KCSU’s Favorite Albums from 2022!

We asked DJs, staff and volunteers what their favorite albums of the year were to give you a run down on the hits from this 2022.


Brighid Bandel

2022 felt like the first year in a very long time when music releases felt “normal.” Some artists went back to doing a special show on the night of their release – *cough cough* Harry Styles –  while others went on press tours to promote their album. The most normal and exciting thing that came with the album releases were tours being announced. I personally love the fact that when a new album comes out, it usually goes hand in hand with a tour. My bank account is not happy with me.

With the excitement of the music industry coming back alive, the amount of albums and projects we got this year was too much to keep up with. We asked DJs, staff and volunteers what their favorite albums of the year were to give you a run down on the hits from 2022.


“The Forever Story” by JID
Released August 26

Highlighted Tracks: “Dance Now”, “Stars (feat. Yasiin Bey)” and “Just in Time (feat. Kenny Mason and Lil Wayne)”

Why was it great?

Ben Haney: “‘The Forever Story’ is a follow up to JID’s album ‘The Never Story’ that expands on everything from production, lyrics, to new features. His chemistry with his collaborators is amazing on top of producers like Christo, Childish, and Thundercat. ‘The Forever Story’ is a beautiful album!”

Ryan Tubbs: “I’ve been a fan of JID since his 2017 debut, but I wasn’t crazy about his second label release, 2018’s DiCaprio 2. I think he was following trends a little too hard on that record and I just wasn’t loving the sound that he and J Cole and the other members of Dreamville were sitting on in that era (“151 Rum” and “Skrawberries” still go hard though).

I was, therefore, a little late to the party when he dropped this new album ‘The Forever Story,’ figuring I’d get around to it eventually. When that time came and I sat down to listen front to back, I immediately hit download after just the first few tracks and this record became the soundtrack of my summer.

JID’s voice is so iconic. There’s a lot of Atlanta rappers on the scene today, but there’s no mistaking JID’s style and creativity. He’s such a good storyteller, so good at switching his flow, picking beats and SINGING – which is not a skill that a lot of other rappers can boast. His wordplay is extremely intricate and effortlessly casual at the same time.

I’m usually drawn to rap that feels personal, and JID shares so many valuable perspectives on life and on individual situations that it’s impossible not to empathize with. There’s little touches of sound effects – referees’ whistles, alarm clocks, radio static – scattered across the release that really add to the feeling of a cohesive STORY. JID, from what I can tell, loves the idea of his albums feeling like feature films, something he borrows from the GOAT, Kendrick Lamar.

Speaking of Kendrick, I’ve seen a lot of comparisons between the two artists. I think if you map their careers side by side, that makes The Forever Story JID’s Good Kid MAAD City. In that case, I can’t wait to hear his TPAB. 9.5/10″

“Being Funny in a Foreign Language” by The 1975
Released October 14

Highlighted Tracks: “About You”, “Wintering”, “I’m in Love With You” and “The 1975”

Why was it great?

Sasha Sperry: “As a long time fan, their album before this was a huge disappointment for me. Having this album come out this year not only regained my love for the band, but brought back wonderful memories of seeing them live in 2019 (pre-dark times.)”

“Stick Season” by Noah Kahan
Released October 14

Highlighted Tracks: “Homesick”, “All My Love”, and “Everywhere, Everything”

Why was it great?

Lyric Williams: “This album is so good because it’s brutally honest and literal. It has great lyrics, but the way he sings and the way the instruments build on each other really give this album a weight that’s hard to find.”

Kyra McKinley: “It’s is so unique and it is a perfect fall/winter album!”

Maren Unwin: “It’s a really fun and upbeat twist on a folk album. I enjoy it especially as a college student, because its main themes are homesickness, uncertainty and growth. In my opinion, it is a no-skip album!”

“Ants From Up There” by Black Country, New Roads
Released February 4

Highlighted Tracks: “Basketball Shoes” and “The Place Where He Inserted the Blade”

Why was it great?

