Fresh from crowning our best albums of 2021, 2022 is already upon us, with so much more to look forward to in the coming year. From returning indie heroes to long-awaited, elusive records from pop superstars that we’re hoping (well, praying) see the light of day soon, the next 12 months are set to be full of absolute stormers.
We’ve already talked to Orlando Weeks and Alfie Templeman about their upcoming records due out this year, and below we’ve laid out the 22 most exciting albums set to land in 2022. Don’t take our word for it on ‘R9’ though, yeah?
They’ve already revealed the title - ‘10000 gecs’, somewhat obviously - and its cover, a photo of the pair (Laura Les and Dylan Brady) showing off new tattoos on their respective torsos. We’ve already heard lead single ‘mememe’, and read the news that the record will feature Laura Les without Auto-Tune for the first time (“As I’ve been exploring my voice more, I’m like, ‘I can do this. And also I’m sick of worrying about it. If I don’t just fucking do it, then I’m just a scaredy cat. And I don’t want to be a scaredy cat,” Laura told Pitchfork earlier this year). The duo also recruited drummer Josh Freese (Nine Inch Nails, Paramore, just about every US rock band at some point) to bolster their sound on the record.
An event centred around a Children In Need performance of the (iconic, tbh) BBC News theme isn’t where you’d expect to find out about what’s likely to be one of the year’s biggest records. But then Matt Helders spilling to the corporation’s Radio 5 Live isn’t even the oddest way we’ve learned of new material from the Sheffield bunch: who could forget his mum giving us the first confirmation of ‘AM’ way back in 2012? “It’s all in the works,” said the drummer of the group’s seventh and follow-up to 2018’s ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’. “It was a bit disjointed how we had to do it, and there are bits to finish off.” Let the festival headlining commence.
Has Jack Antonoff gained access to Hermione Granger’s time-turner? Accessed a pioneering way to exist on zero sleep? We need to find answers. After producing albums for Lorde, Clairo, Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey and more in 2021, as well as returning as Bleachers with third album ‘Take The Sadness Out Of Saturday Night’, the super producer started 2022 by simply telling fans: “I am going to put out a bleachers album this year.” Tell us your secrets, Jack!
“2 brockhampton albums in 2021,” tweeted Kevin Abstract back in March of last year, “these will be our last.” While one half of the Texas-born collective’s promise came in the shape of April’s ‘ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE’, we’re yet to get a sniff of the group’s apparent swansong - according to bandmate Henock ‘HK’ Sileshi, because they’re seeing “how these new members we’re scouting make it thru tryouts.”
Singles ‘Good Ones’ and ‘New Shapes’ - which features guest spots from pop besties Christine and the Queens and Caroline Polachek - have already been released. A street date of 18th March is already announced, and a further list of collaborators including the likes of Rina Sawayama, Oneohtrix Point Never, producers Ariel Rechtshaid, Justin Raisen and AG Cook, and The 1975’s George Daniel have been shared. But while ‘CRASH’ is all officially official, there’s still much to speculate around with Charli’s latest. The first images of the - to use pop parlance - ‘era’, feature Charli writhing around a grave with her own name on. Her announce statement chose to lead with the fact that it’ll be “the fifth and final album in my record deal”. What’s next for Charli? It’s bound to sound like fun.
A record that was teased not long after the eventual release of stellar debut ‘Night Time, My Time’ (itself long-delayed, back in 2013), with possible tracks including 2019 single ‘Downhill Lullaby’, ‘Don’t Forget’, and ‘Descending’, will ‘Masochism’ finally see the light of day in 2022? We can hope.
Father John Misty
Once we got past the frankly harrowing news that he’s cut all his hair off, we realised we’re pretty damn excited for the return of Josh Tillman. Aside from a smattering of singles dotted across 2020, it was with 2018’s ‘God’s Favorite Customer’ that we last had a Father John Misty album, so another is well overdue. ‘Funny Girl’, the first preview of ‘Chloë and The Next 20th Century’, sets the bar high, and we can’t wait to hear what comes next.
Cometh 6th January, cometh the announcement of new music from FKA twigs in the form of mixtape release ‘CAPRISONGS’ - due this Friday (14th January). Since the 2019 release of masterpiece ‘MAGDALENE’, the singer has collaborated with The Weeknd, Central Cee, Headie One and Fred again.., and while only the former features here, twigs has also roped in a hefty role call of other pals including Pa Salieu, Shygirl, Jorja Smith and more. “It’s my stubborn Caprisun ass telling me to work thru my pain by delivering at work, don’t think just go studio and create. My Sagi moon being the enigmatic temptress craving the club, to dance and to be social and my Pisces/Venus hot mess disastrous heart falling in love all over again. But this time with music and with myself,” she says.
And then there were three. The first news of Foals’ seventh - and its lead single ‘Wake Me Up’ - came alongside the announcement that keyboardist Edwin Congreave had departed, opting to swap massive gigs for the none-more-worthy role of attempting to tackle the climate crisis via a postgraduate degree in Economics at Cambridge. Frontman Yannis Philippakis said the remaining trio had “a desire to take it back to more of the initial idea of the band where the rhythm, the grooves and the guitars are interlocking architecturally,” and describes the new record - with desk-based credits featuring Dan Carey and AK Paul - as “our version of a dance or disco record.” Get those glowsticks at the ready.
It was all the way back in October when Liam announced album ‘C’mon You Know’ for May 2022 - but with news he’d be revisiting the hallowed grounds of Knebworth (twice!) just days after its release, that level of foresight made a little more sense. He’s not spilled much about the record’s content, but educated guesses can be made, and no doubt the man himself will describe it as “biblical” anyway.
