21 of Our Favorite Artists Give Their AOTY Lists

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We asked 20+ of our favorite songwriters to give their favorite releases of the year. Check them out and find out who your favorite band’s favorite bands are.

While you read, feel free to listen to our AOTY top 50 playlist:

Jhariah’s Top 5 Releases of 2022


Stromae – Multitude

After 9 years of patiently waiting for Stromae’s third album, the release of Multitude was, somehow,  just as impactful and unrealistically creative as I’d built it up to be. From the first second of the opener “Invaincu”, I knew I was in for something massively ambitious. In 36 minutes, Stromae manages to effortlessly share nearly a decade of musical growth while still remaining unpretentious and curious. My favorite part about Multitude is that I probably wouldn’t have really gotten it when I was 13 and started listening to him. I really appreciate the kind of discipline it takes to move on from some of the things that made your older music so appealing and look for new ways to impress. And he pulls it off! It’s exactly the kind of record I want to make if I can manage to reach such a place in my career.

Pinkshift – Love Me Forever

On the other hand, there’s nothing effortless about Love Me Forever. Every single song radiates the sweat and hard work they’ve poured into carving out their own space musically. Hearing that happen in the songs is just so exciting to me. I listen to “I’m not crying” and they just sound so triumphant. The fear and hurt and anger behind the music feel so real, so watching them face it head-on is inspiring as hell. Like, so much of Ashrita’s writing here is in the 2nd person. I think there’s already boldness in talking directly at all that stuff, but the crazy thing is that Paul’s riffs and Myron’s drumming feel exactly the same way. They work together in a way that’s as militant as it is emo. All that aside, I’m just super proud of my friends for making such a moving record. “Love Me Forever” makes me want to be a little more fearless.

Pollyanna – Slime

Pollyanna are simply rockstars and “Slime” is all the evidence you need, okay? This entire record is so full of life, not to mention that it has a great sense of humor. I remember when the album came out, I couldn’t stop listening to it. All summer, I’d just hop on a Citi bike to wherever I was going and listen to the whole thing front to back, sometimes twice. It’s all my favorite parts of pop and rock music, but still steers miles clear of being pop-punk nostalgia. Especially as I endure the latest wave of 2000s pop-punk parody music, it’s really exciting to hear them put out something that feels so timeless. I know it’s going to keep on paying off huge for them. Slime really is all killer and no filler. Pollyanna is really that band.

Jean Dawson – CHAOS NOW*

Every once in a while, a record comes out that makes go “Oh, so everything HASN’T been done!”. “CHAOS NOW*” is one of those. The singles are incredible on their own, but once I got to sit down and listen to the whole thing, I realized that I’d never heard anything like it. Nothing else I’ve encountered is even close. That isn’t unlike how I felt hearing “Pixel Bath” for the first time, which is made even more impressive by the fact that this record sounds nothing like the previous one. The musical world Jean has built with this album is lush, boundless, and so weird. “SCREWFACE*” is one of my favorite moments on the album, and it does so by being unapologetically strange. From the uneasy guitar melodies stitched throughout the arrangement to memorable quotes like “Mama, I’m way too high / I can see my house from here”, all of it just leaves such a distinct impression. You’d be hard-pressed to define your unique musical voice better than this.

Rosalia – MOTOMAMI

What can’t Rosalia do? Every minute of this album fills me with so much joy. Even the sad, intimate moments are profoundly inspiring because you can hear an artist saying exactly what she needs to say on her own terms. The sense of freedom that exudes from this record is infectious. Few pieces of music have made me feel as adventurous as MOTOMAMI does. There are truly no rules in a world where reggaeton-inspired hits like BIZCOHITO and CHICKEN TERIYAKI can exist on either end of a ballad called “HENTAI” in the track list. How can you hear this album and not feel empowered to do whatever you want? Having the honor of existing at a time when I can listen to such an incredible body of work is already great, but seeing what a global success it’s been is a huge reminder that the possibilities are limitless if you’re willing to be bold and dream big.

