The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

CURATED COLLECTIONS: The Best Albums of 2022

From pop to rap, here are the best albums to revisit as the year comes to an end.
Photo Courtesy / YouTube Kendrick Lamar

With the year quickly winding down and Apple Music’s and Spotify’s end-of-year user reviews rolling out this week, it is finally time to review 2022’s best releases. 

From reggaeton, to trap and pop, there is no denying this year was a rich yet busy time for the industry. After all, almost every current music mogul released a record this season. Artists like Beyonce, Taylor Swift and BTS seemed busy this year, as they all battled for the number one spot in the top of the charts with their respective works. That is why, the task of only choosing five albums to go on the top of this list is nearly impossible. 

Though the next records are from different genres and in some ways incomparable, these are projects that not only gave the audience a lot to talk about, but were also able to revolutionize their categories and provide something completely different than the rest of their competitors. So without further ado, here are the five best albums of 2022 (in no particular order).

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Bad Bunny

“Un Verano Sin Ti” by Bad Bunny

“Un Verano Sin Ti” (a summer without you) is simply the standout of the entire year. Stepping away from his usual reggaeton inclinations with this new record, Bad Bunny effectively provides fans with a conglomerate of Latin genres, constantly changing from mambo, salsa and even EDM – all while promoting Latino pride and his passion for his native island Puerto Rico.

This month, the album became the first Spanish record to be nominated for “Album of the Year” in the anglo-speaking Grammys. At the same time, it spent 13 nonconsecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard 200 chart, tying Drake’s “Views” for the most weeks at No.1.

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Taylor Swift

“Midnights” by Taylor Swift

There is no denying “Midnights” has its flaws, most of which deal with its frail theme. However, Swift’s 10th studio album still proves to be one of the best bodies of work released this year. The fun yet profound songwriting that the artist is more than familiar with, paired with the experimental pop sound bejeweled “Midnights” with a crown at the top of this year’s releases. 

The success of this record is clearly portrayed in its numbers. On the day of its release, “Midnights” became Spotify’s most-streamed album in a single day. Swift also became the only artist to simultaneously occupy the entire Billboard Top 10 singles chart, making it the only time in history a male has not been present in this ranking. 

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Harry Styles

“Harry’s House” by Harry Styles

Despite its often weak songwriting, Styles’ vocals, charisma and the outstanding production of the record save “Harry’s House” from being another love album to one filled with nuance and a coming-of-age-like feeling. The British singer’s third studio album establishes Styles, not only as a force to be reckoned with, but also as the future of the industry. 

With “Harry’s House,” Styles earned six Grammy nominations, including “Album of the Year” and “Best Pop Vocal Album.” Simultaneously, the lead single from the album, “As It Was” broke the record for most streamed track on Spotify for a male artist, accumulating over 16 million streams on the day of its release.

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Rosalía

“Motomami” by Rosalía

The Spanish singer’s third studio album is easily the most unique of her discography. Breaking up with her flamenco roots, Rosalía adopts a more avant-garde and experimental reggaeton style. Though the album tends to deal with emotional themes such as homesickness, fame and isolation, its fun songwriting, the singer’s ethereal vocals and the catchy tunes will have listeners leaving tissues behind and running to the dance floor. 

Trespassing the U.S. market and trending earlier this year on TikTok due to her exaggerated facial expression when singing “Bizcochito,” Rosalía has made a name for herself, both in America and in Europe. Earlier this month, the artist won “Album of The Year” in the Latin Grammys and is nominated for “Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album” in the American Grammys. 

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Kendrick Lamar

“Mr. Morale and The Big Steppers” by Kendrick Lamar

Making a comeback to music after five years, Lamar graces listeners with a punchy and three-dimensional album reflecting on his insecurities and moral authority. Being the only rapper to win a Pulitzer Prize, Lamar lives up to his songwriting abilities in this record. Through his jarring lyrics and vulnerable production, “Mr. Morale” welcomes even the most adamant listeners to the hip-hop community. 

The record joins “Un Verano Sin Ti” and “Harry’s House” into the list of “Album of the Year” at the 2023 Grammys. Upon its release, Lamar’s fifth studio album reached No. 1 in Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

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About the Contributor
Maria Villarroel, Culture Editor
Maria is a senior in the five-year program between a BS in journalism and a MS in international communication serving as the Culture Editor. She was born and raised in Venezuela, but moved to Orlando, Fl. She joined The Torch in 2020 as a staff writer. Outside The Torch, Maria is a tutor for student athletes, as well as a student ambassador and a member of the President’s Society. When she isn’t writing, Maria is usually watching a movie or fangirling about Taylor Swift, Harry Styles or Bad Bunny. Maria can be reached at [email protected]

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