and turns with eloquent ease.
Plains – I Walked with You a Ways
Not happy with producing one of the albums of 2021 with Waxahatchee’s St. Cloud she’s gone and done it again in 2022. Collaborating with old friend Jess Williamson on side-project Plains. I Walked with You a Ways presents a lovingly crafted slice of alt-country and Americana that delights in the ease with which it develops more formal aspects of these genres to deliver a fresh, heartwarming experience with a gaggle of sweet musical highs.
Kevin Morby – This Is A Photograph
Simply put – a really, really good record.
Native Harrow – Old Kind Of Magic
Old Kind Of Magic, the fifth record from Native Harrow, presents 10 songs of strong vocals, luscious instrumentation, and soul-searching lyrics. Opening with the sounds of the seaside which inspired them to create new art we are then transported to the mid-sixties American West Coast folk rock era. Featuring a well-established sound, helped by long-time collaborator Alex Hall on drums and percussion, Native Harrow know how to weave stories into songs.
Now, please enjoy our TFFT Favourite Albums of 2022 Playlist, and have a wonderful New Year, from everyone at Thank Folk For That…