I recently spent some time browsing through the genre section on Acclaimed Music. It was educational to discover all sorts of categories of music that I hadn’t considered. Darkwave? UK garage? Indietronica? Sophisti-pop? Breakbeat?
Some of these are obvious. The heartland rock genre is ruled by Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and Bob Seger, and of course Bob Dylan tops folk rock AND singer/songwriter. But would you consider The Everly Brothers a traditional country act? Or Michael Jackson a disco artist? (“Off the Wall” is top ranked in that category.) Is Sufjan Stevens really indie folk, and how is there an Aretha Franklin album that is traditional folk? In what parallel universe is Neu! progressive rock?
A lot of records and artists don’t fit into a neat box, and those are often the most interesting. I try to mix up my listening, moving among eras, styles, production values, etc. The list below reflects this, though it’s very heavy on new releases. 2022 has already seen some fantastic records, with hopefully more to come. This list could have been twice as long, but that would have seemed indiscriminate. These are the records that pleased me the most in the year’s briefest month.
- 10cc – 10cc (1973) (These guys made some gloriously fun records in the ‘70s – “Sheet Music” is another great one.)
- John Martyn – Solid Air (1973)
- Yo La Tengo – Fakebook (1990)
- Paul Westerberg – 14 Songs (1993)
- MC Solaar – Prose combat (1994) (Hiphop from France – a most unexpected pleasure.)
- Silver Jews – Starlite Walker (1994)
- Caroline Rose – Loner (2018)
- Playboi Carti – Whole Lotta Red (2020)
- Julien Baker – Little Oblivions (2021) (Fast becoming one of my favourites – her 2015 debut will definitely be on my March list.)
- CHVRCHES – Screen Violence (2021)
- Mitski – Laurel Hell (2022) (I have stanned for Mitski many times, and will continue to do so. Happy to see her finally having some commercial success after a string of consistently delightful records.)
- Adekunle Gold – Catch Me If You Can (2022)
- The Wombats – Fix Yourself, Not the World (2022)
- Years & Years – Night Call (2022)
- Pinegrove – 11:11 (2022)
- Spoon – Lucifer on the Sofa (2022)