February 09, 2023

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2022 Album Recap

10 Of The Most Popular Albums Of 2022

2022 has been a great year for music. There were, however, many favorites over others. Here are of ten of the most popular albums of 2022.

1. ‘DS4Ever’ 1/7/22

DS4Ever 2022
DS4Ever Cover – Gunna

Prior to Gunna and Young Thug’s arrest in May of 2022, Gunna dropped one of the best albums of the year, Drip Season 4Ever. DS4Ever was released on January 7th of this year, and was the big banger to start the year. The album sold over 500,000 units by February, which technically puts the album in range for Gold certification from the RIAA.

DS4 is Gunna’s third studio album. Also, it features big names such as Future, Young Thug, 21 Savage, Drake, Chlöe Bailey, and more. It follows as the fourth edition of Gunna’s Drip Season series. Additionally, it became Gunna’s second number-one album. He revealed the release date for the album on New Years day, which got fans ecstatic. The lead single “Too Easy” featuring Future was released in September of 2021 and gave a fantastic preview of the 19 track project.

From acoustic trap in ‘private island’ and beat switch-ups in ‘so far ahead > empire’, Gunna definitely switched it up a bit in this album. So, he came a long way and showed a lot of growth from his trap in Drip Season.

2. ‘Dawn FM’ 1/7/22

Dawn FM 2022
Dawn FM Cover – The Weeknd

Released on the same day as DS4Ever, The Weeknd came back in January for his album Dawn FM. The project features narration by Jim Carrey, Quincy Jones, and Josh Safdie. To add on, it features guest vocals from Tyler, the Creator and Lil Wayne. The project was very popular, topping the charts in 10 countries globally and receiving widespread acclaim from music critics. In fact, in September 2022, Dawn FM because eligible for a Platinum RIAA certification in the US for selling over 1 million units.

The Weeknd describes his album as a state of purgatory. On the final track of the album, actor Jim Carrey asks listeners: “Now that all future plans have been postponed, and it’s time to look back on the things you thought you owned, do you remember them well? The dreamlike narration and spoken word in the album almost gives a distortion of reality. The music, on the other hand, contains dance-pop, funk, and electronic dance styles.

Abel began teasing the album in May 2021. In an interview with Variety, he stated “if the last record is the After Hours of the night, then The Dawn is coming.” This is a reference to his 2020 album, After Hours, which is named by music critics as his best work yet. He continued to tease the project for months. On January 1st, 2022, he teased a surprise release, and went ahead to release the album a week later. This album is a mixture of different sounds, containing a song for each kind of person. It definitely earned its place in this list!

3. ‘I Never Liked You’ 4/29/22

I Never Liked You Cover – Future

Then, Future’s long awaited I Never Liked You would release in April of 2022 and received extremely high praises from fans. In the first week, the project reached 222,000 units and debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart. Featuring guest appearances from Gunna, Drake, Kanye West, Tems, Kodak Black, and more, Future definitely crafted this album with skill.

I Never Liked You features the four singles “Wait For U”, “Keep It Burnin”, “Worst Day”, and “Love You Better”. Following his “toxic” persona, the rapper amplifies the meaning of I Never Liked You literally. In “I’m Dat N***a,” he has a subtle yet exciting change up with his flow as he boosts his ego. In “Puffin On Zootiez,” he raps about his rise from the mud, and criticizes new rappers for trying to be like him, “Drinkin’ on mud, I made it out of the sewer/Chrome Heart accessories, whatever, I’m good/Lot of these n****s they lookin’ the sam/They copy my lingo, they bitin’ my chain.”

Furthermore, the rapper has efficiently built his brand on being “toxic”, and has changed his music style since. Compared to HNDRXX, where post-Ciara Future rapped about measuring his pain into cups of codeine and soda and relationship trauma, I Never Liked You Future focuses more on his new, careless persona.

4. ‘Un Verano Sin Ti’ 5/6/22

Un Verano Sin Ti
Un Verano Sin Ti Cover – Bad Bunny

Bad Bunny dominated the world with his 2022 album, Un Verano Sin Ti. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with 274,000 units. It became the second all-Spanish language album to top the Billboard 200. Moreover, it’s 2022’s year-end No. 1 on the Billboard, still. Honestly, it can be deemed the album of the year.

Bad Bunny is accustomed to success. His debut album, X 100PRE, was in the top 50 of the Billboard 200, and his follow-up album YHLQMDLG has been certified 24x platinum by the RIAA. The gender-fluid Puerto Rican 28 year old has stapled himself as the biggest artist in reggaeton today. A kid from a tiny island in the Caribbean cracked the success code and topped charts in multiple countries around the world, and he does it all for his island.

The senior director of Global Latin at TIDAL, Jesus Triviño, said “With ‘Un Verano Sin Ti,’ [Bad] was saying, ‘I want you to have this.’ We were coming out of quarantine, coming out of this global crisis. ‘I want you to remember the good times, to create your own good times with this album.’ I think that’s really what it is,” Puerto Rico went through a hard hit with widespread unemployment and struggles during the Coronavirus pandemic. Bad Bunny gave back to his island with this album, making music for them as well as donating to them regularly.

5. ‘Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers’ 5/13/22

Kendrick
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers Cover – Kendrick Lamar

Deemed as Kendrick’s most confessional body of work, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers was released in May of 2022. In August of 2021, he shared a blog post with his fans through his Twitter account, announcing that he was in the process of producing his final album under Top Dawg Entertainment.

