PAN M 360’s Top 100 Albums of 2022 (Part 2)

· par Rédaction PAN M 360

With the pandemic seemingly winding down, there was a lot of music in 2022. We at PAN M 360 believe ourselves to not only be music reviewers and journalists, but music curators in this era where finding great sounds is much more complicated than ever.

So ? Here is the second part of our Top 100 albums Part 2 of 4. You will notice that there is no rating in this list, no order of style, no hierarchy of sounds, even no alphabetical order.

Why ? Because we sincerely think that music lovers do not need an hierarchical structure in our proposals and make up their own mind after trusting us. Hopefully you find some new great music to bring into the New Year… Happy Holidays !

The Black Keys
Dropout Boogie (May)
Rock, Blues, Indie Rock

Écoutez ICI

The Black Keys returned with another fun, energetic record. Guitars and drums: this is solid backbone of rock n’ roll and the blues. The album lifts you up with it’s thundering riffs and beats, and eases you down with some of it’s softer jams. Let’s boogie! (Thomas Moultrie)

Steve Lacy
Gemini Rights (March)
Funk, Contemporary R&B, Psychedelic music
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Simply put, Lacy’s Gemini Rights is one of the most sensational pop albums of the year. The tracklist flows effortlessly between upbeat, youthful, energetic tracks and more somber, emotional numbers, showing off a breadth of style and sensory nuance. Gemini Rights will doubtlessly be regarded as a turning point in Steve Lacy’s career, propelling him to a more clear, mature style and laying the foundations for an exciting body of work that has just begun to blossom. (Lyle Hendriks)

Danger Mouse & Black Thought
Cheat Codes (August)
Bertelsmann Music Group
Hip-hop, rap, boom bap
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Once again, Black Thought remains one of the great rappers of socio-politico-philosophical expression on the hip-hop planet.

His reflections on American society continue cheerfully in these “Cheat Codes”, this time with the eclectic approach of colleague Danger Mouse, whose musical experience and culture (classic pop, funk, jazz, electro, boom-bap) go far beyond the framework of beatmaking trends.(Alain Brunet)

black midi
Hellfire (July)
Rough Trade
Experimental Rock, Progressive Rock, Post-Punk
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Loosely a concept album, thematically structured around a series of vignettes, Hellfire is unapologetically theatrical in its constitution. The playing credits for each title are indicative of just how orchestrally oriented the band has now become. Since Cavalcade, the band seems to have made Avant-jazz elements a staple of their sound, and on Hellfire this big band timbre is made clever use of, used to great effect in accentuating dissonant chordal stabs or in more tender moments endowing the album with some Film Noir undertones. (Varun Swarup)

Kendrick Lamar
Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers (October)
Hip-hop, R&B

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Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers is a project long matured by the prodigious Kendrick Lamar. Until now, his path is almost perfect, beyond the recognition already acquired by his previous albums having deeply marked hip-hop. Let’s talk about a real evolution in the same direction, with the concert of a legion of collaborators who came to fertilize the already rich ground of Kendrick Lamar. The rapper’s universe bears all the qualities of excellence: lucidity, poetic depth, mastery of the musical forms involved, mastery of words and declamation, ideal balance between the experimental and the conventional, between simplicity and complexity. There is nothing overloaded on Kendrick’s side, even if some tracks of this top-of-the-range hip-hop involve contemporary jazz, classic-jazz chamber music, choral singing, all kinds of creative electro, trip-hop. (Alain Brunet)

Kevin Morby
This is A Photograph (May)
Dead Oceans
Alternative, Indie Rock

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The starting point of the quest represented by Kevin Morby’s most recent album is an old photograph of his father who had just suffered a heart attack. This quest brought the artist to Memphis, whose rich musical heritage informs the album, which sees Morby outdo himself in terms of of composition, poetry, arrangements and interpretation. A touching and empathetic work. (Steve Naud)

Wet Leg
Wet Leg (April)
Domino Recording
Alternative, Indie Punk, Post-Punk

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The little punky-pop bombshell “Chaise Longue” introduced Wet Leg to half the world. Before this 3.17 minutes of pure contagious happiness that collected millions of views and listens, nobody had heard of this duo out of nowhere. Well, not quite out of nowhere, since the two main protagonists of Wet Leg come from the Isle of Wight, off the coast of Albion. If many thought that the success of “Chaise Longue” would be short-lived and that Wet Leg would be just another one hit wonder, we have to admit that the duo was quite inspired when creating the twelve tracks of this first album, simply entitled Wet Leg. Buoyed by the resounding success of “Chaise Longue,” Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers have seen their little island lives turned upside down, becoming overnight darlings of the music press, with all the hype that comes with it. (Patrick Baillargeon)

Kudu Bisa Kudu (April)
Cuneiform Records
Experimental, Javanese, Gamelan
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A France/Indonesia project initiated by Guigou Chenevier (Étron Fou Leloublan) in which training rock collaborates with a Javanese gamelan. The mix is ​​very successful and opens up promising perspectives . A group (of 13 musicians) difficult to maintain, and of which this recording in concert may well be the only witness. (Rejean Beaucage)

