2022 Albums of the Year Countdown: Artists Return [Songs Ranked 29-19]

5 Dec

The Logistics (skip if you don’t care about math or the quantitative process):

I only judged good and up ranked songs this year.  I threw out OK, meh, and skip bc with streaming those will no longer get listened to.  Also, I did a percent of good and up songs per number on the album.  Because just stacking an album with garbage songs shouldn’t rank higher either.  You have to have good, great awesome songs, no matter the number of tracks.  I added the % of tracks that were good and above on the album to the score of the level (elite, A, Gr, G) for the final scores.  Highest is best.

Elite 6; awesome 5; A-Gr cusp 4.5; Great 4; Gr-G cusp 3.5; Good 3; G-N cusp 1; Neutral -1; N-M cusp -2; Meh -3; M-S cusp -4.5; Skip -6

For the two bands that put their albums out in installments (Weezer and Young the Giant, Imagine Dragon doesn’t count because I already ranked their entire 1st installment last year) I am going to judge them separately, but also as one unit.  So I’ll place each installment in their ranked position, but then I’ll also do a fifth entry for each band judging it as one album.

One last note: I went back and fourth on Brandi. She released some obvious Grammy reminder music this year. They are different versions of her 2021 album, but it’s still the same album pretty much. Other artists like the Indigo Girls have released a double album with rock on one disc and acoustic on the other. And the price point might have been a bit more expensive than just a single disc. But Brandi released her separately–to get more albums sold, acquire more streams, and remind everybody that last year’s album is Grammy nominated. But I think the acoustic version was even more expensive than my signed copy of the original album, and that plus the cheatee numbers game left a bad taste in my mouth. If it had not been one of my top-tier favorite artists of all time, I would have thrown the copycat album away and not bothered ranking it. But it’s Brandi, so I included it. And she’s amazing so of course it ranked high. But I counted it as a half number so as not to throw off the totally legit albums in the ranking. So there’s that, Brandi is making me messy. Again.

Lowest to highest:

29.

Death cab for cutie:  63.64%+23.5 = 87.14 Final

7 out of 11 songs = 63.64%

5 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 2 Good 3

17.5+6 = 23.5

I don’t know how I survive- G-Gr

Roman candles- G-Gr

Here to forever- G-Gr

Pepper- G-Gr 

I miss strangers- G-Gr

Wheat like waves- G

I’ll never give up on you- G

28.

Weezer-Spring: 71.43% + 16.5 = 87.93 Final

5 of 7 total tracks = 71.43%

3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 2 Good 3

10.5+6 = 16.5

Opening night- Shakespeare on the grass. Random topic. Funsy and light but catchy. Electric guitar. Ends with a touch of renfest. G-Gr 

A Little bit- Positivity. Catchy. Sincere. G-Gr 

The sound of drums- catchy. Sing-song. G.

All this love- light. Upbeat. Piano is a nice touch. G

Wild at Heart- drums! G-Gr.

27.

Fletcher:  61.54%+27.5 = 89.04 Final

8 of 13 total songs = 61.54%

1 Great 4; 5 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 2 Good 3

4+17.5+6 = 27.5

Becky’s so Hot- hate the sentiment. The base is good especially at the end when the melody cuts out. Gr.

Guess We Lied- Fun double meaning of lie. G-Gr 

Better Version- skews country. Smart profound lyrics. G.

Conversations- relatable song about overthinking and ruminating.  G-Gr 

Serial Heartbreaker- Faster 80s beat. Fast verse. Uses slower speed at the end to emphasize the point. G.

Girl of my Dreams- self-love during a breakup. Empowering lyrics. G-Gr 

I love you bitch- like Lizzo-, an empowering song about self-love and acceptance. G-Gr 

For Cari- nice ending. Sounds low-key triumphant. G-Gr 

26.

Arcade Fire: 70%+20 = 90 Final

7 of 10 total songs = 70%

1 Great 4; 2 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 3 Good 3; 

4+7+9 = 20

Tracks set up like a movie, a continuation of each chapter of the story.

