Mikah Young's top 10 albums of 2022
Mikah Young, host of About What You’d Expect, breaks down her top albums of 2022, in no particular order.
PUP - The Unraveling of PUPTheBand
PUP has now sustained me for eight full months with this one. The Unraveling of PUPTheBand has been a constant companion since its release in April of this year, and it shows no signs of leaving me anytime soon. From a bittersweet farewell to a beloved guitar (“Matilda”) to a computer’s attempt to comprehend the vastness and nuance of human emotion (“Robot Writes A Love Song”), this record is the most PUP that PUP has ever been. For me, however, the highlight of the record continues to be “Totally Fine” which features a lyric that sums up the vast majority of firsthand accounts of the year 2022 that I’ve heard: “Lately I’ve started to feel like I’m slowly dying / and if I’m being real I don’t even mind / whether I’m at my worst or I’m totally fine”
Bonus album: PUP Unravels Live In Front Of Everyone They Know is 22 minutes of live PUP magic recorded this year in Toronto. While nothing will ever be quite as cathartic as being at an actual PUP show, this one comes extremely close.
AURORA - The Gods We Can Touch
My life is now split into the two halves, before and after a coworker introduced me to AURORA. The Gods We Can Touch is its very own thing. In fact, it seems like everything AURORA does comes from some reservoir of creativity that does not originate on this planet. There’s an immense amount of range here, but it all feels *correct* in a way that I can’t quite contextualize.
Do yourself a favor and blast "Cure For Me" on your next commute home from a rough day at work. You don’t need a cure for you. You might need AURORA though.
Nilüfer Yanya - Painless
This record is just implied on all Best-Of lists for the year and maybe even the decade. If you’re reading this list, I’m assuming you’ve probably read other end-of-year lists and have heard plenty of wise people wax poetic about the importance of Nilüfer Yanya’s Painless - I am simply here to tell you that all of that is true. It’s a potentially unimpeachable record. I know taste is subjective, but Nilüfer has a strong kind of magic.
KALI - Maltman and Effie
"Anybody Else" is one of my top songs of the last year, without a doubt. KALI is always a good time. They have the perfect balance of bravado and sincerity, and the production has yet to disappoint.
Bartees Strange - Farm to Table
I was never worried about how Bartees Strange would follow up Live Forever, but I did feel worried about whether that sort of pressure would take the fun out of the process for him. I don’t know if it did or not, but it certainly *sounds* like he’s still joyfully engaging with the creative process on Farm to Table. It’s the furthest thing from a sophomore slump: confident, genuine, emotive, present, and generally not at all the sort of self-conscious Frankenstein record that can tend to happen when the debut full-length has been successful. Bartees is at the top of his game and still at the beginning of his journey. He’s melting faces clean off left and right, and you love to see it. Bartees, we will love you forever.
Sharon Van Etten - We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong
This record is almost like hearing a stranger sing your own thoughts back to you much of the time, which is due in part to what an incredible songwriter Sharon Van Etten is and in part to the way the couple of years have shifted the way we interact with everything and everyone around us. Remind Me Tomorrow (2019) was a big deal for me - I listened to that record almost exclusively for much of that year, and was anticipating the follow-up to carry on down that same path sonically, but We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong is its own thing entirely. It’s honest, it’s beautiful, and it’s extremely well written.
Husbands - Full-On Monet
The lead single off this record made it into my end-of-the-year favorites list from 2021, so know that I am deeply committed to this record in a way that I struggle to replicate in other aspects of my life. I’m never sad when "Wishbone" comes on shuffle. I’m never sad when one single song from this record comes on shuffle. The Huzzboys have breathed new life into the mid-tempo range, and they made it look breezy. They’re cruising into 2023 with some really exciting tours on the calendar, so keep an eye out for Husbands in a town near you. With Goth Babe even!
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Cool It Down
I hadn’t braced for a new Yeah Yeah Yeahs record this year, but here it is in all its glory. Cool It Down covers a lot of ground in just 32 minutes, yet no thought is left incomplete. Perfume Genius was the perfect choice of collaborators, the lyrics and melodies lend themselves to the type of surprise catharsis I should have come to expect from Yeah Yeah Yeahs by now, and every moment feels intentional.
Dehd - Blue Skies
I was certainly not immune to the wave of musical nostalgia that swept through the collective in 2020, and it has given me a newly contextualized appreciation for straightforward, well-executed indie rock and roll. Dehd fits that bill perfectly, and this record is a joy to listen to.
Omar Apollo - Ivory
This was a highly-anticipated record and Omar, you did it so good. There’s a groundedness to it that goes well beyond any expectations one could reasonably have for a debut full-length, and you love to see it. It’s a solid picture of the musical identity he’s established through EPs and singles over the last few years, but at the same time a very clear road map for where he’s heading. "Endlessly" is stuck in my head…endlessly.
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