Yoo Doo Right
A Murmur, Boundless to the East (June)
Experimental, Post-Rock, Krautrock
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Through their expert constructions of earworm ziggurats, Yoo Doo Right has an otherworldly effect on the human brain. As the minor-keyed guitar line repeats, a hefty bass guides the track into an obscure dimension while the drums—with little accents on the hi-hat here and there—give the track a jazzy feel. Later, frenzied guitar trills take over as walls of synth latch on, encompassing and persuading the music toward a sonic conclusion that never comes. Instead, we hear seven thunderous and Vantablack bass and guitar drops and we’re back in. This is the beauty of Yoo Doo Right’s sound—a complete disregard for predictability that leaves you craving more. (Stephan Boissonneault)

Roméo Elvis
Universal, Island Def Jam
Hip Hop, Francophone rap
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With this project, Romeo Elvis is more introspective than ever. During the creation of this album, the rapper opted for a rap posed, melodic and stripped of complex. As usual, the Belgian stands out from his colleagues with his catchy refrains and unpredictable lyrics. With TOUT PEUT ARRIVER, Romeo Elvis proves once again that he is much more than that he is much more than the “simple” brother of the French pop star Angèle. (Jacob Langlois-Pelletier)

10PKHO (October)
French hip hop, rap
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To celebrate his 43rd birthday, GREMS has offered two albums, Outrage and 10PKHO (tenth of his career), with his long-time collaborator Rrobin on musical production. A code breaker, GREMS is one of the pioneers to have experimented and rapped on instrus inspired by deep house and techno. Graffiti artist and visual artist (#postgraffiti), the French man works the sonorities as the colors: his double proposal exposes itself like a chiaroscuro. Special mention to “Jesus Is a Boogaloo.” (Elsa Fortant)

Metamorphose (April)
Bigamo Musik
Ambient, Electronic, Berlin
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Sibel Jacqueline Koçer—JakoJako—deserves a more extensive media coverage than she receives today, like Caterina Barbieri. A poetess of experimental analog and modular music, JakoJako deploys her genius and talent through her wide range of creativity: electronic, ambient, experimental, techno, sound design for contemporary dance pieces. Sibel has won us over, again and again, with her latest EP Metamorphose. The two tracks, in free listening, are “Amygdala” and “Objekt.” The immersion in a dreamlike and cosmic universe is obvious. The soundtrack seems to run on a tense thread, constantly progressing towards the break, and yet JakoJako builds a kind of spider’s web, in which, she imprisons you by her conjuring tricks. A masterpiece of 2022. (Salima Bouaraour)

Peter Donohoe
Mendelssohn : Songs Without Words vol. 1 (Lieder ohne Worte) (January)
Piano Concerto, Classical
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The British pianist Peter Donohoe delivers here an impressive first volume focused on Felix Mendelssohn’s Romances without Words (Lieder ohne Worte).

From the first notes, one is struck by the strength of Donohoe’s touch, both lively and brilliant, which the dynamics of the works and the subtlety of their musical lines with sensitivity, coherence and the subtlety of their lyrical musical lines. (Alexandre Villemarie)

Black Country, New Road
Ants From Up There (February)
Ninja Tune
Post-rock, Art rock, Chamber pop
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With Ants From Up There, Black Country, New Road goes off on a novel and organic tangent that is unlike anything else out there.  With its saxophone onslaught, swirling piano, staccato violins, distorted guitar and bass, and polyrhythmic drumming, Ants From Up There stands out as a unique work that will never be duplicated. (Louis Garneau-Pilon )

Natalia Lafourcade
De todas Las flores
Sony Music México
Expérimental, contemporary, latino, Jazz, Mexican
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Natalia Lafourcade embodies the genius of mixing tradition with Mexican modernity. This first album of original compositions in 7 years, after many explorations of her roots, is really impressive. It is a reflection on mourning, death, femininity and introspection. There is a lot of talk about the passage from darkness to light. This feminist songwriter is only 36 years old. She carries part of the future of Mexico within her. (Michel Labrecque)

ALPHA (March)
Rich Immigrants, Interscope
Hip Hop, Dancehall, Pop
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In six years of career, we no longer count the collaborations of Chinsea Lee; first with Jamaicans Sean Paul and Vybz Kartel, then quickly with Christina Aguilera, Tyga, Young Thug and other Major Lazer. It was thus high time for a first solo album and the exercise is successful, with a clever mix of dancehall, pop, hip-hop, soul and R&B, always highlighting her confident voice, reminding us of another prominent Caribbean singer singer, from Barbados, this one. (Richard Lafrance)

Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Cool It Down (September)
Secretly Canadian
Indie Rock, Alternative
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The fifth studio album of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs definitely has a foot in the post-punk roots that led to their rise to prominence twenty years ago. But just like some of the tracks that invite us to embrace change “Feel Different Today” and risk-taking “Fleez,” the Cool It Down dares to transport the fans of the first hour towards a less chaotic and more melodic universe. With this album, the YYY prove that it is not necessary to be confined in the nostalgia of the beautiful years to continue to exist. (Geneviève Gauthier )