Ashrita (of Pinkshift) – Top 7 Releases of 2022


Bloodywood – Rakshak

The first album in a while that had caught my attention immediately when it came out, one of the best independent releases I’ve heard from a band. Super inspiring to see their live show, incredibly talented people

Raveena – Asha’s Awakening

She has a way of making music that makes you feel so safe and loved. I love this album and the world she was able to create artistically around this project. She’s a beautiful artist who really evokes love and beauty in everything she does.

bbno$ – bag or die

This album came out on the same day as Pinkshift’s, and this is the only album I listened to that day. Bbno$ never misses. Everything he puts out is a hit idk how else to say it!

Pool Kids – Pool Kids

I heard this album in the midst of dealing with emotions from a break up myself, so I really attached myself to this album. I walked around center city in philly listening to it the day it dropped while eating a fruit cup. It definitely made me cry. This album let me access emotions that I didn’t know I was feeling at the time, and that’s what makes it so good.

Colo – Demos

I think this is their first release, and in earnest is literally a collection of demos, but as soon as I heard it, I couldn’t stop listening. They definitely caught my attention!

Rosalia – MOTOMAMI

She is so TALENTED. This was my pre show jam for like 6 months this year. CHICKEN TERIYAKI is a bop, this album got me dancing so much. I loved listening through it beginning to end.

Vaporising – BLKVAPOR

This is their first EP, and it has a huge range. Their live performance is captivating and cathartic and I’m so excited for what they have next. One of my favorite Baltimore artists currently.

Caleb (of Hey ily) Top 5 Releases of the Year


Anaconda Vise – Instant Classic

I’m so happy to be shouting out fellow MT emo band Anaconda Vise on this one! They’re not just your regular emo band though. With the progressiveness of early Coheed and Cambria, conceptual wrestling-themed lyrics, and riffage as sick as they come, they deliver a record that’s as catchy as it is hard hitting.

Carly Cosgrove – See You in Chemistry

These days I don’t find myself listening to too much of the poppy-Midwest-ish side of emo too often. On account of my severe brain-rot I usually like my emo with harsher vocals/production or maybe even a synth here or there. This album is just gimmick-free great songwriting from start to finish though. Hooks on top of hooks, energetic performance from the rhythm section, and lyrics that are more introspective than your usual Midwest-inspired emo. Seriously, I haven’t had this much fun reading through and interpreting lyrics of bands with this sound in a while. There ain’t no “I drove to 7/11 and saw your car in the parking lot, I miss you.” Type stuff on here!


Holy moly this thing is crazy. This is the record that finally made me a Beyonce fan, and it has everything to do with the relationship between Beyonce’s amazing vocals and the weirdly experimental pop production. Like, obviously this isn’t an experimental record or anything, but when was the last time you heard a Pop/R&B that sounded like this? Beyonce’s ferocious yet smooth vocals soar across these instrumentals better than anyone else could, all around makes for a simultaneously intense and fun listen.

Topiary Creatures – You Can Only Mourn Surprises

I mean, of course I love this record. Its infectious punk energy, emo chord-progressions, and severely online aesthetics pull me in and keep me locked in place every single time. The textures this band is able to pull off are absolutely wild, I think the synth work is the best part of this record. One second, you’ll be hearing soaring classical piano, video game-sampled leads, huge synth pads. Even if you stripped all of that away though, you would still have amazingly written emo punk songs. If you like your emo sounding kind of like an anime intro, definitely check this one out.

Black Midi – Hellfire

Not to be stupid and annoying, but this album seriously changed the way I looked at what makes a song a song. On first listen, this album had my dork-ass pausing, rewinding, and going “How in God’s name did they do that?”. It has some of the most chaotic and ugly moments I’ve heard in an album this year, as well as some of the most calming and beautiful, sometimes all in the same song. The conceptual lyrics tell a story of some kind, but not one that I’ve been able to fully put together yet. If you’re a fan of progressive rock of any kind, definitely check this one out. It’s straight up incredible. Incredible performances, incredible songwriting, incredible lyrics. It’s all here, and it’s all so mind-boggling.

Elena (of Yawners) Top 5 Releases of 2022

Joyce Manor – 40 oz. To Fresno

This is one of my favourite bands ever so this had to be on the list, but also because it’s a GREAT album.

Beach Bunny – Emotional Creature

Such good melodies!! Love it.

The Beths – Expert In A Dying Field

Very refreshing album and unique vocals, my fav track is When You Know You Know.

Bad Bunny – Un Verano Sin Ti

Best album to party to in 2022. Period.

