Midnights – Taylor Swift
“Midnights,” which was released on October 21, 2022, is Taylor Swift’s tenth studio album. Filled with thirteen original tracks and six tracks on the “3am Edition,” “Midnights” is an album that accurately represents Swift’s versatility in style. Breaking the record for single-day album streams, “Midnights” received 184.6 million streams on Spotify on October 21. According to Swift’s Instagram post announcing “Midnights,” the album contains “the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout [her] life.” Since its release, fans have taken it upon themselves to figure out which “era” in Swift’s life each song corresponds to. The best part about “Midnights” is that it gives fans an eclectic mix of Swift’s diverse eras. “Midnights” is the era that combines all previous eras. Overall, “Midnights” is an upbeat, pop album that continues to top charts even months after its release.
Best song: “You’re On Your Own Kid”
Special – Lizzo
Good, carefree fun. That’s exactly the way Lizzo’s fourth studio album, “Special,” makes fans feel when listening to it. Released on July 15, 2022, “Special” peaked at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart. Fans eagerly awaited the release of “Special” after the lead single, “About Damn Time,” topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in April, 2022. The single instantly became a smashing success on Tik Tok. Currently, there are over two million videos using the song. As do her other albums, “Special” promotes body positivity and confidence. “Special” contains twelve tracks. Including “About Damn Time,” the album has two singles. The other single, also made very popular through TikTok videos, is “2 Be Loved (Am I Ready).” Lizzo certainly didn’t disappoint with “Special,” and fans look forward to what else she releases in the future.
Best song: “The Sign”
Harry’s House – Harry Styles
Harry Styles’ fans were certainly “Daydreaming” on May 20, 2022 when Styles released his third studio album, “Harry’s House.” “Harry’s House” contains thirteen songs and comes in at about 42 minutes long. One thing that fans have loved about “Harry’s House” is how it differs from Styles’ previous albums. Nysa Chawla (‘24) says that her favorite part about Harry’s House is how it has a “…variety of song types and a different vibe compared to HS1 and Fine Line. I love how there are different types of songs – not just radio songs or the basics – and you can really tell that Harry explored his creativity with this album.” As Chawla says, “Harry’s House” clearly displays how much effort Styles’ put into each song to give them each a different vibe. After listening to “Harry’s House,” it is no surprise that the album has been extremely successful since its release.
Best song: “Satellite”
Love Sux – Avril Lavigne
“Love Sux” feels like a time machine taking you back to the 2000s. Although Avril Lavigne is currently 38, “Love Sux” transports fans back to her “Sk8ter-Boi” teenage years. Lavigne packs the 18-track album with the same angst and passion as she did twenty years ago. Various times throughout the album, Lavigne collaborates with several artists. For example, the album contains “Bois Lie” which features Machine Gun Kelly and “Love It When You Hate Me” which features Blackbear. While listening to “Love Sux,” Lavigne’s passion comes through clearly throughout every song on the album. The best part of the album, however, is the nostalgia it evokes as it brings fans back two decades.
Best song: “Love It When You Hate Me”
Superache – Conan Gray
Conan Gray did not hold back when putting his heart and soul into his second studio album, “Superache.” With 12 songs, Gray finds a way to reach his fans uniquely in each one. After releasing his first studio album, “Kid Krow,” in 2020 and instantly gained popularity for his songs “Heather” and “Maniac.” After his success in 2020, fans eagerly awaited Conan’s next album. “Superache” did not disappoint. The album sat at number nine on the US Billboard 200 after it was released on June 24, 2022. Every song on the album has a unique meaning and sound yet they all cohesively go together. Gray’s melodic voice ties the album together quite nicely and makes “Superache” the masterpiece it is.
Best song: “Memories”
Renaissance – Beyoncé
Released on July 29, 2022, “Renaissance” gifts listeners with the typical, energetic Beyoncé songs. “Renaissance” is Beyoncé’s seventh studio album and has sixteen songs. The album was released at an apt time given that the upbeat songs epitomize the sound of summer. In two of the songs, Beyoncé collaborates with other artists: Beam in “ENERGY” and Grace Jones and Tems in “MOVE.” To put it plainly, “Renaissance” is fun. Listening to the album just makes you want to get up and dance. The album also evokes a strong sense of confidence, especially the song “BREAK MY SOUL.” Regardless of the fact that “Renaissance” is Beyoncé’s first solo studio album since 2016, she still managed to hit it out of the ballpark.
Best song: “CUFF IT”
Stick Season – Noah Kahan
While “Stick Season” is Noah Kahan’s third studio album, it is his first to be very successful. The indie/folk album, which was released on October 14, 2022, peaked at number 14 on US Billboard 200 chart. Kahan wrote “Stick Season” at home during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Fans have enjoyed how the songs on “Stick Season” are very relatable. The album gained popularity when users on Tik Tok began using the lead single (also titled “Stick Season”) in their videos. Kahan has a beautifully calming voice that gives listeners comfort as they listen to his euphonious songs. In Vermont, stick season is the time between fall and winter where the leaves have fallen off the trees but snow has not blanketed them, yet. This intermediate season is what Kahan bases his songs on. While he does not specifically sing about the stick season, he writes about the various in-between “seasons” people come across during life. Between the lyrics, melody, and Kahan’s lovely voice, there is no question as to why “Stick Season” has been a hit since its release.
Best song: “Stick Season”
Gemini Rights – Steve Lacy
“Gemini Rights” is Steve Lacy’s second studio album which was released on July 15, 2022. Although “Gemini Rights” contains ten songs and is only 35 minutes long, the album is like none other. Lacy crafts each song differently, giving each one a unique sound. However, even though every song sounds different from the others, the album still goes together cohesively. Two songs on the album incorporate other artists: “2Gether (Enterlude)” with Matt Martians and “Sunshine” with Fosheé. The album as a whole tells the story of a breakup and all of the feelings that come with it. Lacy concludes the “story” with the last line of the album: “You’ll miss me, goodbye.”
Best song: “Bad Habit”
emails i can’t send – Sabrina Carpenter
Sabrina Carpenter did not hold back when releasing her emotion-filled fifth studio album. “emails i can’t send” and its 13 tracks were released on July 15, 2022. The album name is apt given that many of the songs’ lyrics come from emails that Carpenter had written to herself. In fact, the entire album is crafted like an email. As an example, some of the song titles are capitalized while others are lowercase. Carpenter wanted this chaotic lettering to represent an email filled with sporadic thoughts. The songs on “emails i can’t send” are lyrically and melodically brilliant. While listening to the album, it is evident that Carpenter put lots of thought into each lyric, using her previous relationships as inspiration. “emails i can’t send” peaked at number 23 on the US Billboard 200.
Best song: “Read your Mind”
Dawn FM – The Weeknd
The Weeknd takes a creative approach with his fifth studio album. “Dawn FM,” which was released on January 7, 2022, is designed as a radio channel. Throughout the album, Jim Carrey appears with various spoken-word segments as if he is the radio host for “103.5 Dawn FM.” He appears in three tracks: “Dawn FM,” “Out of Time,” and “Phantom Regret by Jim.” Along with the innovative radio theme, the songs on the album make “Dawn FM” stand out from other albums. The songs have a unique, psychedelic-like sound. “Dawn FM” differs from The Weeknd’s previous releases. In the middle of the album is “A Tale By Quincy” which is another spoken-word piece, this time with Quincy Jones. One of the best parts about the album is that each song smoothly transitions into the next, just as songs would on the radio. “Dawn FM” peaked at number two on the US Billboard 200.
Best song: “Gasoline”