The Peak’s favourite albums of 2022

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Collage of album covers

By: C Icart, Staff Writer, Petra Chase, Arts & Culture Editor, Kelly Chia, Humour Editor, Daniel Salcedo Rubio, Features Editor, Olivia Visser, Opinions Editor, Michelle Young, Editor-in-chief

Dance Fever: Florence + The Machine takes you through a journey of self

Courtesy of Polydor Records, Universal Music Operations Limited

It’s no secret Florence + the Machine has a tendency to make music with religious imagery and soaring vocals. Dance Fever embraces its listeners with familiar references to angels and devils. There is a deep vulnerability to the exploration of singer Florence Welch’s own demons, and it’s breathtakingly honest.

A standout is “Cassandra,” which upon first listen has a reverent, and plainly, scary energy. The pause in the bridge, when Welch rasps her voice to horror-like croaking, “Take me back, oh, drunken gods of slaughter,” stunned me. But as a whole, it speaks to Welch’s own vulnerabilities processing the pandemic as a singer who had lost her means of creating music and the ability to perform. The meat of Dance Fever is exploring Welch’s relationship with performing, which feels so deeply personal for her. It’s what makes the confessional qualities of the ending track, “Morning Elvis,” so compelling. Welch gives an  account on the struggles of sobriety, and a dedication to her audience, and you can feel every part of that gratitude in this song, especially with the audience cheering on the album’s closing track. — Kelly Chia

Caprisongs by FKA twigs: “Apple juice for when you’re thirsty” 

Courtesy of Young Recordings Limited, Atlantic Records

FKA twigs knows how to package enigmatic worlds in albums. While different from her usual conceptual approach, twigs unlocks a new, more personal dimension. Caprisongs is an entrancing collage of avant-pop hooks, groovy afrobeats, schoolhouse chants, and harp-like vocals. 

With unexpected twists and turns, each one just as instantly gratifying as the last, Caprisongs is an album to get lost in. On top of her superior production, it’s her most down-to-earth album yet, sprinkled with snippets of conversations with friends. “meta angel,” which features a heartwarming pep-talk about self-confidence, has been my go-to all year. Another stellar track is “which way feat dystopia,” which opens with the two of them casually pondering the song: “It’s like elevator music for when you’re going to the 50th floor.” It’s no wonder twigs described the album as “apple juice for when you’re thirsty.” The only thing you can expect from twigs’ art is an extraordinary vision. — Petra Chase

Aucune Promesse by Loud: He said what he said, loudly

Courtesy of Joy Ride Records

Loud has been at the top of the rap québ game for some time now. His new album, Aucune Promesse, reminds us why. It’s his third full-length album, and it’s a straightforward rap album that goes back to basics. His hard-hitting lyrics navigate English and French in captivating ways. His song “#10,” honouring the passing of Guy Lafleur, includes the bar,Hometown hero, j’parle en joual, mais j’compte en Euro” (I speak in joual, but I count in Euros). This references his success in Europe and usage of the French Canadian dialect, patois. Loud’s adept wordplay takes the listener through his journey as a rapper and acknowledges those who helped him get where he is. Loud is as confident as ever in his song “I Said What I Said.” If you were at the top of your game, you would be too. The three-year wait between albums was worth it. Loud is settling into his sound and leaving a mark with his commanding lyricism. — C Icart 

Jack in the Box by j-hope: The solo album jumps out at you 

Courtesy of BIGHIT MUSIC

As a long-standing BTS fan, I thought I knew what to expect with this album. Thinking it would be a cheerful and groovy follow-up to Hope World, I was blown away by the aggressive guitar on “MORE,” hard-hitting rap on “Arson,” and the gloomy piano riffs on “What If…” The album comes during a transitional period in BTS’ career and provides a vulnerable look into j-hope’s personal experience with fame and his creative journey. He skillfully juxtaposes doubt with ambition, passion with self-destruction, and fear with hope. Jack in the Box jumps through a variety of musical styles throughout the album, mixing old school hip-hop beats, rock, and smooth percussion. He is masterful in creating a cohesive album sound without having the tracks sound indistinctive to each other. j-hope flexes his versatility by jumping from raspy rap to bright, upbeat vocals. The album plays with j-hope’s public identity and image, deconstructs it, and puts it back together to truly provide the illusion of surprise, like a Jack in the Box. — Michelle Young 

Harry’s House by Harry Styles: Harry’s redemption

I’ve never been a Harry Styles fan. I liked “Watermelon Sugar” and like pretty much everyone, I was also obsessed with “Sign of the Times,” but that was it. In May, Harry’s House was released and . . . not a single flop. From the very first song, “Music For a Sushi Restaurant,” I knew this album was going to be amazing. The slow-groovy beats mix perfectly with his voice, withDaylight” being the epitome of this “new” rhythm Styles found. Don’t even get me started with “As it Was.” While the song is fantastic, the music video goes above and beyond, including references to The Matrix, Charles and Ray Eames, and more. But the geniality of this album doesn’t end with groovy beats and catchy lyrics you want to sing and dance to; songs like “Matilda” and “Boyfriends” have the raw emotion needed to bring you to tears.  — Daniel Salcedo Rubio

Mahal by Toro y Moi: Nothing but praise for the new studio album, as usual

Courtesy of Dead Oceans

Fans of Toro y Moi will agree with me when I say he never puts out a bad album. Frontman Chaz Bear is known for his experimental indie psychedelic music. He’s one of those artists that makes albums so enjoyable, you can listen without needing to skip a single song. Mahal is his seventh studio album, and it’s one of my favourites. According to an interview with NME, Chaz started thinking about this album five years ago, but didn’t find time to write until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. These songs experiment with so many different styles, and somehow still come together under Toro y Moi’s unique electro-funk sound. “Millennium” and “The Loop” are catchy upbeat electro-pop tunes, while “Déjà Vu” has classic psychedelic vibes reminiscent of The Beatles. My favourite song off the album, “Magazine,” is a melancholy song about relationships and climate change, featuring beautiful vocals from Salami Rose Joe Louis. Whether you’re looking for love songs, jazz, pop, or funk — trust me, this album has something for everyone. If you enjoy electronic music, you’ll almost certainly be drawn to Toro y Moi’s creative use of vintage sounds and dreamlike synth notes. — Olivia Visser