Oh Jamie, how we’ve missed you. Last seen in 2016 with the album ‘Trick’, the last half-decade have made us genuinely wonder whether the loveable indie scoundrel was done for good. What a beautiful surprise, then, when he began 2022 by revealing via producer Jag Jago that his fifth album was finished and ready to be released this year. Rejoice!
The follow-up to 2017’s ‘DAMN.’ has been hotly anticipated for years now, and it looks pretty likely that 2022 could finally be the year we witness the return of King Kenny. In a message to fans last summer announcing that his fifth album will be his last for his label Top Dawg Entertainment, Kendrick said: “Love, loss, and grief have disturbed my comfort zone, but the glimmers of God speak through my music and family. While the world around me evolves, I reflect on what matters the most. The life in which my words will land next.”
After a two-year break since the star-making album ‘Cuz I Love You’, in which Lizzo became a global presence and a force for good in the music industry at long last, she returned last summer with Cardi B collaboration ‘Rumors’. Speaking in late 2020, she explained, “There is no due date on the album because I’m the kind of artist that needs to write songs from experiences and my life.” Let’s hope that lockdown lifting last year let her get out and about to soak up enough life to pump into another masterpiece.
Another band who’ve made the most of lockdown are Pale Waves, who released second album ‘Who Am I?’ less than a year ago and have already confirmed that its follow-up is finished and ready to be unleashed this year. Make sure to head out to their UK tour next month to hear new material and witness the return of Heather Baron-Gracie, a blossoming emo star.
“Paramore can’t be ‘on a break’ forever now, can we?” Hayley Williams told fans in November when bringing the era of her two solo albums to an end, adding that she, Taylor and Zac would see fans “sometime next year.” Team that with her company Good Dye Young saying Hayley was “away recording with the band” late last year, and there’s a pretty decent chance the ‘After Laughter’ follow-up is arriving in 2022. ‘Hard Times’ no more!
Rex Orange County
“I’m still here,” Rex Orange County tweeted at 6am on New Year’s Day. Though maybe the product of existential musings at the end of a hefty sesh, we’re choosing to believe that he’s instead telling us of an imminent return with new music this year. After laying low since the release of the brilliant ‘Pony’ in 2019, it’s about time he graced us once again with more brilliantly loved-up ditties. We’re still here too, Rex.
Yes, we know we’ve done this every year since 2017, but 2022 might finally be the year that ‘R9’ arrives. Have faith, people! Across 2021 - among extracurricular activities including being named a National Hero of the new Republic of Barbados and officially becoming a billionaire - RiRi dropped suitably cryptic hints about when and in what form we might hear new music. She’s told paparazzi that new material is coming “soon soon soon” and that said music will be “completely different” to what’s come before. Colour us intrigued.
In the time since releasing debut ‘Sawayama’ back in April 2020, Rina has already managed to shake up some of the UK industry’s outdated awards eligibility and befriend a national treasure (“I thought ‘Jesus, this is really daring’. It’s fantastic,” went just one platitude from Elton John on the LP). Back in September, she revealed to a fan “next year, late summer” would be when its follow-up may appear, and as of her ‘Dynasty’ tour this autumn, she debuted brand new track ‘Catch Me In The Air’ and described the almost-finished record as “even more personal”.
Fans of ‘The Bends’ and Thom Yorke’s early work have always secretly hoped that one day he would swap the twinkly soundscapes of latter-day Radiohead for a return to the scrappy, angsty music he made decades ago. Enter The Smile, answering all your prayers. Alongside Jonny Greenwood and Sons Of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner, Yorke is at his most feral and melodramatic with this new project, who made their debut as part of Glastonbury’s ‘Live At Worthy Farm’ livestream last summer. The fantastic debut single ‘You Will Never Work In Television Again’ tells you all you need to know.
Never a man to rest on his laurels, if Jack White wasn’t busy enough extending his Third Man empire this side of the Atlantic, its London outpost having opened back in October, or soundtracking the latest Call of Duty trailer with single ‘Taking Me Back’ (not quite a sentence anyone expected to write about a man who’d long been assumed to have eschewed anything of the digital era), then writing and recording two new records for 2022 might just do it. ‘Fear of the Dawn’ is set for release in April, featuring the new single and a guest spot from rapper Q-Tip, and July will see it followed by ‘Entering Heaven Alive’, itself closing with the single’s stripped-back flip-side ‘Taking Me Back (Gently)’, which might just give away the two records’ vibes.
Another of the officially-announced upcomers, set for release on 4th March, Nilüfer Yanya’s ‘PAINLESS’ follows 2019’s ‘Miss Universe’ (and last year’s ‘Feeling Lucky?’ EP). Recorded between a North London basement and the surely more chilled-out locale of Penzance’s Riverfish Music alongside producers Wilma Archer, Bullion, Andrew Sarlo and musician Jazzi Bobbi, it is, in her words, “a record about emotion. I think it’s more open about that in a way that ‘Miss Universe’ wasn’t because there’s so many cloaks and sleeves with the concept I built around it.”
From the November 2018 release of ‘A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships’ through the extended rollout of ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’ in mid-2020, The 1975 were an omnipresent force. In 2021, however, by their standards, the band were basically invisible. Absence makes the heart grow fonder though, and after disappearing from view for a year, the news that Matty Healy and co are back in the studio and working on a new album for 2022 is enough to get us through the harshest winter months.
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