The best albums of 2022 not in BPM’s Top 50

by Rob Hakimian

I’m extremely proud of our Top 50 albums of the year (and the songs), but there are always albums that I love that don’t make the collective list. This year I want to give a shout out to my top 10 albums that haven’t already been highlighted in BPM’s year end content.

Presented in random order.

GGGOLDDD – This Shame Should Not Be Mine

A band introduced to me by our resident Dutch master Jasper Willems, whose coverage of music coming out of the Netherlands, both on BPM and elsewhere, has really broadened my horizons this year. My favourite discovery is GGGOLDDD, who have evidently been around for a while (previously under the name GOLD). As an entry point, This Shame Should Not Be Mine is pretty extreme, as it finds vocalist Milena Eva returning to memories of a teenage sexual assault and the resulting mental scars that she carries to this day. Far from mawkish, GGGOLDDD’s approach is clear-eyed and furious: their rock pedigree is evolved to a sharp and streamlined pop-metal attack. In combination with Milena’s ferocity, they deliver one of the most cathartic gut punches in recent memory.

Perfume Genius – Ugly Season

Every album by Mike Hadreas aka Perfume Genius has been a treasure trove of instrumental and lyrical jewels, and even this slight detour maintains that quality of continually revealing itself on multiple listens. Not necessarily a ‘canon’ Perfume Genius album since it originated several years ago as an accompaniment to a dance piece, Ugly Season may strip away almost all of the project’s pop appeal, but it is no less spellbinding in its composition. In fact, as these warped and stately pieces unfurl in grotesque and obtuse ways, Hadreas shines in a different light; more theatrical and stately, but no less stunning.

My proper review is here.

Wild Pink – ILYSM

With every album that John Ross releases from his Wild Pink project, the more stunned I am that he hasn’t yet found a bigger audience. The band’s latest stretches for the stratosphere with War On Drugs-esque scope and sentimental lyricism that is perfectly attuned to being projected onto the stars. Ross has always had a softer looker at life, but after a brush with death, which is the main impetus for this record, his outlook has grown even more thankful for what he has. Even the songs where his fear creeps through, most notably “Hell is Cold”, ring with the vitality of your heartbeat in your ears. It’s the perfect antidote to the modern day.

Father John Misty – Chloë and the Next 20th Century

After being the biggest fan of Father John Misty’s first two albums, the bearded bard’s next pair of LPs left me quite cold. I did not expect him to segue into a new era of his songwriting, but hearing Chloë‘s smooth, mid-20th century crooner stylings I was immediately back in Josh Tilman’s sway. He’s always had a gorgeous voice, and placing it against slower and shinier walls of strings really makes it stand out all the more. It also gives space for his storytelling to stand out a bit more, and his pen is as sharp as ever.

My proper review of this one.

Fontaines D.C. – Skinty Fia

While I’ve enjoyed Fontaines D.C.’s previous albums, it’s always been the atmospheric tracks that suck me in while the more shouty songs are the ones that their legions of fans go wild for. On their third record, they’re still providing some singalong choruses, but there’s a lot more focus on mood and atmosphere that is deeply compelling. Far from the laddish persona that Grian Chatten carries on stage, his voice and stories across this album are downcast and gloomy, perfect for telling stories about down-and-out locals in forgotten Irish towns.

Aoife Nessa Frances – Protector

Like many albums that get sent to me, Aoife Nessa Frances’ debut album Land Of No Junction was one of those that I listened to once or twice and then forgot about in the shuffle. Her follow up, however, hooked me from the start and her rich siren-like voice kept me itching to return. Protector is a paradisic little island of song where we’re invited into the singer’s bubble to appreciate her growing and learning through poetic reflections of lessons learned. Its simple instrumentally, but effective, with the use of dreamy synths cascading over skeletal rhythms, building up into technicolor rapids of caressing sound.

My proper review of this one

Alabaster dePlume – GOLD

London-basede Manchester poet, saxophanist and songwriter Alabaster dePlume is one of the continual rays of joy in this world. His previous instrumental album To Cy and Lee was a delight (especially if you read the story behind its genesis) and his appearance on songs by Soccer96 hilarious, but GOLD is him displaying his full glory.

