Music

Top 30 albums of 2022

10. Earl Sweatshirt – Sick!

Earl’s state of mind is always poignantly expressed in his music. Often dark and depressing, he’s always tried to swim his way back to the surface, usually drowning in his own struggles, vulnerabilities and fears. Sick!, despite its title, is the most positive and hopeful album he’s released so far. With varied production from Black Noi$e and The Alchemist among others, he feels more comfortable and sober than ever before, helped by the fact that he is now a father. Seeing his perspectives evolve and change over time in his music since 2013’s Doris has been fun, and the fact that he’s releasing tracks like “Tabula Rasa” featuring Armand Hammer shows how hungry he still is to challenge himself among the best poets and emcees on the planet. Review

https://music.apple.com/gb/album/sick/1599171548


9. Wu-Lu – LOGGERHEAD

The fact that Wu-Lu has grown from a beatmaker to a full fuckin rockstar is so inspiring. His debut album LOGGERHEAD is full of memorable moments, with captivating and catchy melodies that are complemented by heavy distorted guitars, hip-hop beats and synth leads that culminate in some of the most well-produced tracks I’ve heard this year. It’s such a cohesive body of work, and an album that will keep you hooked from start to finish. The only way is up for the South London artist, and I can’t wait to hear what he has coming next. Review


8. Pink Siifu & Real Bad Man – REAL BAD FLIGHTS

Pink Siifu and Real Bad Man really came through with an incredible body of work titled REAL BAD FLIGHTS and one I feel can be mentioned among Pink Siifu’s best. The soulful, crisp production from Real Bad Man is complemented by an animated Pink Siifu, who really excels with every verse and every bar he spits. It’s one of his career-defining albums in my opinion, with “Tokyo Blunts” featuring Armand Hammer & Conquest Tony Phillips being among the best songs he’s ever made in my opinion. A quality album and one I have listened to countless times already. Review / Link to bootleg version

https://music.apple.com/gb/album/real-bad-flights/1639917378


7. Roc Marciano & The Alchemist – The Elephant Man’s Bones

Roc Marciano only gets better with age, and Alchemist has helped him create one of his most concise and cohesive albums to date. The Elephant Man’s Bones features Alchemist’ usually gritty, dark and textured production, while Roc Marciano’s effortless flows and lyricism are just incredible throughout. So many of the tracks are standouts, and so many of them I’ve had on repeat this year. It’s some of the best emceeing of the year combined with some of the best production. What more can you ask for?

https://music.apple.com/gb/album/the-elephant-mans-bones/1639220117


6. Ka – Woeful Studies / Languish Arts

For the sake of this list (and the fact that I’ve had a very difficult time listing all these albums in order), we’re including Ka’s incredible two albums Languish Arts and Woeful Studies as one release. They can be characterised as a double album, and both include some of Ka’s most personal and revealing writing to date, over some animated and textured production. While a lot of his other albums could be classed as having a stripped-back sound, these two albums are more musically rich and dense. It’s a real breath of fresh air, and the more I listen to them, the more I’m enamored by his artistry and writing.

https://music.apple.com/gb/album/languish-arts/1649758167

https://music.apple.com/gb/album/woeful-studies/1649932600


5. E L U C I D – I Told Bessie

I Told Bessie is easily E L U C I D’s most complete album to date. The experimental production throughout is perfectly complemented by his introspections and observations about life around him, channeled through his own experiences and taking influence from various forms of poetry and art that help define his own artistry and sense of self. Despite it being quite an experimental listen, it’s still intimate in the way E L U C I D expresses his thoughts and feelings throughout the album. It’s a truly stellar body of work and one I have been playing a whole lot this year. Review


4. The Smile – A Light for Attracting Attention

A Light for Attracting Attention is the best project Thom Yorke has been a part of outside of Radiohead. Together with Jonny Greenwood and Tom Skinner, he has really found the perfect balance between delicate & ethereal and harsh & abrasive. It’s a punk album at heart, with dominant guitar leads sprinkled throughout the tracks on the album, and Thom Yorke’s usual political lyrics that touch on a plethora of issues (and there have been a lot in the last few years!) that result in exciting compositions with a diverse sound that makes it an engaging listen. Review