Black Country, New Road – Ants From Up There

I discovered them some years ago while playing Primavera and their show was sick, I’m really enjoying the new album.

Alicia (of Ganser) Top 5 Releases of the Year


Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul – Topical Dancer

The best collaborations aren’t a seamless blend of two or more artists, they’re a “more than the sum of its parts” supercharging of individuals.

Chat Pile – God’s Country

We’ve been fans of Chat Pile since their double EPs, I like the sense this album puts to senselessness.

Soul Glo – Diaspora Problems

This record is really refreshing, there’s maybe no other act on my list here that stretches and pulls like this one between genres.

The Smile –  A Light for Attracting Attention

It’s great seeing well-known artists really scaring themselves, it brings a little danger back into their mix. Stumbling across a video of them messing up a song live was oddly great, it’s just really exciting.

Beyoncé – Renaissance

Just straight production candy. Maybe the record I listened to with the most attention. The songs don’t just transition, they emerge as if from the same tar pit, showing just enough of itself before sinking back down into the collective, disco-ball-shiny ooze.

Bears In Trees’ Top 5 Releases of the Year


Just Friends – Hella

Our homies, and they took us out on our first US tour this year. just friends crew for life.

The 1975 – Being Funny in a Foreign Language

We love Jack Antonoff and we love the 1975. it’s a pleasure to hear what they can do together.


SZA is one of the best wordsmiths I have ever heard. it was a long time coming but damn is this album beautiful.

Brockhampton –  The Family

Sad to see a band close to my heart go but it was a pleasure to hear them go out so earnestly.

Courting – Guitar Music

If there’s one album that’s inspired me to write music for the sake of music again, it’s this album.

Drew (of Downward) Top 5 Releases of the Year


Gleemer – Here at All

“Passed Down” has been stuck in my head for months on end. I feel like this came out of nowhere and I think it’s one of Corey’s best recordings yet.

Chat Pile – God’s Country

Historic release. Feels like home in every awful way.

Money – Money

Infinitely listenable EP, guitar solo on the opening track is an all-timer.

Black Country, New Road – Ants From Up There

Incredible album, took me one and a half tries to be on board and hasn’t left my brain.

Prize Horse – Welder

Wildly articulate, stunningly arranged group of songs. Feels like this is the record I’ve been looking for forever. My favorite piece of music anyone I know has ever made.

Cheem’s Top 5 Releases of the Year


Them Beats – End of Time

Making R&B slow jams feels like a very daring move in 2022, not enough artists are willing to embrace ballads, but Kyle Mcgandy of Them Beats from their project End of Time does not care what others would say. They nail their incredibly direct influence of 90’s R&B on this release, and it’s incredibly exciting to see. R&B slow jams are for the LGBTQ in 2022 and it’s staying this way.

Flagman – Thank you, Come Again

Legit, no one is doing it like flagman. This band’s direct influence of funk metal is so amazing to witness, it’s bands like this that are willing to not care about whatever trends are in the sphere of current music that make them feel like a really unique artist with current metal music. Their music feels like a never ending anxiety trip, but truly making the best out of it. Let’s go flagman

Weiland – Vices

Weiland’s latest album “Vices” had an impressive evolution of sound compared to their previous material. As previously known for being somewhat of a meme-y cloud rap artist that had it’s 15 seconds of fame, Weiland’s Vices is a really fresh take on synth pop/nu-wave mixed with the current attitude of modern rap music. With vocal production similarly compared to Yeat, mixing with dancey synth pop works too well for it’s own good.

Hikaru Utada – BADモード

Hikaru Utada from Kingdom Hearts fame has returned for an incredibly fun listening pop record with a mix of modern intricate electronic production. It’s quite difficult for them to miss, the melodies through this release quite refreshing and enjoyable every listen.

Bladee & Ecco2k – Crest

Crest feels like the perfect Drain Gang release, it encapsulates the attitude of the group quite perfectly. Their melodies are flawless, and features some of the groups most noteworthy production this far. The Flag is Raised is easily my favorite Draig Gang song of all time. It’s worth the listen.


Ben Quad’s Top 5 Releases of the Year


Pool Kids – S/T

The production and performances on this record are amazing. Every riff, groove, and lyric on here feels so refined and intentional. It’s definitely what we want to strive for in our future releases.