When I saw him live, he played beyond midnight and had a bunch of different collaborators coming on stage to join in his carnival of delight, and he kept thanking the crowd simply for living! It’s this kind of spirit that floats through GOLD, an album that isn’t interested in capturing pristine performances as much as it is the sounds of people communing together in a space and vibrating together. dePlume’s opus revolves through instrumental inspirations, spoken-word poetry, inflections of world music, and charming-as-shit little ditties, all guided by his signature sax.

Show Me The Body – Trouble The Water

We have plenty of punk bands these days but not too many who uncompromisingly focus on community and how the lower class is being failed by the government. This often inspires Show Me The Body to build their songs into towering infernos of rage and reverberating guitar, but with each release they’ve refined their sound. The beloved banjo that coloured their earliest material is less present here, but instead we get thick blocks of fuzzing synthesizer and monstrous riffs that could level buildings. The trio are still the ringleaders at the centre of it all, whipping everyone up into a storm and then sending them out into the streets filled with purpose to improve the world.

Open Mike Eagle – Component System with the Auto Reverse

Lacking in an over-arching narrative like his last two excellent albums, Auto Reverse finds the California rapper letting loose and circling his raps all over the map. Whereas the previous records asked you to sit down and pay attention to Mike’s monologuing, this time feels more like kicking around with him and shooting the shit about whatever comes to mind. The rhymes are no less thought-provoking or personal though, with Mike finding fun in the complications of life once again and just flowing freely, like he’s a fresh faced new talent on the scene.

My Idea – CRY MFER

The sheer chemistry between Lily Konigsberg and Nate Amos comes out of every blasted beat and wiggling hook on My Idea’s debut album. Largely inspired by their complicated romance and uncomplicated musical compatibility, CRY MFER is boisterous and devilishly catchy ride through the lives of two mid-20s New Yorkers leaning on each other to get through life. It’s not all roses, but for every tear there are a bunch of laughs, and for every stress there are a dozen playful little production choices and worms that get caught in your mind for days.

My proper review of this one.

Bonus: 2022’s best television

One sentence each on the best seasons of television in 2022.

Andor, season 1: I simply can’t believe that there’s storytelling this detailed and compelling in the Star Wars universe.

Atlanta, season 3: The Paper Boi premise is pretty much on the back burner now as Donald Glover and Hiro Murai delivered a mixtape of a series, throwing in so many curveballs and outright WTF!? moments and striking with every single one.

Better Call Saul, season 6: This was already ahead of Breaking Bad in the list of best shows ever, but Rhea Seehorn and Bob Odenkirk just seemed to get even better as they guided this show through its epic and heartbreaking conclusion.

The Boys, season 3: They managed to rebalance the hilarity, gore, action and storytelling for this season, which, with Antony Starr’s Homelander and their on-the-pulse writing, is potentially the scariest show out there.

The Dropout: Amanda Seyfried is just excellent in portraying Elizabeth Holmes, who remains steadfastly in denial while this whole thing just grows anxiety-inducingly out of her control.

Euphoria, season 2: More histrionic high-school carnage delivered with a huge budget, beautiful people, incredible make up and with a total disregard for ‘real’ high school life – what’s not to love?

Hacks, season 2: The chemistry between Hannah Einbinder and Jean Smart is even more crackling this time around and the way their relationship and shared world grows is beautiful – until that astounding ending.

Never Have I Ever, season 3: This show is definitely aimed at people younger than me, but it’s so full of heart and joy, delivered by a wonderfully diverse and extremely likeable cast.

The Rehearsal, season 1: Nathan For You showed that Nathan Fielder is a savant at getting weird reactions out of real people, and The Rehearsal takes that to a whole new scale of bat-shit, mind-blowing, eye-opening, heart-palpitating, skin-crawling genius.

Severance, season 1: An interesting sci-fi thought experiment about what it would be like to be able to separate your work self and actual self that is built up into a world of intrigue and deception that left me on the edge of my seat.

Succession, season 3: The Roys just get even more unhinged as their family splinters, but that makes the hair-raising ride through their grotesque world even more exhilarating.

The White Lotus, season 2: This season’s double date from hell had some of the most lively on screen chemistry I’ve seen for a while, especially thanks to Aubrey Plaza, while Jennifer Coolidge’s comedic chops have matured beautifully, just like the fine wines they drink regularly in this season.

N.B.: I haven’t finished The Bear yet.