The Best Albums of 2022

Since the first day of 2021, I’ve been trying to listen to all the digital music I own, which I’ve acquired since I was a little kid, and way before streaming was an option. Most of this music used to be CDs that I converted into MP3s. These CDs came from all over, many I owned, but most came through my hands from friends, family, Peace Corps volunteers, among others. Some I purchased, because I still like the idea of owning entire albums, and yes, some of this music was torrented, back when it didn’t seem like that big of a deal. Also, a lot of music was beautifully shared by different people in some special moments in life through mixed CDs, USB playlists, and Dropbox shared folder (cheers, Joe, if you’re reading this :-)).

In total, I have 17,536 songs in my library, which equals a time I am not even sure how to read: 50:00:37:53. Suffice it to say, that I’ve been listening most weekdays while working from home, for an average of 3.5 hours a day, FOR THE LAST TWO ENTIRE YEARS, and I still have more than 1,300 songs left to go. This library grows a lot slower than it used to. I suppose age is a factor, streaming is a big one, not having computers that can strip CDs anymore…not having CDs anymore…not having friends or family with CDs! Vinyl is making a comeback, and I am resisting the urge to grow my own collection, solely because I dislike owning too many things that later becomes baggage and/or waste. I should hope no vinyl would ever become baggage or waste, but I have cleaned enough out of my family’s former homes that I KNOW it can. Also, maintenance is required. And space!

I suppose space in a computer’s memory isn’t seen in quite the same way. It might as well be infinite, even though it is not. The music I own surpasses the 128 GB, which is slightly less than the 160 GB iPod I bought in the mid-2010s to transport it. Now, the iPod sits like a relic in my old bedroom at my parent’s house, and the iPhone I own cannot handle this much information with all the apps and thousands of photos it houses. And here I would rant about digital waste, but I’ll leave you to Google it instead.

Space in a human mind is a funny thing, especially for music. Somewhere around song 8,000, the Sound of Music soundtrack album came on while I was in the shower. Because iTunes (or is it Apple Music now?) affords you a bunch of interesting data about the music you listen to, including number of times listened and last time played, I knew that I had not listened to this album in more than a decade, nor have I seen, heard nor thought about it at all in the same amount of time, if not longer. And yet my brain knew, through some secret instinctual superpower, every single word to Maria”. I honestly felt possessed by some ghost of music past, and it was wonderfully strange and hilarious, and nostalgic. The song brought up all these memories of watching the movie as a kid with my mom, and old forgotten thoughts about how funny the idea and lyric of “catching a cloud and pinning it down” was to me, then. (I think I now better understand metaphor, and English idioms).

All of this backstory was needed to say that in 2022 I listened to little new music. I’ve been too busy unearthing old albums from this digital music mine. The albums I’ve selected as the top albums of 2022, could perhaps better be considered the top albums of my whole life, each one packed with a lot of memories from my child- and teen-hood, and some college years (I’ll keep it under 2010, and I am not including any album that I have written about before, like RHCP’s Californication in 2019 or Florence + the Machine’s Lungs in 2020). Also, most of these artists and albums were and still are my favorites, so I have grouped them under the artist. I suspect some of these choices are generational, but some also are also circumstantial: Shania Twain comes from living in Texas, all the Spanish music from living in Ecuador, and all the Incubus and RCHP, from the high school friends I had (mostly boys).

And so, without any more delays, these are the top albums in the order the artists appeared in my life:

Shakira – Pies Descalzos (1995) | Dónde Están los Ladrones? (1998) | Laundry Service (2001) | Sale el Sol (2010)

Top songs: To keep the format of listing top songs and also to be brief, I will list only one song per album. Since I like the whole albums, I will choose the song that has the most plays based on my Apple Music data.

“Antologia” | “Si Te Vas” | “Que Me Quedes Tú” | “Sale el Sol”

Shania Twain – Come On Over (1997)

Top Song: “Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)”

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1997) | By The Way (2002)

Top songs: “Under the Bridge” | “Dosed”

Jarabe de Palo – Depende (1998)

Top song: “Toca Mi Canción”

Incubus – Make Yourself (1999) | Morning View (2001) | A Crow Left of the Murder (2004) | Light Grenades (2006)

Top songs: “I Miss You” | “Wish You Were Here” | “Zee Deveel” | “Love Hurts”

Coldplay – Parachutes (2000) | A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002)

Top songs: “Yellow” | “Warning Sign”

Avril Lavigne – Let Go (2002) 

Top song: “I’m With You”

Foo Fighters – In Your Honor (2005)

Top song: “Best of You”

Jorge Drexler – Eco2 (2005)

Top song: “Guitarra y vos”

Kid Cudi – Man on the Moon: The End of Day (2009)

Top song: “Pursuit Of Happiness (Nightmare)(feat. Mgmt & Ratatat)”

Honorable mentions that only includes new music from this year:

  • Rosalia – MOTOMAMI (2022)
  • Bad Bunny – Un Verano Sin Ti (2022)
  • Odesza – The Last Goodbye (2022)
  • Taylor Swift – Midnights (2022)

These albums should not be understated, because I listened to these A LOT these year, and had I framed this post differently, they would have been listed more prominently.

And the link to the one decent playlist I made this year on Spotify, that basically became my top songs on Spotify Wrapped: eight eleven twenty two

To anyone reading, l wish for your new year peace, love and music always. 

Happy New Year!

I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.

-Albert Einstein
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