Paris Huckaby: “The complex layering of these songs pairs well with the impressionistic simplicity of Isaac Wood’s lyrics—he goes from abstract metaphors of concordes and snow globes to contemporary references to Billie Eilish, light sabers, and Warhammer 40k, all with a painful emotional honesty that makes listening to this album all the way through a genuinely moving undertaking. The collaborative approach that the members of BCNR take to constructing these songs together emphasizes the fact that they’re just a group of friends who stumbled upon something really special. This, paired with their idiosyncratic vision and honed musical skills, makes for a completely new listening experience every time you put them on. I’ve always been pleasantly surprised by anything that they’ve put out! This is one of my favorite albums of the year and I’d honestly be confident saying it’s one of my favorite albums of all time. It’s definitely worth a listen, ideally on the floor in the dark at 2 a.m. (or just while driving to the store).”

“Surrender” by Maggie Rogers
Released July 29

Highlighted Tracks: “Begging for Rain”, “Want Want” and “That’s Where I Am”

Why was it great?

Mackenzie Hughes: “The entire experience is amazing. You are enthralled the entire time.”

“LP3” by Hippo Campus
Released February 4

Highlighted Tracks: “Ride or Die”, “Listerine” and “Ashtray”

Why was it great?

Erin Fuller: “Last semester, I was in a very bad place. When this album came out, it was all I listened to and it kept me going. Seeing this album performed live was also one of the best experiences, it made me feel like I was part of something big.”

“Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers” by Kendrick Lamar
Released May 19

Highlighted Tracks: “Father Time”, “N95” and “Purple Hearts”

Why was it great?

Max Ebert: “The overall outlook into Lamar’s life, his retrospective look into himself, and opening up about personal struggles that hadn’t necessarily been a major theme in his past albums while still getting out of the park production and lyricism makes the album great.”

“God Save the Animals” by Alex G
Released September 23

Highlighted Tracks: “After All”, “Blessing”, “Runner” and “Ain’t It Easy”

Why was it great?

David Damuth: “Alex G has been one of my favorite artists over the past few years, and ‘God Save the Animals’ is another example of his forward thinking approach to songwriting. For me, indie rock as a genre has largely been played out, but Alex G is someone who is constantly experimenting with the formula to create something interesting and new with each release. This album continues his hot streak, building off the experiments from Rocket and House of Sugar to create possibly his best album. The record is a bit more understated than some of his other work. It has some of his best songwriting as well as some of his most adventurous instrumentals. While Alex G has constantly been in my rotation since I first heard ‘DSU’ all those years ago, ‘God Save the Animals’ has truly made me a fan for life.”

Eliot Hutchinson: “What I love about this album is how casually it shifts from being emotionally acoustic to unsettlingly experimental. This album has a fresh feel that doesn’t feel like anything else I have heard before. As someone who is relatively new to the world of Alex G, I look forward to hearing what else he has to offer and what he will do in the future.”

“Spirituals” by Santigold
Released September 9

Highlighted Tracks: “My Horror”, “Witness” and “Shake”

Why was it great?

Brighid Bandel: “Santigold has one of the most distinct voices in R&B today. She uses it in such a powerful and unique way that it makes every one of her songs hypnotizing. ‘I’m a Lady’ has been one of my favorite songs since I can remember, so I always keep an eye out for Santigold’s new releases. The first single off the album, ‘High Priestess’, was released during the summer and gave me heavy M.I.A boss energy vibes – so it was on repeat. It was one of those songs you blast with all the windows down and scream. Santigold knows how to make me feel happy to be a woman and to be alive. Her upbeat synths scratch an itch in my brain she can only get to.”

Honorable Mentions:

“If My Wife Knew I’d Be Dead” by CMAT

“Four Songs” by Blood Orange

“Caprisongs” by FKA Twigs

“Once Twice Melody” by Beach House

“And in the Dark, Hearts Aglow” by Weyes Blood

“Blue Rev” by Alvvays

“Un Verano Sin Ti” by Bad Bunny

“Tender” by Cece Coakley

“SOS” by SZA

“Hysteria” by Indigo Sparke

“Chrome Bull” by Duckwrth

“Laurel Hell” by Mitski

“Wet Leg” by Wet Leg

“Preacher’s Daughter” by Ethel Cain

“Rose Pink Cadillac” by DOPE LEMON