It is once again time for my annual ode to self-importance – listing my favorite music of the past year. It was another year of being pleasantly surprised by how often I listen to albums – even though I think they are too long these days (see my old man rant here) – in this era of DIY and algorithmic playlists. When I hear somebody I like, I want to linger with them for a while.
And speaking of lingering for a while, my list begins with a generational talent I discovered thanks to a friend’s Facebook post.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Samara Joy Linger Awhile
Just. Wow. Far and away the best album I’ve heard in many, many years. At just 23 and making her major-label debut, Linger Awhile received Grammy nominations for Album of the Year and Best New Artist, and landed on “best of the year” lists at the New York Times and Slate. A classic jazz vocalist, Samara’s like Ella, Dinah Washington, and Sarah Vaughn somehow in one body. Beyond that, words fail me.
Danielle Ponder Some of Us Are Brave The verdict is in and supported by overwhelming evidence that the ex-lawyer is an amazing R&B/soul singer-songwriter. The intense ache and longing in this track is downright Adele-ish.
The War and Treaty Blank Page EP No need to change what I write each time they release something new except they keep getting better at it: “With deep feeling and contagious energy, the Americana/soul/gospel husband-wife team of Michael and Tanya-Blount-Trotter sing from a place where urban meets rural, country meets soul, Saturday night secular meets Sunday morning sacred and Appalachia meets the Mississippi Delta.”
A.G. Sully Space to Think I am obsessed with this indie alt-R&B singer-songwriter.
Harry Styles Harry’s House This album is brilliant. He may be a genius.
Charlotte Wessels Tales from Six Feet Under Charismatic and genre-bending spanning alt-pop, synth-rock, atmospheric, and symphonic. Charlotte wrote, produced, and played all the instruments in her home studio.
Tortured Soul Take the Day Off Still chill but more upbeat than their chill 2001 House classic Introducing Tortured Soul.
Dorothy Gifts From The Holy Ghost Hello, 70s Rock! So this is what you were supposed to sound like. Too bad you made us wait fifty years but it was worth it.
Janice The Playlist EP She played the fictitious artist Bobbie T in the Hulu series The Playlist about the early history of Spotify. Nothing fictitious about her delicious vocals.
Buddy Guy The Blues Don’t Lie Stellar reviews. Grammy nomination. Collaborations with a variety of famous people. He’s 86 years old spitting fire out of his guitar. Time for me to revisit my life goals.
PLUS THREE UNFORGETTABLE SONGS
Biig Piig Feels Right Earworm of 2022. And the leader so far for 2023.
[a whole slew of people] Earth Song (What About Us) – Club Mix That moment when you become convinced that gospel-disco is the greatest sub-sub genre of music ever created.
Adam Lambert Ordinary World Quietly stunning. Haunting. Gorgeous. One of his best and I don’t say that lightly.