Age of Anxiety I- quiet start. Kicks up later 3rd of the song. Speaks of current events and how they impact us as individuals. G-Gr

Age of Anxiety Ii- 80s. Dreamy. Female voice changes the vibe a bit. Idk the lyrics but probably profound. G

End of the Empire IV- singing sounds more like their past albums. Nice piano. Modern language – unsubscribe. Chime bell sound at end. G 

The Lightning Ii- upbeat yay finally! I like how they say increments of time. Anticipation. Frenzied backing. G-Gr 

Unconditional I- phonemes always make it song catchy. Empowering lyrics. Motivational. G.

Unconditional II- 80s synthesizer sound to it. Around 4min neat sound. Gr.

25.

Weezer-Autumn:

4 out of 7 total tracks = 57.14% + 15.5 = 72.64 Final

1 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 2 Great 4; 1 Good 3

4.5+8+3 = 15.5

Can’t dance don’t ask me- syncopation and speed are nice. G.

Get off on the pain. Buzzing instrumental. Quiet parts of singing. Teeny bit of 80s. Ramps up. Gr

What happens after you- guitar is star. Sounds awesome in the back! Like the harder more edgy sound. Gr-A.

Tastes like pain- samples one of my favorite allegros. Fun mix of classical and rock. Gr.

24.

Amanda Shires: 70% + 23 = 93 Final

7 of 10 total songs = 70%

2 Great 4; 5 Good 3

8+15 = 23

Take it like a Man- sparse, emotional. Desperate. Long. Orchestral finish. Gr.

Empty Cups- voice sounds very Dolly Parton -cant be accidental. G.

Here he comes- catchy.  G

Bad behavior – sultry. Gets stuck in my head. Gr.

Stupid love- there’s nothing I can call out in this song that I don’t like, but .. G.

Lonely at night – good, wide open singing. G.

Everything has its own time- could be on a movie soundtrack. Very thematic. G.

23.

King Princess:  66.67%+ 27 = 93.67 Final

8 of 12 total songs = 66.67%

1 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 4 Good 3

4.5+10.5+12 = 27

I Hate Myself I Want to Party- depressing. Gritty. Depressing. Describes a bleak life. end is 180 faster and more in control empowered. Un-does prior song? G.

Cursed- catchy. More upbeat. Emotive singing. Longing. Regret about an ex. G-Gr. 

Little Brother- 80s backing but more gritty singing. Calling someone out.  G-Gr 

For My Friends- catchy. Just enough 80s and moag but not Ott. G.

Too Bad- bitter song. Personal lyrics. Interesting backing sounds. Angsty. G.

Change the Locks- COVID quarantine made them petty and argumentative. She’s mad they’re over. G-Gr

Dotted Lines- depression. Signing bad contract young. G.

Let Us Die- catchy. Angsty. 2020s Alanis? Gr-A.

22.

Young the Giant: 62.5% + 32 = 94.5 Final (all 4)

10/16 for whole year = 62.5%

9.5 + 6.5 + 9+7 = 32

Despite loving the Weezer seasons concept albums, I didn’t like the Act roll outs because I feel like I’m going to miss something. I like the concept of the albums, and think it is very deep and meaningful theoretically. That said, the songs were not like the rest of the catalog and it was difficult for me to attach to any of them in that same way. I realize the band was on a spiritual and political journey, and think it’s an important story to tell and contribution to society. I just want some hooks or a beat in there somewhere! First songs are real duds. Too soft and slow.

21.

Beyonce 62.5%+35 = 97.5 Final

10 of 16 total songs = 62.5%

1 awesome 5; 1 Great 4; 4 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 4 Good 3

5+4+14+12 = 35

I liked the backing mostly, and I don’t think Beyonce intended for it to be a lyrical album. That said, I get that it’s sexy, and it’s supposed to get listeners to feel. This is totally a me thing–there were too many explicit straight sex references, and it totally grossed me out and put me off. Most people will not have this issue, so this ranking might be too low.

Alien superstar- like the on the bar. Rest is just ok. G

Cuff it- I like the backing. Catchy. Ties into aliens. 70s. G.

