Last updated on December 16, 2022
Does anybody else wonder where 2022 went? Maybe the pandemic or Putin influenced my lack of spatial awareness, but the music remains the grounding force that keeps me somewhat sane. Fortunately or unfortunately, my time is consumed by earning a doctorate and starting the nonprofit Sound of Humanity Music Project, which focuses on addressing music education and policy disparities.
The 2022 IC Year End Playlist flows genreless, but some facts here are clear. From Seth Walker’s “The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be” to Media’s “M.E.6,” introspection shapes our understanding of how we fit in this wild, ever-changing world. Considering where this year has taken us, we rest at the precipice of massive cultural change that music carries into the air, one note at a time. (The Best Songs of 2022 are in no particular order in this playlist.)
Music changes us. When I am drowning under the world’s weight, I tap into the folks on this list. Shamar Allen works with the Martin Luther King Jr., High School, and rapper Saweetie launched the Icy Baby Foundation to promote financial literacy in Black and Brown communities in Losa Angeles, Sacramento, Oakland, and Las Vegas. What does change sound like to you? –Lisa Whealy
My contributions to the End of Year Playlist show my continued interest in folk, electronic, and instrumental music. The moods span the gamut: in folk, things range from Fantastic Cat’s sarcastic and cynical “C’Mon Armageddon” to Joseph Decosimo’s deeply earnest and hopeful “Trouble.” In the instrumental realm, the peaceful “Caddo Lake” by Cameron Knowler and Eli Winter sits at the opposite end of the line from the ecstatic marching band party that is The Bogie Band’s “The Prophets in the City (Arrival, Balance, Discipline, Joy).” The work of indigenous artists Joe Rainey and Medicine Singers made an impression on me, too. A blessing for 2023: May you continue to find new music that meets you wherever you are and helps you go forward. –Stephen Carradini
Here are my (Lisa’s) top seven albums of 2022:
7. Shemekia Copeland – Done Come Too Far. Copeland’s album attacks the American narrative of racism from her perspective as a talented Black songwriter weaving in-your-face truths with various guest artists. We chose to highlight her work with Grammy-winning Mississippi Blues guitarist Cedric Burnside.
6. Lisa Morales defined her path as a songwriter, producer, and performer, embracing her bilingual heritage by releasing She Ought to Be King. Wrapping her folk-rock guitar with her Mexican American roots, Morales reminds us of the simple pleasures that family and community can create. Her rich authenticity is a priceless gift for us all to hear.
5. Seth Walker delivered I Hope I Know, letting us know he went through the pandemic, politics, and bulletproof relationships. His vocal tone in a relaxed jazz style is the understatement of the decade, and I know what year it is.
4. Samantha Fish is the throwback southern rock guitarist goddess audiences didn’t know they craved. Tapping into the visceral appeal of that 1960s rock sex kitten who shreds like a sabertooth tiger, Fish connects the southern strut to Marilyn Monroe style. Her songwriting brings to mind songwriter Laura Nyro, the woman behind what became known as the soundtrack of the 1960s. A breathtaking performer, her technical skill oozes from each record she releases.
3. Jacob Faurholt might be known as one of the most prolific songwriters in Denmark, but I consider him to be one of our time’s truly gifted artists. Not only does his songwriting on When the Spiders Crawl capture a minimalist folk aesthetic that feels transformative, but his production choices make it difficult to remember that he self-produced and recorded in his home studio. Dare I say he is a alt-folk genius?
2. Abraham Alexander took the stage at the Rialto Theatre in Tucson, Arizona, this summer. The Ten Atoms family member guitarist and songwriter elevated the idea of a singer-songwriter. His work with artists like Gary Clark, Jr. reflects Alexander’s skill as a guitarist. Beautifully nuanced vocal delivery graces his authenticity as a storyteller.
1. We are all together with one common interest. Music binds us together, and Jesper Lindell’s Twilights is perfect, illuminating our humanity note by note. Lindell is gifted, and we all ought to take notice. His music connects the empty spaces between us with the truth in song that might get us to that next plane, train, or road back to where we are supposed to be. –Lisa Whealy