3. Moor Mother – Jazz Codes

I have been a Moor Mother super-fan since the release of Analog Fluids Of Sonic Black Holes back in 2019, and she is only getting better with time. Jazz Codes acts as the spiritual sequel to the incredible Black Encyclopedia of the Air last year. The energy of this album is more upbeat and uplifting than her previous album, with a spiritual, ethereal tone, from the rich, key and synth-led melodies, the electronic drumming and Moor Mother’s spoken word delivery that just feels so natural and fluid in this setting. It’s beautiful how at peace I feel when I listen to this, despite the angry, often politically-charged poetry that looks at life before us, being inspired by how her ancestors have allowed her the platform to express herself fearlessly, but acknowledging and internalising the trauma that they have gone through to allow for the progress of their people. It is of course, a very jazzy, dynamic and often off-beat album that beats to the drum of Moor Mother’s poetry. A phenomenal album that I have had on repeat the most this year, well… second to the next two.


2. Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers

You know, the more I listen to Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, the more I feel it’s my favourite of his so far. It’s not necessarily the production, To Pimp A Butterfly has that 100%, and not necessarily the lyrics, because good kid, m.A.A.d city has that over it, but it’s a balance to both the animated and theatrical qualities of his music, with the deeply reflective, intricate and powerful lyricism that speak to his experiences and only his experiences. Remember, he is not your Savior. But it is iby far his most revealing, vulnerable and beautiful album to date. When I say beautiful, I mean both in terms of production, lyrical and thematic depth. “Mother I Sober” featuring Beth Gibbons encapsulates that perfectly, and is one of the best songs he’s ever made. The same goes for “United In Grief” and “Father Time” featuring Sampha. There are so many faultless tracks on the album, partly with catchier, more modern sounding melodies that are great too. From front-to-back, this album is a theatrical, therapeautic masterpiece, and while I wouldn’t class this as his best album, it’s the one I’ve returned to a whole lot, and it’s natural impact to my life, as with any Kendrick release, makes it one of my favourites of this year. Review

https://music.apple.com/gb/album/mr-morale-the-big-steppers/1626195790


1. billy woods & Preservation – Aethiopes

It was inevitable, whasn’t it? From the moment I pressed play on “Asylum”, for 39 minutes my ears and mind were transfixed on billy woods’ stories and visual paintings, and Preservation’s organic and raw percussion. Aethiopes could be considered among his best work to date, but with the sheer quality in music released over the last decade or so, we can have this discussion for hours. The instrumentals here are sublime, and I wanted to fully acknowlesge Preservation as a musical genius, because the soundscapes he has created are among the best I’ve heard in a while. “Wharves” and “Sauvage” with Boldy James and Gabe ‘Nandez are examples of his insane head-nod heavy beats. The features throughout add a whole new character and vibe to the album, so shoutout to everyone who contributed. It’s woods’ stories, painted with such vivid imagery that make this such a captivating listen. It makes me want to pick up a book and study. A lot of his references relate to colonialism and the effects it has had, partly in Zimbabwe, where he grew up, and the wider diaspora. From the opener “Asylum”, he sets the tone describing his experience growing up in Zimbabwe, with reference to Mengistu Haile Mariam and the colonial powers that have taken advantage of his home land. But coming back to his storytelling, some if it is just incredible. The vivid first verse on “Christine” with Mike Ladd comes to mind, but also the closers “Remorsless” and “Smith + Cross” provide a potent dive into billy woods’ struggles, reflecting on his life so far, contextualising it with the current corrupt world he lives in and millions of people around, live in. It’s near flawless album, and one that really establishes billy woods as one of the best writers in the world. Review


And there we have it folks! Nearly the end of the year and it was really great reflecting on the fantastic year of music. So many other great releases I haven’t been able to cover in this list, but they will get recognised in one way or another. As for where In Search Of Media is going, I am reflecting on things but I am thinking of making some changes, all positive ones, that could re-energise me to do this more often.

Thanks as usual for reading!


Hey everyone, thanks for stopping by. I run In Search Of Media with the aim of giving a platform to independent beatmakers, rappers and talented musicians. I also hope to make this a home for music discovery, interesting film analysis, exhibition reviews and other interesting content for all of you guys to dive in to. I hope to start a podcast and documentary-style project soon. If you're looking to be a part of this creative project, please go to the contact page and drop me an email, or connect via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. I also write for 'Music Is My Sanctuary.' Thanks 🙏

1 comment on “Top 30 albums of 2022

  1. Pingback: Top 100 songs of the year 2022 – In Search of Media

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