My seventh year of listening to albums has drawn to a close and it’s that agonising time where I need to decide on a top five. Each year I listen to 100 albums, one new and one old each week for fifty weeks, and they each get two listens to make sure I really get a feel for the sound. Then, at the end of the year, I pull together my top five from the new albums. It’s always a hideous choice and this year’s shortlist of ten albums made it really difficult to decide on the final five. But I’ve done it, so here goes!
1. There’s Nothing But Space, Man - Sam Ryder
“This album came out of nowhere for me, I wasn’t expecting it at all and it’s come right at the last minute for the album adventure. And I loved it! So, so, SO GOOD. Every song is an absolute tune and it manages to try lots of different styles without being too much of a ‘just pick one and pipe down’ hotchpotch of things.”
2. Bronco - Orville Peck
“Peck has such an incredible voice, it’s like a cross between Elvis and Johnny Cash, and combining those two greats into his own interesting style. It’s really old school and yet feels big and fresh and inviting and unlike any other country music coming out at the moment. Peck’s whole mystery-man-in-a-mask thing is fun too, like Sia’s quest for privacy. Just concentrate on the music and forget about the rest.”
3. Subject to Change - Kelsea Ballerini
“Kelsea is back, opening up her heart more than ever, but with great country pop tunes that are catchy and moving in equal measure. Heartfirst is a fantastic song, and makes perfect sense to have been the lead single off this album, but you can’t overlook You’re Drunk, Go Home, featuring two fellow hardhitters in the world of country music. Fantastic album and will be one to listen over and over in future.”
4. Night Call - Years and Years
“It’s really the first big release of 2022 and already I think it’s going to be a contender for the best of the year come December. It’s just incredible pop, it grabs you and sweeps you along so that you don’t want to let it go. There are some bangers, like Starstruck and Sweet Talker, and then there are some that just make you stop and listen, and then there’s everything in between. Loved it!”
5. Special - Lizzo
“What a fantastic album this one is! Great songs, great vibe, wonderful pop and inspiring lyrics. I appreciate the change she made to Grrls in response to the wider conversation, but I don’t necessarily appreciate sampling the worst Beastie Boys song I’ve experienced. And it’s so weird listening to About Damn Time because I’m so familiar with that one section from TikTok that it’s like when you suddenly hear the rest of a theme song from your favourite TV show. But loved it!”
Honourable mentions have to go to Avril Lavigne who was on the list until the last minute but ultimately didn’t quite make the cut, and also Foxes which is such a good album when I’m listening to it but as soon as it’s over, it sort of falls out of my head.
Nothing’s changed on my top ten of all time list, I feel like it’s going to take something mammoth to topple any of these - but stranger things have happened!
- Come On Over by Shania Twain
- Rumours by Fleetwood Mac
- Millennium by Backstreet Boys
- Parachutes by Coldplay
- Staying at Tamara’s by George Ezra
- Who Built the Moon? by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
- Chaleur Humaine by Christine and the Queens
- Days Are Gone by HAIM
- Achtung Baby by U2
- Storyteller by Carrie Underwood
We’ve only got a list of albums for the early months of 2023, but I’m already looking forward to a couple of them - Shania, Paramore, Inhaler and that’s just the start. There’ll be so much more to enjoy next year, as much as it’s a challenge to decide on my top five at the end of the year, the harder it is, the better a year of music it has been! Roll on 2023!