Reflecting on a year of music– three “must listen to” albums of 2022


ALL TOGETHER: A collage of three albums that came out this year– “Ants From Up There”, “Live at the Cabin”, and “Stick Season”.

Sarah Woods, A&E Editor

2022 was a great year for music. In-person concerts are back in full swing and many highly anticipated albums were released. While many iconic artists put out music this year, I spent my time trying to find artists that don’t have as much fame to their name. These three 2022 albums left the biggest impact on me during my hunt.

ANTS FROM UP THERE: Black Country, New Road’s sophomore album released Feb. 4. (Photo courtesy of Black Country, New Road’s Instagram)

Black Country, New Road’s “Ants From Up There” takes the cake as my favorite album of the year. From the opening instrumental track, it was clear that this album had thought put into every note. The beginning half of the album explored Wood’s adoration of a girl, referring to her beauty as an impressive concorde (a type of plane) and him as a small figure in awe. This comparison perfectly captures intense admiration and serves as an opportunity for contrast later in the album. 

Wood’s lyrics became darker and the instrumentals grew heavier as they built up to the last 3 songs. A new outlook on the relationship accompanies this change. The last track, “Basketball Shoes”, is by far my favorite of the album. It perfectly concludes the album’s story, with the last few lines repeating “Oh your generous loan to me / your crippling interest”. Wood screaming these lyrics invoke feelings of regret and loss for the girl that was being idolized just seven tracks before. The album’s ability to take listeners on a journey through a relationship, complete with gorgeous instrumentals and gut-wrenching lyricism, makes it my pick for 2022’s album of the year. 

LOVE MINUS ZERO: Slaughter Beach, Dog released its 6th album Oct. 14. (Photo courtesy of Slaughter Beach, Dog’s Instagram)

Slaughter Beach, Dog’s “Live at the Cabin” album was an unexpected instant favorite of mine this year. Their 6th album, “Live at the Cabin” interprets their old songs in an acoustic light. The album is made up of nothing more than front-man Jake Ewald’s gentle guitar playing, soft voice, and occasional harmonica solos. 

The stripped-down sound of the album creates a cozy feel that is emphasized by the title and doodled cover. The songs ended up defining my fall 2022 experience. I found myself going on walks more just so that I could see the orange colored leaves as I listened to “Live at the Cabin”, the two complimenting each other perfectly. As the winter season rolls, the album still manages to instill a warm feeling in me when I play them.

“Live At The Cabin”’s simplicity also allows Slaughter Beach, Dog’s lyricism to shine. Ewald’s ability to write about love is what makes the band what it is. It is imposible to listen to a single track without imagining one of the wholesome scenes that Ewald describes, littering each line with tiny details that only a partner could notice about another person. This simplicity, both in instrumentals and lyricism, make “Live At The Cabin” one of my 2022 favorites. 

STICK SEASON: Noah Kahan’s album was released on Oct. 14. (Photo courtesy of Noah Kahan’s Instagram)


Noah Kahan’s “Stick Season”’s saw its rise to popularity after the album’s title track chorus was posted to TikTok. Instead of being an outlier, the song “Stick Season” is a perfect representation of the rest of the songs. The TikTok-viral chorus discusses themes of hometown blues and lost relationships with the lines “I love vermont, but it’s the season of sticks / and I saw your mom, she forgot that I existed”, themes that are explored more in depth in the rest of the tracks. Kahan’s technique of introducing big ideas in the first two songs and then expanding on them later in the album creates a smooth transition from song to song. The whole album felt incredibly cohesive, in both its sound and themes. 

“Stick Season” does not care to diverge from the classic folk sound heard from other artists, though I don’t think this is a bad thing. Kahan managed to create a well-done quintessential folk album. It doesn’t try to be anything more than it is, letting its ballad-like guitar and relatable lyrics speak for themselves. This honest take on music is what made me hit the replay button on “Stick Season” over and over again this year.