Really smooth transition. 1st listen I thought it was the same song.

Energy- remind me of Justin Timberlake crossed with childish Gambino’s this is America. Lotta interesting phoneme sounds. African flair. G-Gr.

Virgo’s groove- really slow to get interesting. Not good til 5min mark. destiny’s child-esk harmonies and many mariàh singing runs. G-Gr.

Move- I like the move out the way parts. G.

Heated- I think she says, I gotta fend myself off. If so, I like the idea we can be our own harshest critics and worst enemy. The weird talking part is interesting and different. Gr.

All up in your mind – love that moag! I like the backing and recognize but can’t place it. G-Gr

America has a problem – I like the 1st few music lines. Like the fast sing. Those 3 nos get stuck in my head for days. Catchy! A. 

Pure honey- like the backing. Seems like a song designed for a group dance, like cha cha. Turns into Prince sounding. Silly voice at end? G-Gr.

Summer Renaissance – more classic Beyonce. Obvious sample. Appluse speeds it up and makes it catchy. Choral backing fills it out. G.

20.

Carrie Underwood: 66.67% + 32.5 = 99.17 Final

8 of 12 total songs = 66.67%

2 Elite awesome 6; 1 awesome 5; A-Gr cusp 4.5; Great 4; 1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 4 Good 3

12+5+3.5+12 = 32.5

UGH! Carrie’s voice is just top tier. This gal can siiiiinnng. Her register is expansive and her belting always moves me. However, it seems like she gets lost when picking material or formulating an album (I didn’t look to see if she writes her own songs). I wish she would have more of a theme for each album. The Velvet Heartbreak does tell a story, and it flows… But I think she could do something stronger. Showcase her voice, but have a certain vibe for the entire album.

Velvet Heartbreak- I love the comparisons of clothes to men.  It’s visual and relatable.  God she can always fucking sing! That …ache at the end alone is elite!  Elite awesome.

Ghost Story- A boring song but when she hits those notes it’s magical! G-Gr 

Hate my Heart- catchy and relatable. Not wanting to miss someone, but missing them anyway. G.

Burn- Can’t get over the memory despite being over the ex. Just a good. G.

Pink Champagne-kind of an 80s beat. I like when it slows down. Just a good. G. 

Poor Everybody Else- might be my favorite song of the year. Empowering and exciting. Love the concept. Notes! Similar to some of her other songs but still awesome! Elite awesome.

She Don’t know- I love that it’s not 2 women fighting each other! Carrie is saying you can have my life with that dude (bc it sucks). I love a bitter song! A. 

Garden- this is a good final song. The message that you get what you put out there goes with the rest of the album. G

19.

Skillet: 66.67% + 37 = 103.67 Final

8 of 12 total songs = 66.67%

1 Elite awesome 6; 2 awesome 5; 4 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 1 Good 3

6+10+18+3 = 37

I enjoyed this album so much when I was listening that I thought it might win. I don’t add all the numbers until every contender’s songs are ranked though. I do it that way so my judging is equal and I don’t amp up or lower albums in order to make them fit in a certain spot. It’s a blind ranking to make the final countdown as unbiased by aesthetic, sentimentalism, standbys, etc… As such, I was surprised Skillet ranked this low based on the songs. It was definitely one of the best listens of 2022 (and great treadmill tunes)!

Standing in the storm- catchy. Hard. Bravery despite pressure. Just enough screamy. Gr-A.

Dominion- electric guitar! Fast. Awesome instrumental break! Exciting. Gr-A 

Valley of Death- starts quiet slow emotional. Elite awesome.

Beyond Incredible- hints of electric guitar. Good running beat.

 Gr-A

Destiny- reminds me of Lincoln park with harder/catchy parts interspersed. Triumphant. Gr-A.

Shout your freedom- great running beat. Empowering. A.

Destroyer- such cool guitar. Fast. Reminds me of 1990s alternative. Guitar zipping. Ramps up. Electric on last words adds a lot. A.

Forever or The end-  hard rock ballad. Harmonies rounds. G.

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