The 20 finest albums of 2022: Beyonce, Rosalia, Bad Bunny

In a yr after we inched that a lot nearer to streaming’s everlasting now, the music of 2022 felt suffused with temporality — wanting again to a greater time, anticipating tomorrow’s promise, taking inventory of the current in 15-second snippets.

1. Beyoncé, “Renaissance”
Pop’s deepest-thinking celebrity doesn’t actually deal in something however Massive Vital Statements. But the textural scope and mental rigor — to not point out the emotion and the pure pleasure — of this loving tribute to bounce music’s Black and queer pioneers remains to be staggering to behold. Play it within the membership; play it within the library; play it wherever somebody could doubt that historical past is alive.

2. Rosalía, “Motomami”
One other thoroughgoing work of pop scholarship, this one from a Spanish singer, songwriter and producer for whom cultural boundaries exert all the load of ink on a mapmaker’s paper.

3. Bad Bunny, “Un Verano Sin Ti”
The most inescapable album of 2022 — its Spanish title interprets, sarcastically, to “A Summer Without You” — by no means wore out its welcome as a result of Bad Bunny retains discovering contemporary settings for the signature drama-king sob in his voice. Drawing from reggaeton, bachata, hip-hop, dembow, synth-pop, mambo and reggae, the endlessly vibey “Un Verano Sin Ti” is a treasure chest disguised as a seashore cooler.

4. Taylor Swift, “Midnights”
Having scratched an itch to jot down fiction with 2020’s “Folklore” and “Evermore” — then having combed fastidiously by means of her previous with final yr’s re-recordings of “Fearless” and “Red” — Swift returned to the extremely (if slyly) diaristic mode upon which her parasocial superstar was constructed. Come for the veiled references to her varied romantic {and professional} imbroglios; keep for the breeziness in her voice as she almost-rhymes “bad surprise” and “some dickhead guy.”

5. Alvvays, “Blue Rev”
Frontwoman Molly Rankin makes clear who she means when she quotes Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” amid the beautiful squall of this Canadian indie band’s “Belinda Says.” However on the yr’s most interesting guitar album — a dream-pop tour irresistible to ’80s noise boys and ’90s velocity women — Alvvays is just not not shouting out Bilinda Butcher of My Bloody Valentine too.

6. Angel Olsen, “Big Time”
Recorded in Topanga Canyon with reminiscences of midcentury Nashville on her thoughts, Olsen’s sixth studio LP makes use of horns and shimmering pedal metal to border her grief over the deaths of each her dad and mom even because it appears to be like forward to the achievement she envisioned when she instructed them she was homosexual shortly earlier than they died. A brand new queer country-soul traditional for followers of “Dusty in Memphis” and “I Am Shelby Lynne.”

7. Lainey Wilson, “Bell Bottom Country”
Nashville’s brightest new star describes herself as a “hillbilly hippie,” which will get at her humorousness and on the funky classic-rock strikes that may evoke Sheryl Crow’s “Tuesday Night Music Club.” However Wilson is at her finest in craving love songs like “Watermelon Moonshine” (“Parkin’ back in them kudzu vines / I was his and every bit of that boy was mine”) and “Heart Like a Truck,” the place she wears the dings and scrapes of romance with delight.

8. Barbra Streisand, “Live at the Bon Soir”
Wanna hear some magnificent singing? One choice is shelling out a number of thousand bucks to catch the present Adele simply opened at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. One other is spinning this set of newly restored dwell recordings from a gentle gig Adele’s closest predecessor held 60 years in the past at a tiny nightclub in New York’s West Village. To listen to what Streisand does — at age 20! — with “Cry Me a River” and “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” is to wonder if anybody ever balanced finesse and vehemence so fantastically once more.

9. Charlie Puth, “Charlie”
Puth composed a lot of “Charlie” dwell on TikTok, which says as a lot about his bottomless music-school facility because it does about his endearingly cringe method to trendy pop stardom.

10. Wizkid, “More Love, Less Ego”
Sade followers impatient for her first album since 2010 ought to immerse themselves within the newest from this Nigerian star of the worldwide Afrobeats scene. “More Love, Less Ego” follows Wizkid’s American breakthrough with “Essence,” which cracked the highest 10 of Billboard’s Scorching 100 final yr thanks partly to a remix that includes Justin Bieber. But the LP’s glassy surfaces and unhurried grooves betray no thirstiness for extra; in his music, the saxophone solo is secure.

Lainey Wilson’s “Bell Bottom Country” is the seventh finest album of 2022, in response to The Occasions.

(Libby Danforth / For The Occasions)

And right here, in alphabetical order, are 10 extra to not be missed:

The 1975, “Being Funny in a Foreign Language”

Arctic Monkeys, “The Car”

Drake, “Honestly, Nevermind”

Kendrick Lamar, “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers”

Miranda Lambert, “Palomino”

Lucius, “Second Nature”

Marcus Mumford, “(self-titled)”

Cécile McLorin Salvant, “Ghost Song”

Harry Kinds, “Harry’s House”

The Weeknd, “Dawn FM”