Rosalía, Beyoncé… What are the best albums of 2022?


From Beyoncé’s disco-house breakaway to SZA’s adventurous R’n’B and Rosalía’s mutant pop, Numéro unveils its ranking of the best albums of 2022.

The video for “Candy” (2022) by Rosalía

1. “Motomami” by Rosalia

In an interview given to New York Timesthe singer Rosalia says she wants to hear sounds she’s never heard before when she imagines a new album. That’s what seems to have driven her throughout creating the unpredictable Motomami. The artist – accompanied by her various producers – crosses several musical genres there such as pop, flamenco, hip-hop, industrial, electro, champeta (Colombian musical style from Afro-descendant communities in marginal neighborhoods from Cartagena de Indias), bachata (dancing music from the Dominican Republic), jazz and especially reggaeton. As a return to her roots, the singer drew a lot of inspiration from the Latin music she danced to with her cousins ​​during her childhood. But she’s also eyeing Japan (one of her new songs is called Chicken Teriyaki) and Anglo-Saxon countries to develop a mutant aesthetic that owes as much to the past as to the future. She also knows how to move, with the flip of a fingernail-claw, from a playful register to a more melancholic atmosphere. Even more impressive, the singer-songwriter never gives in to ease and innervates all her titles with experimental sound finds… Without renouncing the art of catchy melody. A challenge that completes to install the Catalan as an intrepid little sister of visionary artists such as BjorkMIA and Madonna.

The (lyric) video for Beyoncé’s “Cuff It” (2022)

2. “Renaissance” by Beyoncé

Whether she raps or sings, the voice of Beyonce has rarely been so sweet. And the texts of Renaissance are often very daring, like this explicit sentence taken fromAlien Superstar : “Keep him addicted, lies on his lips, I lick it.” But Beyoncé does not only have the intention of making the whole planet wiggle and mate on ultra sexy, uninhibited and fun songs. The anti-capitalist lyrics of Break My Soul imposed her as the priestess of “the great resignation“, a social movement that appeared at the start of the pandemic in the United States and of which TikTok was the privileged witness. Many American employees, disappointed by the lack of meaning in their work, began to resign en masse. this tube, the singer invites to work less, even to quit her job, which would have motivated a large number of her fans to file their resignation on the desk of their boss, according to testimonies published on Twitter. Renaissance is called America has a Problemwhich can be understood as an allusion to the police violence and racism that rages in the country even if the title refers to the piece sampled on the song, Cocaine by American rapper Kilo Ali, who talks more about drugs than social issues.

Faced with a difficult context (war in Ukraine, pandemic, continued social and racial injusticedecline of women’s rights…), Beyoncé throne, on the cover of Renaissance, on a luminous horse and in a metal corset, like the queen and the warrior we were all waiting for. A free, flamboyant and proud heroine who invites us the world to commune on her cathartic house, to the sound of her overpowering voice. Even if we don’t stop working, as we enjoin Break My Soulit will be difficult in the days that follow to do anything but dance to these consoling hymns.

The video for “French Lessons” (2022) Mykki Blanco featuring Kelsey Lu

3.”Stay Close to Music” by Mykki Blanco

Released in July, the hypnotic title of non-binary American rapper Mykki Blanco in duet with Kelsey Lu, French Lessons, already announced a high-class album. It definitely is. Entitled Stay Close to Music, the new opus by the American poet once again blurs genres and offers exhilarating experimental hip-hop that alternately mixes grunge, punk and trap. There are prestigious guests like the poet Saul Williams – close to the late Virgil Abloh –, of Michael Stipe, the singer of REM, ofAnohni (ex-Antony and the Johnsons) or the American-Venezuelan Devendra Banhart. An album, rich, complex, expansive and adventurous in the image of its producer, LGBTQ+ icon who celebrates queer and trans experiences while fully embodying our era, when the Internet has shattered the boundaries, especially between mainstream and underground. Mykki Blanco has understood that the best way to impose yourself in the mind of the public is to be present everywhere and all the time. A creative virality that is unleashed from his videos to his insane shows…

The video for “God Turn Me Into a Flower” (2022) by Weyes Blood

4. “And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow” by Weyes Blood

A bewitching voice close to that of Joni Mitchell, a shamanic charisma worthy of that of Kate Bush and the aura of an actress evolving in American independent cinema… In the lottery of donations, Californian singer, songwriter and musician Natalie Mering aka Weyes Blood left very few assets to others. After the stunning and acclaimed Titanic Rising (2019), the 34-year-old Santa Monica (based in Los Angeles) born artist releases her fifth studio release this Friday, the mighty And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow. This epic, baroque and sublime pop-folk record describes a world in perdition, bruised by algorithms and climatic chaos. Her voice, one of the most beautiful currently inhabiting an animated body, appears like a beacon in the night. The beauty of his organ with elegiac virtues, coupled with lively orchestral melodies, proves, in itself, that we are right to continue to fight in a more than tormented environment.