Chat Pile – God’s Country

This album is relentless and anxiety-inducing (in the best way possible). Chat Pile have become hometown heroes and it’s been so exciting seeing them take over the world this year.

Carly Cosgrove – See You in Chemistry

This is the first release from 2022 that we all unanimously fell in love with. “Really Big Shrimp” is one of the best emo songs of all-time.

Arm’s Length – NBS, NAF

This record is this generation’s Home, Like Noplace Is There. The hooks on this album are unbeatable.

Bartees Strange – Farm to Table

This is real rock music. There’s so many refreshing ideas on this album that blend so well together. Seeing these songs live absolutely blew us away.


Rat Tally’s Top 5 Releases of the Year


Alex g  – God Save the Animals

this album makes me cry. Alex G is a master of being creative and telling new stories without losing his voice or sound. “Runner” was one of my favorite songs this year.

Joshua Virtue – Rama

Rama’s an incredible friend and an even better rapper. They were on tour with Nnamdi this fall. A Chicago local who deserves so much more attention.

Mitski – Laurel Hell

My favorite artist of all time came back this year. I didn’t know she could be even more brutally honest than her previous records but here she is with tracks like “Everyone” and “I guess.” Absolutely gut wrenching.

Oso Oso – sore thumb

In my opinion, Oso Oso is one of the best songwriters of our generation. Every time I hear an Oso song I’m pissed I didn’t write it.

Alvvays – Blue Rev

I want this smashed into my eardrums this record sounds incredible. And “Belinda Says” has the best key change of the year.


Gay Meat’s Top 5 Releases of the Year


Ian Sweet – Star Stuff

The three songs on this EP are three of the best songs I’ve ever heard. Point blank. That’s on period. Remix slays too.

Tomberlin – i don’t know who needs to hear this

Sarah Beth has been one of my favorite songwriters with an incredible voice that soars just as well as it whispers. This album knocked me on my ass the first time I listened, and it KEEPS knocking me on my ass on every listen.

Kaina – It Was a Home

Gorgeous album, fun album, iconic album. It’s so satisfying to see an artist craft a vision for an album sonically and visually, then execute all of that perfectly. If you haven’t watched Kaina’s tiny desk performance you MUST. It feels like the crowned jewel of this masterpiece of an album.

Oceanator – Nothing’s Ever Fine

Did I include this album at number 4 just because I did the album art for it? Absolutely not. I mean have you listened to it? Elise has taken her sound to places as an artist it MUST feel so incredible to have achieved. Fuck!

Gay Meat – Bed of Every

I’ve been capping for my own shit unabashedly online and getting dragged for it since 2010. If you’re not making the music you want to hear, why are you making music at all? I slay ass. I’m like SOOOOOOoooooo talented. Xoxo


Snow Ellet’s Top 5 Releases of the Year


Ben Quad – I’m Scared That’s All There Is

I love it when bands toe the line between emo and pop punk. The guitar playing goes nuts. This rocks.

Blink-182 – Edging

Blink is fucking back. Need I say more?

Bleed – Killing Time

An amazing call back to the alternative metal a lot of us grew up on in the 2000s. This band is sick.

No Pressure – Self Titled LP

Vocal melodies on all the No Pressure stuff never disappoint. This LP is just so much fun, I haven’t been able to stop listening.

Footballhead – Like A Blister

Melodic, brooding, atmospheric, but wrapped up in the context of a 2 minute pop song. I seriously cannot stop listening to this.

Kathy (of Girl K) Top 5 Releases of 2022


Taylor Swift – Midnights

Taylor Swift has had a strong hold over my life these past few years, Midnights made me smile from the first 3 seconds of Lavender Haze. It’s a reminder to me that making music should be fun and be led wherever my imagination takes it!


SZA’s voice is enough to place SOS highly on my list. All the tracks have melodies that I’m constantly singing even when I don’t know the words yet, and it’s just vocally such a great album to sing along to. Not a single skip on this album!

SOAK – If I never know you like this again

I have been a longtime fan of SOAK since I first heard their song “Sea Creatures” which is to date one of my favorite songs. SOAK is so unique to me in their songwriting and instrumental composition, this album is filled with interesting vocal Melodies, clever lyrics, and a personality you want to befriend.