Undoubtedly, the long awaited album received loads of traction post-release. The concept album reflects and analyzes his therapy journey, as Kendrick says. It furthermore touches on many personal themes, such as childhood, trauma, celebrity worship, and more. Music critics gave Lamar high praises for his lyricism and innovativeness. One of my favorite lines is “Sorry I didn’t save the world my friend/ I was too busy building mine again,” on his song ‘Mirrors’.

The album is supported by three singles, “N95,” “Silent Hill,” and “Die Hard.” The album itself debuted atop the Billboard 200, which marks Kendrick’s fourth number one album in the US. Furthermore, the album received eight nominations at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards; Best Rap Album, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year.

6. ‘Gemini Rights’ 7/15/22

Steve Lacy
Gemini Rights Cover – Steve Lacy

Rising singer Steve Lacy had one of the most popular albums of 2022. He became widely recognized after his song ‘Bad Habit’ made it to the top of the charts this year. Audio samples from his song became massively popular on TikTok. This furthermore added on to his traction; especially with the girls!

Gemini Rights released on July 15th by RCA records. It’s Lacy’s second studio album, following his debut album Apollo XXI. The album is consists of singles “Bad Habit,” “Mercury,” and “Sunshine.” It reached the top ten of the Billboard 200 chart and topped the Top Rock Albums chart. It also was nominated for Best Progressive R&B Album at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards.

Moreover, Lacy has shared that the album is “…essentially me coming into myself after a breakup,” in an interview with GRAMMY.com. He wanted the album to sound less sad and more hopeful. He says the story is “…finding happiness. Finding myself after a heartbreak…”

7. ‘Renaissance’ 7/29/22

Renaissance
Renaissance Cover – Beyonce

Queen Bey made a comeback in 2022 with Renaissance. The world renowned singer shut sh*t down with this one, bringing the fans 16 songs. Before this, she hadn’t released a studio album since Lemonade (2016). Fans were ecstatic to hear Beyoncé’s voice again. It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, and is certified platinum.

Beyoncé created this album during the COVID-19 pandemic. On her announcement post, she captioned “Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world. It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving. My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgement. A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking. A place to scream, release, feel freedom. It was a beautiful journey of exploration.”

The lead single “Break My Soul” was released a month before the album release, and reached number one on several charts worldwide. The album is described as post-1970s Black dance music styles mixed with disco and house music. You can’t listen to this album without wanting to dance!

8. ‘Midnights’ 10/21/22

Midnights
Midnights Cover – Taylor Swift

Next, this 13 song album was made for the Swifties! Taylor Swift returned after two years to release her tenth studio album, Midnights. The album released on October 21st after unveiling the track list on a TikTok series called “Midnights Mayhem with Me”. Then the series went from September 21st to October 7th.

The album broke numerous records globally, and even accomplished being the most single-day streams of an album. It additionally topped the charts in 30 territories, including Canada, France, Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK. In the US, it opened with over 1.5 million units and became 2022’s fastest and best-selling album.

Swift described the album as “…the stories of 13 sleepless nights throughout my life.” Prior to the release she would drop multiple easter eggs, some dating back to her NYU 2022 commencement speech. Additionally, after years of being away from social media, she came back to Instagram and TikTok to post Midnights images, easter eggs, and track names for her fans.

9. ‘Her Loss’ 11/4/22

Her Loss 2022 album
Her Loss Cover – Drake & 21 Savage

Drizzy and 21 Savage hyped the world up with this one! Her Loss was released on November 4th as part of a trilogy with Certified Loverboy and Honestly, Nevermind. The project’s surprise announcement came on the duo’s music video for ‘Jimmy Cooks’, which was a part of Honestly, Nevermind. The two made a pretty great pair for the joint album, although Drake had more solo songs than 21 Savage did.

The duo added some dope trap beats, threw shade, and tried out some new flows. They both showed improvement in this album, especially 21 Savage. 21 even had his own timestamp song, ‘3am On Glenwood’, where he hits listeners with some hard-hitting and introspective lyrics. Besides, he tells a story in this song, which shows a big improvement from his trap music days.

Her Loss debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 and replaced Taylor Swift’s Midnights from the top spot. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the album and some of the shade thrown, however. For example, in the song “Circo Loco” there is speculation that Drake was dissing Megan Thee Stallion in a line about butt shots.

10. ‘SOS’ 12/9/22

SOS
SOS Cover – SZA

As of recent, SZA has returned after 5 years with her newest 2022 album SOSHer last album, Ctrl, was released back in June of 2017, and became double platinum-certified by the RIAA. Since her release of SOS, she occupies the number 1 spot on the Billboard 2o0. The 23-song album features artists like Travis Scott and Don Toliver.

Known for being the face of many funny memes, past viner Jay Versace assisted the “Good Days” singer with the album. Versace helped produce the songs “SOS”  and “Smoking on my Ex Pack” for SZA. Also she explains that SOS is “…about heartbreak, its about revenge, it’s about being pissed”. The singer is describing this as her “villain era”.

The album touches on subjects like insecurity and heartbreak, but also anger and self reflection. SZA also includes many different genres of music, like her indie rock song, “F2F.” Travis Scott also assisted her with adlibs in her solo song, ‘Low’. She shows major growth in this album as well, and she surely did not disappoint.

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