Thursday, December 8, 2022

Year In Review 2022 - Favorite Albums Part 1 (Honorable Mentions and Let Downs)

Another year is finishing up and @RockBodElec wouldn't be a proper music site if we didn't end the year with a "Best Of" list, so RtBE presents 2022's Favorite Albums Part 1 (Honorable Mentions and Let Downs):

In the instance that RtBE has reviewed the album, either on this site or elsewhere, we will link to that review and just give a quick summation; click on the name/title and you can read our full opinion. RtBE also worked with the Glide Team to give input on their Top 20 so you can expect some overlap if you already have seen that list.

Again the focus here is on full albums, not singles, but long playing releases you can slap on and listen all the way through. We know these are a dying breed, but it still is the way we consume music, no shuffle, Spotify playlists or streaming for us.

These are the albums that just missed out on being included in our top ten favorite for the year (coming soon). After some very excellent albums we have a few releases from artists we dig, which we were let down by. 

Like all of our lists or 'best of'' these are meant to start conversations, not end them...
So quick thoughts on 2022, this year had a ton of 'OK' to 'Good' albums and very few 'Great' to "Amazing".
With the pandemic still causing chaos for touring musicians, there seemed to be a lot of the albums released this year which were recorded in isolation and that didn't lead to many breakthroughs to these ears. Mental note, collaboration is king.  

In fact, last year we stated that there had never been a year where the gap from our 'Honorable Mentions' selections and the number one album of our top ten list had been so close. Well, this year things are even closer. 

Covid has kind of leveled things in a weird way these past two years, at least where full length releases are concerned. Nothing has come close to 2020's best which saw albums recorded before and during the early phases of the lock down.  

That said, you could pick any album here and argue top ten and would have a case, even album of the year and RtBE could see it. So with that, consider all of these seventeen selections worthy of your time, money, and attention. 

In no particular order...

Honorable Mentions:

Let's start this off with a band who RtBE thought peaked long ago and who we had written off, yet somehow managed to put out a really solid record in 2022 (Spoiler/Hint: we are actually going to end our look back at 2022 albums with a band we feel the same way about). Easily the best BoH album since at least 2010's Infinite Arms, (which landed on this list that year), the sarcastically titled Things Are Great finds Ben Bridwell back at it in winning, and slightly pissed off, fashion.   

A jam/stoner metal album that cooks with energy and power (as well as a cool cover), the San Diego trio kick some demon ass on this very enjoyable album.  

Friends from New Orleans put out a solid slice of cabaret Jazz originals and covers with heart, energy, passion and chops all around. 

The middle of NOLA trio, this one is the most pop facing of the New Orleans based group. The album is full of synths and strong singing from Alynda Lee Segarra. 

Rounding out our dip south, here is a fun album from Charlie and crew that looks to the Caribbean for inspiration. Pour a cold, fruity drink and put the record on, you won't be able to help but dance.  

Another excellent release from the long running Superchunk.  This one scales back the aggression from 2018's What A Time To Be Alive, which hit this list that year as well. Scaled down but still very effective. 

Color RtBE surprised, who knew that nu-metal would be brought back into the pop fold by these two lovely ladies from London?  Amy Love and Georgia South add dashes of almost everything on Supernova, a crazy pop/rock record. 

Speaking of throwback sounds, this one came straight out of the 90's alternative buzz bin as Slang gets odd and touches lots of sub rock genres as well. 

Someone mention throwbacks?  Marcus King's Youngblood sounds straight out of the late 70's with dusty guitar solos and FM radio ready southern rock, but King's lyrics and vocals add a new twist as he sounds like CeeLo Green fronting The Allman Brothers at times. 

Forget throwbacks, LFK is a living blues legend. Always great to see him in NOLA and this album might just be his best, outside of greatest hits collections. The warm vibe and weathered voice goes great with the easy rolling guitar grooves; this is RtBE's favorite blues album of 2022.   

The self-titled debut from Near Beer is pop punk/indie-rock in fun fashion. In a year when tons of young acts channeled Weezer to lesser degree, the older Near Beer just rolled with it and had fun; it shows. 

The debut from Dean Fertita as Tropical Gothclub is just one album where RtBE wishes more collaboration took place. This album rocks and while good, some help from Fertita's musical friends could have made it great.  Hope he keeps at it.   

Lots of good retro-soul/funky music came out this year.  The Dip's Sticking With It struck us as the best from that fast growing genre but all were solid.

Ho-hum one of the greatest American bands dropped another solid album.  Truth be told, what is more surprising to RtBE is that it didn't make our top ten, it just didn't have the staying power like DBT's past efforts. Some of which came close and also topped our lists in the past. 

The first half of this album captures pandemic woes of musicians perfectly. Really well done. The second half isn't as strong, but still a good album overall. 

A cool, semi-concept album, from the unique NOLA outfit that uses spoken word, hip-hop, funk, and more to get their feelings across.

RtBE's favorite jazz album this year was a journey in harps, thought and especially rhythmic drums as McCraven and crew craft an immensely listenable record that pushes the envelope in different sonic directions. A damn good jazz record, even for those who don't necessarily like the genre. 

The Let Down's:

Now for the bad news...some albums that let RtBE down...we had high hopes for dice. These are by no means the worst albums of the year; they are just from artists RtBE like/respect that went a different route which we didn't particularly care for.

There are always releases RtBE does not particularly like that others seem to, but these let downs are harder for us to swallow because these are artists we enjoy, love, or at least respect:

Woof. As longtime AM fans (even ranking the AM album as our favorite of the decade) we disliked Tranquility Base: Hotel + Casino and hoped it was a one off, Alex Turner flight of fancy.  Not the case, as The Car is more overindulgent, pompous, self important, bad, David Bowie inspired nonsense that never hits home. 

One of RtBE's all-time favs put out two albums this year and the heavier one, which in theory we would love, was a dud. Starting with the worst album cover of Jack's career, the songs never come together; the album was like a hyper kinetic freak-out that never synchs.  In truth, if he took a few songs from this, "Taking Me Back" and “Morning, Noon and Night” put them on Entering Heaven Alive, things could have been better, but two albums in one year wasn't the best idea for White in 2022. 

Hyped as a Bad Brains throwback record, that hype just feels now like lazy writers seeing black kids playing hardcore and reaching for a visual connection. RtBE loves this type of music, this album just didn't do it for us. 

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