The video for “We Cry Together” (2022) by Kendrick Lamar

5. “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers” by Kendrick Lamar

Fantasized and deified, Kendrick Lamar is a collective hallucination, the spiritual father of those who don’t have one as well as those who are desperately waiting for an “I love you” from theirs. He is the artist capable of bringing Beth Gibbons, the Portishead singer with the angelic voice, out of her silence and associating her, on the same disc, with the very controversial Kodak Black, released from prison after three years for wearing a weapons illegal and recently prosecuted for rape. The singer who has the audacity to stage an ultra-violent household scene by quoting his own wife, Whitney Alford (credited as narrator on the title We Cry Together) and which borders on the limit of the bearable with a concentrate of insults and rage.

The one who goes so far as to start a plea on consent and accuses the opposite sex of “playing the innocent”, calling them “false feminists” and slipping on the minefield of the Weinstein and R. Kelly cases. He plunges back into his memories of youth, his first upset carnal emotions, his addiction to sex, his experiences with white women and the racism that resulted from it in him… He taxes the patriarchs, who, unable to express their tenderness, raise sons who suffer from daddy issues. These children, like Kendrick Lamar, have no other choice than sobriety to be clairvoyant and, once they become fathers in turn, rely on mentors – here Eckhart Tolle, a writer several times credited with as narrator.

“Nobody Gets Me” (2022) by SZA

6. “SOS” by SZA

Since 2017, the year of the release of his powerful debut album CTRL (triple platinum disc), we waited impatiently for singer Solána Imani Rowe aka SZA, emerges an opus. Although in the meantime, the 33-year-old American R’n’B singer-songwriter has released several singles (with Kendrick Lamar and Doja Cat), she seemed to have trouble switching back to long format. Was the artist facing a breakdown of inspiration? The output of S.O.S. December 9 sends this hypothesis waltzing. Ambitious, silky and sensual, this new disc recalls in 23 tracks that SZA is still one of the most exciting R’n’B singers of the moment. Buoyed by daring collaborations (such as indie rock musician Phoebe Bridgers) and a voice capable of moving the most cynical, SZA manages to transform her melancholy and heartache into pop, rap, R’n’B and even sometimes rock which will speak to many people. S.O.S. is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful albums of 2022, and its cover, which pays homage to a famous photo of Lady Dianaone of the most moving of the year.

The video for “Dreamin Of The Past” (live, 2022) by Pusha T

7.”It’s Almost Dry” by Pusha T

Let’s not go four ways. It’s Almost Drythe fourth solo album by the rapper born in the Bronx and assimilated to the genre “coke rap” (a rap influenced by illicit substances), Pusha T, is a blockbuster. Produced by the superstars Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, the new record from Drake’s nemesis and ex-dealer resonates like a piece of bravery in terms of gangsta-inspired lyrics (about poverty, drugs and fancy clothes), lush instrumentation and efficient flow. To support him in this urban epic without downtime, the 44-year-old rapper, ex-member of the group Clipse, has invited almost only big names: Jay Z, Kid CudiLil Uzi Vert, Don Toliver, Nigo and Labrinth.

But the one who defines himself as the “Martin Scorsese of street-talking rap” also eyeing horizons other than hip-hop, his favorite field for twenty-five years. On the awesome Dreamin of the Past (on which Ye raps), we hear a sample of the cult soul singer-songwriter of the 60s and 70s Donny Hathaway, a reworking of the Jealous Guy of John Lennon as well as a (textual) reference to San Francisco alternative rock band Third Eye Blind. Another moving moment from the album? the sublime Just So You Rememberwhich is based on the 70s psychedelic track Six Day War by English rock band Colonel Bagshot. A stripped down, haunting and poignant masterpiece already heard before from experimental hip-hop pioneer DJ Shadow.

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Rosalía, Beyoncé… What are the best albums of 2022?

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