Barrie – Barbara

Barrie is top tier, the songwriting in Barbara is a collection of words more beautifully paired than the greatest poetry lines written. I feel as though I’m not qualified enough to speak on the beauty that exists in this album, but it deserves a place in your mind playing “Bully” on repeat.

Dama Scout – gen lo wai

Dama Scout is a new find for me and they are cool, I was blown away by the production of their 2017 releases and when listening to gen lo wai I knew this was a band that I wanted to follow. I highly recommend listening and embracing the world they’ve created.

A Place For Owls’ Top 5 Releases of 2022


Caracara – New Preoccupations

Philadelphia’s Caracara put out our favorite record of 2022. They mix emo, post-rock, and 90’s radio rock to make some of the most compelling and resonate music I’ve ever heard.

Flight Mode – Torshov, ‘05

Oslo Norway’s Flight Mode writes melodic and lyric-forward songs that reminds me a lot of beloved bands like the Weakerthans or early Death Cab For Cutie.

Expert Timing – Stargazing

New Queen by Orlando, Florida’s Expert Timing sounds a lot like peak 90’s No Doubt or Sixpence None The Richer – truly great guitar music.

Birthday Dad – The Hermit

Birthday Dad writes songs about loneliness, struggles with substance abuse, and being addicted to your phone and somehow he does it while making songs that sound FUN.

Holy Fawn – Dimensional Bleed

Holy Fawn mixes the best of what I love about sprawling and beautiful post rock with some of the heaviest and loudest vocals and guitars you’ve ever heard. They truly are a special band.

Tom (of Swim Camp) Top 5 Releases of 2022


Florist – Florist

This album is really beautiful and combined my favorite aspects of Florist as well as Emily’s solo ambient project. I sort of couldn’t believe how good it was when I first listened to it.

They Are Gutting a Body of Water – lucky styles

I’ve really loved tagabow for a while now and this record is their most fully realized. They push hard into so many weird and wonderful places on this record. If you’re trying to get into them, this is a good place to start.

Greg Mendez – Live at Purgatory

We are all lucky to be alive at the same time that Greg is writing and performing music. This is my favorite live album I’ve heard in a long time, maybe ever. Greg and V are perfect on it and it really encompasses what is so special about seeing them live.

Zastava – Honey

This is a really cool record from a band that I think is going to breakout soon. It’s got shades of Duster and shades of MBV which, to me, is a really good thing.

Shannen Moser – The Sun Still Seems to Move

This was the most beautiful record I heard this year. Shannen’s knack for arrangement and lyricism is unmatched and this whole album is a treat from start to finish.

Each Member of Dadbod’s Favorite Release of 2022


Callie: ethel cain – preacher’s daughter

Noah: Big Thief – Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You

Alex: Beyoncé – Renaissance

Wilson: Keep for Cheap – Bundle

Grace: wet leg – wet leg

Kolezanka’s Top 5 Releases of 2022

Kristine Leschper – The Opening, or Closing of a Door

Dana Gavanski – When It Comes

Fievel is Glaque – Flaming Swords

Herbert Walker – How to Enjoy

Aldous Harding – Warm Chris

Heart to Gold’s Top 5 Releases of 2022


Show Me The Body – Trouble the Water

The Garden – Horseshit on Route 66

Alex G – God Save The Animals

Dark Thoughts – Must Be Nice

Hotline TNT – When You Find Out

Teenage Halloween’s Top 2 Releases of 2022 (for each band member)

Luk’s Favorite Releases:

Thus love – memorial

Archers of loaf – reason in decline

Tricia’s Favorite Releases:

Well wisher – that weight

Mitski – laurel hell

Eli’s Favorite Releases:

Alex g – god save the animals

Big thief – dragon new warm mountain I believe in you

Peter’s Favorite Releases:

black country, new road – ants from up there

Alvvays – blue rev

James Barrret’s Top 5 Releases of 2022


Gang of Youths – angel in realtime

Indigo Sparke – hysteria

Wild Pink – ILYSM

University Drive – Heal

Christian Lee Hutson – quitters

Pictoria Vark’s Top 5 Releases of 2022

Sadurn – radiator

Byung – humid memories

Bartees Strange – farm to table

Maggie Gently – peppermint

Sweet Pill – where the heart is


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