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Album Review

SOCC Writers’ Albums of 2022

It’s been a big year for new music. Check out what some of our DJs and writers here at the SOCC consider their favorite albums of 2022.

Sexy by Coco and Clair Clair

Although everyone I know would likely expect to see Crash by Charli XCX as my top album (and I don’t blame them!), I have not been able to get Sexy by Coco and Clair Clair out of my head since its release. This aptly titled album is full of witty disses, hedonism, and most importantly, fun, that makes the pop duo so special. The playful rejection of men and self-centered attitudes play a defining role in these tracks, like in “Bad Lil Vibe“: “I just wanna party baby, I don’t want a man. Don’t want you, want a couple more bands”. Much of this album offers remnants of nostalgia for previous internet eras; “Pop Star”, the closing track, could fit right in on the wall of a celebrity gossiper/sparkle addict’s MySpace page. With lyrics like, “Girl built like a vape pen and think that she compare”, need I say more? As pure confidence exudes from every second of the short half-hour runtime, the listener is reminded that, although this is Coco and Clair Clair’s world, they can be a part of it too. – Lillian Fuglsang

Ants From Up There by Black Country, New Road

Working your way through this album is utterly exhausting, but once you’re done the only thing you want to do is jump back in headfirst. The catharsis provided by stellar almost theatric instrumentals polished by months of performing and improvising these songs in front of crowds for months, and the hauntingly beautiful lyrics written by Isaac Woods littered with little gleaming metaphors that you won’t decipher until your fourth listen, is exhilarating. Those two sentences were a mouthful but I could talk my mouth off about this album any day of the week. While it is disappointing we may never see this band in this form again due to Isaac’s totally understandable absence (he often cried while performing this album), you can’t help but be excited for what’s to come after such a masterpiece. -Issa Nasatir

NO THANK YOU by Little Simz

NO THANK YOU is Little Simz’s timely followup to her monumental Sometimes I Might be Introvert album last year that won her multiple accolades, including a BRIT and a Mercury Prize. I couldn’t stop listening to her last album; it was on repeat wherever I went. Simz, whose given name is Simiatu Ajikawo, grew up in North London to Nigerian parents and has been developing her musical career for a little under a decade. NO THANK YOU promises consistency with her recently developed sound and feels like the mark of an artist detailing and shaping her craft. The inclusion of dramatic orchestral sounds between her flow creates an entirely original and emotional sound. This album deals with themes of racial inequality and Black power, as well as her own personal struggles as an artist. It entirely sucked me in, just like the last one did. Give it a listen and I promise you won’t regret it. -Sadie Fleig

Get On The Otherside by Bobby Oroza & Cold Diamond Mink

Bobby Oroza is a BRAZEN VOCAL GOD with an incredible voice. You can hear the heartbreak and the passion in this man’s timbre on all twelve songs. With the talented, soulful musical stylings of Cold Diamond Mink in the background, this album is sealed as my top album of 2022. -Robby Brooks

Ants From Up There by Black Country, New Road

BCNR’s Opus blends the passion of Bowie, the animal rawness of Conor Oberst, and the behemoth goals of Godspeed You! Black Emperor into an hour of emotional surrender. This monolith has amended itself into the music canon quicker than any record in memory. Repeating themes lodge themselves into your head just to tighten your pull into the album’s space. Agh I just feel like I’ve listened to a band sacrifice themselves to a higher power in order to create something more powerful than the Elephant’s Foot. – Jack Madison

American Heartbreak by Zach Bryan

I know country might not fall to the top of many people’s list, but on the pure fun scale, this album topped my year without any question. This album completely changed my perception of country music- that is showing it is incredibly listenable, and was a perfect summer album. Although it’s a little long of a project, coming in at a whopping 34 songs, most of them are deeply replayable. It’s just easy, fun, and exciting; perfect for summer car rides, backpacking, and really anything in the warm weather. It’s my favorite album of the year for the memories its accompanied, and how it does a great job moving far, far away from hyper-commercialized trucks and republicans mainstream country. I’d recommend a listen. -Theo Tannahill