Black Star
No Fear of Time (May)
Hip Hop, Rap
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For 24 years, Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star was the only album of a great rap duo, all eras included. Now there’s a second: the same super tandem launches a high quality recording. The progressive, pro-cultural diversity and pro-black ideology is at the heart of this new opus entitled No Fear of Time. The allusions to spirituality are not insistent but present, the anti-supremacist denunciations are not exaggerated, white radicalism of the extreme right is associated with mental illness. The rapper Black Thought (The Roots) and the singer Yummy Bingham are invited to collaborate on some tracks, and the great beatmaker, composer and arranger Madlib is involved in the general construction of this project, ideal for music lovers fond of boom bap, jazz, or orchestral soul. It’s all excellent, solid from start to finish. (Alain Brunet)

Ariane Roy
medium plaisir (February)
Pop, Alternative, Soul, Indie
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“medium plaisir”, Ariane Roy’s first album, was released in February. This album, which earned her the title of revelation of the year at the ADISQ gala and several nominations for various awards, transported us into the singer’s unique musical universe. Tender and romantic at times, fiery and provocative at others, “medium plaisir” shows Ariane Roy’s ability to move her listeners with her own vulnerability. (Arielle Caron)

Fontaines D.C.
Skinty Fia (April)
Partisan, Rough Trade
Post-punk, alternative rock
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On Skinty Fia, easily the group’s darkest and most atmospheric work to date, context is everything. The opening track “In ár gCroíthe go deo” references an absurd ruling when the Church of England deemed the phrase—which means “in our hearts forever”—inappropriate for a gravestone as it could be seen as an Irish political slogan. The track sets the sinister mood for the record, perfectly encapsulating the darker parts of society people like lead singer Grian Chatten experience in their everyday lives. (Stephan Boissonneault)

Basia Bulat
The Garden (February)
Secret City
Indie folk, Alternative, Singer-Songwriter
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Born in the garden of Beauty and the Beast, during ephemeral performances of chamber music with ensembles, The Garden breaks a bad spell of the past and reveals a Canadian artist of Polish origin who has fully found herself. With an eye to the future, Basia Bulat immortalizes, like a delicate traditional folk embroidery, the fairy-like blossoming of a flowering mother. (Louise Jaunet)

Grim Streaker
MIND (March)
Post-Punk, Noise, New Wave
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This EP is only four songs long—and much to its detriment—as Grim Streaker’s sound is immediate and mesmerizing. We have the art house, deadpan lyrics, and vocal style of Amelia Bushell, the whirling use of drum machines, synths, and household objects. And the guitar tone is wet, quite reminiscent of the lead in the song “Fashion,” by David Bowie, played by the great Robert Fripp. I anticipate more great music from Grim Steaker in 2023. (Stephan Boissonneault)

Synchro Anarchy (February)
Century Media Records
Metal, Technical Metal, Thrash Metal
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Synchro Anarchy confirms one thing: after 40 years, Voïvod keeps its place in the pinnacle of heavy rock. Or rock for that matter.

No band can stay exactly the same after so long and yet… we instantly recognize Voïvod’s sound from the first listen, this one embellished with countless abrupt tempo changes and Snake Bélanger’s voice rising like one of the cursed mounts of the Lovecraftian imagination. (Louis Garneau-Pilon)

Crime of Passing
Crime of Passing (April)
Future Shock Recordings
Post-Punk, Coldwave, Industrial
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How else can we say that this first album from the Ohio band is a dash? From the very first track, there is an explosion between drums, bass and electric guitar, which intertwine breathtaking rhythms and distinct melodies. And in the midst of it all, Andie Luman, whose fervent, distressed voice pretends to slip by the right notes. But make no mistake: her shrill laments are those of a singer who mastered her instrument. It’s clear to us that Crime of Passing, which emanates from the Cincinnati post-punk scene, is not just passing through. (Isabelle Marceau)

Gordon Grdina’s Nomad Trio
Boiling Point (June)
Astral Spirits
Free Jazz, Modern Jazz
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Second opus for the trio formed by Vancouver oudist and guitarist Gordon Grdina with the New Yorkers Matt Mitchell (piano) and Jim Black (drums). Grdina puts in her music a touch of Arabic music, another of contemporary music and, above all, rhythms that intertwine in a complex firework that has the fluidity of improvisation. (Rejean Beaucage)


More Love, Less Ego (November)

Star Boy / RCA


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Today at the top of the Afrobeats, the Nigerian Wizkid is a rare acrobat. No hesitation in calling him No. 1 in this genre in 2022, he never disappoints! After the discographic success of « Made in Lagos » in 2020, Wizkid has released a highly anticipated 5th studio album More Love, Less Ego. The 13 songs include collaborations with artists like Skepta, Ayra Starr, Skillibeng, Shenseea, Naira Marley, Don Toliver. For 40 minutes and 53 seconds, we are immersed in an atmosphere paved with sensual grooves. The Nigerian groove is at the heart of the Afrobeats movement, this perfect mix of reggaeton, compa, juju and nusoul/R&B is the foundation of this irresistible album, the ultimate embodiment of Afrobeats, a true global groove. (Djazia Idir)

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