Toni Smailagic’s Favorite Albums of 2022

Toni Smailagic with some of his favorite records of 2022
Credit: Design by Rain Henderson

As we spin the final grooves of 2022, JME Contributors are recapping their favorite music of the year.

Just when I thought I had my list of favorite albums set in stone, SZA dropped perhaps the best record of the year with the release of her sobering sophomore effort in December. Don’t get me wrong, RENAISSANCE is by far my favorite (and most listened to) album of 2022; the only Spotify Wrapped fact that I’ll acknowledge is my standing in the top 0.5% of Bey listeners this year.

Even as I revisited the albums that I obsessively listened to for certain fragments of the past year, Beyoncé remained the constant that shaped my 2022 experience. Bad Bunny and Steve Lacy led me into the RENAISSANCE era, and Sudan Archives and Wizkid snapped me out of an endless loop of “Pure/Honey” and reminded me that other incredible music exists.

After the previous two years of melancholy playlists, 2022 felt like a prolonged summer that allowed us to feel good and dance again, and taught us that no emotion is permanent. Just check on your friends who haven’t taken SOS off repeat.

Here’s my Top 6:

RENAISSANCE, Beyoncé 

Gemini Rights, Steve Lacy

Natural Brown Prom Queen, Sudan Archives 

SOS, SZA 

More Love, Less Ego, Wizkid 

Un Verano Sin Ti, Bad Bunny 

And some other albums I found noteworthy:

Wet Leg by Wet Leg, Age/Sex/Location by Ari Lennox,  HYPNOS by Ravyn Lenae, Ivory by Omar Apollo, JuJu & The Flowerbug by Sunni Colon, Harry’s House by Harry Styles, Wanderlust by Durand Bernarr, Gifted by Koffee, Write Your Name in Pink by Quinn Christopherson, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers. by Kendrick Lamar

In this article:


Learn how you can sponsor WJCT Public Media.

JME Live Music Calendar