Time Skiffs by Animal Collective

As a longtime Animal Collective fan, I was so excited to hear some of their initial songs from this album on the radio at the beginning of 2022, with hits such as “Prester John” and “Strung with Everything” that were palatable enough for the avg. indie listener but still had traces of their signature experimental sound. The organic instrumentals throughout are reminiscent of a favorite AnCo album Sung Tongs, but offered even more meaning behind their songs thanks to Josh Dibb’s thoughtful lyrics. Not going to lie, I was not liking the trajectory of their discography before this album… BUT I know Time Skiffs is going to be a classic that I will keep coming back to. Favorite song: “Royal and Desire” -Emily Faulks

Florist by Florist

Florist opens up with June 9th Nightmare that is an eerie ambient tune that sounds like spiderwebs and creaking doors, yet you feel cradled by its cyclical nature. The two duets feel as if a waltzing battle is spiraling in and out your ears. The album pans out in a very beautiful way, much like how a flower blooms. Florist was made on the porch of a rented house in the Hudson Valley where the band focused on collaborative creation nestled into their daily routine and outdoor endeavors. The retreat into nature and intuitive processes make up the album’s dominance of raw elements. Ambient music outnumbers those with lyrics which requires the listener to be patient and invites them to move into a space of retreat, much like the creation of the album. The dominance of ambient sound forces a personal interactive experience that feels like flower petals reaching out like dangling intrusive arms rearranging your brain chemistry. The short abstract wording and ambience allows you to connect with it in just the way you want it to; if you allow it to be, it provides reflection of self. Though the album is about loss, homecoming, grief, and healing, Florist has mastered the art of saying a lot without saying anything at all which forces individualized interpretation. Just when you think the album picks up, it shoots you back down with beautifully nurtured hums, chirps, wind, fingerpicking and crickets. It plays with your mind and places you into pockets of your brain you have never visited before. Florist is an experience. It is spiritual, free, intuitive and alluring. Favorite songs: Spring in Hours and Red Bird Pt. 2 (Morning) -Marina Malin

Reset by Panda Bear and Sonic Boom

As members of Animal Collective and Spacemen 3, respectively, Panda Bear and Sonic Boom’s first album as co-songwriters was a big splash in psychedelia. But the album doesn’t call attention to itself as such: the yipping and screaming of AnCo’s early albums and the drones of Spacemen 3 are relinquished for easygoing melodies and arrangements. But as pleasant as is the spiraling music and its sampled foundations of 50s-60s hits, the lyrics detail a frustration that would be fit for sonic frenzy if its source wasn’t in the stillness of indefinite languishing. Reset is hopeful and bright with its darkness in plain sight. Released in August, I listened to it as this school year approached and found an album suited for beginnings and for staying in place—an encouragement to grow and a comfort in stagnation. -Tate Gibbons

Super Champon by Otoboke Beaver

Super Champon is the band’s third album since forming in 2009, in Kyoto. Its rhythmic and fast, and super exciting they are preserving the same feeling as the 2019 release Itekoma Hits. The album comes in at 20 minutes of super punchy and girly sound. PARDON? is my favorite track. – Isabella Garcia

Dissolution Wave by Cloakroom

It really comes down to the guitar tone. This album rolls through expansive distorted sounds built on simple song structure. It’s slow, heavy, and intentional, more shoegaze than metal. Many songs feel like a guitar-centered symphony, others are more pared down, fringing on indie, but overall the record swims between genres and tempos in an exploration of sound and texture. -Asa Gartrell

Ants From Up There by Black Country, New Road

The dissonant cacophony of sounds that introduces Black Country New Roads’ debut album, Ants From Up There, rightly sets the tone for the next jam-packed 58 minutes. This album, like nothing before and never will be again, brings together the unusually melancholy sounds of the 7 young British band members. The band’s first and last album together brings you on a pilgrimage to a not-so-classic breakup album. It is the breathless emotion throughout each and every one of the unparalleled tracks that made this album stand out as the best album of 2022 for me. -Meleah Silverstein

Bin Reaper 3: Old Testament by Babytron

Bin Reaper 3: Old Testament is Babytron at his best. It’s the third album in Babytron’s Bin Reaper series, but this album shows him in a whole new light. Songs like Silly Me, Wake Tf Up, and Airtron are reminiscent of the sample-heavy beats that gave Babytron his initial claim to fame. Tron doesn’t stay beholden to this style though, as songs like Drake & Josh and 8th Wonder of the World sound unlike anything he’s put out previously. Whatever the beat’s style is and whoever is producing it, his rapping is always fast-paced and entertaining to listen to. -Peter Gottsegen

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